How RDs could soon lead customers’ quest for personalized nutrition

How RDs could soon lead customers’ quest for personalized nutrition

March 31, 2021
Al Heller
Business SkillsTrends

By Al Heller, Contributing Editor,

Consumer demand for customized dietary plans is forecast to grow by double digits annually to reach $7.4 billion in North American sales, and $16.6 billion globally, by 2027.  Retail dietitians will be pivotal to this surge. Their ability to help customers identify ‘which foods are right for me’ and leverage their visibility into more prominent health-leading positions at their retailers are topics explored within the RDBA Samplefest® 2021 Pave The Way: A New Era of Eating Patterns which will be available to all retail RDs registered for the RDBA Virtual Experience.

Why the demand, which led to predict a 13.6% compound annual growth rate between 2021 and 2027?

  • Greater prevalence of lifestyle diseases, 
  • A larger geriatric population,
  • and growing awareness that modified diets could produce health benefits. 

Consumers today use testing firms that suggest individualized diets based on DNA (saliva or inner cheek swab), blood markers, and stool samples that help profile the microbiome, wearables that track activity and blood sugar levels, and health records, or some combination. Yet because such personalized reports can be data-heavy and complex, guidance from retail dietitian professionals can yield better interpretations and actions in a consumer’s best health interest.

“An underlying challenge for consumers – and a big opportunity for retail dietitians who can help them evaluate testing firms, methods and data – is that there’s no obvious scientific consensus yet on precisely which test methods and findings will ultimately yield the best and easiest-to-follow results for individuals, and how effective they could become,” the Samplefest® report says.

While testing firms proliferate and business analysts see big dollars ahead, retail dietitians that delve into this topic now and commit to follow newer credible studies as they develop will be best positioned as on-site experts to:

  • guide shoppers on their nutritional journey to optimize health, and
  • guide retail executives as to which testing firms to associate and possibly partner with, which food brands are leading at developing personalized solutions, and how to capture share of the expanding customization market with nutritionally credible programs and assortments that differentiate/

“The role of the retail dietitian in the supermarket needs to be expanded to include . . . communication of these types of reports if they will ever become commonplace and useful,” said Phil Lempert, RDBA President and CEO.

In their role as chief explainers of personalized nutrition programs, retail dietitians will soon become the trusted lens through which retailers view and shape this business opportunity, and through which customers will change eating behaviors to attain their health objectives. The Samplefest® report includes many tips for retail dietitians to prepare to assess studies, message consumers about scientific evidence as it evolves, and partner internally to develop compelling programs that produce financially, raise the supermarket’s health image, and enhance customer loyalty. To receive the Samplefest® report and bundle of sponsor products and resources, register for the RDBA Virtual Experience here