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Natural Foods Merchandiser

Retailer Roundtable: What special diets are your customers talking about?

gluten free products grocery store
From FODMAPs to good fats, four retailers reveal the trends that are bringing customers into their stores.

“Much like functional beverages started hitting some huge growth numbers starting a few years ago, we now see good fats, protein and probiotics gaining ground in everything from bars to chips. Snacking is now an opportunity to do something good for you!”

Scott Owen, grocery merchandiser, PCC Community Markets


“It seems like there is a constant shift in diets customers come to our stores for: paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw, gluten free, blood type, etc. It can be a challenge to keep up with. In the past year, our meat department grew a great deal. We are not sure if people are eating more meat or they shifted from supermarkets because they want free-range, organic products. Customers also are looking for more nondairy and plant-based foods. And our gluten-free sections keep growing.”

Ralph Johnson, CEO, FoodWorks Natural Markets


“We attract a gluten-free audience because that is our focus. But the low-FODMAP diet is really catching on and gaining speed for us. I too have found the diet can be really challenging, but it makes you feel better. And while not a lot of packaged products exist yet—there are a couple of product lines and several gluten-free breads work well—our customers have comfort that we know what they are talking about.”

Amy Soergel, owner, Soergel Orchards


“Gluten free is still next to foundational. Our paleo section is holding and the gluten-free crowds rejoice. Raw foods is now perceived as the 'real' foods section; and folks still want fresh bread.”

Debbie Formica, Martindale's Nutrition

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