It’s easy to get excited about the opportunity to bring nutrition and food facts alive in the supermarket considering there are a number of new resources and products available.
October started with the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo, the annual conference of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics  (formerly the American Dietetic Association). Along with presentations directly related to being a registered dietitian in a supermarket, the program included topics of interest to our customers and the expo was a treasure trove of product and promotion information.
One of the big topics at the show centered on the role registered dietitians play in public health and in the community. We supermarket dietitians are continuing to make an impact and are being recognized for our potential to reach people where they make food and health decisions!
Here are some highlights from the 2012 FNCE from a supermarket vantage point and some ideas you can take into the aisles:
- Celiac disease/gluten-free, food intolerances and allergies were a major emphasis. The quality and variety of products catering to these special needs consumers are expanding. With the holidays on the horizon, cooking and baking alternatives and new products should be high on the list for demos and cooking classes. Check with vendors for resources for recipes, product information and coupons.
- A growing awareness of the ongoing Meatless Mondays campaign was evident, along with ideas promoting the health benefits of beans, legumes, soy and nuts. It may be a good time to reintroduce customers to meatless meals that go beyond opening a can of baked beans!
- Fruits and vegetable promotions that emphasize organically grown produce, mixing fresh and local with frozen and canned, can fit both nutrition and value needs. Some of the questions at presentations and on the floor (yes, I will admit to eavesdropping) indicate that even professionals need some fact checking. Think about training team members to be sure customers are given fact-based information.
- Food safety was also a topic that looked at that such factors as temperature and safe food handling with overtones on cross-contamination for allergies and intolerances. Don’t forget, ‘tis the season to review ideas for turkey time, handling leftovers and keeping food safe on the party circuit!
And of course with November right around the corner, there’s no better time to start thinking about what you can do to transition into Diabetes Awareness Month. Our work is cut out for us. Happy aisle-talking!