Progressive Grocer Retail Dietitian Symposium Report
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
The 2017 Retail Dietitian Symposium provided an opportunity to connect with peers, learn new ways to engage with shoppers and enhance the work of supermarket dietitians. Below is a summary of the program’s highlights:
- Phil Lempert, CEO of RDBA, presented ways to successfully provide shoppers with back-to-school solutions from preschool to college. He discussed the valuable ideas found in the first RDBA Samplefest™ box and challenged the attendees to consider creating videos. Need some guidance? Check out utube.com/playbook
- Your professional brand is about your identity and what makes you distinct. This session focused on practical steps to gather feedback, take on stretch assignments and utilize mentors and sponsors in your brand development journey.
- Just when you think you have retail figured out, new “disrupters” come into play at retail. Dietitians have the skills to add value to the growing areas of prepared foods, meal kits, e-commerce, and personalized consumer solutions. How can you engage in these relevant areas?
- Family Meals Month takes place in September… do you have a plan for promoting solutions at your store? Shoppers are looking for convenience so engage your prepared foods and deli department and get creative with social media. For ideas visit www.fmi.org/familymeals
- Consumers are demanding transparency with product information. Nutrition guidance can be provided in ad, in-store and on-line but remember that today’s shoppers aren’t just looking for only nutritional attributes. We also need to address the values of convenience, sustainability and price.
- It’s no surprise that the Gerber FITS study shows toddlers are eating too many sweets and too few fruits and vegetables. Dietary patterns are established early and the retail RDN has the opportunity to reach parents with ideas for healthier food selections and snacking ideas. Identify ways to communicate solutions instore, through social or with key community groups.
- Bridging the health communication gap with customers can be a challenge. Creating positive messages that communicate benefits is a must! Leslie Bonci, MPH, RDN, CSSD, LDN advised dietitians to “shout out to shut the misinformation down”.
- The compliance date for menu labeling is May 7, 2018. Obtain needed resources and use this opportunity to work with prepared food departments to create a strategy for how customers can use the information for guidance with meal planning.
- Recent Progressive Grocer research indicates that 74% of shoppers believe they could be healthier. Ensure your wellness messaging aligns with consumer behaviors and provide connectivity in store, in the community and on-line. Leverage store associates to help amplify your messages and connect them to your wellness program during orientation.