CHICAGO Responding to the Windy City's food desert issue, Walgreens has unveiled expanded food selections at 10 of its stores in the Chicago area.
Customers will now find more than 750 new food items including fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen meats and fish, pasta, rice, beans, eggs, whole grain cereals and other healthy meal components in select stores, Walgreens said. The drug store chain has worked with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley since last year to improve the community's access to healthy-food options. On Wednesday, the chain held an event at the 67th and Stony Island store, one of the locations where the expanded food selection was rolled out. The expanded food selection now is available at the following Walgreens locations:
Four additional locations will be completed by the end of the month, including:
“We immediately made a commitment to seek solutions for offering these communities more fresh and healthy food options,” said Mark Wagner, Walgreens EVP operations and community management. “Walgreens has taken great pride in meeting the needs of Chicago communities since opening our first store on the city’s South Side 109 years ago. Today, we couldn’t be more pleased to provide additional basic staples that will inevitably help improve health outcomes for many in these previously underserved communities.”
In line with the food desert partnership between Walgreens and the city of Chicago, a new pilot program will be launched with Northwestern Medicine and Near North Health Service Corp., designed to educate residents in food desert communities about the link between healthy food choices and preparation and better management of such chronic illnesses as diabetes.
“We know this issue is not exclusive to Chicago,” said Wagner. “We have more locations in America’s underserved communities than any other retailer. That makes us well-positioned to play a role in addressing this important need beyond Chicago.”