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Wakefern, J&J help patients 'bridge gap'.

KEASBEY, NJ. -- Wakefern Food Corp. has partnered with Johnson & Johnson to create in-store displays designed to serve as guides for shoppers who have diabetes.

The program, launched last year, is the subject of a new "health and wellness best practices" report from the Global Market Development Center (GMDC).

Wakefern, whose members own and operate more than 260 ShopRite supermarkets in six states, worked with Johnson & Johnson to develop the in-store diabetes centers, which serve as one-stop shops for answering customers' questions about medication, meters, testing devices and other diabetes-related care products.

"The real opportunity for retailers here is in bridging the gap between the physician's orders and the consumer-patient's fulfillment of those orders, which we call self-care," says Mark Mechelse, director of research, industry insights and communications for GMDC. "Johnson & Johnson and Wakefern formed a retail relationship that benefits the entire commerce ecosystem."

The report, "Retail Partnering to Serve the Shopper with Diabetes," noted that more than 29 million American have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. GMDC cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's forecast that 40% of Americans born between 2000 and 2011 will develop diabetes, and said that the disease's prevalence is demanding the attention of health-focused retailers, as well as physicians.

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The report also noted the costs of addressing diabetes, with medical expenses related to diabetes treatment reaching $176 billion a year, or 7% of U.S. health care costs. Diabetes patients and their families spend nearly five times more than the typical grocery and retail pharmacy shopper, with much of the additional spending made on purchases of supplies such as test strips, syringes and sterile dressings.

"Our stores are community stores, but we need manufacturer partners, and Johnson & Johnson has the insights, the people and talent to help us serve those communities better," said Chris Skyers, vice president of health and beauty care at Wakefern. "We started the journey with Johnson & Johnson with the question, 'How do we create an environment that says to the patient faced with this disease, we care about you?' "

As part of Wakefern's Live Right initiative, the diabetes centers are run by members of ShopRite's wellness team, which include on-site dietitians and pharmacists and feature as many as 100 items geared toward disease prevention and management. The centers are typically located adjacent to the ShopRite pharmacy department.

ShopRite has long been focused on the health of its customers. This month marked the 10th anniversary of its in-store registered dietitian program, and the chain celebrated the anniversary with a series of store events that included giveaways, health and wellness workshops and cooking demonstrations.

ShopRite officials say the registered dietitian program was developed in an effort to help shoppers make healthier food choices in the aisles. ShopRite now has more than 130 registered dietitians servicing nearly 140 locations across the Northeast, and they provide such complimentary services as one-on-one consultations, supermarket tours, support groups, weight management classes, cooking classes, product samplings and much more. ShopRite's registered dietitians also serve their communities by partnering with hospitals, doctors, libraries, schools, universities and nonprofit organizations to conduct free workshops and seminars, according to the company.

"When ShopRite launched its in-store registered dietitian program a decade ago, the idea of having a full-time health professional offering nutritional advice in the supermarket aisles was practically unheard of," says ShopRite health and wellness manager Natalie Menza, who was the retailer's first corporate dietitian. "We are extremely proud of the difference that our registered dietitians have made in the lives of our shoppers. Whether assisting with weight loss goals, changes in nutritional needs, helping to better understand food labels or simply finding a gluten-free option of their favorite snack, ShopRite's goal is to educate and inspire our customers when it comes to their health and wellness needs, and we're honored to be doing that within the communities we serve."
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Title Annotation:RX/Diabetes Care
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Date:Sep 26, 2016
Words:646
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