Henry Ford Health System in Detroit will provide registered dietitians at four Kroger Co. grocery stores in Southeast Michigan and offer healthy recipes at the other 122 stores in Michigan, the companies announced Wednesday.
The idea was the brainchild of Rose Glenn, Henry Ford's chief marketing officer. She broached the idea with Kroger's Ken McClure, human resources manager, who also had been thinking of ways to align more closely with a health care provider, and the two executives worked out the details with their teams.
No revenue will be shared or paid in the deal. But Glenn said Henry Ford hopes to benefit when people need a referral to a physician or hospital, and Kroger hopes to sell more Simple Truth healthy food if people need to purchase ingredients for the weekly recipes developed by Henry Ford's LiveWell program.
"We are so excited to be working with a wonderful community partner like Kroger," said Kimberlydawn Wisdom, M.D., Henry Ford's senior vice president of community health and equity and chief wellness and diversity officer, in a statement. "We view wellness as a lifelong journey – a daily commitment to making the right choices when it comes to things like healthy eating. Having a presence inside every Kroger in the state of Michigan is a great way to reach the people in the communities we serve."
Glenn said she saw a recent presentation by Avera Health, a Sioux Falls, S.D.-based health system, about its relationship with Hy-Vee, a grocery store chain.
"We are very likely the first health system in Michigan to collaborate with a grocery store to treat food to keep people healthier," Glenn said.
Every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Henry Ford dietitians will answer questions at four Kroger stores: Commerce Township, 2905 Union Lake Road; Dearborn, 15255 Michigan Ave.; Shelby Township, 14945 23 Mile Road; and Southgate, 13333 Eureka Road.
Glenn said the dietitians will help shoppers understand food labeling and explain how to make healthy substitutions. They will also provide counsel on what to consider when cooking for people with food allergies, current food trends, and what to always keep in the freezer, refrigerator and pantry.
"Providing customers nutritious and delicious food is what we do every day," said Rachel Hurst, consumer affairs manager at Kroger Co. of Michigan, in a statement. "We welcome the opportunity to partner with Henry Ford Health System to help customers learn to make healthy choices and prepare foods for the greatest taste and nutrition."
Moreover, Kroger will place a poster with a Henry Ford Livewell weekly recipe at the front door of each of its stores in Michigan. For example, the first recipe will be a fruit pizza.
Glenn said health systems like Henry Ford want to help people live and eat healthier as part of their mission to improve community health.
"Health systems that want to impact health outside of four walls of hospital and physician offices have to broaden care beyond illness and injury and contribute to people's health," Glenn said. "If we are going to wait for people to come to us, we are not doing all we can."
Henry Ford's LiveWell initiative also includes another preventive program aimed and addressing childhood obesity. It is an game app called "5-2-1-0 Kids!" and it teaches children the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, limiting television and increasing exercise.
"Henry Ford Health System, Kroger cook up program to promote wellness" originally appeared in Crain's Detroit Business.