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Hy-Vee continues Midwest expansion

One regional grocery chain that has adapted to changing food buying patterns is Hy-Vee Inc., named Progressive Grocer’s 2017 Retailer of the Year.

The West Des Moines, Iowa-based employee-owned chain has hundreds of locations throughout the Midwest in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

The retailer unveiled its own small Fast & Fresh concept, a 10,000-square-foot convenience/grocery hybrid that debuted in both West Des Moines and Davenport, IA, and a new 15,000-square foot HealthMarket store that debuted in West Des Moines in July.

This latest incarnation offers a hydration station with coffee, kombucha, and infused water and is next to a fitness center. In addition, Hy-Vee expanded its own fresh-cut operations, opening a 48,000-square foot processing facility near a major distribution center in Chariton, IA.

Hy-Vee is also challenging other retailers for market share in the Twin Cities, operating several stores in greater Minneapolis/St. Paul area and creating plenty of awareness through its corporate sponsorship of the Minnesota Timberwolves men’s basketball team and Lynx women’s basketball team. The sponsorship includes an agreement for each team’s executive chef to create a digital online cookbook using Hy-Vee products.

While some may not consider the Minneapolis market as a significant player in the food world, it is well-known for attracting investors.

“Minneapolis continues to be a city where people spend a fair amount of their disposable income on food, both at retail and in restaurants,” says Sam Maglio, Jr., president of the Maglio Companies, Milwaukee, WI.

Government data supports the observation; according to the most recent figures on consumer spending, residents in Minneapolis-St. Paul spent about $8,500 on food per capita in 2015-16, $1,000 more than St. Louis and $400 more than Chicago. And Minneapolis had an average income before taxes of almost $92,000, beating St. Louis by nearly $22,000.


This is an excerpt from the most recent Produce Blueprints quarterly journal. Click here to read the full article.


Matt Ernst writes about farm-related topics and is based near St. Louis, Missouri.