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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Johns Hopkins: Exercise and vitamin D in tandem help reduce heart disease risk
BALTIMORE — Johns Hopkins researchers report that an analysis of survey responses and health records of more than 10,000 American adults for nearly 20 years suggests a "synergistic" link between exercise and good vitamin D levels in reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
"In our study, both failure to meet the recommended physical activity levels and having vitamin D deficiency were very common" stated Erin Michos, associate director of preventive cardiology and associate professor of medicine at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "The bottom line is we need to encourage people to move more in the name of heart health."
Michos added that exposure to a few minutes a day of sunlight in non-winter seasons, eating a well-balanced meal that includes oily fish such as salmon, along with fortified foods like cereal and milk, may be enough to provide adequate levels of vitamin D for most adults.
Both exercise and adequate vitamin D have long been implicated in reducing heart disease risks, but in a new study – one not designed to show cause and effect – the researchers investigated the relationship between these two health factors and their joint role in heart health. Their findings, which were published in the April 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, identified a positive and direct relationship between exercise and vitamin D levels in the blood, which may provide evidence that exercise may boost vitamin D stores.
They also found that the two factors working together seemed to somehow do more than either factor alone to protect the cardiovascular system. The researchers caution that their study is an observational one and that long-term, carefully controlled clinical trials would be needed to establish evidence for cause and effect. Nevertheless, the study does support the notion that exposure to the "sunshine" vitamin D and exercise are indicators of good health.
For their data analysis, the Johns Hopkins researchers used previously gathered information from the federally funded Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study beginning in 1987 and collected from 10,342 participants initially free of heart or vascular disease. Information about participants was updated and followed until 2013. The participants were an average age of 54 at the start of the study and 57% were women. In addition, 21% were African-American, with the remaining participants identifying as white.
Michos cautioned that people who meet the recommended daily amount of 600 to 800 International Units a day and who have adequate levels of vitamin D don't need to take additional vitamin supplements. "More isn't necessarily better once your blood levels are above 20 nanograms per milliliter," says Michos. "People at risk of bone diseases, have seasonal depression, or are obese should have their physicians measure vitamin D levels to ensure they're adequate, but for many, the best way to ensure adequate blood levels of the vitamin is from sun exposure, healthy diet, being active and maintaining a normal body weight."
Pfizer OTC veteran assumes OTC franchise reins at Purdue Pharma
STAMFORD, Conn. — Purdue Pharma last week named Carrie Chomiak as the business lead for the company’s over-the-counter product franchise. Chomiak will have executive ownership for all OTC brands, which include the Betadine microbicide antiseptics, Slow-Mag magnesium chloride supplements, Senokot laxative and Colace stool softener product lines.
“Carrie brings very strong sales and marketing leadership skills and experience in consumer brands to optimize our existing over-the-counter products as well as to partner with our business development team to accelerate the expansion of our OTC portfolio,” stated Mark Timney, president and CEO, Purdue Pharma. “Her proven record of accomplishment for delivering exceptional commercial business results with iconic consumer brands gives us the confidence that she is the right person for this position.”
Chomiak joins Purdue Pharma after more than 15 years of success in the marketing and selling of consumer health and wellness brands at Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, previously Wyeth Consumer Healthcare. At PCH she most recently served as a member of the U.S. executive leadership team, and led the U.S. digestive health franchise which included the Nexium 24HR switch from prescription to over-the-counter status and the commercial management of the Preparation H brand.
During her tenure at PCH Carrie additionally held commercial leadership roles within the nutrition, respiratory, pain and personal care franchises, which included brands such as Centrum, Caltrate, Advil, Emergen-C, Robitussin, Dimetapp and Chapstick.
Chomiak will have executive ownership for the OTC franchise and be responsible for ensuring the successful development and commercialization of Purdue’s complete line of OTC assets which includes leading the corporate long-range plan development and general management of the short term business. This includes overseeing the development and implementation of brand equity and integrated communication elements, discovery of new relevant consumer insights, monitoring of business performance and evaluating new business opportunities for this franchise.
“Purdue’s over-the-counter products are well-established, legacy brands that are trusted by hospitals and consumers,” Chomiak said. “I look forward to contributing to the organization’s ongoing evolution and creating value both organically and through strategic business development initiatives.”
Chomiak earned a bachelor of science degree in marketing from Montclair State University in Montclair, N.J.