- Kroger has announced two different health-related initiatives that will serve employees of Harris Teeter and customers at Roundy's Supermarkets.
- Kroger-owned Harris Teeter has partnered with OurHealth, an operator of primary care clinics, to provide 2,500 Charlotte, North Carolina area employees and their dependents with primary care services and health coaching.
- Kroger is also expanding its partnership with health company higi to bring smart health kiosks to Roundy's Supermarkets stores in Wisconsin and Illinois. The kiosks provide access to free health screenings and educational content. Kroger first partnered with higi in 2011 and offers its kiosks in more than 2,000 stores.
Kroger has been making bold moves when it comes to health care, and these two partnerships help to cement the company's commitment to health-related initiatives. The grocer’s Wellness Your Way program helps customers find nutrition tips, make shopping lists and participate in a prescription savings club, which aims to compare prices and find coupons on drugs. Kroger offers vaccinations at many of its pharmacies and operates on-site clinics at more than 200 locations through The Little Clinic, a Kroger subsidiary.
The company has also vocalized its ambitions to pursue a health care venture as a new revenue stream. Although the details are vague, Kroger has reportedly discussed ideas with potential partners in the health care industry, and clearly sees an opportunity to build another business venture outside of its margin-starved grocery sales.
Grocery chains have been investing in health initiatives for a while now, positioning themselves as health advocates and partners for their customers. Wegman’s rolled out higi kiosks in its stores in 2017 and has since integrated them with its pharmacy. Schnucks has added cardiovascular health kiosks from Pharmasmart in its 95 pharmacy locations. Many have added in-store nutritionists and dietitians. These initiatives not only provide the customer with important health information, they also build loyalty and give shoppers another reason to go into their local grocery store.
The partnership with OneHealth, meanwhile, is a way to promote high-quality health care and manage costs. Kroger has already invested in similar partnerships. Earlier this year it was announced that Kroger employees on the company health plan could be treated for cardiac problems at the Cleveland Clinic at little to no cost through a partnership with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio. Partnerships like these reduce overall costs to the employer and encourage employees to take better care of themselves through more convenient access to medical professionals.
Most people are going to the grocery store more often than they are visiting their doctor, and it's advantageous for grocers to consider opportunities in health care. According to the Food Marketing Institute, 55% of shoppers see their favorite grocery store as being their advocate when it comes to staying healthy. Nearly half of food retailers plan to increase their investment in consumer wellness programs, nutrition programs and in-store dietitians.