One member of the audience said she has dietitians from local hospitals conduct in-store diabetes clinics, where diabetes-friendly food is suggested and offered.
The Feb. 10 general session featured Dean Ornish, founder, president and director of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, and Kenneth Cooper, author and founder of The Cooper Aerobics Center health and fitness complex.
Cooper educated the audience on the difference between good and bad fats and other standards for healthy living.
Ornish emphasized the need for small retail chains and independent stores to educate consumers on health issues. Ornish pointed out that when people feel cared about, they become your most loyal consumer.
He said retailers need to show consumers they care enough about them to find out what foods are good for them and make them easy to buy and consume. He said small companies can provide more personal attention to shoppers than larger chains, and people are willing to pay more for it.
He said that retailers should provide new and tasty choices to consumers. Ornish said promoting the Atkins Diet will jeopardize the consumer’s health.
At the general session on Feb. 11 titled “Focus on a More Loyal Consumer,” Ana Maria Fernandez-Haar, chairwoman and chief executive officer of the marketing consulting firm IAC Group, Miami, , spoke on the value of marketing to the Latino and Hispanic consumer.
She said there are 37.4 million Hispanic people in the U.S., and their purchasing power equals $428.3 billion.
She said bilingual signs placed around the produce department are important since the U.S. is the fifth largest Spanish-speaking country in the world.
Promotions and sampling are huge persuaders for this segment of the population to buy food, because they often purchase on impulse.
Fernandez-Haar emphasized the need for retailers to provide the staple Latin American flavors on their shelves, like red pepper, mangos, limes, coconut and passion fruit.
This demographic cooks a lot and uses much produce. She said the biggest concern for Latin and Hispanic consumers is food safety and many consumers wish to have the sourcing of products explained.