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Healthy Checkout

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Midwest moms no longer have to deal with kids pestering them for sweets as they snake through checkout lanes. Hy-Vee supermarkets are on board with a plan to retrofit existing checkout lanes by ditching candy bars, chips and other sugary indulgences for healthy options like fresh fruit, nuts and water.

Earlier this year a Minnesota store piloted the idea of a healthy checkout aisle as part of a promotion with the AARP/Blue Zone Vitality Project. The aisle was such a hit with shoppers that the company is reported to be in the process of expanding the concept to more than 100 stores.

The “better-for-you” items, including milk, granola bars and baked chips, are a favorite of parents who are all too familiar with pleas for “just one.” And there’s statistical proof that healthy snacks are gaining acceptance among the pint-size set; a recent study by NPD Group shows fruit is the top snack for kids under six years old.

While experts applaud Hy-Vee, there’s plenty of skepticism over whether this will catch on. Long-standing contracts will be difficult to break -- and let’s be honest: Slotting fees can be tougher to shed than unwanted pounds.