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Is shedding pounds worth $10,000? H-E-B thinks so

Is shedding pounds worth $10,000? H-E-B thinks so

Do your shoppers need motivation to help them stick to that weight loss resolution? How about $10,000? That's what San Antonio, Texas-based retailer H-E-B is offering as part of its latest "Slim Down Showdown" initiative.  During the 16-week program, the Biggest-Loser type challenge will expose 25 selected participants to classes on cooking, nutrition and exercise.  Whoever drops the most pounds, takes home the money and, perhaps more importantly, ideas on how to lead a healthier lifestyle.  

Those shoppers who want to participate but aren't selected as one of the lucky 25 will find a bevy of health and wellness information in the store including dietary icons highlighting, whole grain, vegetarian and gluten-free options. The programsall part of the stores "Healthy at H-E-B" campaignaim to promote the retailer as a resource for health and wellness. In the December issue of Natural Foods Merchandiser we focused on several other conventional retailers working towards the same reputation.

Sacramento-based grocer Raley's adopted the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System to make comparing the nutritional value of various foods quicker and easier. Every product in the store is given a number from 1-100 depending on its nutritional value. Similarly, Keasbey, New Jersey-based ShopRite, as part of its LiveRight program, introduced dieticians at a handful of locations to conduct shopping tours, offer cooking classes and provide healthy recipes and shopping lists.

While it's encouraging to see mass retailers promoting healthier living, such initiatives put even more pressure on natural products retailers to deliver the same services and more. As the country focuses on getting healthy, now is the time that naturals retailers can really stand out said Miriam Lucek Avery, research manager at the Institute for the Future, when I interviewed her for the January issue of NFM. "Naturals retailers have already established relationships and built trust," she said. "As a result, natural products retailers have the upper hand and are in a much better position to effectively provide these kinds of wellness services."

So maybe you don't have $10,000 to throw around, but money's not the only way to draw attention. Phillip Nabors at the Mustard Seed Market and Café based in Akron, Ohio, attracts shoppers from hundreds of miles away by providing engaging education that focuses on whole living. Similarly, Joel Patterson at Nature's Green Grocer in Peterborough, NH provides programming that highlights his bulk section as a way to eat well on a budget. But that's not all, here's what I heard from other naturals retailers across the country when I asked them how they support shoppers with healthy weight loss.  I'd love to hear what you're doing in your store.

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