Supermarkets: fully engaged on health & wellness?

Articles
January 19, 2009

Safeway has passed its first anniversary offering the online FoodFlex program, which gives Safeway Club Card members a nutritional snapshot of their family food purchases, plus tips and tools that make choosing healthier foods easier. FoodFlex helps households eat smarter by providing personalized food/nutrition information and heart-healthy alternative food choices in specific grocery categories, as defined by the American Heart Association. Households can also benchmark their performance against USDA guidelines, and create individualized shopping lists to conform to health conditions and help achieve nutritional goals.

Safeway has passed its first anniversary offering the online FoodFlex program, which gives Safeway Club Card members a nutritional snapshot of their family food purchases, plus tips and tools that make choosing healthier foods easier.

FoodFlex helps households eat smarter by providing personalized food/nutrition information and heart-healthy alternative food choices in specific grocery categories, as defined by the American Heart Association. Households can also benchmark their performance against USDA guidelines, and create individualized shopping lists to conform to health conditions and help achieve nutritional goals.

The integrated program takes customers well past the clutter of nutritional labels on packages. Christine Palumbo, a nutritionist who serves on the American Dietetic Association’s board of directors, said, “It’s like having your own registered dietitian.”

She is on the Health magazine panel that named Safeway as one of “America’s Healthiest Grocery Stores” in its November 2008 issue. The chain ranked #2 on the Top 10 list of what Health called “standout supermarket chains” that are “leading the way to healthier food shopping.”

Added Eileen Kennedy, Dean, Friedman School of Nutrition, Tufts University: “It’s clear that FoodFlex is dedicated to offering consumers solid resources that provide solutions to everyday dietary needs.”

While Safeway’s effort certainly deserves recognition, SupermarketGuru.com wonders: Where is the rush of chains that should springboard from this example to attain their own market leadership positions in health and wellness?  Is there too much lip service and too little action by the channel? Programs like this would seem to dovetail well with the help consumers want, and serve as ideal drivers of shopping continuity.