Consumables have long been a major component of any drug store’s product mix, but where stores historically have limited their offerings to soft drinks, candy and beer, more of them now are selling fresh produce and prepared foods.
Temple, Texas-based supply chain services provider McLane is one company that can help retail pharmacies freshen up their inventories. McLane operates a network of 19 facilities that allow the company to reach every ZIP code in the continental United States with its 2,000 temperature-controlled trailers delivering everything from frozen food to fresh vegetables and fruits.
“Through that network of providing multitemp options or just a large dynamic of items, we have the ability to tailor or customize a product mix,” McLane category manager for perishable, supplies and food service Greg Tradup told Drug Store News. “Anything you could find in a grocery store, we have the ability to tailor for a drug store.”
Tradup sees retail pharmacies as well-positioned to address the food desert problem. “I think a pharmacy, being a little bit more local, has probably the most unique ability to offer up a fresh food program where it might not be available locally,” he said. But retailers have to do it right to be successful.
This includes placing fresh foods in areas where customers will notice them, such as open-air coolers near the front of the store.
“There needs to be more involvement from the operators and the workers there in the store in regard to maintaining the programs, rotating the items and keeping the areas clean,” Tradup said. “They definitely need to advertise, make it known these items are available [and] put them in an area where they’re recognizable and can be seen.”