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• Walgreen announced yesterday that in conjunction with efforts by First Lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America to fight the childhood obesity epidemic and provide better and more accessible food options to under-served communities, it is committing to convert or open at least 1,000 “food oasis” stores across the country over the next five years.

At the same time, Walmart said that it would open between 275-300 stores serving “food desert” areas - in both urban and rural locations - between now and 2016. The company said that it has, in fact, opened 218 such stores since 2007.

• Delhaize-owned Food Lion unveiled six new Food Lion stores in the Greenville, South Carolina, market this week, marking their transition from its Bloom banner as the company looks to make the locations better suited to local demographics and economic needs.

• The Food Marketing Institute announced the release of “Access to Healthier Foods: Opportunities and Challenges for Food Retailers in Underserved Areas,” a research resource exploring the barriers supermarkets commonly encounter when seeking to expand service into areas designated as ‘food deserts.’  The paper also addresses factors that encourage store development in low access areas and cites some of the innovative ways supermarkets are increasing access to healthier food for residents in underserved areas.

Drug Store News reports that the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. has launched “a new program, Live Better Baby Club, which is designed to help customers save on their baby-related purchases. Members of the Live Better Baby Club will receive an automatic 10% discount on baby products every time they shop at A&P, Pathmark, Superfresh, Waldbaum's and The Food Emporium stores.”
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