The companies’ “Smart Benefits” partnership combines Kroger Health’s services with Soda Health’s “&more” platform and is open to participating Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and employer benefits program recipients, per a Thursday (Dec. 7) press release.
“The Smart Benefits program within Soda Health’s &more platform will provide more people with the tools, and information they need to make better, healthier choices,” James Kirby, chief commercial officer of Kroger Health, said in the release.
“We know food has such a large impact on health outcomes for our customers and patients. By improving access to healthy, affordable food and other health resources, we are working toward truly changing the way America eats.”
The partnership follows Kroger Health’s collaboration in September with Performance Kitchen to provide customers with medically tailored meals (MTMs), dietician-approved dishes for people with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Kroger said MTMs can significantly improve people’s overall health and wellness by offering access to nutritious foods, PYMNTS reported at the time.
That report also points to recent evidence review and national simulation modeling study by researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University showing that MTM programs could prevent 1.6 million hospitalizations and save health insurers $13.6 billion annually.
Over 10 years, the health cost savings from MTM program participants, who get 10 of these meals a week for eight months, were estimated to reach $185.1 billion.
“We believe in empowering people with resources to help them make healthy choices that will deliver the best outcomes for them,” said Kirby.
“Offering [these meals] allows us an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to supporting individuals on their wellness journeys, while providing a personalized approach to help them transform their health.”
As PYMNTS has written, Kroger already sells virtual appointments with dietitians.
“By getting involved in nutrition counseling and touting these meals’ health benefits, Kroger inserts itself into the views of consumers with dietary restriction or concerns who are figuring out what they will eat, encouraging heavier reliance on the grocer in these shoppers’ meal-planning routines,” that report said.
Soda Health also teamed with Albertsons — in the midst of a planned merger with Kroger — earlier this year to allow consumers to use their health benefits funds on eligible purchases from the grocer’s stores.