Recipes for Success

Recipes for Success

March 22, 2017

By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor

A recipe serves as an educational selling tool for supermarket dietitians. A well written recipe can help teach culinary skills, show how to use seasonal ingredients, provide a special diet option, or bring the family together for dinner. Successful recipe promotion can also help your store sell a bundle of ingredients and showcase new items. 

Most supermarket dietitians use recipes for demos, media segments, social posts, website content or newsletter articles. As prepared food departments expand, retail RDs are also being asked to use their expertise to assist with healthier foodservice recipes. Dietitian and Personal Chef Maribel Alchin creates recipes for Meijer and offers these tips for developing or selecting consumer-friendly recipes: 

  • Use no more than 7 ingredients
  • Feature ingredients from across the store including fresh, frozen, or canned
  • Create or use recipes based on sale items 
  • Include time-saving preparation tips
  • Provide nutritional information
  • Use store brands where possible
  • Include recipe attributes – gluten free, vegetarian, etc.
  • Use ingredients that are trending and of high interest to consumers

Retail dietitians often source recipes through vendor and commodity partners, or search the web for ideas. When sourcing recipes it’s important to keep the copyright law in mind. According to the law, “copyright law does not protect recipes that are mere listings of ingredients. Copyright protection may, however, extend to substantial literary expression—a description, or illustration, for example—that accompanies a recipe or to a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook.”

One important rule to abide by - don’t take credit for something you did not create – provide attribution! Here are some guidelines:

  1. Use “adapted from” if you’re making a small modification to someone else’s recipe.
  2. Use “inspired by” if you’re making a large modification to someone else’s recipe.
  3. Call it your own if you change three or more ingredients. However, if the recipe was very unique and stills looks similar to the original, use “inspired by”.
  4. You CANNOT copy any photos or illustrations accompanying a recipe. You need to ask and receive approval.
  5. If you are unsure of what to do, ask the original author or publication for approval.

Practicing these simple guardrails will help you use recipes to effectively promote your retailer and supplier partners while keeping you in good standing with the cooking community.