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CVS steps up rollout of better-for-you foods

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Drug chain to boost healthy food choices at over 2,900 stores

CVS new fresh food display_2015

Enhanced assortments and displays of fresh foods were part of a front-end pilot that CVS launched last year.

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Pharmacy is ramping up its offering of healthier foods and beverages at more than 2,900 stores nationwide.

CVS said Tuesday that this year it will roll out “a carefully curated selection of national and niche better-for-you brands” at 100 stores each week. The goal is to provide more healthful, convenient and affordable consumables options for on-the-go shoppers, according to the company.

Healthier fare already has hit shelves at many stores. CVS said that this spring it added more than 250 fresh, refrigerated and nonperishable foods and beverages at stores around the country, including Amy’s Kitchen, Annie’s Homegrown, Chobani, Vita CoCo, Bai, Krave Jerky, Rhythm Superfoods and That’s It bars. The rollout also included new products from the CVS’ Gold Emblem abound line, which has no artificial preservatives, flavors and colors.

Besides the 2,900 stores that will get a bigger assortment of healthy foods, another 360 stores will undergo a front-end redesign to enhance the layout of food, beauty care and over-the-counter health products, according to CVS. The wider selection of better-for-you foods will be offered in an expanded refrigerated section, and healthy foods and grab-and-go snacks will be displayed more prominently, the drug chain said.

The plan expands a 500-store pilot that CVS launched a year ago, in which it enhanced the stores’ front-end presentations and offerings in health, beauty and consumables. The initiative kicked off with 150 high-volume urban locations.

“Since becoming the first and only national pharmacy chain to end the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products, the No. 1 thing we’ve heard from our customers is the desire for healthier food options,” Judy Sansone, senior vice president of front store business at CVS, said in a statement. “This year, we are continuing to expand the assortment, volume and shelf space dedicated to better-for-you foods and snacks offered in our stores nationwide to make healthier snacking easier and more convenient for our customers.”

CVS’ latest effort also will focus on the checkout area. Starting this summer, the retailer plans to change out about 25% of front checkout space, traditionally occupied by candy, with better-for-you snacks such as KIND bars, Larabars and Vega One bars.

Another new feature this year will be “healthy eating trend zones” in stores, CVS said. Niche products that support trending dietary preferences such as paleo, raw and vegan will be spotlighted in select CVS locations over the course of the year.

Leading off will paleo displays including EPIC 100% grass-fed bison bars and Gold Emblem abound organic black chia seeds, which will be followed by raw foods showcased during the summer, including from Go Raw bars, Emmy’s Organics and Two Moms in the Raw, CVS said. In the fall, a vegan showcase — featuring Larabar Bites, Kashi Teff Thin Crackers and GimMe Health Food Seaweed Snacks, among other items — will be available in select locations.

CVS said it also will serve up healthy deals of the week and personalized email offers to underscore that healthier choices can be affordable. The retailer, too, will continue to make it easier for customers to find healthier items in stores with its Fit Choices shelf tagging program, which flags consumables that fit certain nutritional and dietary preferences, such as “Good Source of Protein,” “Heart Healthy,” “Gluten Free,” “Sugar Free,” “Organic” and “Non-GMO Project Verified.” Better-for-you offerings also will be available online at CVS.com.


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