Hailing Hy-Vee’s new Health Market

The Health Market spans a few aisles long. Photo by Sydney Steinle.

The Health Market spans a few aisles long. Photo by Sydney Steinle.

Students who are interested in purchasing more health-conscious snacks should check out the Grinnell Hy-Vee’s new addition of its Health Market, which opened on August 20.

“It was the first thing we discussed when I got here in January,” said John Goerdt, the new Store Manager of Grinnell’s Hy-Vee.

According to Goerdt, adding the Health Market was in the best interest of the Grinnell community because a growing number of its shoppers needed the gluten-free or specialty products it provides.

“It’s good for people who need it. It’s convenient, I don’t have to drive out of town to get what I need anymore,” said one customer who wished to remain anonymous, when asked for her opinion of the Health Market.

Grinnell’s Hy-Vee previously only had one shelf with a small fraction of the foods that are now available in the Health Market. The new section now features a plethora of generally healthy food and snacks, including vegetarian canned soup, whey protein, gluten-free cookies and a variety of nuts and dried fruit that shoppers can buy in bulk.

In order to decide which products to provide to its customers, Grinnell’s Hy-Vee consults with Emily Shoeman, the store’s Health and Wellness Specialist, who is currently training to become a dietitian. She ensures that the Health Market carries a mix of specialty foods for vegans and vegetarians, those with dietary restrictions and those who just want more diverse options.

In addition to consulting with Shoeman, the store also speaks with consulting representatives of Lomar Distributing Inc. which, according to Hy-Vee’s website, “became a part of Hy-Vee in 1990 to provide specialty and gourmet imported items to both Hy-Vee stores and other businesses.”

Both Goerdt and Shoeman say that customers have become huge fans of the Health Market, especially the bulk section, where customers can fill the provided bags with any number of products, from chia seeds to banana chips, and pay by weight.

Annie's Homegrown Snacks are just one of the many healthier snack alternatives offered. Photo by Sydney Steinle.

Annie’s Homegrown Snacks are just one of the many healthier snack alternatives offered. Photo by Sydney Steinle.

“We have 111 bins currently with expansion plans of 50-75 more bins in the near future,” Goerdt wrote in a statement to The S&B.

Apart from expanding the bulk section, Goerdt also noted that the store will be adding a peanut grinder, which customers can use to make their own peanut butter.

Grinnell’s Hy-Vee is located on 320 West Street South and is open from five a.m. to midnight any day of the week.