Getting Fit at the Grocery Store

Supermarkets are stepping up their focus on catering to customers’ health demands by adding fitness classes, juice bars and health clinics and bringing dieticians into stores, reported CNN (Nov. 26).

Hy-Vee is teaming up with high-intensity training gym Orangetheory to build studios attached to two of its stores. In addition, Hy-Vee dietitians will work with Orangetheory members to offer dietetic services, provide samples of nutritional products and lead store tours to showcase items that align with member needs.

It is currently testing out studios attached to a full-size Hy-Vee supermarket in Shakopee, MN, as well as a “HealthMarket,” a slimmed-down Hy-Vee store, in West Des Moines, Iowa.

“We are constantly looking for new partners and innovations that will appeal to our customers and their ever-changing lifestyles,” said Hy-Vee CEO Randy Edeker.

Meanwhile, a ShopRite in Morristown, NJ, opened a store with a fitness studio that offers yoga and Zumba classes for its shoppers with loyalty cards. “We do 27 classes a week and they are generally all filled,” owner Perry Blatt said. Also available are dietitians who will shop with customers and show them how to make healthy swaps, reported ABC 7 NY.

Additionally, Whole Foods’ flagship store in Austin, TX, partners with barre, spinning and yoga studios in the area for classes on its rooftop plaza.

All these stores are hoping to attract customers who are strapped for time by creating convenient experiences that can’t be replicated online. Grocers have an opportunity in the fitness industry, a rare business that has not been dominated by Amazon. In the past four years, boutique studio memberships in the U.S. increased 70%, according to IHRSA.

“Grocers are understanding that to bring people back in store they must create these activities,” said Jamie Sabat, director of trends and consumer forecasting at consulting firm Streetsense. “They want to create this hangout factor in the store.”

Malls and retailers are also betting on the fitness industry for growth, including Kohl’s which joined with Planet Fitness to add gyms adjacent to a handful of stores. According to Planet Fitness, when its members go to the gym, 76% combine their visits with other shopping.

Experts also say grocers are stepping up their focus on catering to customers’ health demands. In addition to bringing in dieticians, some supermarkets are adding juice bars and health clinics. For example, Hy-Vee’s HealthMarket includes a pharmacy, health clinic, hearing aid and sports nutrition areas plus it offers nitro coffee, kombucha and Bevi-infused water.