PITTSBURGH -- Giant Eagle here has begun offering shoppers advice on making "smart food" purchases in dry grocery and departments, in a program that links advertising with in-store information kiosks.
For the new program, called Healthy Connections, the chain hired a registered dietitian as its food and nutrition advisor. It has installed more than 100 interactive computer kiosks, in the bulk of its stores, to help consumers plan healthy menus and find the appropriate foods.
"Knowing what's healthy is confusing for consumers," said Lisa Kranc, vice president of marketing, Giant Eagle. "New labels, new FDA guidelines, new product claims confuse the issue further. Giant Eagle is taking the lead in helping area shoppers to make smart choices about the food they buy and eat."
The program allows for manufacturer sponsorship through the kiosks, which dispense coupons as well as printed menus based on consumers' choices for meal planning.
By cross-referencing the computerized kiosks' output with checkout scanning data, Giant Eagle will have the ability to track the program's impact on purchases. It can tailor recipes to seasonal opportunities: This month, for example, special holiday menus are featured.
The kiosk invites a shopper to choose a category of food or a meal, then offers recipes for which consumers can select recommended products. The kiosk then prints the recipe, along with a shopping list by aisle.
If specific ingredients in the recipe are sponsored by a vendor, then a coupon for that product may be issued. Sponsors are for the most part packaged goods manufacturers, according to a source at the Chicago Promotion Group, which developed the Healthy Connections program for
"There are already products on the system that are sponsored, but it is not the majority at this time," the source said, adding that the company who installed the kiosks sells space in the system to food manufacturers. Giant Eagle is not involved in the product sponsorship side of the program, the source said.
Besides the kiosks, Healthy Connections also includes the publication of a consumer newsletter, written by the chain's new nutrition advisor. The publication is available at the kiosks. The program is being supported in the chain's television, radio and print advertising.