What’s in Store: A Recap

What’s in Store: A Recap

November 1, 2017
Retail Industry InsightsAnnouncements

[Pictured above the Kellogg’s table demonstrated strategies for providing shoppers with fun and tasty flavor combinations using cereal, fruit, and spices.]

By Tyler Kim, RDBA Dietetic Intern, Wellness Workdays

In case you missed us at FNCE this year, here's a recap of our annual "What's in Store?" event.  In partnership with Fleishman Hillard, we hosted 58 retail dietitians and 20 sponsors from North America.  The event kicked off with a social hour and networking with the sponsors, who sampled healthy, delicious creations using their products such as mini mushroom empanadas (The Mushroom Council), turkey patty sliders (National Turkey Federation), and tabbouleh made with rolled oats (Quaker).

In a less conventional, fun take on networking, attendees were provided with a scavenger hunt-like card containing questions for each sponsor to ask the attendee, such as “Why are eggs starting to be associated with brain health?”

Attendees who submitted completed cards were entered in a raffle to win a stylish and practical insulated backpack/purse.  Andie Gonzalez, MPH, RDN, LD of H-E-B, our lucky winner of the sponsor networking raffle.

After networking, the attendees enjoyed a video presentation entitled, “The Origins of the Retail Dietetics Profession,” featuring dietitians who started their roles as early as 1974, several of whom were in the audience that night.  These pioneering dietitians shared their personal stories, past experiences, present advice, and thoughts on the future.  It was an inspiring culmination of insight that shone a light on the evolution and progress of retail dietetics while maintaining the core values that make this field unique and important. 

[Pictured Pioneering retail RDs include Cherryl Bell, Shari Steinbach, Rosie Benner, and Jane Andrews pictured here with RDBA CEO, Phil Lempert.]

This was followed by "The Future of Retailing," by speaker Mike Wojcikiewicz, Director of Shopper Insights at PepsiCo.  Through an informative and insightful presentation, Wojcikiweicz shared some valuable perspectives on how consumer needs such as evolving health perspectives and time constraints affect retail trends.  He then explained how these trends change the current food landscape from types of foods to how they're processed, and ultimately how these changes shape the future of the field from e-commerce patterns to experiential expectations in the brick and mortar setting. He addressed the degrees to which various shopper requirements are differentially met by ecommerce versus brick and mortar.  Ultimately, he boiled it down to three major components of evolving with the shopper: "navigating health and wellness," "giving shoppers the gift of time," and "delivering in-the-moment experiences." 

The final presenters were Shelly Kessen and Kristie Sigler of Fleishman Hillard, who provided foresight on "Effective Communication for the Consumer of the Future,” highlighting what social media will be like in 5 years, based upon past and current data.  We can expect higher imagination, intimacy, and immediacy, a large domination by Facebook, mostly video content, and utilization of artificial intelligence. Moreover, social media will be prevalent almost everywhere, from refrigerators to floors and walkways, changing the human experience of reality. Most importantly, they addressed the inevitable considerations for retail dietitians, including areas how to leverage social media capabilities to deliver nutrition messages, where in-person needs will remain, and what improvements we can make now, knowing the direction the future is headed.

The event concluded with a group discussion with RDBA CEO Phil Lempert on how retail dietitians can prepare for and best meet the needs of the next generation of shoppers.  In the discussion, our diverse group of attendees were able ask questions, gain understanding, and provide insight on a range of topics from Facebook Live videos to advertising, meal delivery, and future technology.

A big thank you to all of our attendees and sponsors for a wonderfully successful event.