Implementing in-store nutrition programs


Brad Dayton of Ahold USA, pictured above, discussed Ahold’s nutrition program at an Insight Session on Monday.

BOSTON — Pharmacy and nutrition. These two areas of health have always gone hand-in-hand, but community pharmacy is taking a closer look at ways to merge nutrition interventions and diet counseling into their practice — and the results are proving to be successful.

Looking to help industry players explore strategies and methods to successfully merge nutrition counseling into pharmacy, Kim Kirchherr, director of health and wellness at the National Dairy Council, and Brad Dayton, senior director of pharmacy at Ahold USA, presented Monday’s Insight Session “Advancing Neighborhood Care — Patient Nutrition Programs.”

“What’s the opportunity? As a dietitian having worked in a mainstream grocery store, I love it when you can find a win-win. … Dairy, fruits and vegetables have a lot of nutrients in them that can help reduce or help manage chronic disease, so that’s the opportunity,” Kirchherr said. “… The end result is that you are trying to meet a need for that consumer and their health goals, but at the same time, you are selling perishable items.”

When looking to implement such programs, Kirchherr shared some points to consider, including:

  • What health and wellness mean to your customers, employees and overall company;

  • What in-store real estate can be dedicated to health and wellness, such as private rooms;

  • Online provides a health-and-wellness presence 24/7; and 

  • What does success look like, and what are you trying to accomplish?

Bringing the topic to life, Dayton discussed Ahold USA’s nutrition program. 

“Pharmacists are asked questions about nutrition every day. … I believe there are two disease states that are at the intersection of food and pharmacy, and those are heart health and diabetes,” Dayton said. Ahold added its first in-store nutritionist in 2005 and plans to have more than 20 by 2015.

With the help of its nutritionists, the grocer has implemented several programs, including Healthy Ideas and gluten-free on-shelf labeling programs.

The company also has, through its Diabetes Care Pharmacist program that was implemented about two years ago, nearly 140 diabetic care pharmacists who are specially trained in diabetes.

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