Why your local CVS is hiding the candy and tanning oil

Three years after eliminating tobacco products from its shelves and adding “health” to its name, CVS Health is taking more steps and moving most junk food away from the storefront, banning sales of low-protection sunscreens, and eliminating foods containing artificial trans-fats. The changes are part of the company’s effort to stand apart from rivals by focusing on health care goods and services, says Helena Foulkes, who runs the company’s community pharmacy business. CVS Health will still sell candy bars at the front register but is moving the main snack aisle, with its bags of candies, sweets, chips, and other snacks, to the middle of the store. Candy accounts for approximately 5% of overall drugstore revenue, according to Nielsen. CVS has stopped selling tanning oils and sunscreens with SPF lower than 15, which FDA says do not help prevent cancer. This month, the company will quit shipping foods with artificial trans-fats, more than a year before an FDA ban on the products takes effect. “We make a distinction between indulgent products and damaging products,” says Judy Sansone, CVS’s chief merchant. “We are giving more healthy-choice options and making sure the customer can find them.” The modifications are not expected to hurt sales as did the tobacco ban, which the company said cost it $2 billion in annual revenue.


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