A local grocery store chain is setting an example while another major grocer is under fire for not doing the same. Nevada and California-based grocery chain Raley’s has reduced the overall amount of candy offerings at their check stand by 25 percent while fully replacing conventional candy options with healthier snack offerings.
These new snack options include products with higher nutritional values, portion controlled servings and reduced sugar content. According to the company, this move was made to counteract unhealthy impulse buys – which many confectionary companies take advantage of by placing their products at checkout counters.
The company claims that these new and improved checkout stands are designed to reinforce the idea that sweets should just be occasional treats. Most of the products meet Raley’s Shelf Guide standards, which are a set of standards that the grocer made in order to provide healthier product offerings in their stores. Some of these standards for products include non-GMO, nutrient-dense ingredients and vegan offerings.
“We want to make it easier for our customers to make better choices for their personal health journey,” said Keith Knopf, Raley’s President in a release. “We are already seeing customers respond favorably to our improved offering, which supports their ability to act on their own intentions and choose to eat well – whether they’re filling their carts or grabbing a quick bite.”
These new checkout offerings feature niche and premium health food brands and expose customers to unique products that have been gaining momentum in the health food space. Customers can now pick up items such as nutrition bars from KIND, Clif and Tahoe Trail, small packaged candies from Chocolove, Bark Thins and Justin’s, chips, beef jerky, snack alternatives (seaweed, rice bars, olives), Blue Diamond nuts and gum/mints.
Raley’s is known for their premium healthy food offerings and they have been working to clean up their portfolio of products. According to the grocer, they have been incrementally changing their checkout lanes to offer healthier products over the years. In 2016, the grocer stopped offering sugar-sweetened soda in their stores and they had already reduced the number of conventional candy products offered at their stores.
Such steps towards healthier product offerings are no longer only expected from specialty health food stores. As consumers continue to demand low-sugar, high-nutrient foods, other grocery stores are now being pushed to reduce their unhealthy product offerings as well.
Recently, advocates from Grand Rapids and Lansing, Michigan launched a campaign against regional grocery chain Meijer, which urges the grocer to adopt healthier checkout aisles. According to the non-profit Center for Science in the Public Interest, only three percent of the products offered at Meijer checkouts are healthy. The non-profit group also sponsored the campaign with billboards that promoted a social media campaign asking “Meijer for #HealthyCheckout.”
These events signify a shift in the grocery sector as consumers are now seeing the value of nutritious food offerings. Grocers are likely to attract more consumers if they promote themselves as “healthy grocery stores” and invest in upgrading their product portfolio to include better-for-you options.