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Natural Grocers is expanding rewards and making them easier to earn with the revamped {N}power loyalty program. The chain also is piloting hydroponically farmed organic greens via the GardenBox program.

Natural Grocers updates {N}power loyalty program

Specialty grocer introduces GardenBox hydroponically farmed organic produce

Natural Grocers has revamped its {N}power loyalty program to make it easier for customers to earn reward points and use discounts, digital coupons and other members-only features.

Effective July 1, {N}power members earn one point for every $1 spent, instead of collecting points via differential point structures and clubs, the Lakewood, Colo.-based natural and organic grocer said. Also, members now receive a $2 reward every time they reach 200 points, up to a maximum of $100 every quarter rather than varying reward amounts. They also get a yearly $2 reward on their {N}power sign-up anniversary.

Natural Grocers-Npower loyalty program update.jpgNatural Grocers' {N}power program grew its membership 17% over the past year to 1.4 million. (Image courtesy of Natural Grocers)

With the program update, Natural Grocers also added exclusive pricing for members, including on popular items such as free-range eggs, avocados, whole chickens, almond butter, and store-brand vitamins and supplements, among other products. Throughout the year, members will receive access to promotions like good4u Meal Deals and free items, such as free chocolate and reusable shopping bags during companywide events.

Natural Grocers, too, now offers a $2 reward to newly signed-up members. Launched in 2005, {N}power currently has 1.4 million members, up 17% from a year ago. Members now account for 70% of the retailer’s total sales, Natural Grocers Co-President Kemper Isely said last month in reporting second-quarter results.

In support of its recently expanded roster of own-brand vitamins and supplements, Natural Grocers also is offering {N}power members 10% off the full product line, which includes more than 100 vitamins, herbs, minerals and formulas that are made from high-quality ingredients and third-party certified under Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP).

GardenBox hydroponically farmed organic produce set to launch

Also on Thursday, Natural Grocers unveiled the GardenBox, a hydroponically farmed organic produce program.

Under a pilot at the chain’s Green Mountain store in Lakewood, an array of organic leafy greens are grown inside the “GardenBox,” a 320-square-foot enclosure resembling a shipping container that has a technology-controlled climate to regulate the amount of water, light and nutrients needed to optimize the plants’ growth, nutritional value and flavor.

Up to 4,000 heads of leafy greens can be grown each month, and full-spectrum LED lights mimic optimum sunlight exposure to produce greens all year long, according to Natural Grocers. The greens are certified organic by Where Food Comes From Organic (WFCFO) and carry the Clean Hydroponic Produce seal from the Alliance for Sustainable Hydroponics.

Natural GrocersNatural Grocers-GardenBox-hydroponic farm.jpg

In the GardenBox hydroponic farm, located in the Green Mountain Natural Grocers store, up to 4,000 heads of leafy greens can be grown monthly.

A variety of GardenBox lettuces such as Hampton, Brentwood, Alkindus, Tropicana, Muir, Marciano, and Truchas will be sold at the Green Mountain store starting on July 7, Natural Grocers said. All GardenBox greens will be priced at $1.99 per head.

The GardenBox greens’ sustainability and quality also is enhanced by the fact that the living produce is harvested daily and walked from the hydroponic garden directly to the produce aisle, or just 82 steps to customers, Natural Grocers noted.

“Natural Grocers has been committed to selling fresh, 100% organic produce from day one as a way for us to support our communities and our planet,” Isely said in a statement. “This next step — of sustainably growing organic and clean hydroponic produce ourselves on site and harvested fresh for our store every morning — truly speaks to that commitment and to who we are as a company. We can’t wait for our hometown community to taste produce that was grown literally outside our store.”

Overall, Natural Grocers operates 161 stores in 20 states.

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