Larger assortment of produce, whole grains and lean protein helps address the need for access to healthier foods in food deserts.
Walgreens is celebrating the expansion of its fresh food selection at the location at 3rd Street and Williams Avenue in San Francisco’s Bayview community.
The drugstore 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 the expanded food selection now termed “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.
According to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly one million Californians live in areas considered food deserts. Research has shown that people who live in areas without sufficient access to healthy food are at significantly higher risk of suffering from obesity, diabetes and cancer.
“As one of the top pharmacy, health and wellness resources in Bayview and throughout the city, we are pleased to be making this commitment to becoming a convenient source for wholesome food along with other daily living needs residents here trust us for,” said Bill Hose, Walgreens market vice president for northern California. “Tackling the issue of healthy food accessibility is key to improving health outcomes in underserved communities. We believe our new offering will provide a level of access that will help many customers make improvements to their diet and help lay a foundation for basic disease prevention.”
Walgreens is marking the official grand reopening of the store at 5300 3rd St. with a community celebration kicking off today at 10:30 a.m. Mayor Edwin Lee, Supervisor Malia Cohen and State Senator Leland Yee will join Walgreens executives for a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by activities including a healthy cooking demonstration, health screenings, healthy food sampling and giveaways.
“Today, Walgreens opens its ‘Food Oasis’, an addition that will help provide residents of the Bayview community with access to nutritious food,” said Mayor Lee. “Providing greater access to fresh food for our City’s residents greatly improves their health and vitality and I welcome this new addition to our Bayview neighborhood.”
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 Hose. “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.”
Walgreens operates 7,733 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.