Market emphasizes healthy options
Housed in recently renovated main cafeteria at Butterworth Hospital, market serves nearly 5,000 people per day.
Spectrum Health has established a new on-site food market that focuses on healthy, locally sourced options.
The Michigan Street Market opened in March in the recently renovated main cafeteria at Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids.
The 7,500-square-foot market has fresh fruits and vegetables, a smoothie stand, a sandwich shop featuring Field & Fire breads, a carving station serving locally sourced meats, a salad bar and more.
Customers can choose pre-prepared meals but also can create their own options at most of the different stations throughout the market.
Kevin Vos, director of hospitality at Spectrum Health, said initial feedback from visitors has been positive overall.
He said the market serves nearly 5,000 customers per day. Nearly 10,000 people work at the medical center each day, and many more of them than before are choosing to eat on-site. The market also is attracting more people from GRCC and surrounding areas.
Spectrum said the market has seen a significant increase in sales since re-opening with revenue already 36% higher than last year.
Vos said the previous 4,000-square-foot cafeteria was built about 30 years ago before the heart center and children’s hospital were built. So, this was an opportunity to refresh the space and meet the increasing demand for healthier options.
“It's really given us a platform to make a lot of changes for what we do and allowed us to really define where we want to head in the future,” said Mick Rickerd, corporate chef for Spectrum Health.
While the market still has the “comfort food” options it had before, like chicken fingers and hamburgers, those options are positioned near the back, and the healthier options are at the forefront.
“We intentionally are placing and promoting more health-forward meals,” Vos said.
While the market is selling more chicken fingers than it ever has because of the increased number of customers, that option has dropped from the third bestseller to the 11th, Rickerd said. Salads rose from the fifth bestseller to the first.
Locally sourced products make up about 20% of what’s offered at the market, up from the cafeteria’s 5% of products last year.
Spectrum is estimating that it will invest about $1.6 million into its local partners by the end of the year.
Several local distributors have reported an increase in product sales, addition of new staff members and more, Vos said.
“Spectrum through the market is trying to realize that their economic vitality has a very symbiotic relationship to the vitality of the local community,” Vos said.
A few suppliers are Anu Sushi, Tolman’s Wholesale Meats, Kind Crumbs Bakery and Ingraberg Farms.
Brandon Bassett, CEO of Hudsonville-based Tolman's Meats, said his company has been working with Spectrum for a year and has increased business with the new market.
“It’s actually been the biggest driver of our sales increase so far,” Bassett said.
He said Tolman's Meats aligns well with Spectrum’s goals because the company is local and sells local meats. He said Tolman’s also works with Spectrum to customize orders.
Bassett said he supplies the raw meat that Spectrum smokes on-site. Tolman’s also supplies a lean beef burger made with Traverse City cherries.
Bassett said he worked with Rickerd on the menu and initial plans of the market.
Rickerd said Spectrum has tripled the business of Anu Sushi basically overnight. As of a couple of weeks ago, he said the market has sold 17,000 boxes of sushi.
As the Business Journal previously reported, Anu Sushi recently moved out of the innovation kitchen at the Downtown Market and now is working in a facility at 900 52nd St. SE in Kentwood.
Anu Sushi is the fifth “graduate” of the Downtown Market Incubator Kitchen and its fastest graduate ever, according to the market.
Once the business has fully transitioned to the new location, the owners said they will hire more workers.
The company also sells trays of sushi for the dining halls at Aquinas College, Davenport University and Calvin College, as well as to cafeterias at LG Chem, Yanfeng, Stryker, Wolverine Worldwide and more.
Rickerd said Spectrum is in the process of implementing a similar market at Blodgett Hospital by 2020 and is looking at how certain offerings could work at hospitals in other communities.
He said the plan is to have similar options at all of Spectrum’s hospitals in the next five years.