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Kroger Health partnership to provide medically tailored meals

KEITH ARNOLD
Special to the Legal News

Published: September 26, 2023

Cincinnati-based The Kroger Co. has announced a partnership between the grocery chain’s health-care division and a maker of medically tailored meals to provide a treatment option for consumers who live with certain chronic health conditions.
According to a news release, Kroger Health will collaborate with Performance Kitchen to provide evidence-based, registered dietitian-approved meals, known as MTMs, that offer nutrition intervention for people with various health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
“We believe in empowering people with resources to help them make healthy choices that will deliver the best outcomes for them,” said Kroger Health Chief Commercial Officer James Kirby. “Offering MTMs 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. Through better options and access, we are assisting people in improving their quality of life, disease prevention and management.”
MTMs are created to meet the specific needs of individuals and may improve a person’s overall health and wellness while providing access to nutritious foods, the release provided.
Kroger officials cited an evidence review and simulation modeling study by researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, which estimated that MTM programs could help prevent 1.6 million hospitalizations and save health insurers $13.6 billion across the country annually. The study found that health-care costs savings for MTM program participants during a 10-year period in which they receive 10 MTMs per week for eight months were estimated to reach $185.1 billion.
Both companies have undertaken initiatives that focus on implementing food-as-medicine in people’s daily lifestyles, the release provided.
Kroger Health offers services such as virtual appointments with registered dietitians and access to healthy groceries for a holistic approach to improving nutrition security and patient outcomes, while Performance Kitchen has focused on delivering nutritionally balanced meals that include high-quality proteins, full servings of vegetables, healthy fats and whole grains and fiber, according to the press release.
Performance Kitchen meals are sold frozen in single-serve packages. Kroger registered dietitians have approved the meals crafted for the collaboration, officials said.
“MTMs help us achieve our goal of making sure people have access to food that helps them feel their best and improve their health,” said Kroger Health Director of Nutrition Taylor Newman. “While the meals are personalized for an individual’s specific health condition, we’re also proud to offer a variety of culturally diverse recipes and flavors to make sure everyone’s needs are met.”
She added that the meals are another way to encourage people to make small, incremental changes that could support meaningful outcomes.
The collaboration is the latest initiative from the division’s Food as Medicine platform, which comes after the release of SuperWIN, a retail-based randomized controlled trial.
Performance Kitchen Chairman and CEO Mark Walker said he was excited about the opportunity to work with the health arm of the nation’s largest grocery chain toward the shared goal of living healthier lives through food.
“In a country where we spend $4.3 trillion on sick care annually, states and insurance companies that have begun offering millions of Americans these new meal benefits, along with organizations like Kroger Health, which are making these benefits available, should be celebrated,” he said. “Together, we are pioneering a new horizon of preventative care through nutritious food.”
Kroger Health operates more than 2,200 pharmacies and more than 220 clinics in 35 states, serving more than 17 million customers annually.
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