Food & Drink

More grocery stores across the United States are offering customers the option to get COVID-19 tests. Kroger, Walmart, Albertsons, Safeway and Hy-Vee are providing different options to make testing easier and faster during the coronavirus pandemic. Convenience is a crucial factor for consumers, but the retailers are also focusing on accuracy and speed.

Initially, Kroger offered in-clinic and at-home COVID-19 diagnostic tests at its locations, which included nasal swab tests. The company recently announced that it will also carry the rapid antibody COVID-19 test in more than 2,200 pharmacies located inside its stores. The new rapid antibody tests from Whitmire Medical require a finger-prick blood sample and cost $25, but they can show results in 15 minutes.

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Meanwhile, Albertsons and Safeway are teaming up with the Idaho State Board of Pharmacy to give away free COVID-19 tests to state residents. Previously, Albertsons Companies partnered with Phosphorus to offer at-home COVID-19 test kits, which are saliva tests that show results in 72 hours or less.

Through the new parternership with the Idaho State Board of Pharmacy, customers can fill out a quick registration form online that a pharmacist at Albertsons or Safeway will review. Then, consumers can request for the COVID-19 saliva test to be shipped to their home, or they can pick it up.

Some Hy-Vee locations also offer free drive-thru COVID-19 tests. The company is requiring customers to register online, so they can receive a test voucher number and answer a short questionnaire. Hy-Vee pharmacists are supervising the tests.

Meanwhile, Walmart is using drones to deliver at-home COVID-19 self-collection kits with nasal swabs. Through its partnership with Quest Diagnostics and DroneUp, the retailer is testing the drones in trial deliveries of collection kits in North Las Vegas and Cheektowaga, New York.

“Patients who qualify for drone delivery of the COVID-19 self-collection kits must live in a single-family residence within a 1-mile radius of the designated Supercenters in North Las Vegas and Cheektowaga. The kits will land on the driveway, front sidewalk, or backyard of the customer’s home, depending on where there are cars and trees,” Tom Ward, senior vice president of customer product at Walmart, wrote in a corporate post.

Grocery stores are targeting the convenience of picking up a COVID-19 test while shopping for dinner or tomorrow’s lunch. At the same time, they are aware that consumers want accurate and fast results with little to no pain. This is why more retailers are moving away from nasal swabs toward saliva tests that a customer can do at home. Retailers are also creating alternative testing sites and methods for consumers, which should offer relief to clinics and hospitals.

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