Supermarket Wellness Watch: Hy-Vee covers all the bases in wellness


Customers seeking health-and-wellness support in Hy-Vee’s eight-state marketing area don’t have to work too hard to find the retailer and its solutions. On the contrary, Hy-Vee usually finds them.

That’s because the West Des Moines, Iowa-based company has created a multi-level approach that nails customer health journeys. It figures out how to bring relevant solutions to consumers wherever they are, from in-store to online to the community. Many of its efforts are being expanded this year.

It’s not just what the retailer is doing, it’s also how all the pieces fit together into a whole.

“Our approach to health and wellness at Hy-Vee is multifaceted,” Kristin Williams, the retailer’s SVP and chief health officer, told Drug Store News. “It’s important that we meet our customers where they are in their health-and-wellness journey — whether that be at our stores through cooking classes and clinical services, at community centers through dietitian presentations or at local events with our Hy-Vee Healthy You Mobiles.”

Moreover, the retailer aims to create a unified experience and ensure that efforts are integrated across store departments. “Our dietitians, pharmacists and in-store retail health clinic providers work in tandem with all of our departments to best assist our customers in the areas of health, wellness and pharmacy,” she added.

The story becomes even more compelling when you realize the number of initiatives, professionals and stores involved. Below are are some highlights of Hy-Vee’s approaches.

Wellness pros

The retailer’s more than 960 pharmacists drive a range of new activities, from an expanded immunizations program to a six-week smoking cessation initiative. The company’s more than 200 dietitians help customers focus on wellness with biometric screenings, counseling, cooking classes, grocery store tours, culinary demonstrations and nutrition initiatives.

Healthy eats

Hy-Vee’s 179 in-store HealthMarket departments attract customers seeking organic, natural and gluten-free and allergy-friendly foods. In a new twist, the retailer has begun to position these departments near produce sections in new and remodeled stores, which is convenient for shoppers on the prowl for healthy products.

Doctor, doctor

Hy-Vee’s in-store clinics, now at 55 units and growing, focus on convenient and affordable healthcare services. Hy-Vee partners with local healthcare providers, which supply nurse practitioners and doctors.

Road trips

The retailer operates nine Hy-Vee Healthy You Mobiles that traverse the multi-state market area to bring health-and-wellness services to customers. This plays out at store events, health fairs and community activities. Services include biometric screenings, flu shot clinics and healthy cooking and gluten-free demonstrations.

Good read

Hot off the press is the newly launched Hy-Vee Balance magazine, published every other month with a focus on health, personal care, fitness, food and healthy cooking. The magazine is available free in the retailer’s stores.

Kids’ focus

A multi-layered, free, kids-focused program from Hy-Vee “helps kids and families make health, exercise and nutrition priorities in their everyday lives,” Williams said. Hy-Vee KidsFit teaches children about exercise and nutrition through programs in stores, schools and community centers. Kids can then continue with a free online program. Hy-Vee’s certified fitness trainer Daira Driftmier leads the initiative.

Retailers should take a close look at Hy-Vee’s approach to understanding and acting on its customers’ needs. This operator may be a food store, but its ambitions are far greater. It’s delivering on total-store health, a concept many retailers discuss but few fully realize.

David Orgel is an award-winning business journalist, industry expert and speaker who was the longtime chief editor and content leader of Supermarket News. He is currently the principal of David Orgel Consulting, delivering strategic content and counsel to the food, retail and CPG industries. To read last month’s blog post, click here


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