'Healthy At H-E-B' Broadens Reach

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A year after introducing shoppers to a suite of health-related services and promotions, H.E. Butt Grocery is already building on that foundation with some new elements for 2013.

The program, Healthy at H-E-B, is a year-round initiative that includes special offers on healthy food, fitness groups, events and competitions. It’s an outgrowth of an in-house effort launched in 2004 that was strictly for the benefit of store associates and company employees.

This year, customers are seeing new icons at the shelf highlighting products that meet government-approved standards for select health attributes, according to Kate Rogers, H-E-B’s vice president of communications and engagement.

“Right now it includes a total of seven attributes — nutrient-based, but also lifestyle choices like organic and vegan,” she said in an interview. “It’s just to help customers more quickly identify certain products they’re looking for, particularly if they’re trying to manage a disease state for either themselves or someone in the family.

Among the new shelf tags are: Fiber Source, Gluten Free, Organic, Heart Healthy, Sugar Free, Low Saturated Fat and Low Sodium. H-E-B adapted the HealthyAisles program developed by Vestcom, a firm specializing in shelf-side marketing tools. HealthyAisles was also recently picked up by another retailer, Belle Foods, which operates 57 stores in the Southeast United States.

So far, the program focuses on the packaged foods, Rogers adds.

“It’s the entire database of items in Center Store. It’s all of our own-brand as well as national brands,” she said. "There’s a universal filter that all products have to go through in order to qualify to get any tags.”

As shown in the photo above, the tags were heavily promoted at the various health stations set up inside the stores, where customers also got to sample some of healthy recipes that are part of a new publication put out by the retailer.

The new weekly newsletter, Good News, complements H-E-B’s regular circulars and promotional flyers. The health-focused pages feature helpful fitness and nutrition topics, as well as six recipes developed by H-E-B’s team of registered dietitians complete with a shopping list and coupons.

The retailer just wrapped up a rollout of the program, which included a continuation of the chain’s Second Saturdays, a day of free and low-cost screenings administered by pharmacists and pharmacist technicians in the nearly 200 H-E-B stores with those departments.

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