Word out of Walgreen Co. is that the drugstore chain will expand chilled food offerings to its mix of product offerings. Company officials report that a test run will occur in 12 stores this fall.

This action follows an announcement in January, where Walgreen’s vice president of merchandising said the company plans to sell fresh foods and prepared meals at its 7,000 stores and is investigating the prospect of having food manufacturers create private-label branded products. The move could push Walgreen into competition with supermarkets, clubs stores and the likes of Wal-Mart and Target, which already offer extensive food sales.

According to a Walgreen spokesperson, the company may sell sandwiches, fresh cut fruit, soups and wraps. She added that the fresh food initiative could help the drugstore chain move into a category making it a "destination for tonight's meal."

According to a Dow Jones report, Walgreen could test the option in as many as 50 locations in the Chicago area this September. Long term a bigger push into fresh food could include such items as chicken Marsala, macaroni and cheese and General Tso's chicken.

Source: Walgreen, Meatingplace.com