A healthy choice

Sep. 03, 2013 @ 05:09 PM

Some ideas are so simple that it’s amazing we didn’t think of them before. Take, for instance, Los Primos Supermarket’s decision to create a healthy checkout aisle.

Part of a national movement, Los Primos is the first food store in the Durham market to embrace the concept, and did so with the help of the Partnership for a Healthy Durham and East Durham Children’s Initiative.
Grocery store checkout aisles lend themselves to impulse buys, as shoppers waiting for the customer in front of them to move ahead look at the gum, the candy, the gossip magazines and lip balm. And we wish we could say it’s just people under the age of 8 who get excited about the sight of a candy bar, but many of us decide we would like a little something to eat on the way home, too.
So instead of Snicker’s bars and M&Ms, Los Primos’ new checkout aisle instead offers people fruit, nuts or other low-fat snack options.
West Virginia and Richmond, Va., and Omaha, Neb., all have groceries that offer healthy checkout aisles. They have received positive feedback about the change from consumers.
So has Los Primos. “I try not to eat a lot of candy … I like this idea,” shopper Ellen Cradle told Herald-Sun reporter Keith Upchurch.
And Los Primos owner Miguel Collado deserves a lot of credit for shouldering community responsibility in helping people with one of the most challenging health issues our country faces. “There is an obesity epidemic,” he told Upchurch, “People need to make healthier choices, and Los Primos can help.”
It’s an accurate statement that many people in this country cannot control their impulses when it comes to food. A rack full of chocolate, suckers and sweet tarts is too much of a temptation for some.
The healthy checkout aisle is a small but important change in helping consumers make better choices.
There may be an upside for groceries, too. Erika Samoff of the Partnership for a Healthy Durham said stores that have done this in other places have found sales of healthy items have increased, customer satisfaction is up and it has not hurt the bottom line.
Collado echoed that, saying he was surprised by the number of customers who bought items on the healthy checkout aisle.
It is the ideal outcome for a store that is trying to help its customers live better. We hope others will consider following suit.