Rexall brings M&M to its frozen aisle

The drug store is diversifying its food offering while giving the Food Market access to urban customers.

mm_foodmarket_-_desktop_banner

Drug store chain Rexall has established a partnership with M&M Food Market to revamp its selection of frozen meal options with an eye towards health-conscious consumer tastes.

Currently available at 32 locations in and around the Toronto area, the frozen meal section of the drug store has been replaced with an M&M-branded area featuring a selection of single-serve entrees, prepared meals, appetizers and desserts. All of the meals are touted on Rexall’s website and in-store signage as being “healthier choices,” and include butter chicken, lobster bisque, chicken pad thai and sheppard’s pie, among others.

Though Rexall was unable to provide more details about the deal and the roll-out of the new M&M sections, a statement to strategy from the company said it was aiming “to offer Canadians healthy choices that fit their lifestyle,” and sees it “as a complement to the other health and wellness offerings and services available” at its stores.

But beyond offering meal options in line with changing consumer tastes, it also gives Rexall an opportunity to compete against its biggest competitor in the drug store category.

Since being acquired by Loblaw in 2014, Shoppers Drug Mart has steadily increased the food options available in its stores, from frozen meals from President’s Choice, as well as fresh produce and bakery products in some select locations. President’s Choice, too, has been looking to attract health-conscious shoppers to frozen offerings, through things like its Blue Menu line of products.

For M&M, the company is coming off a five-year brand transformation project, one that saw it change its name from “M&M Meat Shops,” add over 100 new products to its selection and reformulate its recipes to be free of artificial ingredients. But while the project has also included testing some new store formats, M&M has traditionally had a hard time penetrating dense urban centres like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal (it recently opened a store in Vancouver, currently its only location between the country’s three largest cities). Partnering with Rexall, which has an extensive store network in major cities, gives M&M a foothold with a larger urban audience.