Giant Food to fill prescriptions for fruits and veggies

Discussion
Photo: DC Greens
Apr 23, 2019
George Anderson

Giant Food has announced that it is participating in a single-store pilot program in Washington, DC that will allow Medicaid beneficiaries suffering from diet-related chronic illnesses to receive a $20 coupon at the pharmacy to buy fresh fruits and vegetables in the produce section if they bring a doctor’s prescription.

The program, which kicks off tomorrow, is run in concert with DC Greens, a local nonprofit dedicated to giving the city’s residents access to healthy foods.  

“We believe that cross-sector partnerships are the only way to achieve health equity in our city,” said Lauren Shweder Biel, executive director of DC Greens, in a statement. “Doctors and patients both need more tools to address food insecurity and diet-related chronic illness. Through Produce Rx, our healthcare system can be a driver to get patients access to the healthy food that they want and need.”

“As a food retailer, we recognize the important role we can play in the access to healthy foods and health education, and the program is certainly a natural fit with our ongoing efforts to support the health needs of the communities we serve,” said Gordon Reid, Giant Food’s president.

Giant Food sees Produce Rx as a complement to its existing programs geared to meeting the nutritional needs of its customers, including its in-store nutritionists and pharmacists, the Guiding Starts nutritional rating system and its “Nutrition Made Easy!” podcast. Last year, the grocery chain donated over five million pounds of food to hunger relief organizations.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think the Produce Rx program about to be tested at a Giant Food store in the nation’s capital is an indication of the converging paths between medicine and food retailing? Do you see Produce Rx or other programs with similar goals being scalable?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"This is a model example of focusing on customers and experience versus just selling products."
"It will be a tough demographic to change difficult behaviors with but this is a tremendous start to creating a more healthy lifestyle and full lifecycle experience..."
"It’s simple: Food. Is. Medicine. I heartily applaud Giant Food for this move and can only hope more retailers follow."

Join the Discussion!

11 Comments on "Giant Food to fill prescriptions for fruits and veggies"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Chris Petersen, PhD.
BrainTrust

Healthy eating is a complex behavioral change, but this could be a major step in the right direction. What is impressive about the Giant Food produce RX pilot is that it is part of a holistic approach involving nutritionists, pharmacists, and a nutritional rating system. This is a model example of focusing on customers and experience versus just selling products. The best part is that it is highly measurable and all of the partners can get valuable insights into how it can scale.

David Weinand
BrainTrust

Cool idea indeed. Of course, as they say, you can lead a horse to water but … It’s important to not only provide the benefit but it’s also likely necessary to provide some education around the importance of fresh produce in a person’s diet. If done properly, I think this is definitely scalable given the retailers, insurance companies or government can subsidize the program.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
BrainTrust

Exactly! The “weak link” in this initiative will be people’s ability to actually consume the better-for-you foods!

Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

It’s simple: Food. Is. Medicine. I heartily applaud Giant Food for this move and can only hope more retailers follow. Too many people suffer from poor nutrition, often caused in part by the allure of $1 menus at fast food restaurants. While this is indeed a small step, it is nonetheless an extremely important step for low-income people. And I do believe this will be good for Giant as well, as doctors obviously know the straight line relationship between food and health, and I am entirely confident they will send patients to Giant to fill their fruit and veggie prescriptions.

Dave Wendland
BrainTrust

I do see this produce Rx program broadening in scale. With the number of Americans facing preventable chronic conditions stemming from poor diet and lack of exercise and for those sufferers exasperated by their health, such a program can be invaluable. I’ve advocated for such an initiative for years and I’m pleased to see Giant Food undertaking such a cause!

Kevin Graff
BrainTrust

How do you do a standing ovation via email? If I knew how, I would certainly give Giant Food Stores one for this initiative. The link between nutrition and health is undeniable as just about everyone knows. Stepping up in this fashion goes beyond just the “let’s make more money” mindset that prevails typically. It puts the customer front and center, and in this case focuses on what’s most important — their health. Yes this will produce a profit in the long run for Giant Stores, but it will be done on the back of doing what is right for their customers.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Well said, Kevin!

Dave Nixon
BrainTrust

It will be a tough demographic to change difficult behaviors with but this is a tremendous start to creating a more healthy lifestyle and full lifecycle experience for shoppers at Giant Foods. I am anxious to see how successful it is to cross-sell services with products in this case and see what other interesting innovations might come out of it. Analytics shows this is a better business model for increased basket size and healthier shoppers. Good on them!

Andrew Blatherwick
BrainTrust

What a great idea and a perfect place to make it work! Giant Food is the right place for this initiative, having the pharmacy and the fresh foods they are ideally placed to get people to partake in healthy eating as part of their medication. A lot of retailers would have been concerned about the impact on their sales but this initiative shows a community spirit and ultimately will work in their favor as people support companies that show compassion.

The whole promotion of healthy fresh fruit and vegetables is in itself a plus for Giant. The message will resonate with all customer groups making Giant Food a destination shop for health minded consumers.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

I suspect this will be applauded by everyone but the shareholders — unless Giant is reimbursed by someone, I’m confused as to how this can be viable in the long-run.

Bethany Allee
BrainTrust

I also want to understand the long-term funding model. Short-term, great branding and publicity. Long-term, at scale the numbers do not seem viable.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"This is a model example of focusing on customers and experience versus just selling products."
"It will be a tough demographic to change difficult behaviors with but this is a tremendous start to creating a more healthy lifestyle and full lifecycle experience..."
"It’s simple: Food. Is. Medicine. I heartily applaud Giant Food for this move and can only hope more retailers follow."

Take Our Instant Poll

How likely is Produce Rx test program to prove successful for Giant Food, its customers and the other stakeholders involved?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...