Home & Family
AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – Select shoppers will soon see materials on healthy eating hit their grocery store shelves. This is all thanks to a newly-founded relationship between Alabama Extension Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) and Piggly Wiggly. Through the Good Choice Healthy Retail Initiative, individuals will have better access to healthy, affordable foods.
Barbour County SNAP-Ed Educator Michelle Puckett and Piggly Wiggly District Manager Bryan Milligan have started the initiative at the southside Piggly Wiggly location in Eufaula, Alabama.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to make healthy choices,” Puckett said. “It’s not always easy to do when life gets busy.”
The initiative supports local retailers to increase the appeal and availability of healthy, affordable foods in SNAP-Ed eligible communities. The local food retail environment in a community can have a significant impact on the health of its inhabitants.
Full-service grocery stores, farmers markets and other retailers selling fruits, vegetables and whole grains can be scarce in rural Alabama. One avenue for improving the food retail environment is through partnerships with local retailers. These partnerships can be used to promote available healthy options and to increase demand for more healthy options.
“Partnering with local food retail sites allows SNAP-Ed to educate residents in the community on healthy affordable foods while working with food retail owners and managers to create demand for the healthy products in the store,” said Erin Reznicek, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System family and consumer sciences specialist. “This is a win-win for the local food retailers and their customers.”
How It Works
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Barbour County is one of 13 counties in Alabama with an adult obesity prevalence of more than 40 percent. The CDC awarded a grant to Alabama Extension at Auburn University, the ALProHealth program, to implement practices to increase access to healthier food choices and places for physical activity in those counties.
ALProHealth funding was used to purchase a cooler and signage for the Piggly Wiggly in Eufaula to provide more access to healthier foods. The cooler is located at the front of the store and will be stocked with accessible, healthy food choices and grab-and-go ingredients for many of the Live Well Alabama recipes. There is also a QR code at the cooler to scan with a mobile device to access online recipe cards. With one stop, customers will be able to find a delicious recipe and stock up on healthy food options. New recipes and good choice ingredients will be restocked and redeveloped every month.
“SNAP-Ed educators like Michelle work with local food retailers in Alabama to ensure healthy foods are easy to access, affordable and appealing,” Reznicek said. “Creativity, along with strong partnerships, goes a long way in helping to ensure that the healthy choice is the easy choice in Alabama.”