Behavior Change
Target, CVS Expand Wellness, Healthy Food Efforts

In 2014, CVS made headlines when it rebranded to CVS Health and made the bold decision to discontinue the sale of all tobacco products. In September, the company claimed that the latter decision had a wider impact on public health; the data showed that cigarette sales were down across a variety of retailers in the states where CVS had greater than 15 percent market share. Since, the company’s youth-focused tobacco-prevention program has grown significantly.

“Since becoming the first and only national pharmacy chain to end the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products, the number one thing we've heard from our customers is the desire for healthier food options,” said Judy Sansone, Senior Vice President of Front Store Business at CVS.

Last year, the company launched a healthy food pilot program that increased the selection of healthier food and beverage options in 500 CVS stores. Now, that program is being expanded to more than 2,900 CVS Pharmacy stores nationwide.

Throughout the year, 100 stores each week are “being enhanced with a carefully curated selection of national and niche better-for-you brands that make healthier eating on-the-go, convenient and affordable,” the company stated. This spring, more than 250 fresh, refrigerated and non-perishable healthy foods and beverages have hit shelves at CVS Pharmacy stores around the country from brands including Amy's Kitchen, Annie's Homegrown, Chobani, Vita CoCo, and others, as well as new products from the CVS Pharmacy exclusive line. Niche products that support paleo, raw and vegan diets will also be available in select locations.

“This year, we are continuing to expand the assortment, volume and shelf space dedicated to better-for-you foods and snacks offered in our stores nationwide to make healthier snacking easier and more convenient for our customers,” Sansone said.

Beginning this summer, roughly 25 percent of front checkout space, traditionally occupied by candy, will be dedicated to better-for-you including KIND bars (which recently helped convince the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to redefine the term ‘healthy’), Larabars and Vega One bars.

In addition to the 2,900 stores with a wider assortment of healthy foods by the end of the year, another 360 stores will receive significant additional enhancements to the layout of food, beauty and over the counter health products. The new store layouts have a broader assortment of better-for-you foods in an expanded refrigerated section and more prominent displays of healthy foods and grab-and-go snacks, “making healthy snacking more convenient,” CVS stated.

The company plans to further promote healthier food choices by sending customers ‘healthy deals of the week’ and personalized e-mail offers, and identifying items that fit nutritional and dietary preferences through its Fit Choices shelf tagging program, which highlights items as a ‘Good Source of Protein,’ ‘Heart Healthy,’ ‘Gluten Free,’ ‘Sugar Free,’ ‘Organic,’ or ‘Non-GMO Project Verified.’


Target has also added better-for-you snack options in store checkout lanes, among other health-focused initiatives. Last year, the retailer refocused its corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy to center around “wellness,” and began taking a holistic approach to promote wellness among its team members, guests and communities. Since then, it has expanded its Sustainable Product Index to consider over 1,000 toxic chemicals, raised the bar for inclusion in its Made to Matter collection, and has been testing out new partnerships.

This week, Target announced the first of its wellness partners: 52 organizations and programs serving communities across the country, committed to giving children and families more choices that allow them to increase their physical activity and eat healthy every day. The retailer has committed to invest $40 million in such organizations this year.

“We’re excited to partner with an impressive array of organizations who are already doing such important work to make an impact in the wellness space,” said Laysha Ward, the chief corporate social responsibility officer at Target.

“Together, we’ll help remove barriers to wellness in our communities, working to increase the consumption of nutrient-dense food and physical activity for kids and families across the country. These investments will help us meet people where they live, learn, work and play—leading to sustainable behavior change and helping us all be the best version of ourselves.”

Some of Target’s newest partners include:

  • Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which offers a Healthy Schools Program that helps create sustainable, healthy school environments that improve nutrition, increase physical activity and provide wellness policies and education for students and families. With Target, the program will be expanded to reach more than 20 million kids in 35,000 schools across the country by 2017.
  • Common Threads, a culturally-relevant, hands-on cooking and nutrition education program provider for children, parents and teachers that help prevent childhood obesity and get kids cooking for life. The partnership with Target will allow the programs to reach an additional 8,000 underserved children and families in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Miami, and New York in 2016-2017.
  • Edible Schoolyard NYC, which offers cost-effective, standards-based food education model. The organization currently serves 2,000 students directly, and an additional 40,000+ students indirectly through professional development in New York City. Target’s support will allow the program to reach over 2,000 more students.
  • just keep livin foundation, which empowers high school students by providing them with the tools to lead active lives and make healthier choices through exercise, nutrition, gratitude and community service. 200+ additional students from inner city high schools in Dallas, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. during the 2016-2017 school year thanks to Target’s support.
  • KaBOOM!, which creates places for kids to play, while inspiring communities to promote play and encouraging kids and families to boost their physical activity. Target will support the creation of 175 unique play spaces across the U.S. and a ‘Play Everywhere Challenge’ to help cities turn everyday spaces into play areas.
  • Wholesome Wave, a non-profit that makes produce more affordable for families who need it most by working with healthcare providers to offer “prescriptions” that allow for affordable access to fruits and vegetables, redeemable at Target stores and farmers markets, along with clinical and nutritional counseling. The partnership will provide in-need Los Angeles residents with affordable access to 225,000+ pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Target plans to continue to evolve its portfolio of partners and make additional investments throughout the rest of the year and beyond.

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