By Sam Lewis, associate editor
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Healthy snack options available at Market Café checkout lanes
A few months ago, Rochester, NY-based grocer Wegmans began a new initiative in its Pittsford, NY location. The program was called “Fresh Cut Snacks” with the basis of the program focusing around busy schedules, lack of sit-down meal times, and the need for healthy eating. “The rush to get everybody where they need to go sometimes leaves too little time for a sit-down meal, and not much time for washing and cutting up vegetables, either. So we’ve done the planning and prep with these new fresh snacks – they’re grab-and-go easy,” an August 26 Wegmans press release stated.
The pilot of the program was so successful, Wegmans chose to launch in all of its stores. It arrives just as the summer winds down and the hustle and bustle of the school year begins. Every day, culinary teams at Wegmans stores assemble snacks which include fresh fruits and vegetables, hummus and other healthy dips, whole-grain crackers, and other protein rich foods. The grocer began testing food combinations during the pilot. Different combinations of crunchy and smooth, chewy and soft foods were examined, and customer feedback was gained through Twitter. Customer favorites (available now at Market Café checkouts) include cut carrots and hummus with turkey strips and whole-grain crackers, apple and celery slices with organic peanut butter and whole-grain rice cakes, Greek yogurt parfaits, and mixed dried fruits with nuts.
Wegmans has made convenience and affordable pricing a partner with healthy snacking. “All of the snacks are quick ways to add healthy fuel to your tank when it’s running low, and your next meal is an hour or two away,” says Tom Colopietro, category merchant at Wegmans. “They’re priced at $4 or less each, and have a calorie range of 280 to 520 calories. Several are made with no gluten ingredients and feature organic items.”
Healthy eating has become a priority of almost anyone, but in our busy world, the accessibility to healthy foods is not always easy. “Our people and our customers often tell us that healthy eating is important, but they struggle with finding the time to plan and prepare fresh, healthy choices,” says Colopietro says. “We’re learning that for many customers, ready in a few minutes isn’t fast enough. What they’re really looking for is something that’s healthy, tastes good, and is ready to eat right away.” With a little planning, a trip to Wegmans for “Fresh Cut Snacks” can offer a healthy alternative from the “between-school-and-practice” run to McDonald’s or eating a candy bar or potato chips during a pit stop on a road trip.