Ross Catanzariti, Manager of FoodWorks, has noticed an increase in requests to the store for healthier foods.
“People are more aware of what’s available out there – whether they have certain issues with it, whether it’s genetically modified,” Mr Catanzariti said.
FoodWorks, like a number of other grocery stores, has a health food section for those conscious of their food intake, or who have certain dietary requirements.
“People are a bit more conscious of their own health and their own well-being, and they’re getting a lot more information on their intake of food,” Mr Catanzariti said.
“It is a health issue because so much is out there – you look at so many illnesses and diseases – if there’s a point of prevention; if it’s the intake of food or whatever they consume, they can start doing it better.
“Whatever we put into our bodies – if it’s going to benefit the body, we’re going to go for the best.
“Even though, for example, one can eat wheat products, it may just be that little bit extra that tips them over, but by taking some gluten out of their diet, it’s made a difference.”
And, with information so readily available, it seems social media is influencing the way we now shop.
“The younger generation have information at their fingertips,” Mr Catanzariti said.
Yet, Mr Catanzariti explains that while the products are already out there, and that manufacturers and producers of those products are putting more out there, incorrect labelling can cause confusion for customers.
“There is a lot of stuff around the store that is gluten free, but it’s not labelled.”
Mr Catanzariti explains labels are about educating people, not attaching a stigma to some foods or brands.
“It’s a food source – there’s nothing wrong with it – you just eliminate dairy and meats out of it.”
Another issue Mr Catanzariti notes is the dilemma of how to group foods at his store.
“People will look for gluten free flour and they’ll say we don’t have it, so they’ll go somewhere else.
“So we put the flour in the health food section, but it’ll go out of date.
“We put the gluten free flour over here with the flour and it sells.”
While Mr Catanzariti attributes part of the demand for healthier foods to social media, he also notes that one big cause is due to Griffithites touring cities throughout Australia and discovering new foods they want to bring back home.
A positive in this is “you don’t have to test the waters,” Mr Catanzariti said.
“We’re only guided by what people’s dietary requirements are.”
The Area News also spoke with National Category Development Manager Helen Maxwell from IGA, who has employed a naturopath/nutritionist to consult with the company concerning what products should be ordered in, and what eating trends are rising.
“We’ve found that there is a very high demand for healthy products, vegan products,” Ms Maxwell said.
“And, we get a lot of positive feedback.”
Ms Maxwell has seen a nationwide growing move towards veganism and healthy foods due to a culmination of things; people are more health conscious; thinking of the environment; and consuming more sustainable meats.
“The younger generation are thinking about our impact on our world. And, the older generation too – they’re looking to live longer,” Ms Maxwell said.
“It’s all about preventative medicine. If you can prevent diseases and live healthier and avoid getting sick, why not eat healthier?”
FoodWorks and IGA encourage Griffithites to visit their stores to let them know their food requests.