Spencer, Iowa—The Spencer Hy-Vee officially unveiled its status as a certified Blue Zones grocery store today, demonstrating its commitment to help the city’s residents to adopt healthier lifestyles.
Customers shopping the Spencer Hy-Vee will find an improved shopping environment that promotes better-for-you choices in fresh produce, beverages and snacks along with various educational tools to help them change and sustain healthier eating habits.
Certification came after the store completed the tasks it pledged to do to help shoppers make healthier choices in managing their diets and heart health.
“When we found out Spencer was one of four Blue Zones demonstration sites under the Healthiest State Initiative, our store wanted to take a leading role in helping achieve that certification,” says Carl Haidar, Spencer Hy-Vee store director. “We’ve been helping customers achieve healthy lifestyles for some time now; becoming a certified Blue Zones supermarket simply increased the number of ways we do that.”
A popular change for parents with young children is the Blue Zones checkout lane. Instead of being stocked full of candy bars, gum and sweet treats that kids beg for—and that many adults find hard to resist as well —the Blue Zones lane features a variety of healthy snacks for a quick pick-me-up, such as granola bars, nuts and fruits.
Other features include increased space for fruits and vegetables; mini-size bagels and pastries; half-sandwiches in the deli; in-store healthy food demonstrations and cooking classes conducted by an in-store chef or a registered dietitian; healthy recipes; and brown-bag lunches to go.
Supermarkets are the perfect advocates to promote health and wellness, says Helen Eddy, executive director of Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative. “We’ve made a lot of progress in helping people understand they can influence their health in a positive way by what they choose to eat. But there’s still a lot of confusion and misconceptions to overcome. By becoming a certified Blue Zones supermarket, the Spencer Hy-Vee has sent a clear signal to residents in northwest Iowa that they’re ready to guide them on their journey to a healthier lifestyle.”
Iowa’s privately led, publicly endorsed Healthiest State campaign encourages individuals, businesses and communities to work together to improve Iowans’ overall health and well-being as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The goal is for Iowa — currently No. 16 — to become the healthiest state in the nation by 2016.
Hy-Vee, Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating 235 retail stores in eight Midwestern states. For FY 2011 the company recorded total sales of $7.3 billion, ranking it among the top 25 supermarket chains and the top 50 private companies in the United States.
The Blue Zones Project is based on Blue Zones® principles developed by Dan Buettner, National Geographic explorer and author of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest. Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better lives by taking a systematic, environmental approach to well-being, which focuses on optimizing policy, social networks and the built environments where people spend their time. Brought to Iowa through an innovative sponsorship between Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Healthways, the initiative encourages all Iowa communities to change their built environments to make the healthy choice, the easy choice