retail news in context, analysis with attitude

MSNBC reports that an “environmental scan” published by the American Dietetic Association (ADA) highlights how a variety of trends and circumstances create a complicated picture of how America eats -- which means that it can be tough for retailers and manufacturers to gauge the emphasis they should put on certain segments of the business.

For example, the US population is aging, with people living longer than ever before and leading more active lives because of a great focus on healthful eating and physical exercise. However, there also are additional issues created by the trend, such as the rising rate of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Even as people strive to eat better so can be healthier into their older years, however, there also is the nation’s increased levels of obesity, which causes higher rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and certain forms of cancer. This is usually connected to the nation’s increased dependence on convenience foods, which is driven by highly pressurized and time-constrained lifestyles – and which, by their very nature, tend not to include the plant-based foods that many nutritionists believe are the basis of a healthy diet.
KC's View:
Life and business aren’t made any easier by the fact that there are so many conflicting messages going to consumers about what is important in terms of diet, exercise, and other lifestyle issues.

Sorting through these issues and conflicts is a daunting task…and we don’t envy the folks who actually have to do it (as opposed to writing about it, which seems a much easier task).

It seems to us, though, that perhaps the food industry makes a mistake if it only tries to track trends and deliver on them. Sometimes, it is leadership that is called for, not trend tracking. Trends, maybe, just are signposts…and it is when companies take real chances that innovation is achieved.