Peapod expansion shows growth in online grocery shopping
Peapod is opening nine new pickup locations at Stop & Shop stores around Massachusetts and Rhode Island as part of an expansion push in New England, bringing its total number of sites in those states and Connecticut to 27.
The way Americans shop for groceries is undergoing a rapid and dramatic change. Supermarkets will likely continue to exist for a long time, but a growing amount of shopping for food is happening online.
While it’s the largest online grocer in the country, Peapod isn’t alone. Its competitor in the New York market, FreshDirect, controls about 80% of the New York market for online grocery shopping, and Amazon appears to be looking to move in as well, as it already has on the West Coast.
But there’s a lot of innovation in online grocery shopping, too. Last month, Peapod formed a deal with Viroqua, Wis.-based Harvest Moon Farms to deliver organic and heirloom vegetables to customers in the Chicago area. Part of the deal included funding from Peapod for early crop seeds and other supplies, and the company said it would allow customers to buy boxes of produce without having to buy farm shares or be locked into a weekly commitment.
Also last month, one of Peapod’s sister companies, the Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn, introduced a pickup point at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, which allows customers to order items online from wherever they’re vacationing and then pick them up upon arrival.
According to a 1,650-person survey released last year by the Food Marketing Institute, 46% of shoppers report never or rarely purchasing groceries online, but 54% say they occasionally do. Online purchases of grocery items typically include such items as health and beauty products, home and pet products, while "very few" shoppers — about 4%, to be exact — purchase fresh foods and produce.
Meanwhile, consumers reported 2.2 weekly grocery trips in 2012, compared with 1.7 in 2011. However, the increases in patronage were in warehouse clubs, drug stores, dollar stores, ethnic food stores and convenience stores, while traditional supermarkets, supercenters, discount stores and limited-assortment stores saw fewer visits.
2014: Collaborative care and outcomes-based medicine will make this the year of the retail clinic
The collaboration between Community Health Network and Walgreens’ Healthcare Clinic is officially underway as of last week, the companies announced. It’s just one manifestation of how retail clinics and the pharmacies that house them will contribute to making health care more cost-efficient in the years ahead through coordinated care vetted by improved outcomes.
In fact, 2014 will be the year of the retail clinic. The collaboration dovetails nicely with Walgreens’ plans to significantly expand the scope of care found at Healthcare Clinic that president and CEO Greg Wasson talked about at the company’s last quarterly conference call. "These new services include diagnosis, treatment and management for hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and asthma, as well as additional preventive health services," he said.
And CVS/Caremark is positioning its MinuteClinic as a go-to source to support care management and wellness programs associated with the new state and federal health exchanges. CVS/Caremark plans to open 150 clinics this year, and to end 2013 with just under 800 clinics with almost one-third expanding into new markets, Larry Merlo, CVS/Caremark president and CEO, recently told investors.
In addition to big growth moves from the leaders, expect other retailers who seemingly had been on the sidelines previously to expand both the scope and footprint of their clinic operations in the months ahead. One example is Ahold, which will open its fourth FastCare clinic Tuesday. Lancaster General Hospital Express is also partnering with Ahold on retail clinics.
CVS Caremark’s fight against Rx drug abuse further illustrates vital role of community retail pharmacy
To help battle the national prescription drug abuse epidemic in the country, CVS Caremark embarked on a program whereby it tapped its extensive database to identify and halt inappropriate prescribing of high-risk drugs.
The reality is that drug stores have been caught in the middle of the nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic, and CVS Caremark’s efforts are an example of the larger role that retail pharmacy can play.
Looking at the stats, it is easy to see why such initiatives are critical. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2010, 22,134 (60%) were related to pharmaceuticals. Of the 22,134 deaths relating to prescription drug overdose in 2010, 75% involved opioid analgesics (also called opioid pain relievers or prescription painkillers), and 30% involved benzodiazepines.
As Troy Brennan, EVP and chief medical officer of CVS Caremark, stated when announcing the results of the program, “Prescription drug abuse in this country is an epidemic, but it doesn’t have to be.”
While the pharmacy company acknowledges that the program is not a “comprehensive solution to prescription drug abuse,” there’s no doubt that it is an important step in combating the epidemic.
The good news is that CVS Caremark isn’t alone it its efforts. Several other retailers have joined the fight, including Cardinal Health with its Generation Rx Initiative.