Progressive Grocer - June 2018 - 24

ALL'S WELLNESS
By Karen Buch

Leveraging Retail Dietitian
and Pharmacist Partnerships

ealth and wellness is one of the areas in which food retailers compete for customer loyalty and build competitive
advantage. The vast majority of retailers continue to step
up their efforts in this arena. Viewing them as a significant
growth opportunity, supermarkets are finding new ways
to leverage retail dietitian and pharmacy partnerships as
part of a comprehensive health-and-wellness strategy.
Health professionals at retail work together, not only to
help customers manage acute and chronic health conditions, but also to help shoppers maintain health and
maximize quality of life. Popular offerings include product
samplings; healthy recipe demos and videos; highlights
of better-for-you foods in the aisles and among prepared foods; health and lifestyle attribute
shelf tags; health screenings; education via themed classes, store tours or pharmacy bag
inserts, complimentary or fee-based (ranging from $10 to $280) private and group nutrition
services; vaccinations; immunizations; and medication therapy management.

Trusted Allies

Notably, pharmacists and dietitians can collaborate to provide better care by referring customers to each other. The Little Clinic, Kroger's wholly owned subsidiary of retail health care
clinics, currently employs 16 registered dietitians who work closely with Kroger Pharmacy, the
country's fifth-largest pharmacy operator. According to Molly Hembree, RDN, LD, retail dietitian
coordinator for The Little Clinic, the Wellness Your Way initiative integrates pharmacy, nutrition
and The Little Clinic services to provide a one-stop shop for customers' health-and-wellness
needs. Kroger's customers can receive help choosing the right foods, answers to questions
about medications, personalized health care support and nutritional advice.
During American Heart Month in February, customers could take part in free Kroger

heart-health screenings delivered by the
pharmacy or The Little Clinic, followed by
a free 30-minute personal shopping visit
with a dietitian. 
At Schenectady, N.Y.-based Price
Chopper/Market 32 Supermarkets, Senior
Nutritionist Ellie Wilson has developed an infographic highlighting pharmacy services and
store offerings that support heart health. The
infographic is used during discussions with
customers and as a handout at pharmacy
and health events. Well-executed dietitian-pharmacy partnerships can extend and
amplify the expertise of a retail dietitian.
In addition, Wilson builds credibility
through community partnerships. She
supports public relations with communication resources such as taping public-health
messages to air on a regional PBS station.   

Building Relationships,
Measuring Value

Generating awareness about a retailer's
health-and-wellness activities is essential, but
it can prove challenging. According to Food
Marketing Institute's "2017 Report on Retailer
Contributions to Health & Wellness," the instore experts themselves, including registered
dietitians and pharmacists, earned top ratings
in perceived effectiveness in promoting healthand-wellness offerings to customers and the
surrounding communities. These findings
underscore the personal nature of health and
wellness, as well as the importance of building
relationships with customers.
Equally important is measuring and
communicating value in partnership efforts.
Beyond vendor sponsorships and fees for
service that can directly affect the bottom
line, retailers regularly measure customer
loyalty, sales lift, coupon redemptions, changes in shopping habits and basket size, and
customer satisfaction and engagement as
indicators of success.

Karen Buch, RDN, LDN, is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who specializes in retail nutrition marketing and communications.
One of the first supermarket dietitians, she is now founder and principal consultant at Nutrition Connections LLC, providing
consulting services nationwide. You can connect with her on Twitter @karenbuch and at NutritionConnectionsLLC.com.

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Progressive Grocer - June 2018

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