With an increasing number of retailers selling groceries, where are traditional supermarkets to turn for relief? Many are latching onto health and wellness, appropriating for themselves a territory long owned by drug stores.
Supermarket chains are using their pharmacy counters as more than consumer conveniences and traffic drivers in order to play up the health part of health and wellness.
Kroger operates in-store pharmacies in approximately 80 percent of its more than 2,400 grocery and multi-department stores. It also publishes a health guide with information on natural standards for herbs and supplements as well as other nutritional information. And to keep pace with the EDLP competition, Kroger pharmacies offer 30-day supplies for $4 and 90-day supplies for $10 on more than 300 generic prescription medications.
Safeway has named a new senior vice president of pharmacy, health and wellness to oversee operations that include specialty care, pharmacy services, compliance, benefits management and managed care. H-E-B is promoting health and wellness by doubling the number of in-store clinics; this spring, Weigh Forward — the medically supervised program for personal weight management — became available at the 29 RediClinic locations already operating inside H-E-B units in the Houston, Austin and San Antonio, Texas, markets.
Still, in a nation obsessed with what it consumes — calories, cholesterol, carbohydrates, sodium, gluten, caffeine — grocery retailers are addressing health and wellness with promotions on the nutritional value of foods and with special events featuring registered dieticians. There are shelf talkers with increased nutritional information, even rating systems on individual products, as well as store websites peppered with healthy recipes and food preparation tips. The Food Marketing Institute reports that 74.3 percent of retailers say health and wellness is one way they seek differentiation in the marketplace, up from 68.4 percent the year before.