Hannaford provides guiding star to health
Hannaford’s commitment to health and wellness made headlines back in 2006 when it implemented the innovative Guiding Stars system — the first storewide nutrition navigation system in the United States. Now, five years later, the company’s dedication to healthy living remains strong.
Since the program’s launch, more fresh items and private-brand foods have been added to the system. As of the end of 2009, there were more than 16,500 products that were “starred.” The star-rating system rates food products and prepared meals, and is now featured on shelf tags and in-store communication at the Hannaford, Food Lion, Bloom and Sweetbay banners. Through licensing, Hannaford introduced Guiding Stars to universities in New Hampshire and Maine and to a public school system in Maine where it used it to star-rate prepared meals.
The retailer also is leveraging technology to help shoppers live healthier lives. By visiting MyHannaford.com, shoppers can make up to 10 personalized shopping lists, access their shopping list from their smartphone and set preferences for dietary restrictions.
The grocer also offers free nutrition classes across New England, covering such topics as eating for healthy blood sugars and prenatal nutrition. Registered dietitians lead the classes, and free samples are given out at every class.
Furthermore, in early 2010, Hannaford, which is owned by Belgium-based Delhaize Group, became the first grocer in the United States to introduce the ”Keep Local Farms” initiative at all of its stores. The program is designed to assist fundraising for local dairy farmers and to ensure a local fresh supply of milk.
Meanwhile, in addition to offering such pharmacy services as free blood-pressure checks and free flavoring of liquid medications, the grocery continues to offer its Healthy Saver Plus program to help patients save money on prescriptions, vision care, hearing aids, certain diabetic supplies and more.
Rx focus pulls Kinney through recession
While the economic downturn battered retailers across all channels, new pharmacy services and a new state-of-the-art pharmacy system has helped regional player Kinney Drugs weather the storm.
Kinney Drugs, which opened its first store in 1903 and today operates 90 locations, completed in 2010 the rollout of its new pharmacy system and, as a result, is now able to offer new services such as ReadyScripts. ReadyScripts is an automated refill program that is married with outbound messaging for patient reminders and free prescription delivery for those patients with little or no mobility.
Through a partnership with a central New York hospital, Kinney Drugs also is offering computer-assisted dispensing machines for the home setting and mobility chairs.
Kinney Drugs previously had been providing vaccinations only at its Vermont locations but, thanks to changes in New York state regulations, the retailer is now offering immunizations in its New York pharmacy locations as of mid-2010.
Looking ahead, the company indicated that it is planning to grow its store base by 2% to 4% each year, and also is interested in acquiring independent operators to establish a customer base in new markets.
Meijer disputes belief that nothing is free
The Midwest is known for flat landscapes and fertile farm fields stretching to the horizon, but it also is home to one of the country’s oldest and most successful mass merchandise chains — one with a long history of strong emphasis on pharmacy programs.
Where a growing number of chains have adopted generic discount programs, Meijer has taken to giving many drugs away for free. The list of medications that customers can obtain at no charge now includes metformin for Type 2 diabetes, prenatal vitamins and most antibiotics.
The chain also offers a variety of screenings for diabetes, cholesterol, liver function and blood pressure, as well as programs for combating obesity, such as body mass index and weight management information and education. Immunizations offered include seasonal flu, pneumococcal and shingles vaccines, all available on a walk-up basis.
The company, which currently has 195 stores, plans to open two more in the fall and has been expanding in Chicago with small-format stores of 90,000 sq. ft. that are focused on grocery and pharmacy.