H-E-B Commits to Boosting Texans’ Health

San Antonio-based H-E-B has launched “Healthy at H-E-B,” a comprehensive, long-term commitment to improve the health of Texans and provide them with fresh, healthy food that is affordable and easy to prepare.

H-E-B aims to help millions of Texans adopt and stick to a healthy lifestyle through special offers on healthy food, fitness groups, events and competitions organized around the three critical pillars of health: food, body and life. To demonstrate its commitment to the cause, H-E-B is investing an estimated $20 million in lower prices on fresh produce.

“We are facing a health crisis in Texas,” said Craig Boyan, H-E-B president and COO. “Last June, Texas was listed as the 13th most obese state in the nation. An estimated 64 percent of the total population and one in five Texas kids are now considered overweight or obese. Given our position as the leading food retailer in the state, we have a unique opportunity to help those who want to make a change for themselves and their families.”

In addition to lower prices on produce, H-E-B aims to make it easier and more affordable for customers to eat healthy with its new Healthy Savings meal solutions – packages of fresh ingredients with recipes for preparing a healthy meal for four for less than $10 after a $4 coupon.

H-E-B will also challenge customers to get fit with contests such as Slim Down Showdown, in which 25 contestants from around the state compete for a $10,000 grand prize.

“With ‘Healthy at H-E-B,’ we want to do everything we can to give customers the tools they need to adopt healthy habits such as cooking and eating healthy meals at home and getting at least 150 minutes of exercise per week,” said Kate Rogers, VP of communication and engagement.

The company launched “Healthy at H-E-B” in 2004 with its 76,000 employees with overwhelming success. “Over the past year, we’ve focused our energy on developing a culture of health for our partners,” Rogers said. “It seems like every day we hear about another great success story from a partner who has decided to make a positive change. The next big step is engaging our customers in our health journey. Our goal is to be the health resource for all Texans who are looking for guidance and support.”

The Healthy Savings meal solutions, modeled after the USDA’s new My Plate guidelines, will include lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or non-fat dairy, as well as three recipe cards from H-E-B’s team of dietitians to show customers how to prepare great tasting meals at home. H-E-B’s Showtime Partners will demonstrate how to prepare the Healthy Savings meal solutions during H-E-B’s Second Saturday events.

“We want to dispel the myths that healthy food costs more, it’s hard to prepare and it doesn’t taste as good,” said Suzanne Parker, H-E-B’s corporate health and wellness coach.

Each month, H-E-B’s team of dietitians will select recommended items that follow government guidelines around reduced sugar, fat and sodium content, and will provide recipes and demonstrations with the featured products in a series of seven pilot stores in San Antonio, Austin and Waco.

Beginning in March, H-E-B will launch an 8-week challenge for both its employees and customers to encourage them to cook and eat from home at least one additional night per week and to try at least one new recipe and one new fruit or vegetable each week. Participants will be asked to track their progress online for a chance to earn some great incentives and prizes. Customers will also be asked to submit their favorite unhealthy recipe to be modified by H-E-B’s team of dietitians. The Top 100 will be published this fall in a “Healthy at H-E-B” cookbook.

H-E-B is challenging customers to move their bodies at least 150 minutes every week. To inspire engagement, H-E-B will encourage both partners and customers to establish training teams in their local communities to help prepare for fitness events sponsored by the company such as 5Ks, marathons and triathlons.

Beginning in September, H-E-B will launch another 8-week challenge for both partners and customers focused on healthy activities such as walking, running, swimming, and playing sports. To allow participants to connect, compete and monitor their individual progress, H-E-B will introduce a series of trackers and tools available online as well as most smartphones.

On the second Saturday of each month, H-E-B holds free screenings at all stores with a pharmacy for customers to learn their “numbers” including cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure and waist circumference. Customers also learn how these numbers can affect their overall health and well-being. With the launch of “Healthy at H-E-B,” the popular Saturday events will now run year-round, with extended hours from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each month, and will feature healthy product sampling, cooking demos in Showtime stations and Cooking Connections, fitness demonstrations by local organizations and activities for children.

In 2011, H-E-B hosted its first internal Slim Down Showdown Challenge. A total of 15 partner contestants were selected and they participated in a 12-week transformation that inspired more than 15,000 other Partners to follow them along on their journey. Together, the “fantastic 15,” as they became known, lost more than 550 pounds and saw significant improvement on both their biometrics and their overall physical and emotional wellbeing.

This year, for the first time, H-E-B will invite customers to participate in a similar experience. A total of 25 people from around the state will be selected to compete for a $10,000 grand prize and a $5,000 “fan favorite” prize in the 16-week Customer Slim Down Showdown contest beginning in June. All contestants will come to San Antonio to participate in an intensive three-day wellness program with the experts from H-E-B and Cooper Corporate Solutions. Once they return home, they will receive weekly coaching and support in addition to meal plans and fitness goals and they will be encouraged to get their friends and family members to sign up to be official members of their “support team.”

In October, H-E-B will host a Family Expo & Fun Run featuring cooking demos, product sampling, pharmacy screenings, and the grand finale of the Slim Down Showdown where the winners will be announced. Customers can apply online; all applications are due Feb. 29.

H-E-B has created a Healthy Handbook in cooperation with Cooper Aerobics for its 76,000 partners. It is a comprehensive guide filled with detailed information on proper nutrition, physical activity and overall well-being. Much of this content will be available to customers online.

With sales of more than $18 billion, H-E-B operates more than 335 stores in Texas and Mexico. www.heb.com



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