Biz Beat

Working on your fitness? Modesto’s Sprouts upgrades offer more healthy, tasty options

Add sprouts to any sandwich and you automatically feel healthier. Add a juice and salad bar to Sprouts and they’re hoping you make healthy eating automatic.

The Modesto grocery store Sprouts Farmers Market unveiled new renovations Wednesday, which included the aforementioned salad and juice bars, as well as a custom build-your-own-sandwich station, fresh meal case, more dairy selections and other improvements.

The Modesto site is among the first stores in the country to undergo the upgrades.

Sprouts opened in McHenry Village in 2012, after buying the short-lived Sunflower Farmers Market that was in its place. Since then it has become a popular destination for health-conscious shoppers thanks to its wide selection of fresh, natural foods that eschew artificial flavorings, colors and preservatives. The store also stocks a large variety of organic, vegan and gluten-free products.

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Sprouts Market has new signage as part of their recent remodel on McHenry Avenue in Modesto, Calif., on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. Andy Alfaro

If you’ve been along McHenry Avenue the past month and noticed large shipping containers in front of Sprouts, they were filled with materials for the renovations. Work began about six weeks ago and was completed this week. The efforts were part of a companywide push to upgrade Sprouts stores, which started last year with nine of its locations.

Modesto is among the close to a dozen stores undergoing the upgrade this year and the only store across the Northern San Joaquin Valley and Bay Area to have the updates. Sprouts has close to 300 locations across the country.

The new salad bar offers several kinds of lettuce in addition to more than two dozen toppings and more than half a dozen prepared salad mixes. The options will rotate with the seasons. Nearby the juice bar has four to five colorful blends, all squeezed and bottled fresh daily on site with no sugar or other ingredients added. They range from the Green Mineral Blast (celery, parsley, pear, apple and kale) to Sweet Beet (carrot, apple, lemon, ginger and of course lots of red beets). Free samples of the flavors were a popular stop this week, with many people walking away with a bottle in their carts,

“It’s a way to eat using the colors of the rainbow; the more colors that you eat, the more vitamins that you have,” said Tonia Tong, a regional marketing specialist for Sprouts. “We’re championing healthy eating.”

In addition to the new salad and juice bars, the store’s deli has been expanded and moved. It still offers the same Boar’s Head cold cuts and cheeses, but now also has a case full of fresh-made proteins and sides like baked salmon, roasted lamb, potato and pasta dishes and more. And while the store has always offered custom-made sandwiches, there is now a larger sandwich station where people can select their toppings and watch their food being made.

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Lauren Valdez, left, and Jay Macklin, right, make sandwiches at Sprouts Market on McHenry Avenue in Modesto, Calif., on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. Andy Alfaro

Sprouts spokeswoman Kalia Pang said the changes are part of a move toward quick, convenient and healthful prepared foods that busy customers can warm up themselves. The meals all are made each day on site.

“More shoppers want on-the-go options, whether a quick stop at lunch or an easy dinner option on the way home,” she said. “They want good hearty and healthy meals.”

Lest you think Sprouts, which is an alternative grocer in the same vein as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, only has good-for-you kale and beet concoctions, the store still has all of its buttery flaky bakery options which are — you guessed it — baked each day on site.

Other improvements include an expanded dairy selection, with more egg and milk and dairy-free milk, an expanded flower selection and new, more colorful signs throughout the store.

Sprouts in McHenry Village, at 1700 McHenry Ave., is open 7 to 10 p.m. daily. For more information call 209-527-7575 or visit