Issue link: http://magazine.progressivegrocer.com/i/689994
28 With fexible prepared food prep facilities and access to profession- al instore dietitians, supermarket grocerants are in a prime position to establish themselves as highly credible sources of healthy food options. Half of retailer respondents to Progressive Grocer's 2016 retail dietitian survey, for example, indicated they employ at least one retail dietitian, with chains employing an average of 21 RDs. And the grocers with dietitians on staf are far more engaged with customers on wellness issues than retailers without them, accord- ing to the research. A dietitian-driven healthy food program is also more likely to focus on the scientifc facts of good nutrition than a fad diet, say experts. Restaurant consultant Bart Goldberg says he's noticed that even when supermarkets single out certain products as heart healthy or free of ingre- dients like gluten, dairy, nuts or meat, they don't usually make mention of specifc diet plans. "Tey don't want to take valuable space and focus on the 'diet of the day,' but rather address . . . larger dietetic concerns people have," says Goldberg, who is president and chief executive ofcer of Welldone Restau- rant Concepts Inc., a Los Angeles-based foodservice/hos- pitality culinary consulting frm. "Tose on specifc diets already know what they have to manage at a grocery store to fnd what they are looking for." Tus, Goldberg fnds it reasonable that his local Whole Foods store (known for its healthy food ethos) operates sev- eral dietary themed help-yourself food bars: vegan, Mediter- ranean, organic, composed salads and an international bar. "With themed food bars, customers can make the choices they need to make," he says. "In my opinion, that's probably the safest way to address dietary needs with the biggest impact." Harmons: Dietitian-driven recipes Te dietitians at West Valley City, Utah-based Harmons have developed a list of criteria on which to evaluate foods to determine if they qualify for the 17-store chain's Dietitians Choice tag. To be eligible, an item must emphasize whole grains, fruits and vegetables and/or fber, have less sodium, saturated fat and/or added sugar, and not contain trans fat, hydrogenated oils, arti- fcial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup. Selling health Leveraging retail dietitians' expertise can boost your shoppers' trust in nutritious prepared food offerings. BY J O DY S H EE Dietitians developed the criteria for Harmons' healthy food line.