What is in this article?:
- Fareway, Hy-Vee Iowa Stores Earn Blue Zones Label
- Blue Zones Communities
Spencer and Cedar Falls are two of four towns chosen by Iowa to be Blue Zones demonstration communities as part of the Healthiest State Initiative
Blue Zones Communities
All three stores added designated Blue Zones checkout lanes, which replace the traditional candy items with fruit, nuts and other healthy snacks and ensure all beverage coolers contain water.
The stores also showcased Blue Zones approved products throughout the store with shelf talkers and product lists, and designated Blue Zones parking spaces, which are farther from the store entrance to encourage exercise. Comer said Hy-Vee’s Blue Zones stores had been working on certification since the governor’s announcement of the demonstration communities last spring. Levisay of Fareway said the process at his store took about a month. Other Fareway and Hy-Vee stores in all four of the Blue Zones communities are working toward certification, according to company spokespeople.
“We’re very involved with the Healthiest State Initiative and encouraged all our stores to help their communities make application to the Blue Zones program,” said Comer, adding that regardless of whether they are part of one of the designated Blue Zones communities, “we’re encouraging all of our stores in Iowa to be community leaders in the Healthiest State Initiative.”
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Members of the industry also serve in Blue Zones leadership positions and on the organization’s grocery committee, according to Mary Lawyer, director of Iowa’s Blue Zones Project.
Iowa will announce six more demonstration communities in January 2013.
For retailers, participation in such initiatives emphasizes the role they play in the community.
“We do this as an extension of our health brand,” said Hy-Vee’s Comer.
“We have positioned our stores as being places where our customers can come for information and resources to help them manage their own health. And we think it’s important to carry that message out into the community beyond the walls of the store.”
Fareway similarly sees the benefits of being a Blue Zones leader.
“If we can get the grocery stores on board it’s just a step further toward a healthier lifestyle hopefully for the community,” said Levisay.
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