Magazine article Drug Topics

Walgreens Brings Fresh Produce to "Food Deserts"

Magazine article Drug Topics

Walgreens Brings Fresh Produce to "Food Deserts"

Article excerpt

HEALTHY OPTIONS

In addition to its role as a pharmacy provider, Walgreens seems to be mofhing into a supermarket in some U.S. cities.

In 10 of its Chicago-area stores, Walgreens is piloting a program to provide healthy food options such as fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen meats and fish, eggs, and whole-grain cereals and pastas in its stores, In fact, it is carrying 750 new food items in each of the 10 stores, which are primarily in the south and west sides of Chicago.

Walgreens' executives chose those locations to pilot food stores because they are in urban areas where there are no supermarkets or other retail locations selling healthy food, leaving neighborhood residents few options beyond high-calorie fast foods or processed food products sold by convenience stores.

"Last year, we were approached by Chicago's mayor, Richard M. Daley, about finding ways to address 'food deserts/ Because we are the city's most accessible retailer, we decided to look at how we could help in places where there was limited or no access to healthy food options," said Don Whetstone, senior director, new format development, Walgreens.

Walgreens started rolling out the redesigned Chicago stores last year, "We are focused on health and wellness, and this is one more way we can help improve the health outcomes of customers and patients in the area," Whetstone said. …

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