Natural Foods Merchandiser
Get functional in your deli

Get functional in your deli

Kantha Shelke, PhD, food scientist and principal of Corvus Blue suggests several functional food ingredients to serve in your deli, bakery or juice bar, from grains, seeds and beans to yogurt, cocoa and pure maple syrup.

Delis, bakeries and juice bars can be an oasis of options for consumers who want to introduce healthy and functional foods into their diets without investing too much time or money. As the nation increasingly focuses on getting healthier and more crossover consumers enter your doors looking to address various nutritional concerns, now is the time to attract shoppers to your store by advertising your foodservice’s functional ingredient quotient.

Punch up your FIQ by highlighting the nutritional value of ingredients in various prepared food items, such as calcium-rich kale, omega 3–infused tuna and low glycemic–index agave or coconut sugar. You can also change the names of dishes to showcase their high nutrient profiles. Your deli case should lure customers with offerings such as antioxidant-rich superfruit salad, calcium-rich greens or whole-grain brown rice.

For those looking for foods that address specific health concerns, well-stocked deli and bakery cases with healthy reminders tell shoppers that your store cares about their well-being. That’s a great way to set your store apart from mainstream groceries.

The following ingredients can serve as beacons for consumers looking for foods that promote gut, heart, brain, bone and nervous-system health; boost immunity; and fight diabetes and obesity. 

Health-smart ingredients to look for

Steel-cut oats, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, spelt and millet
Nutritional attributes:
Whole grains, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, B vitamins, polysaccharides and polyphenols.
Health benefits: Digestion and weight management.
Recipe suggestions: Salads, casseroles, soups, pasta dishes and breads.

Flax, millet, chia and sunflower seeds
Nutritional attributes: Omega-3 and other essential fatty acids, antioxidants, calcium and fiber.
Health benefits: Cardiovascular, brain and nervous-system function; blood glucose regulation.
Recipe suggestions: Smoothies, salads and pastries. 

Pure maple syrup
Nutritional attributes: Zinc, manganese, antioxidants and phytonutrients.
Health benefits: Digestion, blood glucose regulation and weight management.
Recipe suggestions: Use as a sugar or honey replacement. 

Nutritional attributes: Antioxidants and phytonutrients such as flavanols, flavonoids, quercetin, caffeine and theobromine.
Health benefits: Cardiovascular function.
Recipe suggestions: Soups, Mexican dishes such as mole and pastries.

Nutritional attributes: Calcium and protein; compatible with probiotics and prebiotics.
Health benefits: Digestion, bone strength and immunity.
Recipe suggestions: Soups, curry dishes, pastries and breads. 

Beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils
Nutritional attributes: Essential minerals, inulin, phytonutrients, fiber, iron, folic acid and protein; gluten free.
Health benefits: Digestion, exercise recovery and heart function.
Recipe suggestions: Salads, soups, rice dishes and casseroles.

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