Allison Beadle, MS, RD, LD
Editor, RDBA Weekly
Kris Lindsey MPH, RD, LD, is the Online Dietitian at Hannaford Supermarket’s corporate office located in Scarborough, Maine. Through use of social media, and the company website, Kris reaches thousands of Hannaford shoppers every week. She earned her undergraduate degrees in Journalism and Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Maine and her Master's in Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She lives in Southern Maine with her husband and daughter and is an avid tennis player.
Kris has come full circle with her experience in retail. She worked at L.L. Bean for six years in retail communications and creative departments. Her long-term career goals lead her to pursue an education in public health nutrition. After working another six years for a non-profit as a Health and Nutrition Manager, she’s back in retail and loves having nutrition communication tools at her fingertips!
Tell us a little bit about Hannaford.
Hannaford Supermarkets, based in Scarborough, Maine, operates 184 stores in the Northeast, located in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. All Hannaford stores feature Guiding Stars, America’s first storewide nutrition navigation system and free dietitian services are offered online and in many in-store locations. Additional information can be found at www.hannaford.com/dietitians.
What’s the story on your experience in retail and your position with Hannaford.
I joined Hannaford as a retail dietitian in 2008 and moved to the corporate office two years later to fill my current role as the online dietitian. My responsibilities include responding to customer nutrition questions on the company website; hosting a live weekly nutrition chat hour on Hannaford’s Facebook page; and editing nutrition content for our website, handouts, booklets, e-newsletters and Hannaford Fresh magazine. Because I miss being able to personally connect with our shoppers face to face, I value opportunities to participate in various events and speak at schools and community groups. I work closely with Hannaford’s Healthy Living Team, who oversee the dietitian program, and I feel fortunate to be part of a fabulous team of Hannaford Dietitians.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a dietitian working in the retail industry?
My ongoing challenge is to be the approachable nutrition resource. If shoppers feel I’ve listened and provided solid information to help make informed decisions, they’ll spread the word and come back for more.
What is one thing that you wish you would have known before starting your career as a retail dietitian?
Everything about food and nutrition! I discovered quickly that every type of question would come my way. Knowing everything isn’t possible, so I’m constantly scouting out reliable resources.
Has there been anything specific that has held you back? If yes, tell us about this and how you dealt with it.
It’s often challenging to stay of top of all the new diets/fads, books, research studies, and controversies that surface—often presented with bias. I’m energized by opportunities to gather and interpret current knowledge on hot topics so folks can form their own judgments based on balanced information.
In a similar vein, has there been anything specific that has helped you move forward? If yes, tell us about this.
Hannaford has been an industry leader in offering one of the first supermarket dietitian programs and being the first grocery retailer to offer an in-store nutrition navigation system. Our Healthy Living Team offers enormous support to the dietitians and continues to grow the program and find new and innovative ways to connect with our customers. Let’s face it, not every supermarket dares to dive into live social media chats! Also, while our team of Hannaford dietitians lean on me to research detailed product and manufacturing information, I likewise can tap into their vast collective knowledge base—which is extremely reassuring.
What have you done to equip yourself with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the retail industry?
To avoid being blindsided by comments or questions, I view popular media as well as peer reviewed publications. This helps me understand nutrition topics from different perspectives and form well-balanced responses.
Tell us about one of your programs or initiatives that you are most proud of and why.
I’m very proud of my live nutrition chats on Facebook because we simply didn’t know what to expect and two years later they continue to go strong. I liken conducting a live chat to visiting the wild west – you can set out in one direction but go in many and at the end wonder how you survived, while always appreciating the adventure!