If your local drug store looks a little different these days, that’s because the “V” in CVS Health may soon stand for “vegan” as the pharmacy chain has added numerous vegan staples to its 2,900 stores across the U.S.
“Customers can expect about a quarter of the impulse buy area by the checkout counters to carry Kind bars, Larabars and Vega One bars instead of candy and chocolate,” reports Investors.com.
The chain, which is adding the new products to about 100 stores per week, will also bring in vegan items from Amy’s Kitchen, Annie’s Homegrown, and Rhythm Superfoods.
CVS’s private label house brand, Gold Emblem Abound, will also feature healthier items that are free of artificial ingredients.
“Since becoming the first and only national pharmacy chain to end the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products, the number one thing we’ve heard from our customers is the desire for healthier food options,” Judy Sansone, Senior Vice President of Front Store Business, said in a statement. “This year, we are continuing to expand the assortment, volume and shelf space dedicated to better-for-you foods and snacks offered in our stores nationwide to make healthier snacking easier and more convenient for our customers.”
CVS stopped selling cigarettes and other tobacco products that it deemed unhealthy in 2014, but pharmacies are still typically loaded with unhealthy foods, candy, soft drinks, and even alcohol.
The move toward highlighting vegan food shows the increasing trend in plant-based alternatives and healthier snack options.
According to Latest Vegan News, plant-based meat alternatives, led largely by the popularity of Gardein products, can now be found in more than 23,000 stores across the U.S.
“In total, Gardein is sold in over 23,000 stores, 5,000 food service establishments and 150 colleges and universities in North America alone,” reports Latest Vegan News. “College students, employees, and average consumers are clamoring for the company’s plant-based chicken, beef, pork, and even seafood.”
CVS isn’t the only mainstream outlet to turn its attention toward plant-based options. The Hampton Creek “Just” product line, which features more than 40 items from eggless mayonnaise and salad dressings to cookie mixes, can be found in Target and Walmart stores nationwide. And plant-based dairy-free cheeses like Daiya, are also widely available in mainstream markets across the country.
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