Consumer Panel: Dietitians

December 17, 2010

So, what's a dietitian doing in a supermarket anyway? We asked the consumer panel, see what they had to say

So, what’s a dietitian doing in a supermarket anyway? Well we here at the Lempert Report feel a dietitian has many roles to play in the market, but wanted to find out from our consumer panel what they thought about a dietitian's role in the market. Retailers take note: 47 percent said they would be more likely to shop in their local supermarket if there was a dietician. Forty-five percent reveal that they have considered paying money for a dietitian’s advice - over half of which say they would be most interested in an ongoing customized program with oversight or a one time counseling session. 
Respondents said they could use the help of a nutrition professional most in packaged goods, fresh meat, seafood and produce. Shopping for a diet related health condition is a concern of 60 percent, and two-thirds of the consumer panel would seek a dietitian’s guidance for improving nutrition; 46 percent for help with weight loss. Forty five percent would have a dietician help them prevent their health condition from getting worse, and one quarter would heed the advice of a nutrition professional for maintaining current weight. 
Most importantly, especially with the increasing market for functional and fortified foods, 60 percent said they would like the dietitian to collaborate with the in-store pharmacist about potential food-medicine interactions that could be harmful, based on current prescriptions.
Only thirteen percent felt they would listen to a dietitian’s advice about foods to eat or keep away from ALL the time, while 43 percent said they “usually” would.
Looks like the majority of consumers say they would use a dietician in store, so what are we waiting for, and what are some other benefits of having a dietitian on staff? 

  • Research & development - working on recipes for private label or in-store meals.
  • Nutrition analysis – for in-store items. 
  • Supermarket tours and presentations - taking groups of scouts, seniors, school kids, and adults on educational and informative tours.
  • Contributing to the store’s website or circular.
  • Counseling both store associates and customers. By empowering all store associates, not only can they carry the messages to shoppers 24/7; but they will improve their own health as well.
  • Hosting community wellness activities and events.

Clearly, both consumers and retailers could benefit greatly by having a dietitian on staff.