Retail Dietitian Close Up: Jennifer Meyer, Bag 'N Save & No Frills Supermarkets
Jennifer Meyer, RD, LMNT, has been a Registered Dietitian since 2001. She graduated from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dietetics. She completed her Dietetic Internship at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Prior to working for Bag 'N Save and No Frills Supermarkets, Jennifer worked for the American Dairy Association/Dairy Council of Nebraska and also has experience counseling patients with eating disorders and diabetes.
Tell us a little bit about Bag ‘N Save and no Frills Supermarkets.
Bag ‘N Save and No Frills Supermarkets are both owned by SpartanNash and include 29 stores serving communities across Nebraska and Iowa.
What’s the story on your experience in retail and your position?
I have been in my current role for 3 years and am the first and only dietitian for our stores. I approached them with the idea of hiring a RD and fortunately they were very receptive and saw the value in what I could offer their stores and customers. As the first dietitian, I have been able to help create the position from scratch which has been very exciting. My roles include community outreach (presentations, health fairs, etc.), in store activities (store tours, cooking classes, etc.), providing a weekly recipe in the ad, weekly e-newsletter, and responding to customer questions.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a dietitian working in the retail industry?
I cover many different stores, each with diverse populations so that can be a challenge but also keeps my job fun and exciting.
What is one thing that you wish you would have known before starting your career as a retail dietitian?
That everyone assumes you are judging all the food they put in their shopping cart!
What have you done to equip yourself with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the retail industry?
Prior to working in retail, I spent 7 years working for the dairy industry where I was fortunate to gain many skills that have helped me in my current role such as media and public speaking experience and a greater understanding and appreciation of where our food comes from and the hard work that goes into producing the food in our supermarkets.
I also try to stay as connected as possible to the many great resources available to dietitians and specifically retail dietitians such as belonging to DPG’s and, of course, RDBA. I also make sure to pay close attention to current nutrition news and hot topics so that I can be prepared to respond to customer questions and concerns.
Tell us about one of your programs or initiatives that you are most proud of and why.
I am really proud of the community partnerships I have built. To better reach those in the communities served by our stores, I have partnered with numerous other groups such as local libraries, hospitals, schools, churches, mom’s groups, businesses, and more to offer nutrition presentations and programs.