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Demonstrating the increased link between food and health that seems to be emerging in US grocery stores, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) annual “Supermarket Pharmacy Trends” report says that “nearly half of food retailers (48.1 percent) provide health seminars, disease management programs, health-focused shelf tags and store tours of healthy products in at least some of their stores,”

In addition, according to the report, 38.5 percent of retailers are offering walk-in clinics, 32.7 percent are providing nutrition counseling, 30.8 percent have health-focused recipes, and 19.2 percent have 340B drug programs (reduced pricing for the uninsured), 19.2 percent.

The “Trends” report also says that the median number of prescriptions dispensed per day in supermarkets was 126 in 2007, comparable to 125 in 2006 and up from 120 the previous two years, that median weekly prescription sales per store rose to $46,000, from $42,000 in 2006, that prescription sales as a percentage of total store sales held steady at 9.4 percent, compared with 9.5 in 2006, although above the 9.0 percent reported in 2005 and 6.0 percent in 1997, and the generic drug share of prescription volume increased to 63.5 percent, from 58.0 percent.

KC's View:
Even in economic hard times, I firmly believe that stores need to heighten the link between food and health, drawing a thick line between the two that allows consumers to make better, more informed decisions. That doesn’t mean that people always will choose the healthiest option…but it does mean that they will be making intelligent, contextual choices.

This is, by the way, the whole premise of the work being done currently by the Coca-Cola Research Council, the most recent report of which is something that everybody should get their hands on, and use as a template in framing future programs.