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5 things to know about your paleo customer

5 things to know about your paleo customer
Waves of health-conscious shoppers are setting their eyes on the paleo diet as a path toward a cleaner, more nutritious way of eating. Cater to the growing number of these paleo consumers with these five tips, straight from a paleo eater and health coach.

Expo East appearance:
Special Diets: Understanding the Paleo Diet-What it is and why it's trending
Friday, Sept. 19,
2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. in
Room 320 at the
Baltimore Convention Center

You may have noticed how trendy the paleo diet is right now, complete with its own magazine: Paleo. I've been eating this way for a few years and it has changed my life. I'm not alone.

The people who eat and love the paleo lifestyle, really love paleo because it has also somehow changed their life. People have lost weight, improved chronic illness and increased their energy and stamina.

For paleo diet novices, here is a quick outline of what the diet allows and avoids. A common misconception about the paleo diet is that all we do is sit around eating meat. Not true! In fact, the paleo diet is mainly a plant-based diet with protein as an additional focus. I would say your average paleo person eats potentially more vegetables than your average vegetarian or vegan. It is common for a paleo eater to have vegetables as a focus of three meals a day. We also love fruit, nuts and seeds in moderation. Every person is different-and some people are more hardcore or strict about their diet, so there are some variations depending on the individual, but as a rule, here is what we avoid:

  • Grains and legumes (not only gluten, but all grains).
  • Sugar (for those who eat some sweeteners, we go for coconut sugar, honey and maple syrup).
  • Most processed foods (unless the ingredients meet the paleo guidelines).
  • Certain oils (We mainly look for Coconut oil, olive oil, animal fat or nut and certain seed oils; we avoid canola and most vegetable based oils.).
  • Dairy-this again, is a personal choice. Some paleo people go for it, some avoid it.

As someone who both serves the paleo community and is a paleo eater herself, here's the quick and dirty about what your paleo customers are looking for, and what is most important to them.

  • We care about ingredients: a lot. We will be reading every ingredient on the package. The things we keep an eye out for are of the types of oils used, whether there are any chemical additives and whether or sugar is on the ingredient list. Think all natural whenever you are creating any food for this community.
  • We would love more paleo foods for our kids. Like most people, we are craving convenience, and the paleo diet is easy as long as you have ample time to prepare ahead of time. Most of us don't. Convenience foods, especially those that are kid-friendly, would make our lives so much easier. Mothers who are busy are always in need of quick foods for lunches. Think: coconut or almond milk yogurt with a moderate, healthier choice for a sweetener. Think: paleo snackables for kids. Think: bars. Think: dehydrated or baked veggies. Think: paleo baked goods.
  • We're not all cross-fit athletes. Not every paleo eater is super hardcore about this lifestyle, so the marketing doesn't need to be extreme to be appealing. A lot of us are just normal, average people trying to be healthy. It's helpful to know the product is paleo, but a soft-touch with the marketing will be more broadly appealing. Ideally, you'd be serving the paleo community but everyone else as well.
  • We don't care that much about counting calories. We are not afraid of fat, but we do care about sugar content. In addition to reading the ingredients, sugar content is the one thing I pay attention to. One thing that's great about this lifestyle is giving up being a slave to numbers. As long as you follow the eating guidelines, calories don't matter that much.
  • There would be a huge market for Paleo baked goods. Gluten-free doesn't cut it for the paleo crowd. I've made some amazing paleo baked goods in my own home and there are thousands of recipes on the internet. I've yet to see a single paleo baked good in my supermarket. I'm eagerly awaiting the day when I can get something for my kids at the store that both tastes good and follows the paleo guidelines. A fair price would help, too.

Cortney Chaite is a certified holistic health and weight loss coach, and a doTerra Essential Oils wellness advocate. She has a certification in Health Coaching from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and is the founder of Cortney Chaite Coaching, where she guides people to reconnect with their health and happiness through weight loss, self-love and exploration of their inner passions. She offers individual programs designed to nourish the body, mind and soul as well as group detox and weight loss programs. She is also a mom, a foodie, an outdoor lover, Nia teacher, a drummer, a gardener, a traveler, a hoarder of new experiences and an insatiable music lover.

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