Report Shows Healthier Food Options Can Be Good Business

January 4, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Earlier this year, the Hudson Institute published a study looking for the impact and suggestions on how companies can do well economically while providing good food choices.  The report was published as part of the Hudson Institute’s Obesity Initiative, a non-profit focused on finding market-oriented solutions to the obesity epidemic.  The focus is on finding solutions that will help solve obesity while still helping companies profit.

This report found that selling “better-for-you” foods (traditionally wholesome products or those that have no or reduced calories) actually shows a great increase in the company’s profits for consumer packaged goods. Companies offering a higher proportion of “better-for-you” foods saw superior sales growth, operating profits, returns to shareholders, and company reputation.  The report goes on to state that these indicators show that companies should be placing more emphasis on selling these “better-for-you” foods, and that public health officials should use this data to help businesses’ promote their core business goals while addressing obesity concerns.

While “better-for-you” foods might not show a full shift to healthy, local foods, it is a start to getting healthier food options into lower-income and low access neighborhoods.  7-Eleven seems to have taken these news to heart, as they recently announced a plan to double their sales of fresh foods in America and Canada by 2015.  The New York Times reports that this may be an ongoing trend, as convenience stores face declining sales of cigarettes and increased competition from other fast, fresh food options.  In light of these pressures, the mark-up on fresh foods is making it worth the hassle for these retailers to innovate in new ways to deliver high quality, attractive, fresh foods to go.

While steps like this may not be the end to the war on obesity and the complete answer to ending food deserts, we are happy to see that companies are innovating in ways that can encourage economic growth, promote healthier food options, and increase public health.

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Entry filed under: Economic Development, Healthy Foods.

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