TALKING TURKEY: As part of Dave's Marketplace's smoking-cessation program, employees receive a free cold turkey sandwich in exchange for a pack of cigarettes. Taking part in an exchange are employees Jay Dufault, left, and Nina Whitman.
pbn photo/rupert whiteley
By Richard Asinof PBN Staff Writer
Temptation is everywhere in the grocery business when it comes to eating, particularly at a place such as Dave’s Marketplace, which runs a full-service commissary producing baked goods every day.
That makes the results of the company’s health and wellness efforts, particularly its annual “Biggest Loser” weight challenge, now in its fourth year, that much more impressive.
Out of a total insured employee population of 220, Dave’s had an average 70 percent participation rate in its annual weight-loss program, about 167 employees a year, according to Kevin Lovett, senior vice president of employer benefits at Gencorp Insurance Group, who helps to coordinate the wellness effort.
The individual Biggest Loser winner receives $1,000, and the team from the winning store (out of nine) wins an all-expenses-paid night out on the town: dinner and limousine included, of course.
The next big challenge is a smoking-cessation program for employees, called Cold Turkey. Employees who choose to enter into a smoking-cessation program will receive a cold turkey sandwich from the deli in exchange for their pack of cigarettes – as well as a series of supports to aid in the transition from smoking.
Because Dave’s is self-insured, with UnitedHealthcare of New England as an administrator, the company pays its own claims. “Health and wellness has a direct correlation with health care costs. The company truly values its employees,” Lovett said. •