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Supermarket Wellness Watch: A revealing look at older consumers, food and health

BY David Orgel
The conventional wisdom is that younger generations are leading the transformation of how Americans eat. 
 
Healthier foods. Cleaner ingredients. Organic. Sustainability. Traceability. 
 
But if Millennials and Gen Y are the revolutionaries, they aren’t necessarily feeling good about it. 
 
It turns out older consumers, from 50 to 80 years old, are the ones most confident about their health choices and sources of nutrition information, at a time of widespread confusion driven by conflicting stories in the media. This finding has important implications not just for supermarkets, but also for a wide range of retail channels.
 
The insight comes from the latest annual version of the Food and Health Survey by International Food Information Council Foundation, a nonprofit whose mission is to communicate science-based information on health, food safety and nutrition. The organization’s 2017 research includes results of its companion national survey of older consumers, ages 50 and over, the fastest growing U.S. demographic, conducted in partnership with AARP Foundation. The deeper dive into Boomers and older consumers is valuable at a time when most research seems to be analyzing Generations Y and Z. 
 
Among the IFIC Foundation’s findings: 
  • In the face of conflicting information about what to eat, only 47 percent of consumers ages 50 to 80 years old say the confusion leads to doubts about their choices, compared to 61 percent of those ages 18 to 49.
  • Consumers ages 50 to 80 are more likely than younger ones to follow healthy eating behaviors, ranging from cutting back on full-fat dairy to eating more foods with whole grains.
  • Older consumers are more likely than younger ones to connect specific foods with health benefits they are pursuing. 
  • The older set is also more confident about the safety of the food supply than younger consumers. 
In an interview with DSN, Alexandra Lewin-Zwerdling, IFIC’s vice president of Research and Partnerships, observed that the confidence of older consumers may result from how they source information. 
 
 “They rely on fewer sources of information, and more credible sources, so they get less conflicting information,” she explained.
 
Gaining a better understanding of the needs of older consumers can illuminate new strategies for retailers, she added. 
 
“There’s always been a focus on younger consumers, so the more we can understand that older consumers are a quickly growing demographic with health conditions that can be addressed through diet, that will enable retailers to pay greater attention.” 
 
The findings are useful not just for the food retail channel, but also for channels including drug. 
 
“Retailers can explore what foods older adults are purchasing at drug stores, and how pharmacists can connect the food and medicine sides,” she said.
 
I suggest retailers look at IFIC’s research to better understand what drives buying patterns of these older shoppers, who incidentally have a great deal of buying power. This need not be rocket science. Older Americans are already seeing the link between food and health benefits, so it should be relatively straightforward to market to them along these lines. Hopefully this research will help spark a new look at generations that aren’t getting the attention they deserve.
 

David Orgel is an award-winning business journalist, industry expert and speaker who was the longtime chief editor and content leader of Supermarket News. He is currently the principal of David Orgel Consulting, delivering strategic content and counsel to the food, retail and CPG industries. To read last month’s blog post, click here
 

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2017 Pharmacy of the Year grows patient service, business at same time

BY David Salazar

McKesson has awarded its 2017 Pharmacy of the Year Award to second-generation pharmacist Nicole Winnen’s Mac Prescription Shop, a Health Mart pharmacy. Winnen has brought new ways to better serve her patients at the 47-year-old pharmacy, which serves the community of McMinnville, Ore.

Winnen was 24 years old when she purchased Mac Prescription Shop from her father and his partner in 2000, and since then, her focus has simultaneously been on providing vital services to the McMinnville community and continuing to grow the business — two goals that have gone hand-in-hand.

“A lot of people appreciate being able to shop locally with a pharmacy that has deep ties to the community,” Winnen said. “As an independent pharmacy, we have the ability to offer extra services for our customers, and they really enjoy the fact that they can walk in and talk with a pharmacist and ask questions regarding their medications and their care.”

Since Winnen implemented a medication synchronization program, the pharmacy has registered 250 patients, and the pharmacy staff calls patients on a monthly basis to check adherence. Working off of an appointment-based model has brought a more personalized level of care to patients, to whom the pharmacy also offers medication therapy management services.

“Nicole Winnen of Mac Prescription Shop Health Mart is a shining example of how community pharmacies can thrive in today’s environment and why McKesson and Health Mart continue to invest in progressive strategies, innovative solutions and clinical services to support independent pharmacies,” McKesson president U.S. pharmaceutical Mark Walchirk said. 

While Mac Prescription Shop Health Mart is performing in the top 20% of all adherence measures, Winnen also has been working to expand the store’s offerings beyond patients’ monthly appointments. For example, pharmacy staff travel to nursing homes in the community to bring them diabetes education sessions, and in addition to offering immunizations in-store, Mac Prescription Shop Health Mart works with employers to provide flu shots.

“We don’t wait for patients to come into the pharmacy. We are willing to go to them, to be there at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. during shift changes to give vaccines,” Winnen said. “Not only do we earn their trust through relationships, it’s also been a great way to acquire new business.”

“I think Nicole is very innovative in how she continues to look at the marketplace in this community,” Health Mart president Steve Courtman said. “She sees opportunities with other employers in the county, but she’s also very nimble to competitive threats from others to take her business.”

Across the street from her Mac Prescription Shop Health Mart location, Winnen operates a durable medical equipment business with a showroom for DME products to give patients a visual of the choices they have when buying rolling walkers and other mobility aids. As she has grown her business, Winnen credits McKesson and Health Mart with being vital partners.

“Being part of Health Mart has helped us by giving us brand recognition and by providing some tools and training resources that we wouldn’t have had otherwise,” she said. “It’s nice that Health Mart respects the individuality of independent pharmacies and encourages each pharmacy to run its business the way it wants based on the unique needs of its community and patient base — that’s also appreciated.”
 

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QS/1 partners with Updox to implement care coordination solution

BY DSN STAFF

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Pharmacy technology company QS/1 announced Friday that it has partnered with Updox to bring its users web-based care coordination suite Pharmacy Connect. The platform allows pharmacists to exchange patient information securely with healthcare providers and to communicate with patients.

“Community pharmacies are working at a record pace to provide the best care possible to patients,” QS/1 market analyst Crystal Ratliff said. “Pharmacy Connect is no doubt the industry leader that can help those pharmacies improve communications with physicians, offer patients unique online resources and improve cash flow by taking advantage of things like MTM opportunities, and just having a product to make the pharmacy more readily available to its patients.”

The platform allows for such communication as direct messaging and electronic faxes, and also is designed to improve patient engagement by allowing pharmacists to send patients messages and forms to complete that pharmacists can then share with the patient’s physician. Other features include the ability to receive clinical files from a doctor’s electronic medical records system and send patients notifications to access an online appointment system for such pharmacy services as medication therapy management.

“We’re very excited to partner with QS/1. They’re an established leader in this market and are incredibly innovative in incorporating technology into pharmacy operations to improve care,” says Michael Morgan, chief executive officer, Updox. “With Updox Pharmacy Connect, QS/1 customers can engage patients, communicate securely with providers and run their pharmacies more efficiently so they can focus more on patients and less on paperwork.”

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