By Amy Peick, senior dietetics student and aspiring retail dietitian
Over the past four weeks, I have been a student intern at the Hy-Vee store in Oakdale, Minnesota. Since starting my internship, I’ve had many opportunities that continue to inspire me to be a retail dietitian. I’ve delivered presentations on various health and nutrition topics, conducted research on products throughout the store, and assisted in the development of cooking classes and educational sessions for individuals of all ages and dietary needs. Every day, I am challenged to think critically, be creative and practice good time management, among many other skills. I also am using my experience to learn about the challenges retail dietitians deal with on a daily basis.
Retail dietitians have many roles at a supermarket. They are building relationships with employees and customers in the store while reaching out and partnering with the community. In order to be successful, retail dietitians must promote their company as well as themselves and their services. Retail dietitians also must be creative and have the ability to network, so they can build relationships and share ideas with their coworkers, customers and community.
One of the biggest challenges retail dietitians face is gauging the needs of their customers. Store tours, for example, can focus on a variety of topics such as heart health, diabetes and weight loss; however, prior to any tour, it is essential to know what the customer is looking for to best meet their needs and expectations.
Along with gauging customers, it is important for dietitians to provide a variety of events that target different audiences. When planning programs, I’ve discovered that I need to make sure I’m meeting the needs of my target audience. The content of the program not only needs to be appropriate, but the promotional items need to clearly communicate who the event is for and what will be discussed or offered.
Overall, I have been fortunate to work with two registered dietitians at Hy-Vee who each provide a new and creative perspective to their careers. They have challenged me to take on new projects and develop professional skills and have been tremendous mentors. My experience with Hy-Vee has further ignited my passion to be a retail dietitian, and I look forward to the rest of my internship with the company.
I’ll return as an RDBA Weekly author to share my final thoughts and insights from my experience. If you have any questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.