Walgreen Co. says it plans to offer fresh foods and prepared meals to draw the "time-crunched" to its more than 7,000 stores.
The drugstore chain has been talking with foodmakers including Unilever NV, Nestle SA and Sara Lee Corp. about creating private-label and branded products, said Bryan Pugh, vice president of merchandising.
Walgreen, Deerfield, IL, will have to negotiate upply and distribution issues and test in some markets before introducing freshly prepared foods such as salads, cut fruits, ready-to-bake pizzas and sandwiches into more stores, he said.
The goal of the program, along with the sale of beer and private-label wine, aims to boost revenue, Pugh says.
The move will push Walgreen into competition with supermarket chains Kroger and Safeway Inc., membership warehouse clubs operated by Costco Wholesale Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and retailers such as Target. Walmart's supercenters sell prepared foods including ready-to-bake pizzas.
Walgreent would also be competing with supermarket chains Kroger and Safeway Inc., clubstores like Costco Wholesale Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., and retailers such as Target. Walmart's supercenters, which sell prepared foods including ready-to-bake pizzas.