WSL Future of Health Event

Wegmans’ pharmacies tout wellness message

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — “Eat well, live well” is the core philosophy that underlies Wegmans Food Markets Inc.’s health and wellness strategy.

“Eat well, live well” is the core philosophy that underlies Wegmans Food Markets Inc.’s health and wellness strategy.

The chain is effectively tapping into the natural synergies between its pharmacies and its food offerings with coordinated programs that bring together pharmacists, nutritionists and food merchants.

Recently Wegmans has introduced an “eat well, live well” table near the pharmacy that showcases food selections that contribute to good health. These are essentially consumer education stations with displays that change with the season.

In warm months, for instance, such freshly harvested produce as berries, melons or tomatoes may take center stage, while in winter the displays may feature food items that help fight colds and flu, such as orange juice or soup. Between seasons, other healthful food choices such as low-fat or fat-free dairy products, or heart-healthy whole grain breads and cereals are featured.

Recent displays highlighted whole grains, followed by frozen food as an affordable alternative to fresh fruit in the winter months. In January, for example, Wegmans featured its Food You Feel Good About brand “just picked” frozen fruits.

“Just picked” fruits have no added sugar and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. They are harvested, cleaned and quickly frozen to maintain flavor and texture, and each package contains about three cups of fruit.

According to Mary Ellen Burris, senior vice president of consumer affairs for Wegmans, in addition to offering great value at this time of year, frozen fruits deliver the same health benefits as fresh fruits: vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants plus being low-calorie and free of sodium.

With the “eat well, live well” table situated near the pharmacy, shoppers in effect are being invited to ask the pharmacists about possible relationships between their medications and different food items. And the chain’s pharmacists are well prepared to field those questions, since they are regularly briefed on current scientific research and are encouraged to share that knowledge with customers.

"There’s so much good science showing that people lower their risk of many health problems when they make healthy food choices and include regular exercise in their routines," says Brian Pompo, coordinator of wellness and clinical services for pharmacy at Wegmans and a pharmacist himself. "As health professionals, pharmacists know that food and medication play different but mutually supportive roles in helping customers lead healthier lives. We do give customers the counsel they need and want regarding medications, but we also believe that sharing how food supports health helps customers. That’s why we’ve created our ‘eat well, live well’ stations near the pharmacy."

Wegmans’ registered dietitians meet regularly with Pompo to review current research about food, health and wellness and to develop reference material for the pharmacists, including such information as American Heart Association recommendations. As a result, pharmacists can, when appropriate, suggest to their patients how eating — or avoiding —certain foods can help them manage such health conditions as high blood pressure or cholesterol.


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