Healthy food is becoming more important to consumers than convenient food, according to food magazine surveys.
Lawrence food markets are responding to the consumers' demands.
In January, Hy-Vee, 3504 Clinton Parkway, expanded their health market to include more aisles and larger freezer space.
Charlie Pierce, Hy-Vee's health market manager, said market surveys showed natural foods sell and are a growing market in the food industry.
"We are a convenient place to come get things that most grocery stores don't have," Pierce said.
On shelves at Mediterranean Market and Cafe, 3300 Bob Billings Parkway, roasted smashed eggplant, Lupini beans and grilled zucchini.
Mohammad Al-Zaiti, Mediterranean Market and Cafe owner, offers vegeterian meals similar to food he ate in Jordan.
"Mediterranean food is the world's No. 1 healthiest food, so what else is there to say?" he said.
Al-Zaiti said healthy eating habits must be stressed during childhood.
"It's all about the education that a child receives in school, all the way up to high school," Al-Zaiti said.
Healthy food was becoming more important to consumers, Pierce said.
"The dietary guideline has changed and it reflects what natural food stores have done all along," Pierce said. "People seem to be embracing good health, and this is not just a fad."
The Community Mercantile Co-op, 901 Iowa, is has been providing natural and vegetarian health foods for 30 years.
Laurell Matthews, retail manager at the Merc, said health and natural foods are the fastest growing segments of the grocery industry.
Matthews said that people want health and convenience while shopping for food.
"That's why McDonald's offers a salad with a meal instead of fries now," Matthews said.