As part of a food-as-medicine strategic initiative, Kroger Health, the healthcare division of Cincinnati-based The Kroger Co., is collaborating with Performance Kitchen to offer medically tailored meals (MTMs) aimed at improving consumers’ overall health and potentially saving the nation billions in health care costs.
The partnership marks the first time Kroger Health is offering evidence-based, registered dietitian-approved meals that will offer nutrition intervention for people who are living with various health conditions including diabetes, heart disease and cancer, according to a news release. MTMs are created to meet the specific needs of individuals and may significantly improve a person’s overall health and wellness while providing access to nutritious foods, the release said.
“We believe in empowering people with resources to help them make healthy choices that will deliver the best outcomes for them,” James Kirby, Kroger Health chief commercial officer, said in the release. “Offering MTMs 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. Through better options and access, we are assisting people in improving their quality of life, disease prevention and management.”
A recent evidence review and national simulation modeling study by researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University estimated that MTM programs could help prevent 1.6 million hospitalizations and save health insurers $13.6 billion across the country in one year after paying for the cost of food, the release said. Over 10 years, the health care cost-savings from MTM program participants where they receive 10 MTMs per week for eight months were estimated to reach $185.1 billion, on top of the cost of the MTMs.
Performance Kitchen and Kroger Health are focused on implementing food as medicine into people’s daily lifestyles, the release said. To encourage consumption, the medically tailored meals are crafted to meet nutritional standards while considering the needs of increasingly diverse populations and the inclusion of culturally relevant foods, according to the release.
The Performance Kitchen and Kroger Health MTMs include options such as Chicken Dijon with Kale, Moroccan Style Chicken with Quinoa, Vegetable Chickpea Curry, and Salmon Pasta.
Kroger Health is able to pair the MTMs with preexisting Kroger Health services such as virtual appointments with registered dietitians and access to healthy groceries for a holistic approach to improving nutrition security and patient outcomes, the release said.
Performance Kitchen’s team of chefs, doctors and registered dietitians seeks to deliver nutritionally balanced meals by using high-quality proteins, full servings of vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and fiber, while limiting sodium and added sugar. The meals are frozen, single-serve and ready to heat, making them convenient for people who are concerned about the amount of time it takes to prepare and cook a healthy meal, the release said.
All Performance Kitchen meals crafted for the collaboration are also approved by Kroger Health registered dietitians, according to the release.
“MTMs help us achieve our goal of making sure people have access to food that helps them feel their best and improve their health,” Taylor Newman, Ph.D., a registered dietitian nutritionist and director of nutrition for Kroger Health, said in the release. “While the meals are personalized for an individual’s specific health condition, we’re also proud to offer a variety of culturally diverse recipes and flavors to make sure everyone’s needs are met.”
The collaboration with Performance Kitchen is the latest initiative from Kroger Health’s Food as Medicine platform, which comes after the release of SuperWIN, a retail-based randomized controlled trial, and the company’s participation in the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health.
“We’re excited to work with Kroger Health in our unified goal of empowering the country to live healthier lives through food,” Mark Walker, chairman and CEO of Performance Kitchen, said in the release. “In a country where we spend $4.3 trillion on sick care annually, states and insurance companies that have begun offering millions of Americans these new meal benefits, along with organizations like Kroger Health who are making these benefits available, should be celebrated. Together, we are pioneering a new horizon of preventative care through nutritious food.”
Payers, providers, employers, and community organizations interested in learning more about Kroger Health and Performance Kitchen’s medically tailored meal collaboration should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kroger Health and the Kroger Family of Pharmacies and clinics operate more than 2,200 pharmacies and more than 220 clinics in 35 states serving more than 17 million customers annually.
Performance Kitchen says it provides the next generation of chronic disease management through healthy medically tailored meals, paid for by insurance and delivered directly to consumers’ homes.