A NEW PATH

In catering to health and wellness, Pathmark Stores has decided to give its efforts a name and a face. The 141-store chain, which operates throughout New York and New Jersey, has introduced a program called Healthy Steps, an information-driven initiative that profiles various health trends and topics through newsletters, community programs and in-store product promotions. Walking right alongside the

In catering to health and wellness, Pathmark Stores has decided to give its efforts a name and a face.

The 141-store chain, which operates throughout New York and New Jersey, has introduced a program called “Healthy Steps,” an information-driven initiative that profiles various health trends and topics through newsletters, community programs and in-store product promotions. Walking right alongside the program will be Pathmark's new in-house dietitian, Jacqueline Gomes.

Gomes will help implement much of the program, structuring recipes, informational programs and product tie-ins. In addition, she'll connect with customers through the program's biweekly newsletter, which Pathmark will have available in-store and online, according to Pathmark spokesman Rich Savner.

“The consumer today is thirsting for any kind of information relating to nutrition and their diet.” he said. “There's obviously a lot of media attention on the subject.”

Adding Gomes to the corporate staff puts Pathmark in line with a growing trend in which supermarkets are adding dietitians to their ranks. Hy-Vee plans to have 100 in-store dietitians employed by the end of this year, and Meijer added three dietitians to its roster late last year.

What sets Healthy Steps apart is the high profile that Gomes will be receiving. Doing this, Savner explained, lends the program an intimate feel across the chain. Helping cast an even wider net is the fact that Gomes is bilingual.

“I think the consumer feels a connection when they see someone specific, when they can associate a name,” he said.

In bridging store operations and Healthy Steps initiatives, Pathmark will tie products to the program through the use of promotional endcaps and product tags that incorporate the campaign logo. Many of these products will be ones that Gomes has mentioned in recipes and in her columns.

“Our program is not about overhauling people's diets, but about teaching simple steps to achieve wellness,” said John Derderian, Pathmark's vice president of marketing.