Is ChatGPT a Tool for Retail Dietitians?

Is ChatGPT a Tool for Retail Dietitians?

May 31, 2023
Guest Columnist

By: Stephanie Schultz, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships & Initiatives, RD Ambassador to the RDBA

Retail Dietitians serve unique and varied functions. Despite differences between roles, we can all embrace technology at some level. The technology available has evolved over time. The growth of digital media and ecommerce, coupled with the buzz around industry initiatives like food as medicine, and the need for novel solutions to complex public health concerns require us to explore and leverage new technology as part of the solution as we work to reach more shoppers and ultimately have greater impact. 

The latest technology to take the world by storm is ChatGPT – an AI tool that answers questions quickly and in in detailed fashion, generating paragraphs of content in just a matter of seconds. Since its unveiling late last year everyone is trying to determine how ChatGPT will impact them and their business. So, what does ChatGPT know about retail dietitians, and might it be a tool you and your shoppers can leverage? We decided to ask the powerful chatbot a few questions. Does it know what retail dietitians do? Can it tell you what to make for dinner based on the items you have in your fridge following dietary preferences? Can it help you shop for groceries online based on those same preferences?  See what we found out!

Us (to ChatGPT): Do you know what a retail dietitian does?

ChatGPT: Yes, I can help with that. A retail dietitian is a professional who works within the retail industry, often in grocery stores or supermarkets. They provide nutrition and dietary guidance to customers, assisting them in making healthier food choices and managing specific dietary needs. Retail dietitians may offer personalized consultations, lead educational workshops or cooking demonstrations, develop nutrition programs, create informative materials, and collaborate with food manufacturers to promote healthier product options. They play a vital role in supporting customers' wellness goals while navigating the aisles of the store.

Here are some key responsibilities and functions of a retail dietitian:

  1. Nutrition Education: Retail dietitians offer nutrition education programs and resources to help customers make informed and healthy food choices. They may conduct cooking demonstrations, provide grocery store tours, or host workshops and classes on various nutrition topics.
  2. Individual Consultations: They may offer one-on-one consultations or counseling sessions with customers to address specific dietary concerns, health conditions, or provide personalized nutrition advice.
  3. Product Labeling and Information: Retail dietitians help with product labeling and provide accurate nutrition information for store-branded products. They may review and assess the nutritional content of products, including allergen information, and help customers understand food labels.
  4. Community Outreach: They engage with the local community by participating in health fairs, wellness events, and partnering with community organizations to promote nutrition and wellness.
  5. Employee Training: Retail dietitians often train store employees on nutrition topics, healthy eating strategies, and product knowledge. They may conduct staff education sessions to ensure employees have accurate nutrition information to assist customers.
  6. Health Initiatives and Programs: They may develop and implement health-focused initiatives within the retail environment, such as weight management programs, nutrition challenges, or wellness campaigns.

Overall, the role of a retail dietitian involves bridging the gap between nutrition and retail, helping individuals make healthier choices while shopping, and promoting overall well-being within the community they serve.

Us (to ChatGPT): Do they have influence over what the grocery store has on the shelf?

ChatGPT: Retail dietitians can indeed have some influence over the products available on the shelves of a grocery store. They work closely with the store management and purchasing teams to identify and promote healthier food options that align with current dietary guidelines and consumer preferences. Retail dietitians may provide input on product selection, participate in product evaluations, and recommend specific brands or products that meet certain nutritional criteria. Their expertise and understanding of customer needs can help shape the assortment of products available in the store, making it easier for customers to find healthier choices. However, the final decisions regarding product selection and shelf placement typically rest with the store management and purchasing teams.

Us (to ChatGPT): Can you help with recipe ideas based on what I have in my fridge?

ChatGPT: Certainly. Can you tell me what items you have in your fridge?

Us (to ChatGPT): I don’t have much. Eggs, milk, cheddar cheese, Amylu Cranberry & Jalapeno meatballs, lettuce.

