Healthy eating in the UK is on the rise. With the increase in social media exposure from Instagram to Twitter, shoppers – particularly millennials – are more aware of what is considered healthy and the importance of healthy eating. At the same time, government legislation such as the sugar tax are playing a part in educating shoppers, writes HIM’s Chloe Kent.

Currently 31% of shoppers believe convenience stores don’t offer enough healthy products to satisfy their needs for an evening meal, while 25% say they don’t offer enough healthy options for lunch. With the increase in health food stores offering organic, natural, vegan and vegetarian foods such as Wholefoods and Planet Organic in London to Real Foods in Edinburgh, as well as the rise of healthy food outlets such as Veggie Pret and Tossed, retailers are facing more competition and innovation from other channels. As a result, a third of retailers are planning to stock more healthy products in their store over the next 12 months in order to keep up with changing shopper trends and needs.

Retailers are beginning to understand the importance in stocking more healthy products in their store, as shoppers understand healthy products are generally more expensive and as a result are willing to pay premium prices to eat healthily. For example, almost half of shoppers say a 20% price increase due to the sugar tax won’t deter them from buying sugary products, and understand the move towards healthier soft drinks comes at a price.

All retailers need to start following the trend by providing healthy products shoppers are expecting to be able to purchase in store. However, due to the fact social media plays a large part in this rise in healthy eating, what exactly shoppers consider ‘healthy’ differs considerably by age group. When shoppers are asked what they consider when looking for a healthy snack, 36% of over-55s say ‘fat content’, compared with only 22% of 18- to 34-year-olds. As a result, retailers need to understand the specific demographics of their store and what type of products their shoppers are looking to purchase when deciding what products should be available in their store.