Will Scottish supermarkets become health management hubs in the future?

Shopping for groceries could soon just be one of the many transactions between supermarkets and customers. Down the line, the big chains look likely to become centres of well-being, offering food-related health services and in-store 'nutrition nannies'. Welcome to the world of the mindful supermarket.

The relationship between supermarket and consumer ebbs and flows, as trends and tastes come and go. With more customers prioritising health when it comes to their food and drink choices, the supermarket experience could be extending beyond the aisle. Giant retail space could become a holistic haven for the community, and a place to help customers optimise their well-being.

The mindful consumer

More people are becoming mindful of the food and drink they buy. They’re shopping with clarity, armed with information about the reported benefits of products, and they’re purchasing with heightened knowledge and care.

In short, they want to know where their food and drink comes from, how it’s produced, and how it effects both their body and mind. The mindful shopper is taking more responsibility for their health, and adopting a preventative approach to disease and illness. 

Innova Market Insights predicted that 2018 would be the year when mindfulness melded with food and drink consumerism. Market intelligence has already highlighted the emergence of a more responsible consumer, so it follows that a more mindful approach is coming from industry.

The mindful supermarket

Food and drink purchases are being made not just with taste, convenience and price in mind, but increasingly with a focus on the customer's health needs. This is opening up more opportunities for supermarkets.

Retailers can help their customers make connections between food and health, by offering services like in-store nutritionists, shopping coaches, and food and drink workshops.

There's also potential for supermarkets to start offering health checks in-store. Offering their customers weight and body mass index (BMI) measuring and blood pressure testing.

A mindful store scenario

An example of how an integrated mindful shopping experience could look in the future, was designed recently by the Conran Design Group, in association with The Grocer.

The whole concept for the store is mindful in its approach. From the use of environmentally-friendly building materials, to the harvesting of rainwater and waste recycling, every part of the business model is consciously thought out.

The food is mindfully chosen and health-focused. Freshly prepared breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and meal packs for dinners are available, supported by onsite veg and herb allotments.

The store is a wellness hub for the local community, offering yoga and pilates classes, mother and baby groups, and cookery classes.

An already changing supermarket landscape

Supermarkets with a health and wellness focus have been trialled in the US and Sweden. In the UK, Waitrose has undertaken several health service trials. By the end of the year, the supermarket chain will have appointed 100 ‘nutrition nannies’ in-store - on hand to give customers healthy food advice and recipe recommendations.

Waitrose will also offer private consultations and personalised diets to their customers, so they can set and achieve individual health goals.

In June this year, the company announced its partnership with Bupa, to trial a range of health services and activities for customers in 17 stores. Waitrose customers will be able to get advice on their health via health stations that will cover BMI, height, weight and blood pressure testing and mini health assessments.

Growth opportunities

Interest in food, health, and sustainability is creating new opportunities for food retailers. The value lies in helping the customer optimise their health and well-being.

If you want to understand more about future supermarket concepts in Scotland, our Make Innovation Happen team can direct you to the support you need to innovate your business around process, people and product development.

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