ChatGPT: With the ingredients you have, you can make a delicious meatball wrap. Here's a simple recipe idea for you:


  • Amylu cranberry and jalapeno meatballs
  • Cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Tortilla wraps


  • Preheat your oven according to the instructions on the meatball package.
  • Cook the Amylu cranberry and jalapeno meatballs in the oven until they are heated through and nicely browned.
  •  While the meatballs are cooking, wash and prepare the lettuce leaves.
  • Warm the tortilla wraps in a microwave or on a stovetop skillet for a few seconds to make them more pliable.
  • Place a few meatballs onto a tortilla wrap.
  • Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of the meatballs.
  • Add lettuce leaves on top of the cheese.
  • Roll up the tortilla tightly, tucking in the sides as you go.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining tortilla wraps and ingredients.

You can enjoy the meatball wraps as a quick and tasty meal or cut them into bite-sized pieces for appetizers. Feel free to add any additional condiments or ingredients you prefer, such as mayonnaise or salsa. Enjoy your meal!

Us (to ChatGPT):  Can you suggest some easy gluten-free meals for the summer?

ChatGPT: Certainly! Here's a refreshing gluten-free recipe for a summer dinner meal: Grilled Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles.


  • 1 pound of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3-4 medium zucchini, spiralized or cut into noodles
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley or basil for garnish (optional)


  • Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  • In a bowl, combine the minced garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Add the shrimp to the bowl and toss until they are evenly coated with the marinade. Let them marinate for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the zucchini noodles using a spiralizer or by cutting them into thin strips.
  • Grill the marinated shrimp for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until they turn pink and are cooked through. Remove from the grill and set aside.
  • In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the zucchini noodles and sauté for 2-3 minutes until they are tender but still slightly crisp.
  • Season the zucchini noodles with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve the grilled shrimp on top of the zucchini noodles. Garnish with fresh parsley or basil, if desired.
  • Enjoy your gluten-free and light summer dinner!

This recipe is not only delicious but also a great option for those who follow a gluten-free diet. Feel free to customize it by adding other veggies or herbs of your choice.

Us (to ChatGPT): Can you help me shop for groceries online for a specific diet?

ChatGPT: Of course! I'd be happy to assist you with shopping for groceries online for a specific diet. Please let me know which diet you are following or any specific dietary restrictions you have, and we can start exploring suitable food options together. Additionally, if you have any preferences or specific items you're looking for, feel free to mention those as well.

Us (to ChatGPT): My husband needs to follow a low sodium diet and I need to eat gluten free.

ChatGPT: Certainly! I can help you find suitable options for a low sodium diet and a gluten-free diet. When shopping online, here are some general guidelines you can follow:

For a low-sodium diet:

  • Look for products labeled "low sodium" or "no added salt."
  • Choose fresh fruits and vegetables, as they are naturally low in sodium.
  • Opt for lean meats, poultry, and fish, and avoid processed or cured meats.
  • Select whole grains without added salt, such as brown rice and quinoa.
  • Read food labels carefully and compare sodium content among similar products.

For a gluten-free diet:

  • Look for products labeled "gluten-free" to ensure they meet your dietary needs.
  • Choose naturally gluten-free foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, and poultry.
  • Select gluten-free grains like rice, quinoa, oats labeled gluten-free, and gluten-free flours.
  • Pay attention to hidden sources of gluten, such as sauces, gravies, and processed foods.
  • Read ingredient labels thoroughly to check for any potential sources of gluten.

When shopping online, most grocery stores have filtering options that allow you to search for specific dietary preferences or restrictions. Utilize these filters to streamline your search and make it easier to find suitable products. If you need any assistance or specific recommendations while shopping, feel free to ask!

Us (to ChatGPT): Can I show you a picture of a grocery shelf and you tell me what to buy?

ChatGPT: I'm sorry, but as an AI text-based model, I'm unable to view or analyze images directly. However, I can still help you by providing general guidance and recommendations based on your dietary needs. If you describe the items on the grocery shelf or provide specific product names or categories, I can offer suggestions on what to look for or alternatives that align with a low sodium and gluten-free diet.

That was our experience with ChatGPT: eight questions, in maybe five minutes. That was all it took to generate these detailed responses. While it has limitations given that it is an AI text-based model, it may be a tool retail dietitians and consumers can lean on.

However, nothing can replace the human connection and empathy that a retail dietitian can share with a shopper. In addition, the relationships you have with your peers – namely the store (and company) management and purchasing teams that ChatGPT mentioned – are not something an AI tool can replicate. At least for now.