- As shelter-in-place orders continue, grocery stores are supporting their communities with nutrition-focused virtual programming so customers can still access health advice from their homes.
- Giant Food is launching weekly classes to promote healthy habits and offer a preventative step for people to take while non-urgent healthcare visits are on hold. The classes will address topics like heart-healthy eating, weight and disease management and general healthy living.
- In Pennsylvania, Weis Markets has teamed up with telehealth platform Healthie, which will allow customers to consult with Weis Markets’ registered dietitians through video chat. Customers can address questions around healthy eating and cooking, weight control, type two diabetes and more.
Through much of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC has advised healthcare providers to limit non-urgent medical visits, which has left many people to address their health and nutrition concerns from home.
In a statement, Lisa Coleman, director of healthy living for Giant Food, said short-term access to regular healthcare during a crisis can affect lifestyle conditions like diabetes and heart disease long term. Giant Food, which has 11 licensed nutrition professionals on staff, usually offers nutrition resources through in-person classes and consultations, but its new resources can help customers adapt to their new at-home routines.
With its Healthie partnership, Weis Markets aims to help customers manage pre-existing health conditions as well as guide customers who want general nutrition guidance. The company will soon add virtual group programs, cooking classes for kids and adults and other resources, the press release said.
Other retailers are also continuing to make resources available during the quarantine. In a recent interview, Jonnell Masson, the dietitian coordinator for Utah-based Harmons, told Grocery Dive the company has started offering one-on-one nutrition counseling by email or over the phone since the pandemic hit.
Dietitians have played a more integral role at grocery stores like Raley’s, Kroger and Hy-Vee in recent years. The trend is likely to continue as grocers seek to add services, clean up the quality of their products and meet consumer demands for healthy eating.