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Plant-based protein takes off

BY DSN STAFF

Drug Store News spoke with Troy Talarico, VP sales Fusion Diet Systems, regarding the consumer diet aid trend favoring meal-replacement offerings over quick-fix solutions.

(Click here to view the full VMS Report.)

DSN: What are the factors driving the growth in sales of diet aids and meal-replacement solutions across retail pharmacy?

Troy Talarico: Two-thirds of Americans are overweight and one out of three adult Americans are obese. When you look at what’s happening in our country, diet is going to continue to grow as a category. People have tried the get-slim-quick gimmicks that you still see out there, but people are realizing that they’ve got to incorporate sensible eating and exercise [into their lifestyles]. It’s got to be a holistic change. And when you look at the arena we play in, in terms of protein powders and meal replacements, it makes a lot of sense for people to bake [meal-replacement solutions] into their daily nutritional regimen.

DSN: How do you differentiate from the competition? What helps drive diet aid solutions off of the shelf?

Troy Talarico: For a long time vegans had accepted the fact that products marketed toward them, that were healthy and good for them, were expected to taste bad. What we’re trying to do is change that with products that taste really good. When we demo our products to buyers, they can’t believe it’s a plant protein product. We want to be the really good-tasting plant protein that’s healthy for you. Then there’s packaging — we have really innovative packaging for this category. When you look at our products on the shelf, it pops. It draws the eye right to this category. These consumers are very studious — they read the packaging and they’re looking for non-GMO, no sugar added, cholesterol-free and soy-free. They are very much dialed into reading labels. Those are two of the big differentiators we bring to the table.

DSN: Who is the consumer that protein-based diet aids bring into the category?

Troy Talarico: Our core demographic is late 20s to mid 50s, skewing more toward women. These are women and men who actively exercise and combine protein supplementing with a healthy lifestyle. About one-third are college educated; 50% are never married; and [collectively] have a household income of around $60,000 per year. They’re very health conscious and green, so they care about the environment. And they’re quality driven; it’s not all about price.

DSN: What is the bottom line? Where is the white space in today’s diet sets?

Troy Talarico: Several years ago, plant-based protein was a novelty or fringe offering. But it’s a very large category now. Merchandisers who don’t have a plant-based protein [option] are missing out on a segment of the population who are lactose intolerant, vegetarian or vegans or [who] want something, quite frankly, that’s just healthier than a whey protein powder.  Our goal is to revolutionize this category. We want our buyers to know that in addition to appropriate margins, competitive pricing and marketing support, we are going to give them a protein lineup that tastes good.

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Healthy snacks eat into diet aids sales

BY Michael Johnsen

Sales of diet aids are rocketing across retail right now thanks in no small part to the 38% of Americans who made weight-related resolutions for 2017. Of course, it won’t last long. As many as 25% of New Year Resolutionists lose their conviction in the first week. And less than half will still be weight-loss focused at the mid-year mark.

(Click here to view the full VMS Report.)

On an annualized basis, however, sales of diet aid tablets are down 10.2% to $326.3 million across total U.S. multi-outlet channels, according to IRI. That means one of two things: Either more and more people are actually not overweight anymore, or more and more people have stopped caring that they’re overweight.

As much as your gut may lead you to believe in the latter, the truth may actually be in the former. U.S. adult obesity rates in 2015 actually decreased in four states (Minnesota, Montana, New York and Ohio), marking the first time in the past decade that any states have experienced decreases, according to a report from Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

And the culprit behind diving diet aid sales? It’s most likely an increased awareness in healthy meal-replacement options (sales of Slim Fast, for example, are up 231.6% to $126.3 million) and the upsurge of fitness as a social norm in America. More than 100 million U.S. adults in the United States regularly exercise two or more times a week, an increase of 54% since 1995, according to 2015 data from Mediamark Research & Intelligence.

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Amazon, Hy-Vee, Safeway, ShopRite among retailers in SNAP online grocery ordering pilot

BY David Salazar
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture on Thursday announced its list of companies that will be participating in a two-year pilot program designed to allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients purchase their groceries online. A total of seven companies were selected for testing in pilot states.
 
The following retailers were selected to service SNAP beneficiaries in the following states:
Amazon — Maryland, New Jersey, New York
FreshDirect — New York
Safeway — Maryland, Oregon, Washington,
ShopRite — Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
Hy-Vee — Iowa
Hart's Local Grocers — New York (based in Rochester)
Dash's Market — New York (based in Buffalo)
 
“Online purchasing is a potential lifeline for SNAP participants living in urban neighborhoods and rural communities where access to healthy food choices can be limited,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “We're looking forward to being able to bring the benefits of the online market to low-income Americans participating in SNAP.”
 
The retailers were selected in an effort to test the use of online SNAP purchasing in different settings. The pilot will be conducted across seven states starting this summer in rural and urban areas and will test both online ordering and payment. SNAP beneficiaries will only be able to purchase eligible items online and won’t be able to pay service or delivery charges with benefits. USDA said as the pilot progresses and confirms its system is operating as required, it expects to add additional retailers, with a goal of having a national option for SNAP participants. 
 
“The SNAP Online Purchasing pilot is at the intersection of innovation and community improvement, and Albertsons Companies is honored to have been selected to participate,” Albertsons chief marketing and merchandising officer Shane Sampson said “Enabling SNAP participants to shop online and have their groceries delivered makes fresh foods more accessible to everyone, including those who may not be able to make a weekly trip to the store. We're proud to be part of combatting food insecurity in these communities.”
 

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