SCARBOROUGH, Maine — Hannaford is participating in a service that connects health incentives to supermarket shopping.
Owned two-thirds by health benefit company Edenred, Newton, Mass., and one-third by digital coupon company Savingstar, Waltham, Mass., NutriSavings launched Oct. 1 for employers, health plans and other companies.
NutriSavings participants receive electronic offers, cash-back rewards and other incentives to buy healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy and other products that can lower body mass index, cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose.
Once a participant opts in, they can view offers online, and activate the ones they want. Purchases are tracked via supermarket loyalty cards. While employers are given aggregate information, individual health and shopping information remains private.
Hannaford is one of a half dozen retailers participating in the program. Others include Stop & Shop, Roche Bros., Wegmans and Big Y.
Hannaford got involved because it likes the idea of offering incentives for nutritious food choices, said Julie Greene, Hannaford’s Healthy Living manager.
Shoppers want to make healthy choices, but sometimes they struggle to keep up their motivation or to find the affordable option, said Greene.
“Because this program rewards good choices and helps with affordability, it just might be enough to nudge a participant towards a healthier lifestyle,” Greene told SN.
Consumers are concerned about the cost of health care. They are also aware of the impact that their food choices have on their health.
“So, it only makes sense for Hannaford to help shoppers find easier ways to make healthy, affordable choices,” said Greene.
In addition to incentives, participants get educational support via videos, product ratings and recipes. Participants receive suggestions for healthier alternatives, and rewards and special offers. The digital coupon deals are funded by CPG companies and fruit/vegetable growers.
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, a not-for-profit health plan in New England, is NutriSavings’ first employer client. Harvard currently offers the program to its 1,200 employees, of which 32% have opted in to the program and are actively using it. Harvard plans to expand the offering to its 1.5 million health care members in the near future.
Read more: Hannaford Is One-Stop Healthy Living Shop
NutriSavings, meanwhile, gives its own employees 20% cash back when they purchase products that score 70 or above on the NutriSavings scoring system. Employees have the option of taking the savings on a prepaid MasterCard or cash out to a bank account. NutriSavings can also link incentives to premium reductions, health savings accounts and charity donations.
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