Three ways Albert Heijn is driving the health agenda

Date : 14 May 2020

Harriet Cohen

Senior Retail Analyst

We round up three of the latest health-focused innovations from Albert Heijn as it trials Nutri-Score online, removes one billion sugar cubes in private label and introduces a new quarterly magazine.

Albert Heijn trials Nutri-Score online…

Following success in-store, Albert Heijn has started a six-week trial where it is including the Nutri-Score logo on its website.

Nutri-Score became the Dutch government’s national health logo of choice in 2019, although it originated in France. Other European countries, including Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Spain are also using the system. It is a colour-coordinated key that highlights the nutritional value of products.

Source: Albert Heijn

The trial aims to understand whether customers use Nutri-Score to filter their product search and adapt their online grocery purchases. The trial is taking place across 2,000 products in a range of fresh and ambient grocery categories, including dairy, juices and soft drinks.

…As it removes one billion sugar cubes in private label

In related news, in 2018, the retailer set itself the target of ‘removing a billion sugar cubes from its private label products by the end of 2020’. It has now achieved this target, having done so ahead of schedule.

Key highlights included reducing the sugar in organic breakfast cereal by 50%, as well as reducing ‘the sugar content in pasta sauces, dairy, soup and soft drinks. Nine apple sauce varieties now even contain 0% added sugar’.

…And introduces ‘Healthy Ahead’ magazine

Meanwhile, this month has seen Albert Heijn introduce a new quarterly free magazine, ‘Healthy Ahead’, as it looks to encourage people to eat healthily. It has a focus on ‘inspiring stores, tasty recipes and useful tips’.

Source: Albert Heijn

 The debut edition features include:

  • Key challenges for families such as how to ensure children eat enough produce, with advice from three parents
  • How to save time and eat healthily
  • How to prepare vegetables so they contain as many vitamins as possible
  • Advice on sleeping: ‘How much sleep do you actually need? How do you fall asleep? Can you make up for missed hours?’

Commenting on the development, Marit van Egmond, CEO of Albert Heijn said, '"Healthy Ahead" was already a plan we had, but now more appropriate than ever’.

So what do we think?

Albert Heijn continues innovating to encourage people to people to lead healthier lives both in-store and online. The introduction of the Nutri-Score logo online should capitalise on both the logo’s national recognition, as well as wider shifts towards online shopping, helping the retailer reach a bigger captive audience. In Q1 2020, across Europe, Ahold Delhaize’s wider net consumer online sales broke the billion-euro barrier, surging by 36.3% at constant exchange rates to €1.0 bn.

Meanwhile, Albert Heijn’s early achievement of ‘removing a billion cubes of sugar’ in its private label products demonstrates the scale of its ambitions in both health and private label, as well as the agility in its product development process.

‘Healthy Ahead’ is being distributed in-store, promoted on social media and offers mobile functionality, illustrating how Albert Heijn is meeting consumer needs in an omnichannel way.

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