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Retail dietitians want help promoting produce

A recent survey of retail dietitians by the Produce for Better Health Foundation BB #:157162 shows that produce grower-shippers can help dietitians encourage their retail customers to eat more fruits and vegetables.

The survey showed that the top two requested resources that dietitians rely on are seasonal/topical resource kits and produce training.
During an April 22 PBH webinar, Emily Parent, Health & Wellness Manager for Coborn’s, Inc. BB #:167605 Saint Cloud, MN, said it’s helpful for dietitians to see how fruits and vegetables are grown and how they are prepared so they can show consumers.

“We’d like to see how they’re grown,” she said.

“Many consumers don’t know how to prepare things,” said Puja Mistry, Nutrition Operations Lead for H. E. Butt Grocery Company BB #:106490 San Antonio, TX. “It helps if we know how to prepare and then share that with consumers.”

While nearly all retailers reach customers through social media, as do retail dietitians, in-person experiences are usually more meaningful for consumers.

According to the survey, 68 percent of dietitians said they give in-store or virtual store tours, in which they tell consumers how to eat better, including increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.

Jena DeMoss, Corporate Dietitian for Hy-Vee, Inc. BB #:101759 West Des Moines, IA, said store tours are among the best ways to reach consumers.

“Customer interactions led to better engagement,” she said. “There’s usually a disconnect with only education and no instruction. In-store tours with samples are my favorite.”

All three dietitians said customers are highly motivated by promotions involving local farmers and food producers.

“Our guest engagement with local is big,” Parent said. “We did a small business theme [for a recent promotion] and promoted it through social and local media, and it was a huge success.”

PBH surveyed retail dietitians in December 2020 to gain a greater understanding of their health and wellness promotions. PBH reports 56 retail dietitians completed the survey, representing about 7 percent of the estimated 800 retail dietitians in the U.S.

Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services