New Program Supports Supermarket Dietitians' Initiatives

To help the growing number of supermarket registered dietitians (RDs), the food and nutrition education nonprofit Oldways has launched a new program called Oldways Nutrition Exchange (ONE).

The centerpiece of the program is a special ONE portal on the Oldways website, where every month Oldways posts up to three new supermarket RD “Toolkits” with useful resources. Each kit focuses on a consumer trend, such as whole grains, eating on a budget, cooking with kids, low sodium, canned food, frozen food, omega 3s, among others. Oldways combs through consumer and nutrition information from food companies and food trade associations, then adds information based on Oldways’ respected expertise, to create newsletter articles, in-store activities, web content, recipes, store display ideas, PowerPoint presentations, tweets and more.

These materials are designed to help RDs in their many roles, whether they are running store tours; speaking in the community or appearing on TV or radio; conducting cooking demonstrations; tweeting; or writing an article for their retailer’s newsletter. Each kit will remain on the ONE web portal for 12 months.

“As they steer their customers to healthier foods, supermarket dietitians have a major impact on the eating habits of America,” said Sara Baer-Sinnott, president, Oldways. “ONE provides a streamlined system so that food companies and supermarket RDs can exchange information regularly and easily which helps supermarkets maximize their potential as a powerful force for better food.”

The first toolkit, called “Easy Weeknight Family Meals,” was introduced in October; two new toolkits were added in November: “Gluten-free,” and “Healthy Holiday Entertaining.”  All toolkits are reviewed by an Oldways RD to make sure health information is accurate; the resources are free and available here.

ONE is an on-demand offshoot of Oldways’ successful annual Supermarket RD Symposium, a unique networking event for store RDs and manufacturers selling healthier foods. At the first symposium last year, supermarket RDs said they would appreciate solid, useful information about healthy products – but that they would value having Oldways screen materials from manufacturers and organize them in one place to save them time.

“As supermarket RDs, we are constantly looking for ways to help our customers make healthy food choices,” said Barbara Ruhs, RD, Bashas’ Family of Stores, who worked with Oldways to develop the annual Supermarket RD Symposium. “The ONE program provides access to creative resources which are science-based and consumer friendly – it’s like having an entire virtual team to brainstorm new ideas.”

Manufacturers can contribute appropriate resources to kits. These materials are augmented with resources created by the Oldways team.

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