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Bartell Drugs ups the ante in fresh food

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SEATTLE — Rising demand for healthier fare from today’s on-the-go consumers has led Bartell Drugs to expand its offering of fresh food and snacks.

inside Bartell-fresh-food_Mels-MarketsThe Seattle-based drug chain said Thursday that it has launched a new Fresh Food Fast section in select stores throughout the Seattle-Bellevue, Wash., area. New offerings include a range of local and regional foods plus grab-and-go snacks, meal replacement items and nutritional supplements, among others.

Bartell noted that in its customer base, healthy eating trends have dominated. For example, Millennials are favoring foods that are locally made, freshly prepared and quickly accessible in well-marked display areas, the retailer said.

Ready-to-go salads and sandwiches are now featured in clearly delineated aisles, according to Bartell. That includes stand-alone, refrigerated display units showcasing fresh items from local and regional purveyors such as Mel’s Market (breakfast and lunch items), Zoe’s Meats and Ellenos Yogurt.

Other fresh food selections include Molly’s (produce, meats, homemade dressings, baked goods), Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, Daphne’s Creamery (dairy products), Columbus Craft Meats and Tillamook (cheese).

Meanwhile, a new Healthy Snacks aisle will highlight meal replacement items like protein bars and supplements. Bartell said these offerings include local brands, such as Zing snacks, as well as nationally known products, including bar and snack brands Kind, Clif Bar, PowerBar and thinkThin plus supplement brand MusclePharm.

Plans call for about a dozen Bartell Drugs stores to get Fresh Food Fast assortments of salads, prepared foods and sandwiches, with rollouts to other  stores during the year. The retailer said Healthy Snacks aisles have been deployed in 23 stores, and more locations are slated to get them later in 2017.

Bartell, which has 65 stores overall in the Seattle area, said that with this new consumables game plan it’s simply “answering the call” by customers for more healthy, convenient offerings. Citing data from market research firm Euromonitor, the drug chain reported that global sales of healthy food products are estimated to reach $1 trillion this year.