RD Close-up: Rose Mattson, MS, RD, CD, Dietitian at Harmons Grocery
By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
What's the story behind your experience in retail and your position with your store?
I am a recent addition to the team of dietitians at Harmons Grocery in Salt Lake City, Utah. As a graduate student at the University of Utah, I had the opportunity to do my food service rotation with one of the Harmons dietitians. During that time, I fell in love with the dynamic and ever-changing role of retail dietetics. After graduation, I applied and was accepted as the 7th dietitian on this team! My role is to provide nutrition education, promote wellness for the associates, and keep our Dietitians Choice program updated.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a dietitian working in the retail industry?
The biggest challenge has been learning the ins and outs of how a grocery store operates. The main goal of the store is obviously sales, so learning how to work with that goal in mind is something I never considered while in school.
What is one thing that you wish you would have known before starting your career as a retail dietitian?
I think it is extremely valuable to let the associates and store directions know what exactly you do, so that they can tell customers that dietitians are an available resource and provide information on what programs you provide, such as our Dietitians Choice program.
Has there been anything specific that has held you back?
In graduate school, we got little to no training on marketing or business strategies, both of which are extremely important in retail dietetics. In order to deal with this effectively, you have to be willing to learn quickly. The best way to do this is ask a ton of questions and try to immerse yourself in business and marketing processes. I am still learning!
In a similar vein, has there been anything specific that has helped you move forward?
Having a team of dietitians is incredibly valuable. Their years of expertise, both within dietetics and in the retail-world, provide enormous benefit. Bouncing ideas of each other allows us to come up with new, exciting and realistic ideas on how to incorporate health and wellness.
Tell us about one of your programs or initiatives that you are most proud of and why.
Our Dietitians Choice program is one of the most comprehensive I have seen in the United States. We have extremely specific criteria for each category of items, which we have personally developed, and over-see on a regular basis. This is an amazing resource for the customers to be able to easily add healthy items to their cart.
About Rose: Rose’s interest in health and wellness started at a young age. Growing up in Alaska, gardening, canoeing, hiking, fishing, and exploring the outdoors were all common adventures. Her parents supported health-conscious decisions and healthy eating became a necessity when being active and outdoors. Prior to studying nutrition, Rose graduated with an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science from Pacific Lutheran University. Her love of athletics and goals of improving performance led her to pursue a master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics at the University of Utah. Rose’s goal is to show people that healthful eating can be fun, make you feel your best and perform better. Rose believes that all foods can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle and acknowledges that even dietitians do not eat veggies all the time. You can find her at Harmons providing others with nutritional education through healthy shopping tours, menu tips, or through one-on-one conversations. When she is not at Harmons, you can find Rose hiking, playing volleyball, reading, camping, traveling or cooking!