An interview with Ashley Kibutha, RD, LD, Amy Peick, RD, LD and Emily Parent, RD, LD
Coborn’s has recently expanded their retail dietitian program. What was the impetus for the expansion?
Coborn’s values the health and wellness of the community and wants to help make the healthy choice the easy choice for our guests, if they so desire. When the supermarket dietitian program was first launched it was a great success and in order to meet our communities’ needs we had to invest in more dietitians in order to satisfy that hunger – pun intended- for more healthy eating and lifestyle programs.
How was the new head count sold in to Coborn’s leadership?
Since the beginning of the dietitian program, leadership has been very supportive, so much in fact that a new company vision and mission was created to include a focus on health and nutrition. Adding two additional dietitians was a natural next step to the many investments geared toward health and wellness that we’d already made, including already having one supermarket RD.
What about the “pitch” really sold the idea to Coborn’s leadership?
Emily Coborn, Vice President of our FRESH department states “There wasn’t much of a “pitch,” as much of a prevailing understanding that we want to keep making strategic investments that inspire health and wellness for our guests and employees. Today’s consumer is interested in better living through higher-quality eating. Investing in programs like Supermarket Registered Dietitians and NuVal, and in partnerships with the local healthcare system, keep us relevant with what they seek. Even more important, they support healthier living for the entire community. That’s a win-win for us.”
How is the team now organized?
Our team is organized regionally, and will continue to grow regionally until we are able to have a dietitian in each store. We are all focused in a home store location, supporting other stores within the nearbyarea. Our focus is in our stores and the greater community. We are all considered supermarket dietitians, but our lead dietitian, Ashley supports the corporate office with their needs. We are proud of the relationships we hold with key staff in our stores including our pharmacists,and strive to create long term store growth through loyalty.
Although we work out of different locations, we work together as a team. In addition to providing our services to our stores, we also take leadership roles on initiatives that we are starting for our program as a whole. For example, Emily is working to establish a weight management program for guests and employees, along with promoting our services through a variety of social media channels and working with CobornsDelivers to develop nutritious but tasty options for our new To the Table fresh meal kits. Amy is putting together a kid’s program and Ashley is working with our catering team to bring about more nutritious and trendy catering options as well as creating a Freezer Meal Program that will launch in 2017.
What is unique about the Coborn’s retail RD program?
Our services are all complimentary, but they are not meant to be in competition with clinical dietitians or other RDs in our communities. We want to be that resource at the grocery store, the point of purchase, offering advice while the guest is making those decisions about which foods they are recommended to consume. We can also offer menu planning and different recipes and ways of incorporating more nutritious foods that also taste good.
Sales are important to us and we want to be an asset to the company in that regard, however, we don’t have “sales goals.” We are that complimentary service that we believe will increase our guests’ loyalty, thus increasing our stores sales as a whole.
We also have an abundance of support from our leadership team, it is so humbling to know that they recognize the importance of these services to our guests in our communities and that they are willing to invest for the greater good of the community. It is Coborn’s way of giving back. There is so much passion for nutrition and overall health throughout our company!