WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Pharmacy has removed partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the primary source of artificial trans fats in processed food, from all its private label snacks and groceries. The retailer now offers over 600 exclusive consumable options that are free from artificial trans fats.
The chain took the action a year and a half ahead of the Food and Drug Administration’s deadline of June 2018 for processed food products to be reformulated without artificial trans fats, underscoring the company’s ongoing commitment to its customers’ health. Trans fats have been linked to rising rates of heart disease in the U.S., and their removal from processed food is expected to aid in reversing the trend and help prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.
“At CVS Pharmacy we are dedicated to helping our customers lead healthier lives, and moved quickly to ensure all of our snack and grocery store brands products are free from artificial trans fats,” said Judy Sansone, senior vice president of front store business and chief merchant at CVS Health. “Our commitment to producing high-quality products reinforces that CVS Pharmacy is a leading health destination.”
“We applaud CVS Pharmacy for working proactively to remove artificial trans fats from its store brands products well in advance of the federal deadline,” said Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, chief medical officer for prevention at the American Heart Association. “The early removal of trans fats in all CVS Pharmacy store brands products will help to improve overall heart health and prevent heart disease for many Americans.”
As of the start of January, all snack and grocery store brands products developed by CVS and shipping to distribution centers have been free from artificial trans fats. The early removal of artificial trans fats from all store brands follows a significant expansion of healthy food to stores nationwide throughout 2016. This is a critical step as the company strives to evolve into a premier health destination, providing millions of customers healthier food options that are convenient, affordable and innovative.
Other initiatives include the nationwide rollout of the exclusive store brand CVS Health, a flagship line of more than 2,500 health and wellness products focused on effective and affordable care as well as unexpected innovations spanning 19 categories.
The retailer also moved healthy food items toward the front of stores, dedicating roughly 25% of checkout space to better-for-you snacks.
It introduced healthy eating trend zones that showcase carefully curated selections of paleo, raw and vegan snacks at key periods throughout the year. And the “Fit Choices” shelf tagging program helps customers find healthier items in stores easily.