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Walgreens biggest winner for exclusive Biggest Loser brand at LIMA award show

BY Michael Johnsen

LAS VEGAS — Walgreens was the biggest winner for its exclusive line of Biggest Loser weight-loss products here during the LIMA Opening Night Awards Ceremony here Tuesday.

Walgreens was named Best Retailer of the Year by the Licensing Industry Merchandiser’s Association for its Biggest Loser line of meal replacement bars and shakes licensed through NBCUniversal Television Consumer Products in May 2011.

The shakes and meal bars were developed with the guidance and oversight of “The Biggest Loser’s” nutrition expert, Michael Dansinger, and contain 10 g of protein per item.

The shakes, available in milk chocolate and creamy vanilla flavors, were supplemented with several vitamins and minerals but low in sodium. The meal bars come in four flavors — banana nut bread, chocolatey coconut, cinnamon apple turnover and peanut butter chocolate chip — and contain a half serving of fruit.

"The Biggest Loser" products first were unveiled on April 6 in New York City at a launch event for the Walk with Walgreens program. The event was hosted in part by "The Biggest Loser" host Alison Sweeney, who is a national spokeswoman for Walk with Walgreens.

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St. Louis College of Pharmacy, Walgreens team on high school outreach program

BY Michael Johnsen

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis College of Pharmacy on Monday announced its 12th year of partnership with Walgreens on the Career Explorers Program,  a program designed to give high school junior and senior minority students a look at what goes into becoming a pharmacist.

Twenty-five students were selected from across the region in a competitive application process, the college reported.
 
During the four-week program, the students will split their time between St. Louis College of Pharmacy and a Walgreens location. At the college, the students will meet for class and be immersed in the history of pharmacy, how to read prescriptions, calculate dosages and fill prescriptions. The other half of their time will be spent at St. Louis-area Walgreens pharmacies working as pharmacy technicians and assisting pharmacists on duty.

At the end of the program, each student will receive a certificate of completion and a stipend. Students who have participated in this program have later gone on to enroll and graduate from St. Louis College of Pharmacy or other colleges.

The application process for next year’s program will begin in January.

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Safeway extends use of reusable product containers to fresh produce

BY Michael Johnsen

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway on Wednesday announced that it has transitioned to using reusable product containers, rather than corrugated boxes, to ship many types of produce from the farm fields, through the distribution channel and to the final store destination.

This transition eliminated the use of more than 17 million pounds of corrugated boxes, the grocer reported.

Safeway has used RPCs for decades on many of its consumer brand categories, including bread, milk and soda. The company began testing RPCs in its distribution system for fresh wet-pack produce — fruits and vegetables kept on ice until they reach the store — in early 2010.

Making the transition for produce was a more complicated process than for other products because, to make it effective and decrease cardboard usage, Safeway’s distributors and grower partners also had to commit to the switch. The transition continued throughout 2011.

Today, many types of produce travel from the field, to the distributor, to Safeway’s product distribution centers and to the final store location in RPCs. The company’s major supplier of RPCs, IFCO Systems, said Safeway’s implementation of RPC usage to decrease waste was the fastest and most aggressive program rollout to date.

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