Retailers are taking steps to expand their grocery offerings to reach new customers. Major players in the Midwest like Hy-Vee are innovating in both the digital and health & wellness spheres, mainly in the form of new store formats. We looked at three of Hy-Vee’s latest store formats and how they promote health in the communities they serve.
Hy-Vee has expanded the health and wellness section of their regular stores called Health Market in order to test out the concept on a larger scale. This new store in West Des Moines, Iowa offers twice as many products as the traditional format’s health-focused section.
The prepared meals and fresh produce are major draws for the store. There is an Orangetheory fitness studio entrance connected to the store, making Health Market an easy stopping place before or after a fitness class. In many ways, the store resembles a small-scale wellness-focused retailer like Whole Foods or Sprouts: kombucha, healthy frozen food, and energy bars take up huge amounts of shelf space compared to other sections of the store.
Fourth & Court
Continuing in the same vein as Health Market, Hy-Vee’s Fourth & Court store in downtown Des Moines offers an experience very similar to the Raley’s Market 5-ONE-5 we previously visited in Sacramento. The smaller store size makes it a place to stop in quickly for groceries versus a store where you can stock up for a few weeks’ supply. Because it takes up the ground floor of a residential complex, many shoppers live or work in the area and have specific grocery preferences, as evidenced by features like on-tap beer and a large wine selection that make up a large portion of the store. The store is more adult-focused than traditional Hy-Vee supermarkets.
Like the California-based Market 5-ONE-5, Fourth and Court has a downtown location and a large health-focused selection. However, in addition to being a small-scale grocery store, the Fourth and Court Hy-Vee acts as a mid-way offering between a convenience store and a traditional large grocer–a concept that the retailer explores further in its Fast & Fresh banner.
Fast & Fresh
The third of these new store formats, Hy-Vee’s Fast & Fresh is a convenience store that scales down a full grocery store into a compact space. There are fresh foods, frozen items, a meat section, bakery items, and produce. One of the biggest draws is a large selection of take-and-bake pizzas, which adds to the convenience of the fresh format and makes it a popular stopping place for families on the go.
Since December of 2018, Hy-Vee has introduced 16 more Fast & Fresh stores and plans to remodel more of its convenience stores. Compared to the other concept stores situated in Des Moines like Health Market and Fourth-and-Court, Fast & Fresh is growing much more rapidly.
While it’s easy to expect innovative store formats in Seattle or New York, there are many equally innovative formats coming out from the Midwest, as evidenced by Hy-vee’s efforts. Hy-Vee looks like it’s leading the way in meeting customers’ increased demands for convenience and health.
For more information on how health-based grocery is changing the industry, you can read our blog on attribute-based marketing here. You can also watch our interview with Marcia Webb of Nielsen, where she discusses the expanding role of fresh in grocery here.