The Sunday paper isn't the only game in town when it comes to printed grocery coupons: Some health insurers are sending discount mailers to consumers as an incentive to eat healthier.
By their measures, at least, there's some evidence that it's working. Among recipients of such mailings, purchases of healthy items (per USDA guidelines) grew 4.5 percent in 2012 to 43 percent of grocery spending, according to a white paper from Linkwell Health.
The firm creates healthy-eating content for more than 15 insurers, including Humana and several local Blue Cross Blue Shield providers. Shoppers' purchases of seafood rose 95 percent and vegetables, 15 percent. Processed meat consumption fell 44 percent, and sugar purchases, 50 percent.
"There's a high literacy rate of coupons," said Ben Gardner, founder of Linkwell Health. The deals provide an extra nudge to shoppers who want to—or have been told by a doctor they should—eat healthier foods.