INDIANAPOLIS — Marsh Supermarkets’ new online publication has motivated diabetics to start a dialogue with in-store pharmacists, according to Mary Snell, the retailer’s director of nutrition and wellness.
The quarterly Inspired: Living with Diabetes launched last month to help customers living with diabetes cook healthier and plan meals easier. The inaugural issue combines text, video and photography of recipes including poached eggs Florentine, and Tuscan tuna, white bean and avocado salad.
“The recipes are exciting, appetizing and easy to prepare,” Snell told SN.
In addition to the recipes, Inspired includes diabetes-specific articles from the Mayo Clinic. The supplemental information covers topics such as exercise, nutrition, monitoring and medications.
Though a limited number of copies of the premiere edition were distributed to in-store Marsh pharmacies, future editions will be found exclusively on the Marsh website.
The newsletter is the latest component of Marsh’s strengthened diabetes care services. In November 2011, it launched the Diabetes Care Program, which offers free 30-day supplies of select diabetes medicines and supplies, and additional pharmacist support services through the in-store pharmacies.
The goal, Snell said, is to help shoppers save money, while motivating them to start a dialogue with Marsh pharmacists.
“We want to encourage them to use all the resources available,” said Snell.
Marsh promotes the Diabetes Care Program through dedicated space in the weekly circulars, social media updates, and a bi-weekly email blast.
A former clinical dietitian, Snell said the publication is among the ways the chain can serve as an extension of the education patients receive in hospitals and clinics.
Though there are several chronic diseases that can be addressed with diet, Snell said Marsh decided to focus on diabetes because it’s “a targeted audience with a critical need.” Diabetes affects 8.5% of the U.S. population, according to the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Along with Marsh, a growing number of other food retailers are catering to diabetics. At Price Chopper Supermarkets, for instance, shoppers who join the Diabetes AdvantEdge program and fill a prescription get a free UltraTrak Pro blood glucose monitoring system. Members also get 50 UltraTrak Pro test strips at an everyday low price of $19.97.
Launched last year, Diabetes AdvantEdge also provides other free items, including diabetes medications like metformin, glipizide and glyburide. Patients filling diabetes-related prescriptions also receive free Price Chopper-brand ultra-thin lancets, auto-lancing devices, insulin syringes and pen needles.
Plenty of other retailers are providing more diabetes care services. Publix Super Markets recently launched a multifaceted diabetes initiative that includes free generic metformin, a free Publix-brand diabetes meter and a voucher for $10 off a co-pay for 100-count test strips.
Among other efforts: Meijer has a diabetes care pharmacist in each of its stores; Walgreens prints an award-winning quarterly magazine called Diabetes & You that offers recipes, expert advice and news updates; and Supervalu’s Cub Pharmacy joined UnitedHealth Group’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance, giving customers at 62 Minnesota stores access to a Diabetes Control Program focused on pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.