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Pharmaprix expands fresh food offering

Up to 750 new items will be available with Zone Marché concept
Pharmaprix now offering even more food items, with up to 750 new fresh products. (CNW Group/Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation)

Busy customers are now able to quickly and easily pick up the healthy foods they need for their breakfast, lunch or supper at Pharmaprix. (CNW Group/Shoppers Drug Mart Corporation)

Loblaw-owned Pharmaprix is beefing up its fresh food offering with a new concept called Zone Marché. Six Montreal-area stores now have expanded fresh food sections, and the pharmacy chain plans to increase that to 11 locations by early December.

In an interview with Canadian Grocer, Denis Roy, director of merchandising and marketing at Pharmaprix, said innovating with Zone Marché is a way to accommodate the demands of urban customers who are short on time. “Pharmaprix is constantly evolving to make life easier for the customers,” he said. “And given the fact that pharmacies are all about health, adding the commodity and convenience of fresh food just totally made sense.”

Three different models will be offered, depending on store footprint and traffic: “refrigerated counter,” which focuses on fast and convenient snack ideas; “grab and go,” which centres on meal solutions; and “fully enhanced,” which offers all of the above, but with even greater variety.

READ: Shoppers Drug Mart opens Yonge-Dundas location

Depending on the model, up to 750 new items will be available including fruits and vegetables (bulk and pre-packaged items, organic items, prepared salads and pre-cut fruits and vegetables); deli cheese and cold cuts; pre-packaged fresh meats; on-the-go meal solutions such as pasta, quiche and sandwiches; and artisan breads and desserts.

Two considerations were highly important in the development of Zone Marché: brand recognition and pricing. “We recognize that with the Quebec customer, obviously the language profile is different, but the taste profile is also different,” said Roy. “So, we wanted to have products and brands on the shelves that are recognized by the Quebec customer.” These include some of the province’s most popular brands, including St-Viateur Bagel, Le Commensal, Saputo and Bravodeli.

“Secondly, we’re all about commodity and convenience, but we made sure that our position on pricing was highly competitive,” said Roy.

Zone Marché is in a pilot phase and the company will make any necessary adjustments before expanding next year, said Roy. In terms of future locations, Roy said Pharmaprix would look at areas in Quebec outside of the Montreal area, depending on density and other factors. Pharmaprix has 180 locations in the province.

Pharmaprix is promoting Zone Marché through targeted flyer insertions, out-of-home ads and e-mail communications to customers.

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