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Grocery Roundup: Hy-Vee Debuts Fitness Showrooms; eGrocery Gets Specific

Soon, consumers could be adding treadmills to their grocery lists. Supermarket chain Hy-Vee, which operates 280 stores across the Midwest, announced Wednesday (Sept. 8) that it is partnering with exercise equipment brand Johnson Fitness & Wellness. The retailer will feature fitness showrooms at select stores, wherein shoppers will be able to try out treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes and other equipment.

PYMNTS research indicates that brands and retailers that can engage with consumers across different pillars of the ConnectedEconomy— how we eat, shop, pay, live, travel, bank, work, communicate, have fun and stay well—have the opportunity to secure consumers’ cross-category loyalty. This showroom partnership expands Hy-Vee’s reach to include how consumers stay well, taking advantage of the connection between nutrition and fitness.

“As part of our mission to making customers’ lives easier, healthier and happier, we are deeply invested in the health and wellness journey of our customers,” Randy Edeker, chairman, CEO and president of Hy-Vee, said in a statement. “Our new partnership with Johnson Fitness & Wellness allows us to diversify and expand upon our current health offerings to provide our customers with all the tools they need to live a healthy lifestyle.”

The first in-supermarket showroom is opening Tuesday (Sept. 14) at Hy-Vee’s location in Grimes, Iowa, and more showrooms will be added throughout the remainder of the year.

Meijer Digitizes Cake Ordering, Suggesting More Specialized eCommerce Future

In physical stores, the process of shopping for a birthday cake looks very different than, say, shopping for an avocado. However, online grocery typically treats items across categories similarly, presenting all options with the same limited-use interface.

Midwestern grocery and supercenter chain Meijer announced Tuesday (Sept. 7) that it has launched a custom cake-ordering platform that allows for the sort of personalization that consumers would typically get when they order in stores, choosing the kind of cake and specifying a custom message. Consumers order online in advance, picking the cake up at the in-store bakery and paying in person two to four days later.

The launch of this feature suggests that grocers are looking for ways to replicate more of the in-store experience online, digitizing a greater portion of the shopping journey. Perhaps other parts of the grocery trip that typically involve more in-depth consultation — say, buying meat from the butcher section — could be moved online with similarly specialized tools in the near future.

Data from the PYMNTS November 2020 Omnichannel Grocery report find that consumers continue to prefer to buy high-consideration items on site. While 32% of consumers reported that they purchase packaged food products online, only 19% said the same for fresh meats, and only 17% for fresh fruits and vegetables, suggesting that prevailing eCommerce options do not yet meet consumers’ shopping needs in these categories.

Read more: What US Consumers Want Grocery Stores To Know About How They Want To Shop And Pay

Impossible Foods Releases Plant-Based Chicken Nugget Substitute

Leading alternative protein company Impossible Foods, best known for its burger substitute, announced Tuesday (Sept. 10) the launch of its plant-based chicken-less nuggets in a move to capture a greater share of consumers’ meat-free food spend.

While the nugget is of a move to create more occasions for the brand’s existing vegan, vegetarian, and flexitarian customers, the company is also seeking to market the nuggets to meat eaters, foregrounding a statistic from the company’s taste test that around 70% of consumers prefer the product to a major brand’s real chicken nuggets.

“This launch isn’t really about nuggets. It’s about the historic inflection point we’ve reached. For the first time, consumers unquestionably prefer meat made from plants instead of meat from an iconic animal,” Pat Brown of Impossible Foods founder and CEO. “In the battle for the future of food, this is the first time David has categorically bested Goliath, but it won’t be the last.”

Save A Lot Sells 32 More Locations in Shift to Wholesale Model

Save A Lot is selling a lot. The discount grocery chain announced Tuesday (Sept. 7) that it has sold 32 corporate-owned stores in three Midwestern cities, Cleveland, Chicago and Milwaukee, to Yellow Banana, a grocery platform owned by Cleveland-based holding company 127 Wall Holdings, LLC. The move is part of Save A Lot’s push to sell off its corporate-owned retail locations to focus corporate efforts on wholesale grocery distribution.

The 32 stores will be remodeled in 2022 with a redesign that includes more brighter lighting and a wider selection of regional goods and local brands. In December last year, Save A Lot sold 51 stores in the Tampa, Florida area to supermarket management company French Encounter. At the time, the company announced plans to sell off 94% of its corporate-owned locations.

“Through the re-licensing transactions we are executing across our footprint, we believe that we will be even better positioned to continue to serve the communities in which we operate,” Save A Lot CEO Kenneth McGrath said in a statement at the time.

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