Adding registered dietitians is by far the leading trend in the retail industry today. As retailers have recognized the opportunity to leverage health and wellness as a business benefit and competitive advantage, they're hiring registered dietitians as the credentialed nutrition expert to develop and lead wellness strategies and the company's health brand, and help shoppers live healthier lives. To ensure their members are equipped to most effectively leverage the expertise of retail dietitians, the Food Marketing Institute in partnership with the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance has launched a new toolkit – Hiring, Leveraging & Empowering Retail Dietitians.
While deciding to add registered dietitians is the first step in the process, there are other elements to consider in building an effective retail RD program, including reporting structure, positioning at corporate, regional, and/or store level, focus on employee or shopper engagement, and balance of wellness and disease management in programs. “FMI is committed to helping our members satisfy the health and wellness needs of their shoppers,” comments Cathy Polley, VP of Health and Wellness at FMI and Executive Director of the FMI Foundation. Polley explains that “FMI has long supported the efforts of our members to engage and employ retail dietitians,” and this guide is designed for CEOs, retail dietitians and store managers to hire, train and empower retail dietitians.
The guide is an online, interactive tool, which includes detailed descriptions of retail RD roles, sample job descriptions, and guidance on aligning RD teams within the corporate structure based on the retail size and markets. Guidance is provided for companies interested in starting a RD program or expanding an existing program.
According to Annette Maggi, MS, RD, LD, FAND, Executive Director of the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance, these dietitians are positioned to positively impact consumer behavior because of the retail environment. “Today most food buying decisions are made at the point-of-purchase, more consumers pass through a grocery store each week than watch NCIS or American Idol, and retailers sell a wide variety of brands and products, uniquely positioning them as a filter of health information presented on package.” Using this FMI-RDBA toolkit ensures retailers understand how dietitians can have the most impact for their consumers, public health, and the retailer’s business.
For more information on this guide, visit fmi.org.