Forget RX; now there’s FX, or a food prescription designed to use healthy alternatives to medications to treat chronic disease. Researchers show the idea has merit for not only reducing chronic disease but saving our country’s healthcare system millions. Here is how food prescriptions will impact the CPG market in the years to come.
Study Shows Food Prescriptions Reduce Healthcare Costs
Globally, the wellness industry is now a $4.2 trillion business model. Healthcare providers are exploring the idea of writing food prescriptions that will allow Medicare and Medicaid to pay for fruits, veggies, and other healthy foods, to heal the sick and reduce chronic disease.
Tufts University just released a study showing food prescriptions could prevent as many as 3.28 million medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and strokes. They also found food as medicine could save more than $100 billion in healthcare costs. Other studies supported the Tufts findings, showing that eating a healthy prescription of non-processed foods could also improve our mental health and general wellbeing.
Tufts researchers said, “Our findings support the implementation and evaluation of healthy food prescriptions…to improve the diet and health of Americans. They found that the cost of having Medicare or Medicaid cover food prescriptions is about the same cost as drug treatments for high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
Some companies are already taking advantage of this early research to change how they market goods and services.
Coming to a Store Near You: Food Prescriptions
Grocery Dive reports that Heinen’s in Las Vegas is rolling out an early line of FX as a CPG product. While the chain has made a name for itself by focusing on customer service, their new line will feature help with meal planning in the form of a food prescription.
In early 2020, the 23-store chain plans to introduce a new app that develops a personalized diet plan to treat certain chronic conditions. If the customer is a pre-diabetic, the app will create a meal plan focused on no sugars or carbs, just a lot of healthy vegetables and lean proteins. It can also create meal plans that accommodate customer preferences, including vegan and vegetarian options. The app weeds out ingredients if the customer doesn’t like them or has an allergy. It can even incorporate a doctor’s food prescription into the app.
There are myriad benefits for CPG firms. By building a meal plan, the relationship between consumer and brand will be cemented. It creates a functional project that is built right into the customer’s lifestyle. Grocery dive says the new Heinen app will lay out some of the functional benefits of eating healthier and tie them to the customer’s health goals. This could include increased energy and improved focus in addition to reducing chronic health conditions.
Heinan’s plans to rebrand their CPG lines with FX (food prescription) logos, along with branded snacks and meals appearing in new store displays. Ultimately, the app will link with doctors who can interact with the technology and create food prescriptions directly tied to their patient’s illnesses. The company has a partnership with Cleveland’s University Hospital system to train doctors on how to use the application to benefit patients and the healthcare provider.
This blending of the medical practice with the retail grocery chain is a smart model for CPG companies to emulate in the future. It builds value and strengthens the ties between consumers and their most trusted brands.
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Topics food branding