In a move sure to win fans among its 5 million weekly shoppers, Keasbey, N.J-based retailer-owned cooperative Wakefern Food Corp.—which runs more than 230 ShopRite supermarkets in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland—is now giving free kids multivitamins to customers who have a valid doctor’s prescription.
The supermarket already has been offering free prenatal vitamins, as well as diabetes drugs or antibiotics.
“As part of our continuing efforts to provide our customers with health and wellness services and benefits, free children’s multivitamins was the next logical step,” said Elisabeth Loeb, who manages Wakefern’s communications. “This was a great way to help keep growing children healthy.”
Health and wellness is becoming big business for both mainstream supermarkets and chain drug stores, such as Walgreens. Initiatives such as ShopRite’s free multivitamin program are likely to encourage shoppers with prescriptions to explore beyond in-store pharmacies and grocery aisles to newly expanded wellness sections.
Whether ShopRite is reaching kids who most need extra nutritional support by tying the program to a valid drug prescription remains to be seen. But that goal is part of the motivation. “ShopRite feels very strongly that every kid should have the opportunity to be healthy,” said Loeb. “While vitamins can’t replace the nutrition that comes from eating a good, healthy diet, they can certainly be beneficial in supplementing what families are already eating.”
Loeb points out that select ShopRite stores also feature in-store dietitians, who can help families create healthy meal plans, pantry makeovers, or give guidance on eating for a specific diet or medical condition—and who offer their services to all customers free of charge.
Do you have a wellness program at your store? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.