Waitrose trials dietary advice in stores

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Supermarket Nutrition

Waitrose is part of the John Lewis Partnership
Waitrose is part of the John Lewis Partnership
Waitrose is offering shoppers access to in-store dietary advice on a trial basis in a bid to help consumers with a range of concerns, including food allergies.

Mark Price, md of the upmarket supermarket chain, revealed the move at the Institute of Food Science & Technology’s Jubilee lecture at the Royal Society in London on November 11.

“We are trialling work inviting someone from the local GP’s office to come into a store of an evening and offer our customers advice,”​ he told delegates, many of whom were food scientists, at the event.

Healthy eating

Price told FoodManufacture.co.uk trials had begun at Waitrose’s store in Meanwood Road, Leeds. He added that the advice would not be limited to guidance on allergens, but could easily embrace broader subjects such as general healthy eating.

“It’s happening now and is open-ended. Waitrose has big plans for next year and one of the areas we want to focus on is diet and health.”

If the project proved a hit with shoppers, there would be the potential to roll it out to other stores, he confirmed.

In addition to the dietary service, Price said Waitrose also offered allergen-free foods in its outlets, but admitted more could be done to enhance the range and make it more visible.

The dietary advice initiative was part of efforts by Waitrose to put customers first, said Price, who spoke on the subject ‘Constant values in a changing world’.

Ethical principles

The talk concentrated on the need for retailers to embed strong ethical principles and values into their businesses. Being part of the John Lewis Partnership model made it easier for Waitrose to do this, said Price.

He acknowledged the structural change going on in UK retailing, but said it wasn’t driven purely by shoppers’ demand for lower prices, but also by the growing popularity for online and convenience shopping. Consumers’ desire for food on-the-hoof was also a factor, he said.

Publicly quoted retailers’ obsession with delivering low prices and profits had led to a short-termism that had sidelined traditional customer service and this also needed addressing, said Price.

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