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 IGA launches new wellness initiative

IGA launches new wellness initiative

IGA has launched a new program geared to improving its retailers’ efforts in the health and wellness arena.

Called IGA Better Choices, the initiative is designed to provide shoppers with information to make informed and balanced decisions about their health and wellness needs, and IGA retailers with insights into topics within the ever-evolving health and wellness space, the company said.

“We want to help retailers enable their shoppers to make better and more informed choices,” Mark Batenic, IGA’s CEO, said in an interview with SN Thursday. “We are educating retailers and helping them be a resource for shoppers, and we know shoppers want that.”

The Better Choices program, which includes informational components for both IGA shoppers and IGA retailers, is being developed in conjunction with IGA health and wellness advisor and registered dietitian Kim Kirchherr, the company said.

The center of the program is the consumer-facing microsite. The microsite, which is accessible from the consumer website, features health and wellness information about a variety of topics, including planning and shopping, wellness, food safety, and recipes and how-to’s.

In addition to health and wellness tips from Kirchherr, visitors to the site have access to a variety of tools and information from sources such as the USDA, FDA and CDC, and food commodities agencies. Also available are recipes, games and downloads for kids, and seasonal or themed consumer sweepstakes that highlight food choices, or information on the different food groups from month-to-month — like the current sweepstakes for June Dairy Month where shoppers can test their dairy knowledge to win dairy coupons redeemable at their local IGA.

The IGA Alliance includes nearly 5,000 supermarkets worldwide. The wellness program will begin in the United States and later rollout into Australia and China, Batenic told SN.

IGA retailers will be provided with in-store resources — printable signage, ad drop-ins, digital graphics, bag stuffers and customizable press releases for their local media — to promote the microsite and its resources to shoppers. Additionally, IGA retailers participating in the IGALink website program will automatically feature the microsite on their individual store websites.

Kirchherr is also acting as an informational resource for IGA retailers, providing insights into topics within the ever-changing health and wellness space. IGA retailers are being encouraged to reach out to her with health and wellness questions in an “Ask Kim” format. She is also a speaker at IGA events and meetings, and is a regular health and wellness contributor to IGA’s daily newsletter, The Independent View.

“Health and wellness is a personal journey, which means it’s different for everyone,” Kirchherr said. “We believe that this practical approach to information sharing through the microsite will resonate with all of our customers, no matter where they are along their health and wellness journey.”

Batenic says IGA’s move into health and wellness began when IGA was asked to represent independent retailers around the globe on a committee to oversee development of health and wellness guidelines for the grocery industry as a whole at The Consumer Goods Forum (the CGF), a global industry network of retailers, manufacturers and service providers who work together to bring about positive change in the industry. Batenic has been active within the CGF on behalf of IGA for many years and currently serves on the CGF board of directors, and Kirchherr now represents IGA on the CGF Health & Wellness Steering Committee.


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