Food City cooks up wellness in the Healthy Living Kitchen
If you ask executives at Food City, it’s part of the role of a supermarket pharmacy operator to help its customers understand how healthy eating plays into overall health and wellness. It’s a responsibility they take pretty seriously.
“I think in the supermarket we should be focusing on what are healthy eating habits,” Don Clark VP pharmacy services told DSN. “Obesity in the United States is the root of a lot of these health problems that we have.”
To help keep its end of the bargain, Food City in January partnered with the University of Tennessee Medical Center to expand the reach of Healthy Living Kitchen, a program that brings nutrition education to schools, community events and local Food City stores.
Consisting of a registered dietitian, cardiac nurse specialist and senior executive chef from UT Medical Center, the Healthy Living Kitchen team presents healthy cooking classes and provides information on nutrition, label reading and making the right choices while grocery shopping. The expanded program will include grocery shopping tours at select Food City stores with a UT Medical Center registered dietitian.
The program fits in well with Food City’s NuVal system, which scores more than 35,000 food items on a scale of 1 to 100, taking into consideration more than 30 nutrients and evaluating the dietary importance; the higher the score, the higher the nutrition.
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Harmons helps consumers find ‘Healthy Living Solutions’
One chain that exemplifies experimentation and innovation in health-and-wellness programs is Harmons, which operates 13 stores in the Salt Lake City area.
In 1999, the family-owned company unveiled Healthy Living Solutions. Originally a store-within-a-store concept, the department featured natural and organic products, with the pharmacy manager in charge of the department.
As business grew, the products sold in the department were dispersed throughout the store and given a Healthy Living Solutions tag, though a small handful of stores still operate the concept as a separate department. Today, customers in most stores can go to any aisle and find both traditional products and natural and organic products.
“We think a lot of the people who are interested in quality and freshness are also interested in health and wellness,” Harmons director of pharmacy Greg Jones said. “We think a health-and-wellness solution needs to tie the pharmacy and produce department and meat department.”
In two months, the chain will open a new store that will be the first to have a full-time dietitian who will operate in an office next to the pharmacy. “It’s worked in other parts of the country, and we think the time is right for the Utah market,” Jones said. Harmons also offers in-store immunizations and has dabbled in medication therapy management.