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Diabetes epidemic may get squashed by supermarket-pharmacy offerings

BY Jim Frederick

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT More and more, the local food-drug supermarket-pharmacy combo is on the front line of the nation’s epic battle against the roaring diabetes epidemic. And given the natural alliance between pharmacy-based health-and-wellness programs on the one hand, and a well-conceived, nutritionally sound program in the food aisles for diabetics and other customers with special health concerns on the other, it’s a fitting place to wage such a fight.

(THE NEWS: Price Chopper introduces Diabetes AdvantEdge. For the full story, click here)

To that end, supermarket operators are stepping up their campaign to ally themselves with the vast population of Americans who either already have diabetes, or are at risk for getting it. And what better way than to offer customers free medications to treat the disease?

Price Chopper is the latest to offer free medicines, unveiling in mid-May a new diabetes management program designed to increase patients’ access to medication, support and information. The new offering, called Diabetes AdvantEdge, provides commonly prescribed diabetes medications as metformin, glipizide and glyburide, as well as free lancets and lancing devices for monitoring blood sugar. For free.

Price Chopper joins at least two other food/pharmacy store retailers, Publix and Meijer, in offering free diabetes drugs. It’s the kind of venture that will cost the chain some topline revenues, but given the fact that diabetic patients spend two to three times as much at their local pharmacy each year as do those without the condition, it makes economic as well as altruistic sense.

That’s especially true for food/drug combo stores. With their vast potential for tailoring food offerings and healthy-eating choices to the dietary needs of different customer segments, supermarkets like Price Chopper – already one of the industry’s real innovators in healthy eating choices and nutritional awareness programs – have an opportunity to build new and powerful connections with their customers. And building loyalty with the diabetic consumer pays even higher long-term dividends.

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Huggies launches jeans diapers

BY Allison Cerra

DALLAS Kimberly-Clark has introduced a limited-edition denim-inspired diaper for its Huggies brand.

Huggies Little Movers jeans diapers are available nationwide from June to July. The jeans diapers were first launched in Israel in 2007 and expresses personal style, Kimberly-Clark said,

The release of the diapers will include a comprehensive integrated marketing program, including fashion shows, celebrity partnerships, social media, public relations, digital and e-commerce partnerships, TV, mall and Internet advertising, as well as highly visible and unique in-store displays and cross promotions.

“Jeans have always been a Mommy fashion must-have, but now it’s time for their little ones to steal the style,” said Stuart Schneider, senior brand director of Huggies. “The design helps babies stay trendy while keeping dry with the same revolutionary design and proven leakage protection that moms have come to know and trust from the Huggies brand.”

Huggies jeans diapers are available in three sizes, from size 3 (16-28 lbs) through size 5 (over 27 lbs) for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $9.59 for a jumbo pack and $19.99 for a big pack (diaper count varies based on diaper size).

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Shoppers Drug Mart, Sony enter merchandising agreement

BY Allison Cerra

TORONTO Shoppers Drug Mart has inked a deal with Sony to revitalize the Canada-based drug store chain’s service centers.

The agreement with Sony will result in the introduction of approximately 50 Sony products to the cmpany’s offering of consumer electronics, games and accessories in approximately 700 Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix stores across the country. New products include Sony’s popular video game systems such as the PlayStation3 and PlayStation Portable, as well as an assortment of PlayStation games, accessories and peripherals.

The rollout will begin this fall.

“This agreement with Sony, coupled with the recent announcement of our distribution arrangement with Rogers, brings together leading brands and serves to further strengthen our value proposition and optimize the service center in our stores,” said Jurgen Schreiber, president and CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart. “Our customers have responded very favorably to our current assortment of consumer electronics and entertainment products. Enhancing our product assortment with popular Sony items will provide our customers with even greater choice and convenience in this growing category.”

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