business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Cincinnati Business Courier reports that Kroger Health is partnering with a company called Performance Kitchen to offer medically tailored meals (MTMs), which are described as "registered dietitian-approved meals that will provide nutrition for people living with various health conditions including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The meals are created to meet specific needs of individuals and may improve a person’s overall health and wellness."

Kroger Health is the healthcare division of Kroger Co.;  Seattle-based Performance Health brings together a "team of chefs, doctors and registered dietitians" that "focuses on delivering nutritionally balanced meals by using proteins, full servings of vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and fiber, while limiting sodium and added sugar."

According to the announcement, "The meals are frozen, single serve and ready to heat. All Performance Kitchen meals crafted for the collaboration are approved by Kroger Health registered dietitians."

KC's View:

Happy to see this, since it is something we've talked about a lot here on MNB over the years.

It was almost two years ago that, as part of my work with Retail Tomorrow, we focused on an issue that was raised by Vic Gatto of Jumpstart Health Investors, who talked about how when people are released from hospitals after procedures, doctors' main two worries are a) how they are getting home, and b) how and what they are going to eat when they get there.  This latter issue is really important, because if people do not eat properly after a hospital stay, it can undo all the work done by doctors and surgeons.  And so Vic had the idea of connection hospitals and retailers in a way that would more efficiently and effectively get the right food to people with medical issues.

We also have a sponsor here on MNB, Sifter, that is highly focused on these health issues.  Sifter's technology, which retailers can use to make it easier for customers to find the right and relevant foods for their complex diet needs - I think this is a game changing business model, literally allowing consumers to sift through the multitude of choices available to them and identify appropriate foods based on health needs, as well as religious requirements or allergies.

The bottom line is that this is an enormous opportunity for retailers as consumers age - these shoppers are going to be looking for easy ways to identify and access relevant foods.  Kroger is very smart to make moves in this direction.