Healthcare operations with food-as-medicine initiatives have a new competitor in the space.
Kroger Health, the healthcare division of retail giant The Kroger Co., is teaming up with Performance Kitchen, a company that delivers healthy, medically tailored meals.
The two are offering dietitian-approved meals that offer nutritional intervention for people with various health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
The Performance Kitchen meals have limited sodium and added sugar, and contain high-quality proteins, full servings of vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and fiber, according to a press release. The meals on offer, including chicken Dijon with kale and vegetable chickpea curry, are single-serve and come frozen.
Kroger is pairing the meals with pre-existing Kroger Health services, such as virtual appointments with registered dietitians.
"Offering [medically tailored meals] allows us an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to supporting individuals on their wellness journeys, while providing a personalized approach to help them transform their health,” said James Kirby, chief commercial officer at Kroger Health, in the release. “Through better options and access, we are assisting people in improving their quality of life, disease prevention and management.”
Food-as-medicine programs have been popping up more and more of late, as operations across foodservice and retail seek to implement wellness initiatives, often with the goals of decreasing food insecurity and improving health outcomes.
Last year, for instance, Anthem Blue Cross launched food-as-medicine programs at three Los Angeles schools, and Instacart debuted "virtual food pharmacies" this spring.
Elior North America also implemented a medically-tailored meals program for seniors through its LiveWell with Traditions initiative.
In addition, a recent study from Tufts University found that produce-prescription programs may improve food security, lower blood pressure and boost cardiometabolic health among patients with diet-related illnesses.