ELIZABETH, N.J. - Retailers have long known the importance of understanding how minority customers shop. Now, supermarkets are finding that tailoring in-store health and wellness events to specific groups may help foster local loyalty, as well.
Reaching out to the large Latino population in the cities of Passaic and Clifton in northern New Jersey, ShopRite recently hosted "The Health and Heritage Fair" to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month.
"It's an ongoing goal and objective of ours to look at ways to serve the [Hispanic] community better, both in terms of our product offering, as well as from a community-service standpoint," said Karen Meleta, spokeswoman for Wakefern Food here, the co-op that supplies and operates ShopRite stores. "A convenient opportunity to have preventative screenings performed by qualified health care providers can really be an opportunity for a customer to identify a potential health condition early and go see a doctor."
ShopRite has a long history of offering health screenings through its pharmacy departments, Meleta said. In this case, local customers were offered free bone density and blood pressure screenings, body fat analyses, a question-and-answer session with a local pediatrician, a "teddy bear" clinic for kids, free healthy product samples, and information on quitting smoking, all hosted by bilingual professionals and staff who could answer detailed questions from customers with limited English.
Customers were also treated to tips on healthier eating through recipe cards and cooking demonstrations performed by a ShopRite dietitian, and smokers who promised to kick the habit right away were given free cold-turkey sandwiches during the four-hour afternoon event.
The health fairs, which ShopRite has also tailored to work in the non-Latino neighborhoods, arose from relationships that ShopRite has cultivated with local hospitals, Meleta said.
"We've been in these communities a long time, and we've been supporting our local hospitals in other ways, such as charitable giving," she said. "Very often, they'll come to us, looking for ways to get information to consumers, and we'll both look for ways to accommodate that. Other times, [ShopRite has] thought, 'This would be a great time to host a health fair. Who's the best, most suitable partner in the area?' It works both ways."
This chart, tailored for the supermarket video market, is based on information taken from more than 1,000 supermarket rental locations serviced by Ingram Entertainment, La Vergne, Tenn.