- Hy-Vee has rolled out a new virtual dietitian services platform for shoppers called Healthie, the Midwest grocer announced on Tuesday.
- Through Healthie, people can access free programs like virtual store tours, "dietitian discovery" sessions and monthly virtual classes led by a Hy-Vee registered dietitian. Consumers will also have the option to pay for services like a $99 Healthy Habits meal-planning program and personalized nutrition counseling packages, which range from $125 to $250.
- With Healthie, Hy-Vee joins a growing list of grocers, offering virtual access to nutritionists and other health-related services to help customers with their wellness needs.
Hy-Vee’s new virtual dietitian services comes at a time when staying healthy is top of mind for consumers as the novel coronavirus pandemic wears on and New Year's resolutions are put to the test.
As part of Healthie, shoppers will have access to free virtual live health classes, with the first one kicking off this month with the theme of “21 Tips for a Healthy 2021.” Hy-Vee said in the announcement that the class, which will be led by a registered dietitian, will be repeated several times during January. To incentivize sign-ups for the session, the chain is offering 100 people the opportunity to win a goody bag of health products and coupons and for 35 shoppers to receive $100 Hy-Vee gift cards.
Other services will also run through Hy-Vee's dietitians, who shoppers can locate through the company's website. The Healthy Habits program includes a four-week menu plan with recipes, grocery shopping lists, snack ideas and weekly one-on-one dietitian meetings. Healthie also offers free virtual introductory sessions and store tours specifically for shoppers with diabetes.
Healthie marks the latest health-focused initiative for Hy-Vee, which for years relied on its store dietitians to communicate with customers and promote the company's image as a health-minded retailer.
"Hy-Vee’s announcement ties together two major diversification plays at work in retail: health and wellness and services," Carol Spieckerman, president of retail consulting firm Spieckerman Retail, wrote in an email. "Grocers are attempting to claim space in both areas while framing food as a logical gateway."
Offering dietitians and nutrition programs also increases the odds that customers will buy recommended products at Hy-Vee and strengthen shopper loyalty, Spieckerman said.
Other grocers have launched similar programs to Hy-Vee's during the pandemic. In the spring, ShopRite started offering shoppers online consultations with the company's registered dietitians, while Kroger's healthcare division rolled out free virtual consultations to shoppers to assist them in buying nutritious products.
On Tuesday, Stop & Shop announced a new foray into health and wellness offerings for shoppers with a month-long series of free interactive workshops in January focused on creating “realistic and achievable” health and wellness goals. Topics for the workshops include mindful eating and goal-setting. Last summer, Stop & Shop launched a digital nutrition program for customers.
In the fall, Colorado-based specialty retailer Natural Grocers switched its in-house nutrition education program from in-person to online.
"Focusing on providing virtual services removes one more friction point for those who home-bound or reluctant to visit stores," Spieckerman said.