Some diet trends come and go, while others remain unchanged for decades. Ketogenic, plant-based, and low-carb diets, for example, have seen growing popularity in recent history. Keeping up with such trends can be tough – especially if you’re not familiar them – but stocking your shelves with the right diet products is vital for optimizing your sales.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of each diet trend, your store will become a sanctuary for all nutrition-savvy shoppers!
To get you started, here’s what you need to know about some common diet trends and how you can cater to your health-conscious consumers on specialty diets.
Understand & Use the Appropriate Lingo
When it comes to diet trends, using the appropriate lingo is crucial; the wrong term can offend or alienate your customers, and mixing up terms can even impact their health.
For example, dairy-free and lactose-free products are not the same. People with lactose intolerance can still consume dairy products so long as they do not contain lactose — the sugar found in milk. On the other hand, individuals with dairy allergies react to proteins in the milk and can’t consume any dairy products whatsoever. Essentially, dairy-free products don’t contain lactose, but lactose-free products still contain dairy.
Fortunately, not all semantic missteps have such serious implications. Some terms are simply a matter of personal preference. The word “vegan,” for instance, has garnered quite the negative reputation: A 2017 study found that the word “vegan” was more than twice as likely to be used in a negative context than it’s plant-based counterpart. In fact, the term “plant-based” has far fewer negative associations and performs better overall.
Some mix-ups simply have to do with separate diet trends. Although the ketogenic “keto” and low-carb diets both restrict carbohydrates, the two differ significantly. A low-carb diet reduces carb intake while moderately increasing the intake of proteins, healthy fats, and vegetables. Conversely, people following a keto diet consume even fewer carbs — less than 50g per day — and dramatically increase fat consumption.
Stock Shelves for Diet Devotees
Once you understand the difference between each diet, you’ll find it easier to stock and organize your shelves to accommodate those who follow them. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular food items for several unique diet trends.
Ketogenic “Keto” Diet
The keto diet primarily focuses on cutting carbs and increasing fats. Naturally, many of the most sought-after food items contain minimal carbohydrates and are high in fat. For starters, MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil is a staple within the keto community and, as a component of bulletproof coffee, plays a significant role in a ketogenic lifestyle.
Additionally, low-carb snacks like sugar-free jerky and nut butters make for some tasty sustenance between meals.
Dairy & Lactose Free
For almost every dairy product, there exists a lactose-free alternative. Filtered milks, yogurts, cheeses, and even milk-based protein powders offer several lactose-free options.
Likewise, traditional dairy products have nondairy counterparts, the most popular of which tend to be different varieties of milk. Seed, oat, and nut milks have flooded the market and become popular nondairy alternatives to cow’s milk. Having a healthy variation of milks in stock at all times will ensure you’re making sales no matter your customers’ dietary preferences.
When it comes to gluten-free products, it’s better to err on the side of caution. In general, the Celiac Disease Foundation advises that FDA-regulated items explicitly labeled “gluten-free” will be safe for individuals with Celiac Disease. Rice- and corn-based products are inherently free of gluten and popular among the gluten-free community.
And for your customers’ gluten-free breakfast needs, General Mills makes nine flavors of Cheerios that are both delicious and completely free of gluten.
Even with the exclusion of meat, plant-based individuals still have quite a bit of flexibility in their diets. The biggest nutritional struggle of a plant-based diet tends to be getting enough protein. Any combination of nuts, beans, vegetables, sprouted grains, or meat alternatives provide a plant-based eater with all nearly all of their necessary proteins.
As diet trends come and go, so do superfoods, which, according to Medical News Today, are foods with “a very high nutritional density.” Kale, for example, had a meteoric rise during the 2010s but has since fallen from grace. Lately, other so-called superfoods have risen to prominence; specifically, elderberry products, apple cider vinegar gummies, and chlorella, a freshwater algae sold in capsule and powder forms.
By keeping up with superfood and diet trends, you can avoid unnecessarily overstocking items that are, perhaps, nearing the end of their reign.
Accommodating the Latest Diet Trends
Whether your shoppers follow a plant-based, keto, or superfood-heavy diet, your store can cater to their needs.
Similar to accommodating other product shifts, catering to nutrition trends requires a little research and getting inside the consumer’s head. Learn which terms to use and which to avoid, and familiarize yourself with the foods consumers can and can’t eat on each diet.
Are you looking to capitalize on diet-friendly products? Contact us to discuss you unique refrigeration and advertising needs!