Q&A: Perishable profits
Drug Store News spoke with Greg Tradup, category manager of perishable, supplies and foodservice at McLane Co., about how chain drug retailers successfully can operate in the growing perishable foods space.
Drug Store News: Why have fresh and frozen food become such an attractive category for chain drug retailers?
Greg Tradup: Drug stores need to find new ways to cater to the needs of their core female shoppers. The channel is becoming widely recognized more as a destination for grocery take-home items than c-store instant consumable items.
Take-home fresh and frozen foods offer a wide variety of options for meal preparation both at home and at the office, so it appeals to the drug store female core. The category also appeals to non-typical drug consumers who recognize the value of foregoing a trip to a large grocery store when the local drug store offers the same or similar items in a quick, convenient format.
DSN: How can McLane help drug retailers overcome barriers that traditionally have prevented the channel from entering the perishable category?
Tradup: McLane constantly is changing the cold-chain distribution dynamic. The traditional distribution solution of offering items that have a long shelf life and strong resistance to temperature changes has been replaced with high-turn, short-coded items like fresh milk, multitemperature produce, and cut fruits and salads tailored to meet specific retailer needs. Through our wide assortment of suppliers and long-term experience in the industry, McLane can tailor a program to meet just about any need a drug chain may have.
DSN: How does McLane help retailers stock the right assortment of products and keep that stock replenished?
Tradup: By maintaining one of the largest databases in the industry, McLane can manage top items in every category, watch for new and emerging trends, and get a jump on industry changes so our customers stay ahead of the competition. Through McLane’s proprietary ordering system, drug retailers can order short-coded (shelf life) product through us and receive product with plenty of shelf life remaining. In most cases, the retailer will receive product within a day or two after it’s delivered to McLane, providing the best dating possible.
McLane’s Smart Handheld Ordering System allows retailers to place their common orders, as well as keep on top of new items, new promotions and special offers our suppliers may be providing. The Smart Handheld also offers suggested orders based on previous ordering history, so that if a store forgets to order a common item, the system orders it for [that store].
DSN: What kind of space commitment is needed to maximize sales in this category?
Tradup: While optimal space commitment depends on the size, location and scope of the store, most stores need a section for open-air coolers, freezer doors and produce. It’s important to gain consumer confidence in a category that isn’t traditionally associated with the drug channel. Space should always be clutter-free and clean, as consumers won’t trust fresh or perishable items if they feel the products have been mishandled or contaminated.
For retailers with limited space, McLane has a range of attractive equipment solutions featuring cutting-edge “air-curtain” technology that enhances the presentation of fresh product and promotes impulse purchases.
DSN: What new segments of the category should drug retailers be considering?
Tradup: Offerings in fresh fruit and salads give the one-stop shopper another reason to skip the large grocery store in favor of a more convenient drug store. New changes in packaging allow for longer shelf life of fresh sandwiches — another key category. While not a consumable, another segment for retailers to keep an eye on is floral. Many drug chains have been expanding into fresh flowers and potted plants with promising results.
Script Your Future campaign pushes importance of adherence
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The National Consumers League recently launched the Script Your Future initiative to raise awareness among patients about the impact of not taking their medications as prescribed, and now the first-of-its-kind campaign is kicking off in several markets around the country.
Script Your Future is an important initiative, as 3-out-of-4 Americans fail to take their medications as prescribed by their doctors. This equates to an estimated $290 billion drain on the U.S. healthcare system each year — costs that are avoidable.
Given the alarming numbers, medication adherence has become part of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Prevention Focus, and U.S. surgeon general Dr. Regina Benjamin helped kick off the campaign on May 11 at The George Washington University Hospital.
Script Your Future aims to educate patients and offer tools to help them better adhere. Tools include free text message reminders, sample questions, medication lists, condition management sheets and fact sheets on common chronic conditions. Six regional city markets — Providence, R.I.; Baltimore; Birmingham, Ala.; Cincinnati; Raleigh, N.C.; and Sacramento, Calif. — are piloting activities, research and advertising.
Events to date included: Elizabeth Rogers, lieutenant governor of Rhode Island, joined with the National Consumers League to launch the campaign in Providence on May 23. CVS Caremark, a national partner in the campaign, is headquartered in Rhode Island and participated in the launch. On June 7, the National Consumers League and lieutenant governor Walter Dalton gathered in Raleigh, N.C., for a launch event held at Kerr Drug, a campaign partner. And in Cincinnati, Dr. Daniel Acosta, dean of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Cincinnati, and city council member Wendell Young helped kick off local Script Your Future efforts on May 18 at the CARE-Crawley Building, University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center.
New RCEC session tracks help retailers, clinics, health systems
ORLANDO, Fla. — With retail clinic sales rising an estimated 81% per year since 2005 and sales expansion projected to continue in the coming years, according to recent research, The Drug Store News Group and Retail Clinician magazine, in partnership with the Convenient Care Association, will host the fourth annual Retail Clinician Education Congress in August.
The three-day conference, which features three separate tracks of programming, including 14 live hours of continuing education for nurse practitioners working in a retail clinic setting, will convene from Aug. 1 to 3 at the Gaylord Palms hotel in Orlando, Fla.
“The value of healthcare services delivered in this healthcare segment is rapidly reaching $1 billion and growing in double digits. The effects of healthcare reform and the need to drive patients toward high-quality, affordable and accessible health care will continue to positively influence convenient care clinic growth and utilization,” said Wayne Bennett, publisher of The Drug Store News Group.
One key addition to RCEC 2012 is a Collaborative Care Track, which features six dually accredited continuing education sessions for both NPs and pharmacists. The purpose of this new, one-day track is to better align clinic and pharmacy staff. “We know the best health care in this country is provided by a team. We are excited to introduce the collaborative care track, which is a hallmark of how health care will be provided in the future,” noted Tine Hansen-Turton, CCA executive director.
Another new wrinkle in this year’s program is a special Executive and Health Systems Leadership Colloquium track. This track of sessions, which runs concurrent with other continuing education programming sessions, is designed to bring hospital executives and health system administrators together with retail operators looking to expand their scope of services.
“We have seen the traditional medical community make huge strides in terms of its acceptance of the retail clinic model,” noted The Drug Store News Group editor-in-chief Rob Eder. “What was once viewed as a ‘disruptive force’ in health care is now seen as complementary. For retail pharmacy operators across all channels, partnerships with local hospitals and healthcare systems offer an easier and lower-cost-of-entry option for opening a retail clinic.”