Most checkout lanes explode with candy; not entirely true at Albert Lea Hy-Vee stores. With two years of development under its belt, the company launches a ‘Blue Zones’ checkout lane in January.

While most checkout lanes spill over with candy bars, gum and sweet treats aiming to attract children and adults, the “Blue Zones” lane at Hy-Vee stores features a variety of healthy snacks, including granola bars, carrots, dried fruits, string cheese and flavored water.

Hy-Vee dietitian Amy Pleimling says that since the Blue Zones lane opened, the store has seen an average of a 42% increase in sales on items featured in the lane. She says some of the products, such as the individual sales ofFiber Onegranola bars or applesauce packets, were not sold individually before. Therefore, she has no data to compare those sales to.

However, she reported a 63% hike in sales of dried peaches (no-sugar-added varieties), a 60% increase in sales of soy nuts, a 30% rise in sales of raw no-salt sunflower seeds and a 16% jump in sales of Sunsweet prunes.

The lane isn’t always open, as it’s not one of the “main” checkout lanes, Pleimling says. The idea is that the advertising is still there. “Parents send their kids to that lane for a snack, and then they’ll return to the lane they’re checking out in,” she says. The checkout lane took two years to create, though local Hy-Vee managers were quick to jump on board, but Pleimling had to work with Blue Zones lawyers to use the logo.