All in all, an estimated 17 stores in San Francisco are currently being stocked with freshly made foods, and according to Dave Devincenzi, district manager of SF's Central District, the company plans to convert another 22 locations in 2012. (SFoodie asked Walgreens' media relations department for confirmation of those numbers, but has not yet heard back.) "In the Bay Area, roughly 60 percent of our stores will have Fresh Eats," Devincenzi says. "In San Francisco, I think it would probably be higher."
The product line for the stores varies from the Financial District to the outer neighborhoods. Most of the freshly prepared foods come from a central commissary near Sacramento, Devincenzi says, and one of the counter people SFoodie spoke to confirmed the stock is replenished every day.
The initiative is smart, from many different points of view -- and in the case of the food desert initiative, a welcome way to bring more fresh, healthful foods to neighborhoods with few shopping options. It's hard not to look at the ready-to-heat meals and see their similarity to Fresh & Easy, which is also making a big push to open up stores in the Bay Area.
SFoodie confesses we're not the target market for Walgreens' Fresh Eats -- we rarely eat prepackaged food from markets and grocery stores. But we picked up a range of foods from two different stores. A six-pack of brown-rice sushi rolls filled with tempura vegetables ($4.49) was more gray than brown and gritty with sesame seeds, but it came with a spicy mayonnaise that rendered the rolls edible. We took one and only bite of a microwave-heated vegetarian barley with vegetables, and found it oddly sugary and dominated by the funk of overcooked broccoli.