- Albertsons announced on Wednesday it has started accepting supplemental benefits to pay for over-the-counter medications and fresh produce.
- The grocery company, which runs stores under 20 banners, allows shoppers to use pre-paid cards funded by Medicare Advantage plans, employer incentives, healthcare providers or local governments.
- Albertsons said this marks its latest effort to expand access to food and promote wellness — two key areas many grocers are honing in on to attract shoppers.
Amid a heightened focus among shoppers on their personal health more than two years into the pandemic, Albertsons is looking to meet those health needs through both fresh produce and medication.
Albertsons said it has teamed up with technology payments platforms such as Solutran's S3 to offer the pre-paid card offering.
The grocery company said it is also expanding programs like Fresh Bucks, a healthy food program that helps Seattle residents buy fruits and vegetables. Albertsons noted that Fresh Bucks is supported by S3.
Albertsons has taken over recent steps to further lean into health and well-being for not just customers, but also employees. Last week, the company announced a partnership with healthcare technology company Cue to offer its molecular COVID-19 tests, which provide results in 20 minutes, at participating pharmacies across the country. The companies initially piloted the in-pharmacy COVID-19 testing program last fall at 40 locations and have now rolled it out to roughly 900, with more due to be added in the coming weeks.
Earlier this year, Albertsons' medical plans for workers began covering OTC rapid antigen home tests.
In 2020, Albertsons tapped Omer Gajial, a former Amazon and PepsiCo executive, to lead its healthcare efforts.
A survey released last summer by the Food Industry Association found that 69% of food retailers said the industry may see significant business growth by focusing on health-conscious offerings. The trade group noted that food retailers are poised to place more emphasis on nutrition, overall health, self-care, preventive care and emotional well-being going forward.
Grocers are also leaning into the food-as-medicine trend through offerings like medically tailored nutrition, incentive programs and food prescriptions.