Ahold Delhaize: Advancing pharmacy, wellness initiatives

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Ahold Delhaize: Advancing pharmacy, wellness initiatives

By David Orgel - 04/14/2017

Ahold Delhaize entered 2017 as a newly combined global retail powerhouse that is pursuing a range of initiatives to advance pharmacy and health-and-wellness strategies in the United States. The merger of the European-based Ahold and Delhaize formed Ahold Delhaize last July, producing a giant entity with 6,500 stores in 11 countries.

In the United States, where the company operates about 2,000 stores, the retail banners include Food Lion, Stop & Shop, Hannaford, Giant Carlisle, Martin’s, Giant Landover and bfresh. Recent U.S. integration moves included the creation of a new retail business services unit to “provide cost-effective, best-in-class support services to Ahold Delhaize’s local brands in the United States.”

Dick Boer, CEO of Ahold Delhaize, recently said, “2016 was not only a year where we brought together two strong food retailers. It was also a year in which our great local brands drove solid performance, serving our customers both in stores and online.”

The retailer has been piloting new pharmacy technology programs in its U.S. retail banners. Giant introduced a pilot in February at a store in Fairfax, Va. It focused on pick-up point technology at a full-service pharmacy. The technology employed LED lights to illuminate a filled prescription in a drawer, making it easier for a pharmacist to quickly spot the correct one.

Last August, Giant Carlisle and TCGRx outlined information about a center store pharmacy pilot effort on which the two organizations collaborated. The pilot involved TCGRx’s Beacon Inventory Management system. The solution was intended to boost efficiencies related to inventory management and customer pickup.

Ahold Delhaize has made big efforts on the sustainability front. The company was recognized in the 2016 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, ranking as a leader in the food and staples retailing sector. Both Ahold and Delhaize had previously been included as separate companies. “Inclusion in the Index strengthens my belief that as Ahold Delhaize, together our brands can make an ever bigger difference in local communities — and the world,” Boer said.

Ahold Delhaize U.S. banners have pursued a range of health initiatives on the food side of the business, including in produce. The company’s Giant and Martin’s stores emphasized the importance of healthy snacking with a “Free Fruit for Kids” program that launched last September. Kids ages 10 years and under were invited to have a free piece of fruit in the produce department.

“The free fruit program offers Giant/Martin’s the opportunity to become known as a destination for children’s health and nutritional expertise,” the company said on a Web page that announced the initiative. “Offering free fruit to kids is a great example of making healthy living choices easy and accessible and being a Better Neighbor!”

Another company retail banner, Hannaford, recently launched a program in Maine to promote irregular produce that otherwise would have been discarded, extending the initiative from an earlier one in upstate New York, according to local media reports. The program helps reduce food waste.

The company began 2017 with a number of important personnel changes and promotions in its Stop & Shop division, including on the merchandising side of the business. In January, the company appointed Stop & Shop New York Metro division president Andrew Sussman as EVP merchandising. Sussman’s tenure with the company includes experience leading three of Ahold USA’s four retail divisions.

The company also announced that Ahold USA SVP merchandising strategy and support Nick Bertram would take on an expanded role, adding day-to-day merchandising operations, ongoing integration with Delhaize America and vendor collaboration to his prior responsibilities.