RD Close-Up: Lauren Faiella, RD, CDN from ShopRite of Clark
Please describe your role at ShopRite.
At the ShopRite of Clark, I am responsible for the health and wellness education and outreach to ShopRite guests, associates, and surrounding community. Programs include supermarket tours, individual and family nutrition counseling, culinary demonstrations, health fairs, and lunch and learns. As the in-store nutrition expert, I have the opportunity to share my knowledge to guests at the point of sale, which I find very inspiring.
What's the story behind your experience in retail and how you came to work at ShopRite?
This is my first experience in the retail setting; however, my love for food and nutrition has been a life-long passion. Prior to working at ShopRite, I worked in a clinical setting for several years. The experience I gained was excellent, but I desired stronger and more meaningful relationships with the individuals that I was educating. I spoke with supermarket dietitians and it quickly became clear that the retail setting offered a tremendous opportunity to form on-going relationships with people and truly implement positive behavior change. That is when my interest in becoming a retail dietitian began, and what drew me to ShopRite’s in-store dietitian program.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a dietitian working in the retail industry?
It has been challenging to learn an entire new set of business and sales skills that I did not have the opportunity to develop in my previous positions. I am fortunate that ShopRite has provided me with numerous resources and introduced me to professionals who have shared their knowledge and advice, helping me to strengthen those skills.
What is one thing you wish you had known before starting your career in retail?
I wish I had known how rewarding working in retail could be. Each day presents an opportunity to communicate our nutrition expertise in a new and different way, reaching out to shoppers of all ages and backgrounds. If I had known how rewarding this position is, I would have made the transition from my clinical position even sooner!
Has there been anything specific that has held you back?
Many ever-changing fads within the field of nutrition and dietetics contain false information from non-credible sources and media. This presents a challenge as a retail dietitian. It is my responsibility to help our guests navigate the overwhelming amount of information available, sort facts from false information, and present science-based evidence.
In a similar vein, has there been anything specific that help you moved forward in your role?
Working alongside such an incredible and compassionate team at store-level has inspired me to push myself in all aspects of my career. Their constant support and belief in our dietitian program have allowed me to channel my creativity and provide programs that not only meets our customers’ needs, but exceeds them. The guidance, leadership, and support of my management team has without a doubt helped me to move forward in my role at ShopRite.
Is there a program or initiative of which you are most proud? Tell us about it.
Every year, I host a large in-store health fair. It is an exciting event that guests and associates look forward to each spring. Together with my town’s Health Department, we invite multiple community partners to join us in the store for free health screenings, healthy food samples, demonstrations, and, of course, fun! The event requires months of planning and coordination, but I am always proud of how we collaborate with our community partners to provide an impactful program. Participants of the health fair meet professionals throughout the community they can use as health and wellness resources and leave with a wealth of information.
Lauren Faiella is an in-store retail registered dietitian for the ShopRite of Clark in New Jersey. Lauren earned her BS degree in Nutritional Sciences from the Pennsylvania State University. She completed her Dietetic Internship through ARAMARK’s Distance Learning Program. Her career began as an inpatient clinical dietitian at Riverview Medical Center, followed by NYU Langone Hospital. Lauren’s experiences have led her to her current role as the ShopRite of Clark’s in-store dietitian. Lauren has recently become a member of the North Jersey Health Collaborative of Union County, working with local health professionals from various sectors to improve community health. Lauren is passionate about promoting health and wellness through food and nutrition and strives to spark that same passion in others by providing reliable knowledge and guidance to encourage positive lifestyle changes.