San Antonio.- Obesity is an issue in Texas. In 2012, a whopping 30.4 percent of the population was (or still is) obese. A main factor for obesity is ignorance and poverty. A healthy diet could be expensive–even unobtainable for those less fortunate. There are those that want to be healthy but simply cannot afford it– and those unaware of the guidelines for proper nutrition, or don’t care to know.
H-E-B has been dedicated to help cut that percentage down and increase awareness. As the largest food retailer in Texas; they have continued taking the initiative to helping their partners (employees) and customers make healthier lifestyle choices.
It was a busy 2012 for the company, The “Healthy at H-E-B” initiative: a series of promotions and special events that included health screenings, savings on healthy foods, recipes, tours, fitness challenges and classes with H-E-B dieticians launched all throughout last year. In the Inaugural Community Slim Down, Showdown, 24 customers lost a collective 956 pounds.
“We know the challenges our community is facing when it comes to their health and wellness. We feel like there is a responsibility to provide nutrition education,” Lorena Kaplen, San Antonio’s regional dietitian for H-E-B, said.
Enter the New Year 2013, and with it–plenty of resolutions for a healthier lifestyle. H-E-B is on top of it and created a goal to become the main resource for those seeking a healthier lifestyle–in a simple and affordable way for everyone. The company is utilizing two new methods that will take place in all stores this year.
The first involves “Good News”– a weekly newsletter chock full of healthy recipes, developed by H-E-Bs registered dieticians, shopping lists, fitness and nutrition guidance and coupons.
“We want to make it affordable, easy and let everyone know that you can do this at home. It’s not hard and it doesn’t take a chef. Anybody can do it,” Kaplen said.
The company has also launched a nutritional tagging system to help customers easily find healthy products on the shelf. This idea was tested at a couple of stores prior, and the reception received far exceeded the expectation. Due to the overwhelming response, H-E-B decided to incorporate the idea into every store. By the end of January, every store will adhere to the tagging system.
Due to factors, such as diet or illness, certain dietary needs are required. Here in the community, heart disease and diabetes are prevalent, so it is important that these needs be addressed and known to them. Brightly colored tags on the shelves address common attributes in foods such as Heart Healthy, Low Sodium, Sugar free. These bright tags make it easier for the customer to buy what they need, and making a more personal shopping experience.
“I think people just want this knowledge: ideas, little tips. It’s been really good. Little changes make big, big results, and they get instilled in our customers,” Kaplen said. “We’ve seen a greater reception from the lower income communities. I had a customer once tell me she had never tried spinach before, and she loved it! It’s about letting them try it. It’s not expensive, it’s affordable and it’s tasty! I think this will continue to put us in the right direction as a community with our health and wellness.”