Experts warn over ‘food swamps’
Drugstores, such as Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Pharmacy, are selling more groceries than Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s combined as consumers show increasing demand for one-stop shopping.
According to the Guardian, retail analysts say that while drugstores may help fill the gap where food options are scarce (so-called food deserts), much of the groceries sold in the drug channel are not healthy, leading to “food swamps.”
“Access to food is clearly one of the major social determinants that impacts the risk of chronic disease and risk of obesity for low-income and racial/ethnic minority communities,” says Stanford University health researcher Lisa Goldman Rosas. “I think the concern around the growing market share in pharmacies could really exacerbate some of those health disparities.”
Pharmacies drawing customers from other stores could contribute to even fewer options in the future, Rosas says. “This might create even more of these food deserts, or what people are now calling food ‘swamps,’ where there is an excess of processed food and a lack of fresh produce available at accessible prices,” she says.
But drugstore chains are beginning to expand their offerings by partnering with grocery stores. For example, Walgreens announced last year that it was testing out a new partnership with Kroger, launching “Kroger Express” grocery sections that include organic items inside 13 Kentucky locations, along with adding Kroger products to its online store.
To read the Guardian article, click here.