US grocer Kroger has launched a telenutrition service through its Food as Medicine platform. The program, which will remain free for all customers during the pandemic, enables doctors to refer consumers with dietary issues to a Kroger Health registered dietitian at a local Kroger location. The program seeks to help users manage weight loss, digestion conditions, and nutrition plans. With COVID-19 disrupting physical visits, Kroger is also enabling consultations via video chat.
Already central to retailer strategies in an ageing US society shaped by under-met healthcare needs, COVID-19 has brought health to the forefront even more. Recent key initiatives have included Walmart expanding its network of healthcare clinics and Amazon building a suite of healthcare initiatives, with many focused on virtual consultations.
Kroger’s relatively smaller ecosystem and grocery-focus make a foray into dietary consultation both well suited to its business model and differentiated from what the other larger platforms are offering. With scale, programs like this have the potential to influence shopper behavior in Kroger stores heavily. Brands should monitor Food as Medicine to prepare in case of widespread adoption, merchandising integrations and ecommerce capability development around the program.
Sign up for our free weekly newsletter and get more retail and ecommerce insights delivered to your inbox.