Thursday, November 15, 2018
Placing Health on the Shelves: Lazy Acres is Blue Zones Project Approved

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. (Nov. 14, 2018) – From the moment you enter the recently opened Lazy Acres Market in Hermosa Beach, it’s evident the store was designed with health in mind – from its displays that actively encourage shoppers to choose water rather than sugary drinks to its checkout lane laced with healthy “impulse purchases” like fruit instead of candy. This demonstrated commitment to health recently earned the health-conscious market, which opened Oct. 13, 2018, the rare distinction of being named a Blue Zones Project Approved™ Grocery Store.

Blue Zones Project® is a nationally acclaimed well-being improvement initiative that Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) has been implementing locally in the Beach Cities since 2010. Born from extensive research in the five areas of the world where people live the longest lives (coined “Blue Zones”), the project aspires to make the healthy choice the easy choice for people by purposefully engineering health into environments where they live, work, learn and play.

To earn Blue Zones Project Approval, Lazy Acres worked with BCHD to implement a series of evidence-based modifications that encourage healthier shopping behaviors. A few examples of improvements the market made include:

  • highlighting Blue Zones food items in the produce section and store shelves;
  • “Blue Zones Checkout Lane” that features nuts and healthy snacks rather than candy and soda;
  • providing kids with an apple to snack on while they shop with their parents;
  • and placing Blue Zones parking away from building entrances to encourage extra steps.

Getting this healthy stamp of approval has been nearly two years in the making, according to BCHD Chief Executive Officer Tom Bakaly, who pointed out that these seemingly small changes to the shopping experience make a big impact on health. 

“Grocery stores are a critical component when it comes to improving community health,” said Bakaly. “Simply making it convenient for shoppers to choose more nutritious options results in healthier buying habits – which helps move the dial on community well-being.”

Research shows that when healthier food options are stocked in more accessible shelf spaces, sales of those items increase. These findings are further supported by dozens of Blue Zones Project Approved grocers around the country, which report experiencing surges in the sales of produce and other healthy food items after implementing the environmental changes.

“Highlighting health throughout the store is good for our customers and our bottom line,” said Lazy Acres Hermosa Beach Store Director David Schaefer. “We’ve always had a deep commitment to offering a wide selection of wholesome, nutritious foods, so partnering with BCHD to become Blue Zones Approved just made sense. We encourage people to visit us and experience the difference for themselves.”

To celebrate Lazy Acres’ Blue Zones Project Approved designation, BCHD held a community ‘Social Hour’ event at the market on November 13. The event, which was attended by more than 200 people, featured healthy cooking demonstrations, food samples and a cook-off between local elected officials and community leaders from Hermosa, Manhattan and Redondo Beach.

Lazy Acres joins a group of five other Blue Zones Project Approved Grocery Stores in the Beach Cities. For more information on the Blue Zones Project in the Beach Cities, visit bchd.org/bzp.

About Beach Cities Health District Beach

Cities Health District (BCHD) is among the largest preventive health agencies in the nation and has served the communities of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach since 1955. As a public agency, it offers an extensive range of dynamic health and wellness programs, with innovative services and facilities to promote health and prevent diseases in every lifespan. BCHD also operates AdventurePlex, a health and fitness facility where kids play their way to good health, and the Center for Health & Fitness, a comprehensive, medically based fitness center. Visit www.bchd.org or call (310) 374-3426 for more information.