Missed opportunities for produce at NGA

02/15/2013 10:06:00 AM
Greg Johnson

“Kroger and Wal-Mart can try local, but we should be able to do it better,” he said.

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Another popular NGA workshop was one on dietitians.

Melanie Dwornik, retail dietitian program supervisor for Wakefern, said it makes the most sense to have dietitians in stores, which Wakefern does, where people actually buy their food.

While doctors are increasingly advising patients to change their diets toward better health, most doctors have little nutrition training, and a dietitian can help consumers make better decisions at the point of purchase.

That means retailers have to find or train dietitians on the business of retailing.

Natalie Menza, manager of health and wellness for Wakefern, said in the beginning of its dietitian program, “it was difficult to blend dietitians with retail. We had to hire for personality.”

She said Wakefern has 60 stores covered by dietitians.

Dwornik said for in-store dietitians to be successful, she found that they have to be involved with all segments of the store.

This is another huge opportunity for the produce industry.

It’s one thing to sell and promote a healthy product because all consumers know that about fresh fruits and vegetables.

But that hasn’t been enough to change enough of Americans’ diets.

The Produce for Better Health Foundation is spending more time with retail dietitians.

There’s definitely an opportunity for the produce industry with these well-trained health professionals.

gjohnson@thepacker.com

What's your take? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.


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john    
California  |  February, 16, 2013 at 12:55 AM

At 2700 this convention does have the feel of the larger regional shows. This is my 4th time in 10 to12 years and I've always found the workshops and discussion topics on point. A few years back I heard the prediction that within 10 years an in store dietian would be as common as a meat manager. With dietians on the rise and case ready meat making meat managers less common, I'm not sure he's far off. Not every trend that hits the grocery store affects the produce department, but it's good to know what keeps the produce manager's boss awake at night.

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