- Hy-Vee will provide free Hemoglobin A1C screenings during the month of April at various locations throughout its eight-state Midwestern region, the company announced in a press release. Hemoglobin A1C is a blood test that people living with diabetes use to manage their blood glucose levels.
- Hy-Vee's registered dietitians will administer the screenings, which will be offered on a first-come, first served basis at Hy-Vee Healthy You Mobiles in more than 150 store parking lots. Screenings will be available Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Dietitians will review each person's results with them immediately after the screening, and individuals will leave with a goodie bag of samples, educational materials and coupons.
Hy-Vee has had a focus on health – and diabetes – for a long time, and was one of the first retailers to hire dietitians across its store footprint. In 2017, the store added a diabetic management program as part of a larger weight management program and has made helping customers prevent and manage the disease a key part of its dietitians' repertoire. During National Diabetes Month in November 2018, the grocer offered free A1C screenings and featured tips on diabetes prevention, including dietitian picks for smart food choices.
More than 60 Hy-Vee locations feature health clinics, and the grocer's planned expansion of its Hy-Vee Healthmarket banner further exemplifies its commitment to the health and wellness space.
Hy-Vee’s early move into the wellness market was well-timed considering how consumer habits have continued to shift toward healthier, fresher food, giving the retailer an early mark of differentiation in a crowded industry.
Diabetes, in particular, is a smart one for grocers since many consumers can improve their outlook with better food choices. More than 100 million Americans have type 2 diabetes or are pre-diabetic, and in Hy-Vee's operating area of the Midwest, the diabetes rate hovers around 10%. For many people, diet is the most important part of their treatment regimen in addition to medication, insulin therapy and exercise.
The American Diabetes Association recommends fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and low added sugar in a patient’s diet. With food being so central to health, programs like Hy-Vee’s are an opportunity to provide services that encourage shoppers to make healthier choices.
Hy-Vee isn’t the only grocer aiming to become its customers’ health advocate. Walmart has been hosting Walmart Wellness events since 2014, providing 2.5 million free screenings to people around the country helping to discover issues, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, that can be partially managed with dietary changes. Kroger partnered with the American Pharmacists Association in 2017 to expand Project IMPACT: Diabetes Prevention, a program designed to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes among at-risk adults. In 2017, Giant Food worked with the Centers for Disease Control to offer the PreventT2 lifestyle change program in its stores.
With health and wellness growing as a priority for consumers, creating programs that target disease prevention and nutrition is a natural growth opportunity for retailers. As grocers add more fresh and healthy products to their shelves, complimentary wellness programs may build deeper connections between a store and its customers.