Healthy Food Marketing

Across the country retailers are adopting new and promising strategies to increase the sales and profitability of nutritious foods. In this section you’ll find information on how in-store marketing practices and incentive programs are yielding healthy foods for consumers while increasing profits for retailers.

In-store marketing strategies can entice consumers to purchase healthy foods that increase the bottom-line profits of the grocery store, supermarket, or corner store. Research has shown that more than 60 percent of purchase decisions are made in the store are unplanned. Effective and tactical approaches including self-signage, in-store coupons, video displays, interactive media (e.g., shopping carts, scanning devices, and kiosks), sampling programs, and other prominent displays can increase consumer interest in purchasing healthy items. 

Learn more about key healthy food marketing strategies and organizations that are leading the charge to drive consumers toward the purchase of healthier products.

Key Strategies

  • Grow and develop in-store healthy food marketing strategies. Understanding in-store healthy food marketing strategies is vital for changing consumer purchasing of healthy food in stores. Check out the case studies below to learn about successful strategies working across the country.
  • Learn the four P’s of marketing. Healthy food marketing experts recommend that grocers become familiar with the four P’s of marketing—product, placement, price, and promotion—to increase the sale of healthy items in stores.
    • Product: Become more aware of the mix, quality, variety, and nutritional composition of products in your store, as well as how products are packaged by manufacturers or wholesalers. This will better position you to ensure you are selling healthy foods. For more on product development, check out The Fresh Grocer.
    • Placement: Product location and store layout greatly impact the purchasing decisions of consumers. Pinpointing and using prime locations to display healthy food, such as checkout aisles and end-of aisle displays, can hone your ability to sell specified items. Making sure healthy items are accessible at eye level can also bolster your ability to market these goods.  For more on placement, check out Hannaford Foods.
    • Price: Remain aware of how you incentivize purchasing through pricing. The implementation of sales, specials, branding, and differentials pricing practices can help you control how products are seen through the eyes of the consumer. Track whether discounts or other variations in the price of a product assist with sales.  
    • Promotion: Consider using in-store marketing strategies and in-store nutrition education programs to connect consumers to healthy foods. For more information on successful promotional programs, check out the work of MatchPoint Marketing and the Produce Marketing Association’s Eat Brighter! promotional campaign.
  • Coordinate with existing efforts. Grocers and other healthy food retail operators can partner with academic institutes, marketing firms, nonprofit organizations, public health departments, and other stakeholders to implement in-store marketing strategies. These partnerships can be tied to affiliated endeavors, such as SNAP education and nutrition education programs, and can encourage local support for individual grocery stores and supermarkets. Check out the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as one example. They offer free decals and other in-store marketing materials for store owners to use at no cost.
  • Develop incentive programs for healthy foods. Grocers and retailers can encourage the purchase of healthy food items by providing incentives. Loyalty programs that advertise healthy foods to consumers can boost the sale of healthy items and create a devoted customer base. Coupon programs being implemented across the country, such as Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks program, increase the purchase of healthy foods to the benefit of the consumer and retailer.
  • Tap into the demand for locally grown foods. Recent research shows that consumers are interested in supporting their local food economies by purchasing items produced in their state or community. Grocery stores and supermarkets can tap into this demand by purchasing and marketing products from local growers, wholesalers, and food hubs in their region.
  • Promote healthy food with cooking demonstrations. Retailers report these demonstrations contribute to keeping produce fresh and getting it out the door.

Key Resources

Success Stories

  • The Fresh Grocer in Philadelphia, Kids CornerLearn more about how a supermarket and public health practitioners partnered together to make healthy foods more attractive to children. Programming efforts included store tours, merchandising, and the creation of value-added products. 
  • Harmon's healthy check out lineHarmons, a supermarket chain, is working to implement healthy checkout lanes in their stores. The company is relying on in-store marketing strategies to increase the sale of produce. 
  • The Food Trust’s Healthy Corner Store Program: The Food Trust is assisting corner store owners with adopting in-store marketing strategies to increase the sale of fresh produce and healthy beverages in their stores. 
  • Retailers report produce sales bump from 'Eat Brighter': Learn about the positive impact of this campaign from the Produce Marketing Association on increasing retailers’ fruit and vegetable sales.