Evolving Health Priorities: The Food Industry’s 2024 Initiatives

Navigating Nutrition: The Food Industry's Commitment to Consumer Well-being

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With a growing focus on nutrition and healthy living among Americans, the food industry has been proactive in rolling out initiatives to meet consumer health demands, highlights FMI – The Food Industry Association’s latest “Food Industry Contributions to Health and Well-Being 2024” report. Conducted in October 2023, this comprehensive survey gathers insights from retailers and suppliers alike, underscoring a significant shift towards health-oriented consumer shopping habits. Krystal Register, FMI’s Senior Director for Health & Well-being, notes, “The surge in healthy eating interest has transformed grocery stores into vital, community-centered hubs for health and well-being, reflecting the food industry’s deep commitment to supporting positive food choices and overall health journeys.”

The industry’s pivot to prioritizing nutrition and health is evident, with FMI’s findings revealing that 70% of companies now have established health and nutrition strategies, and about a third have set specific, measurable objectives for their health programs.

Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) are increasingly influential, with 82% of food retail and supplier companies incorporating dietitians across various organizational levels. These professionals are crucial in steering health and well-being strategies, regulatory compliance, product labeling, and digital marketing efforts. Notably, 71% of companies feature dietitians at the corporate echelon, underscoring their role in shaping executive-level decisions.

The employment of health professionals within the food retail sector is expanding:

Registered Nurses in 36% of food retailers, a significant rise from 20% in 2021.
Nurse Practitioners in 14% of outlets, up from 8%.
Medical Doctors in 14%, increasing from 4%.
“Food as Medicine” initiatives are gaining traction, linking nutrition science with health improvement efforts in retail settings. These programs aim to mitigate diet-related health issues and support consumer health objectives through tailored marketing, incentive schemes, and personalized nutrition education, complemented by prescription and nutrition-specific offerings. Moreover, the emphasis on employee health is growing, with more companies providing nutrition counseling and wellness programs.

Key insights from the “Food Industry Contributions to Health and Well-Being 2024” report include:

90% of companies incorporate nutritional information in family meal promotions.
78% are reformulating products to lessen sodium and added sugars.
67% of retailers feature in-house pharmacies.
63% prioritize disease prevention and health promotion as future programming focal points.
54% plan collaborations with health organizations like the American Heart Association.
46% anticipate partnerships with health insurance providers.
This data not only showcases the industry’s proactive stance on health and nutrition but also indicates a strong commitment to enhancing consumer and employee well-being through strategic initiatives and partnerships.

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