Earlier this year, I attended a second annual meeting of supermarket dietitians. I attended the inaugural symposium as well. I really love this meeting. The supermarket dietetics field has huge potential for preventive health, yet we’re still fish out of water compared to the larger dietetics community. That’s why it’s so valuable to get together, share ideas, challenges and solutions. I believe it is important for these meetings to continue, and to share what we’re doing with the larger community. That’s why I wrote about this year’s symposium for Today’s Dietitian:
This spring, nearly 40 supermarket dietitians from leading U.S. and Canadian grocery retailers gathered in bucolic Santa Rosa, Calif., to exchange ideas and best practices on addressing the nation’s health crises. The innovative RD symposium was planned by the nonprofit organization Oldways and hosted in partnership with Barbara Ruhs, MS, RD, LDN, of Bashas’ Supermarkets, an Arizona-based family-owned and -operated grocery chain.
Working for grocery retailers is often cited as new territory for RDs, but it may feel familiar to community dietitians and nutritionists. Indeed, a common theme is a passion for public health. It may not be surprising that one of the major attractions to a career as a supermarket dietitian is a desire to work upstream with the potential to reach people before they end up struggling with a chronic disease or in the hospital. With that in mind, the goal of the Oldways’ 2011 Supermarket Dietitian Symposium was to share ideas, spark new thoughts, and forge and strengthen relationships to keep learning from each other and improve public health through a community staple: the supermarket.
The symposium covered a range of topics—from shopper insights (what we know in the healthcare community as a needs assessment, or simply getting to know your client) to specific strategies to inspire customers to shop with health in mind.
Read the complete article at Today’s Dietitian. I’m also quoted in the cover article in this issue, Guiding Good Choices — Shopping Strategies That Improve Diabetes Meal Planning.