Northgate Gonzalez Market, a family-owned chain based in Southern California, has remerchandized its 37 stores and added hundreds of new products as part of the refresh and expansion of its Viva La Salud health and wellness program.
“But simply put, Viva La Salud is really a comprehensive health and wellness initiative. And so not only do we make it easy for customers to shop and navigate the store and find healthier products, we’ve also dedicated sections of the store that have significant coverage of grocery and produce items that are better for you,” said Mike Hendry, vice president of marketing.
Most locations now have separate grocery and bulk sections for Viva La Salud items. New products include everything from Bob’s Red Mill Pearl Barley to alternative beverages like coconut water.
Northgate co-developed Viva La Salud with Vestcom, a firm specializing in shelf-edge marketing, whose HealthyAisles shelf tag program is also a recent addition to H-E-B and Belle Foods. Unlike H-E-B, however, Northgate isn’t just using its Viva La Salud signs on packaged foods. Customers can also see the labels in the produce and meat departments.
“So for instance we’ve got new natural and organic meat products that are coming in, as well as just on all our leaner cuts of meat, things like turkey and chicken and things like that,” said Hendry.
Customers can find specials on Viva La Salud items, as well as information about free cooking classes with the Northgate chef and healthy food tastings, in the weekly, store-specific ads.
The retailer’s lead nutritionist conducts healthy eating classes, where customers learn how to shop for and plan nutritious diets. Northgate has also partnered with the California Department of Public Health’s Champions for Change program for in-store demos on healthy products.
The renewed emphasis on healthy lifestyles should be welcome news to the community, given that Northgate serves a largely Hispanic population. Recent studies have shown that Hispanic adults (particularly recent immigrants) are more likely to be overweight or obese than non-Hispanics, and also tend to view healthy foods as not tasting very good.