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09/01/2022

Metro partners with CoreHealth as more grocers turn to digital health solutions

Food and pharma retailers across the U.S. and Canada are finding opportunities in digital health and wellness technologies
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A new Metro supermarket location on Eagleson Road in the Kanata suburb of Ottawa

Metro is stepping up its health and wellness efforts as it starts a new partnership with CoreHealth 

A subsidiary of Carebook Technologies Inc., CoreHealth is a digital platform that provides health and wellbeing solutions for employers and health and wellness providers. Among the platform’s solutions are: targeted health and wellbeing assessments, wellness challenges, learning programs, digital coaching, and rewards and incentives. 

Metro declined to provide additional details on the partnership, but in a press release, vice president of marketing Alain Tadros said: “We are excited with the ability of the platform to add value to our customers across our food and pharma banners and [it] ties well with our purpose of nourishing the health and wellbeing of the communities that we serve.” 

Alain Champagne, outgoing president of The Jean Coutu Group, a subsidiary of Metro said: “CoreHealth’s digital platform will complement our health and wellness initiatives that are tailored to the individual customers.”

While it remains to be seen how Metro’s new digital initiative will be brought to life, the partnership certainly tracks with today’s health and wellness trends. As consumers seek ways to manage their dietary and medical needs, they increasingly see their supermarket as an ally to meet their health and wellbeing goals – and grocers are responding.

According to “The Food as Medicine Opportunity in Food Retail” 2021 report by FMI and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, half of U.S. food retailers significantly or moderately increased their health and well-being programs over the past year. And in FMI’s Food Retailing Industry Speaks 2020, grocers say health and well-being is the top factor positively impacting sales and profits (75%), followed by leveraging food to manage or avoid health issues, or food as medicine (71%).

The trend is taking place in both the U.S. and Canada, with a growing number of grocery and pharma retailers leveraging digital health technologies, as well as providing healthcare services. 

For example, in 2020, Loblaw expanded the launch of its PC Health app, a digital tool that provides free access to healthcare resources and support, such as nurses and registered dietitians. It also provides custom digital health programs that reward users with the company’s PC Optimum points. 

This past March, Loblaw subsidiary Shoppers Drug Mart acquired Lifemark Health Group, which provides physiotherapy and rehabilitation services at its more than 300 clinics across Canada. Loblaw said the acquisition adds to the retailer’s growing role as a healthcare service provider, with a network of health and wellness solutions accessible in-person and digitally. Lifemark’s services are also integrated into the PC Health app. 

Walmart Canada is helping online customers meet their dietary and lifestyle needs with its  acquisition of Foodmaestro, a Toronto-based platform that helps consumers find products quickly and easily, recommends relevant products and delivers customized content such as meal planning.

Foodmaestro’s digital platform processes more than 14 million product attributes, 300,000 search requests and six million product validations (such as gluten free, peanut free and low sugar) in real-time each day. Walmart Canada said the acquisition allows the retailer to offer more personalization for its customers, such as highlighting safe products for those with food allergies or healthier options for people living with diabetes.

And in the U.S., regional supermarket chain Heinen’s offers Club Fx, a free program for members of its Tasteful Rewards loyalty program. Club Fx (the ‘Fx’ stands for food and prescription) offers education, nutrition tips, incentives and inspiration for customers to optimize their health – online and in-person.   

 

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