When you visit the grocery store, would you rather shepherd your kids through a checkout lane filled with candy bars, sodas, and high-fat snacks, or one that offers healthier items?
It turns out many Utah shoppers are interested in the healthier option, and thanks to the LiVe Well Lane grocery store program, it's even easier to make that decision. Associated Food stores in partnership with Intermountain Healthcare and the Utah Department of Health began adding LiVe Well check-out lanes to all 42 corporate-owned Associated Food stores in Utah earlier this year — including Macey's, Dan's, Dick's Market, Lin's, and Fresh Market.
The LiVe Well Lanes are clearly marked and only feature foods and drinks selected by dietitians, including fresh fruits, nuts, and healthy snacks.
"The lane allows you to choose a snack that offers a nutritional benefit," says Joy Musselman, a registered dietitian and clinical nutritionist with Intermountain Healthcare. “Items offered include fruits, vegetables, nuts, calcium-rich dairy, and whole grains — all foods we typically don't get enough of in our diets. Using the LiVe Well Lane, you can easily choose a snack that will help fulfill something that might be deficient in your diet."
8 million visits in three months Utah shoppers chose the LiVe Well Lanes 25 percent of the time in the first three months of 2017. That accounts for 8 million check-out lane visits. Sales of the healthy items in lanes have also increased by 49 percent. Customers purchased almost 60,000 more healthy items in the LiVe Well Lane, with a comparable decrease in candy and less healthy snacks offered in traditional aisles. The growth will likely continue as additional stores have the opportunity to start the program.
"We're thrilled with the early results as we work together to serve the community and make it easier for customers to find healthier choices for their families," says Neal Berube, CEO of Associated Food stores. "As we take this journey we understand people are seeking better options in meeting their nutrition and fitness goals."
Locke Ettinger, Intermountain's director of health and wellness, agrees: "In my experience people want to be healthy and eat food that's good for them. Making it easy at the point of purchase can make a difference. It reduces the impulse for both adults and children to buy items that are less healthy."
Stores are encouraged by the results Joy says even the traditional check-out lines at Associated Food stores are adding a healthy snack shelf of popular LiVe Well Lane items. These healthier options are especially important considering that check-out lanes are where most unplanned purchases are made, says Ron Beckstrom, corporate dietitian for Associated Food.
Neal adds, "It's great to partner with Intermountain in providing healthy lifestyle choices for our communities. We're committed to continue looking for ways to help people live the healthiest lives possible."
If you haven't seen a LiVe Well Lane yet in your Utah grocery store, the lanes may be coming soon. After the process is perfected with corporate Associated Food stores, the hope is to add the healthy lanes at additional locations. Other components being added to Associated Food stores include Park Farther parking stalls and "dietitian preferred" labels on healthy items.