USA- Kroger Health, the health solutions arm of the grocery company Kroger, has partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation and American Heart Association (AHA) to set up a national Food is Medicine Research Initiative.

The grocery retailer is part of a US$250 million commitment tied to the initiative which is set to launch in spring 2023.

This research initiative will generate the tools and definitive evidence necessary to help the health sector design and scale “food is medicine” programs to improve both health and health equity and reduce overall health care costs.

This initiative will hasten the public’s knowledge of and use of “food is medicine” programs as a crucial component of the healthcare system.

It will be working with patients and leaders in the public sector, academia, healthcare, business, and community-based groups.

“We’ve been working on food as medicine for quite some time, really trying to prove out the value not only the value to the consumer but the value back to the healthcare system,” said Kroger Health President Colleen Lindholz.

According to Lindholz in an interview, the Rockefeller Foundation and AHA reached out to Kroger to request that it serve as one of their two inaugural partners in the research along with Kaiser Permanente.

Grocer on track to donate 3 billion meals by 2025

The Kroger Company recently celebrated the milestone of its ambitious Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social and environmental impact plan, which has been in place for five years.

Zero Hunger | Zero Waste, which was introduced in 2017, continues to be the company’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy’s focal point.

It is widely acknowledged as the best platform in the market for fostering systemic change and group action.

In the first five years of its impact plan, Kroger and its associates have achieved: US$1 billion in giving to hunger relief, US$44.6 million in grants from The Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, US$5.2 million in Innovation Fund grants for social entrepreneurs through the Foundation’s signature program.

“It’s clear that as a grocery retailer, Kroger has a unique role to play in the future of food, from the way it is produced and transported to the way it is purchased and consumed,” said Denise Osterhues, Kroger’s senior director of ESG and president of The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation.

Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste commitments aim to drive positive impacts for people and the planet by increasing access to fresh, affordable food.

The plan advances sustainability by reducing emissions and food waste; changes systems through strategic philanthropy and catalyzes innovation.

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