Chairman Puts Health First at Wegmans
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Danny Wegman is making eating healthy as tempting as eating decadently.
The chairman and chief executive officer of Wegmans Food Markets here, known for its top-notch food merchandising, has also made health and wellness a priority at the chain.
Wegmans' Eat Well, Live Well campaign, for example, aims to help both customers and employees of the retailer realize benefits of a healthier lifestyle by presenting it in straightforward terms and simple steps. Its mission, according to Wegmans, is to “inspire and support each other to enjoy healthier, better lives using four simple ‘eat well live well’ principles.”
The four principles cover diet and exercise and advice for maintaining a lifestyle, Wegmans said. Its recommendations are published in an extensive section at the Wegmans website.
The first, known as “Strive for 5,” encourages the consumption of five cups of fruits and vegetables per day, or about the average as recommended for U.S. adults. Tips range from ways to prepare those servings to suggestions on how to save money while still maintaining the rate of consumption. A “half-plate” guide recommends appropriate portion sizes.
A second principle, “Get Moving,” encourages exercise. Wegmans recommends that participants determine the amount of exercise they regularly get in terms of “steps” and find ways to increase it to 10,000 steps per day.
Wegmans' third principle, “Count Calories,” acknowledges “diets come and go but calories really do count.” The program provides strategies for portion control and meeting total intake goals, and a list of “tricks” that can help reduce calories eaten.
Finally, Wegmans encourages “Measuring Progress,” by regularly taking stock of key health measurements, including weight, body-mass index, waist measurement, cholesterol and blood pressure. “Consistently measuring your progress by keeping track of your numbers with simple tools like the bathroom scale, a tape measure or even a blood pressure cuff can help keep you motivated to stay fit and eat better,” Wegmans said.
The program extends to Wegmans employees as well as its shoppers. About 7% of Wegmans employees who signed up for its annual Eat Well Live Well Challenge reported losing weight as a result, the chain said earlier this year. Around 11,500 employees — one in three Wegmans workers overall — participated in the program this year, its seventh overall.
Wegmans also was among the first major traditional supermarket operators to discontinue the sale of cigarettes when it purged them its shelves in February 2008.
“As a company, we respect a person's right to smoke, but we also understand the destructive role smoking plays in health,” said Wegman in a prepared statement at the time.
Later that year he was named to the “Fit 50,” a list compiled by Fitness magazine of the biggest influencers of the year in health and wellness.
Focusing on health, the magazine said, is “business as usual for Wegman, who has steered the company with what he calls his ‘personal passion for wellness.’”