Alcone Marketing Group – Consumer Lab

The Consumer Lab is the consumer insights and brand strategy group at Alcone Marketing Group, a consumer activation company.

Safeway Healthy Foodflex Program

Safeway’s proposals would be linked to the retailer’s online FoodFlex service, launched in November as an offshoot of its loyalty card programme.

Steve Burd, Safeway’s chief executive, said the company hoped to tie the Foodflex system into its health plan in 2009.

In 2006, Safeway launched a healthcare plan for its non-union workers that offered discounts to encourage behavioural changes linked to regular company- funded medical check-ups. Staff at its headquarters can also participate in a programme at a gym – similar to a scheme offered in the UK by Pru Health.

Full Text (380 words)

(Copyright Financial Times Ltd. 2008. All rights reserved.)

US shoppers could find their health insurance premiums being linked to their food-buying habits, if an innovative initiative by a leading supermarket wins acceptance.

Safeway, which operates over 1,700 supermarkets across the the country, says it plans to offer its employees discounts on their health insurance if they participate in a service that tracks the nutritional quality of the food they buy at its stores.

The move is part of a wider push by leading employers Kellogg’sHumanaPitney Bowesto offer lower health premiums to employees who pursue healthy lifestyles.

Safeway’s proposals would be linked to the retailer’s online FoodFlex service, launched in November as an offshoot of its loyalty card programme.

Participating customers are invited to provide details of their family members, how active their lifestyles are, and whether they have specific health issues.

The system uses the information on their Safeway card to deliver a nutritional analysis of their purchases at the store, rated against USDA recommended consumption levels of 25 nutrients and vitamins.

It also allows customers to see the relative nutritional benefits of different products and brands. If prompted, it proposes other products, such as a soup brand with lower sodium levels.

Steve Burd, Safeway’s chief executive, said the company hoped to tie the Foodflex system into its health plan in 2009.

“If someone wants to opt in to demonstrate a nutritious lifestyle, I think we’ll be the first company to grant premium reductions for that. I think other companies will follow.”

In 2006, Safeway launched a healthcare plan for its non-union workers that offered discounts to encourage behavioural changes linked to regular company- funded medical check-ups. Staff at its headquarters can also participate in a programme at a gym – similar to a scheme offered in the UK by Pru Health.

Safeway said the plan has resulted in a 13 per cent annual reduction in its per capita medical costs, and a 30-35 per cent reduction in payments by the workers over its first two years.

Mr Burd said that while some of the initiatives could be considered intrusive, the retailer is following the principles established in motor insurance. “If you have a lot of accidents, you pay more for your insurance . . . Healthy behaviour gets rewarded, less healthy behaviours should bear their fair share

If Interested, please visit Safeway.com for more information on Foodflex

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7 Responses

  1. Marty Niebel says:

    I like the idea of Foodflex analyzing my food purchases for nutritional content. Can you tell me more about the technology?
    Marty Niebel

  2. Eugenie Fitzgerald says:

    Please tell me how to get your nutritional analysis of my food purchases.

  3. Rodney Haugh says:

    How do I participate in the FoodFlex program? I shop at the Corcoran Street Safeway on 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC.
    Thanks.

    Rodney Haugh

  4. Jeff Marks says:

    I have called several times to get more information about this program and have been left on hold for 20 minutes or more.

    1. How does the program work?
    2. Who determines the nutritional values of my food choices?
    3. How do I then get my report of how I did?

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