Grocer H-E-B Cultivates the Natural Product Shopper; AAHP Gives Top Honor

H-E-B provides customers with more than just a great place to shop. The retailer promotes local products made in Texas, frequently donates to many community causes, and invests in various environmental efforts. And, through its many unique programs explored in this article that help consumers navigate their health journeys, H-E-B is truly Texans' one-stop health-and-wellness destination.

During the AAHP Industry Reception on Sept. 29 H-E-B's Mike Schaeffer, Managing Director of Drug Store/Baby Procurement & Merchandising, accepted the AAHP Integrative Medicine Retailer Award and educated our industry on the many ways its 420 stores in Texas and Mexico cater to and promote the natural product shopper.

With sales of $34 billion, H-E-B celebrates its 116th anniversary this year. Recognized for its fresh food, quality products, convenient services, and commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability, H-E-B strives to provide the best customer experience and lowest prices. Based in San Antonio, H-E-B employs over 145,000 partners in Texas and Mexico and serves millions of customers in more than 300 communities.

Health & Wellness Offerings

H-E-B's Healthy-Living Department is a store within a store fully stocked with bulk foods (such as honey, nuts, grains, dried fruits, and snack mixes), a wide variety of supplements, personal care products, and more. Of H-E-B's locations, more than 100 stores have a Healthy-Living Department. Additionally, H-E-B excels at integrating natural products throughout its stores.

Each H-E-B is special. Some locations offer registered dietitians and culinary experts onsite, telehealth nutrition services, and shoppers can speak to pharmacists when picking up their prescriptions.

New this spring and now at five locations in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, H-E-B has Wellness Primary Care Clinics with board-certified doctors and registered dietitians. In addition to primary care services and health/nutrition coaching, H-E-B Wellness Primary Care Clinics offer services such as physical therapy, clinical pharmacists, specialty referrals, and labs to create a coordinated approach to healthcare — all under one roof.

The grocer also offers "H-E-B Organics" options and "H-E-B Select Ingredients" products, free of high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors.

Environmental Stewardship

Various H-E-B locations have environmental sustainability elements, such as rainwater harvesting and water retention ponds, adherence to impervious cover regulations, and compliance with all aquifer regulations. Large solar installations are maintained at dozens of its stores. This eco-friendly retailer even received the Environmental Protection Agency's GreenChill Partnership gold-level award for green refrigeration technology.

H-E-B unveiled an environmentally friendly private brand; Field & Future by H-E-B is a line of household and personal care products intended to be kind to Texas families and the environment. Field & Future by H-E-B consists of products that range from sponges to toothpaste, baby wipes, and dish detergents that have been designed to be friendly to the environment and Texans. The products are made with hypoallergenic formulas, biodegradable ingredients, and recyclable packaging.

Community Support

In addition to generous donations to hunger relief and disaster relief programs, H-E-B also supports local businesses. H-E-B's Quest for Texas Best is an annual search for the best foods, beverages, beauty items, toys, home goods, household necessities, garden suppliers, coolers, and other products by Texas-based makers. Since launching in 2014, H-E-B has reviewed more than 4,500 samples of Texas-made food and beverages, having chosen more than 750 unique products for shelf placement, and awarded nearly $1 million in prize money, marketing, supplemental support, and mentoring.

Join Us Next Year

AAHP thanks Mike for sharing his 31 years of experience at H-E-B (and a total of 48 years in the retail grocery business) at the recent networking event that brought together homeopathic manufacturers, retailers, experts in the field, and professionals from adjacent associations. H-E-B is only the fourth retailer honored by AAHP, joining past honorees Wegmans Food Markets, Rite Aid Corporation, and Meijer, Inc. Mark your calendar for this small-scale cozy networking event with major retailers held in conjunction with National Products Expo East.