Kroger, the country’s largest supermarket chain has begun a pilot health program in 23 of its Kentucky stores. The program, Health Matters at Kroger includes 3 elements:
1. Free Dietitian led tours of the supermarket, including tours specially tailored to kids.
2. NuVal nutrition ratings. The program, which we’ve written about extensively in the past, rates products on a scale of 1-100 based on their overall nutritional quality. The score appears next to the price on the shelf tag. NuVal has been relatively obscure because to date it was limited to a few small regional supermarket chains. Hooking up with Kroger could change that.
3. LUCY Health Station. A free sit-in kiosk that lets shoppers measure their blood pressure, heart rate, weight, body fat, BMI, and blood oxygen levels.
What you need to know:
Kroger should be commended for this initiative. In a time of ever growing competition among chains, differentiation through the nutrition play is a smart move on the company’s part. Expect other large chains to follow suit.
It’s not trivial for a company to risk potential revenue by highlighting some of the less healthy products it sells. Imagine what would happen if all shoppers would suddenly switch to unprocessed, healthy food, forgoing soft drinks, candy bars, and potato chips. Nah, that won’t happen…
But on a positive note, here are some additional suggestions to retailers and brands – coupons and deals on bulk and produce items, in store cooking demos, community outreach programs such as backyard farmer’s market at the supermarket parking lot, etc…
Food really deserves more of our attention and respect.
What to do at the supermarket:
If any of our readers in the Lexington, KY area can join a free RD tour, we’d love to hear how that goes. Will the dietitians find anything worthwhile in the soft drink aisle? The candy aisles?
On the tours, try to learn what cues a nutrition professional looks for when she examines a food package. What are the little tricks that manufacturers are laying out in front of unwary shoppers, and how to easily spot them.
Do share. We look forward to hearing from you!
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