Hy-Vee is the only grocery chain in the country that posts a registered dietitian in almost every one of its 235 stores. In rural areas, some of its more than 190 dietitians serve a cluster of stores. By doing this it capitalizes on growing consumer awareness of the role food plays in health and wellness and to find new ways to fend off competition from specialty markets like Whole Foods and big-box stores like Walmart. Other regional chains like Meijer, Giant Eagle, Bashas’ and H-E-B also have them, and bigger grocery stores are getting involved in addressing these needs, too.
1. What is the dietitian’s role in the stores?
2. According to Andy McCann, senior vice president for retail health at Hy-Vee, it is very difficult to calculate a financial return on the company’s investment in the staff of dietitians. If you were tackling this task, what would you include?
3. What are the benefits and costs to consumers of having this service available in the grocery stores?
4. If you had a choice between a Hy-Vee with this service and a big-box store like Walmart, which would you choose? Why?
Strom, S. (2012). Employing Dieticians Pays Off for Supermarkets. The New York Times, August 24 (Retrievable online at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/25/business/dietitians-pay-off-for-supermarkets.html?src=me&ref=business)