Walgreens To Get Into The Grocery Game

For years, Walgreens has been the place where you could grab some milk, chips or soda while picking up a prescription but now the drugstore chain wants to be more than an afterthought in the fresh food market.

At its annual meeting yesterday in Chicago, CEO Greg Wasson told shareholders about the the company’s strategy to evolve from a “retail drugstore to a retail health and daily living store.”

Walgreens began testing this expanded format last summer in a handful of stores and now says it will be rolling it out, in various iterations, nationwide.

From ChicagoBreakingNews.com:

The fresh foods go beyond convenience items that Walgreens has carried for years, such as milk and orange juice. The test stores offer more than 750 new products, including fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen meat and fish, pasta, rice, beans, eggs and whole-grain cereals.

Wasson told reporters that how much fresh food each Walgreens offers will vary by store and location. He explained that the company is targeting around 300-500, so-called “food deserts,” where grocery stores are scarce.

Walgreens to expand fresh food offerings at stores [ChicagoBreakingNews.com]

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  1. Power Imbalance says:

    I’d like to see them get rid of the endless rows of ‘sub-par’ products too.

  2. macoan says:

    Most Walgreens are built in “neighborhoods” – and sometimes if there are no other grocery store close by, I think this would be a great idea.

    As a side note – ever seen the Walgreen’s in Puerto Rico? They are like Wal-marts here in the states.

  3. Adam9932 says:

    They better improve their checkout system; it is painfully slow.

    I avoid the place when I am in a hurry. Staff is also indifferent at best.

  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Prices will have to improve if they wish to compete.

    • eirrom says:

      Absolutely. Only time I buy something at Walgreens is when it is on special/sale or their BOGO free promotion. Otherwise, Walgreens is very expensive for the basics that they do sell. i guess emergencies do arise but I can’t see them as a viable option for groceries.

    • profchaos79 says:

      They’re not competing against grocery stores directly as I see it. It would still be for people wanting a quicker shopping experience. Everything is more expensive there for that reason, and often I’m glad to pay it. Still wouldn’t do a big shopping trip there, though.

    • macoan says:

      I don’t think they are going to try to compete. They are mostly looking for neighborhoods where there is not many (or any) local grocery store to expand at.

    • ARP says:

      Not if they position themselves soley as a convenient store where no grocery stores are nearby. For example, if they put one in the downtown of a major city, people on their way home can pick up a few items for dinner.

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      Yeah, I don’t know if that scrappy upstart 7-11 will make it, either.

  5. absherlock says:

    Fuck them. They went after Wegmans, the bastards..

    • Airos says:

      Yeah, I was going to post basically the same thing. First they sue Wegmans, now they want to try and compete?

      Granted, I live in Wayne County, so any Walgreens around here are already near a 24-hour Tops, Wegmans and/or Super Wal-Mart and thus won’t be in the “food desert”.

  6. alSeen says:

    Walgreens is the cheapest place to buy milk where I live.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      Call Aldi and beg them for a store in your area. Walgreens around here charges 7-Eleven prices for milk.

      • alSeen says:

        A gallon 1% milk is above $3 at Wal-Mart, and the three independent grocery stores.
        It’s $2.50 at Walgreens.

        • Whtthfgg says:

          1.98 at Kwik Trip….ahh to live in Wisconsin….lol

        • GearheadGeek says:

          A gallon of milk is pushing $3 at grocery stores around here… except at grocery stores near one of the Aldi locations. At Aldi it’s 99 cents (right next to the 49-cent-per-dozen eggs).

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      Yep. The Walgreens in my city even have signs on the front door advertising their current prices for milk, eggs, and bread.

  7. anker says:

    They started this last summer here. I didn’t know the reason for it until now. Great idea.
    Since I run the community gardens to help feed the same neighborhood families just a few blocks from it, I’m going to contact them and check out just how successful this project has been in regards to actually achieving the goal of diminishing food deserts in our area.
    I’ll keep you posted.

    • FrugalFreak says:

      “just how successful this project has been in regards to actually achieving the goal of diminishing food deserts in our area.”

      They want to grow profits, not limit food deserts.

  8. LastError says:

    They can stock all the stuff they want, but they need to get real prices instead of the “corner gas station” pricing they currently have on everything, and they need to fix the glacially slow checkout system.

    Knowing Walgreens, the whole point of this expansion into grocery is precisely because they think they actually CAN keep charging ludicrous prices on grocery items, and because they don’t care if it takes forever to check out. The longer you stand in line, the more likely you are to grab up some impulse items.

    No, the more likely I am to skip Walgreens entirely. Which I do.

    • ARP says:

      As others have stated, they’re not going against grocery stores, they’re truly a convenience store, with prices to match. They probably won’t roll out food in their stores near grocery stores, just downtown areas, or areas with no grocery store nearby.

  9. PanCake BuTT says:

    Duane-Rizzy seems to holding down nYc.. with the same strategy as the one noted in this article + a doctor on sight that can diagnose and help treat some common ailments. Some DR’s are even 24 hours, that’s convenient ! A bit off topic, but somehow related I guess.

  10. jessjj347 says:

    Sucks for the low-income folks in “feed desserts”.

  11. ReaperRob says:

    Is the picture of the Walgreen’s on Canal in New Orleans?

  12. gparlett says:

    This is awesome. Until you’ve lived in an inner city ‘food desert’ you have no idea how difficult it can be to get fresh food. Especially if you don’t have a car and need to walk or take the train to pick up groceries.

  13. LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

    Huh. Maybe we’re a test market or something, because my local Wags already carries items such as eggs, milk, bacon, juice, and other refrigerated grocery items. There’s no really “fresh” items (fruit and veggies, for example) on a regular basis, but they do sometimes carry these items for special sales. When they run sales (like milk for $2.49) and you can stack manufacturer coupons on top of the in-store coupons, it makes for a great bargain. I think it’s a smart move on their part.

  14. human_shield says:

    Why not? All the regular grocery stores are turning into copies of Walmart.

  15. Rachacha says:

    They are probably doing this so that they have a better chance at winning the “W” lawsuit against Wegmans. As Wegmans sells groceries and Walgreens sells groceries and they both have a similar stylized font, people might confuse them…that is unless the judge has been to a Walgreens and a Wegmans and is not blind as a bat so as not to realize that Walgreen’s management should bow down and wash Danny Wegman’s feet for even suggesting that Walgreens and Wegmans are similar.

    http://consumerist.com/2010/11/walgreens-sues-wegmans-over-the-letter-w.html