Walgreens Adding More Fresh Food in S.F.

Published in CSP Daily News

Store in Bayview community becoming "food oasis"

SAN FRANCISCO -- Walgreens said that it is expanding its fresh food selection at a location in San Francisco's Bayview community. The drug chain now offers a larger assortment of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lean protein and other healthy meal components to help address the need for greater access to affordable, nutritious food in this community. The neighborhood, identified as a food desert, has long lacked options for foods necessary to maintain a healthy diet.

The store is Walgreens first location in the Bay area to undergo a redesign to accommodate [image-nocss] the expanded food selection, called a "food oasis." The new layout includes approximately 500 additional square feet of space dedicated to food items, an offering believed to be unprecedented in the city from a traditional retail drugstore.

In addition to its Bayview location, Walgreens plans to have its expanded food selection available in food deserts in Oakland and Berkeley by the fall. The drugstore chain launched its Food Oasis initiative in Chicago last summer with 11 stores across the city's south and west sides. Walgreens continues to review opportunities to bring the expanded offering to other food desert areas across the country.

"The response to this new offering in Chicago has been strong, and we are looking forward to having the same positive impact in more communities," said Bill Hose, Walgreens market vice president for northern California. "No other retailer has more locations in America's underserved neighborhoods. That makes us well positioned to play a larger role in addressing this important health need."

Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens is the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2010 sales of $67 billion. The company operates 7,733 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

( Click here for previous CSP Daily News coverage of food deserts. And for more on the battle against food deserts, see the June issue of CSP magazine.)