The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

Using Nutrition Media to Keep Shoppers Informed

Using Nutrition Media to Keep Shoppers Informed

Dietitian Dialogues

May 25, 2008

Using Nutrition Media to Keep Shoppers Informed
ONE-ON-ONE: SUPERMARKET NUTRITIONIST

Amy McLeod, RD, LD

This year, significantly more Americans (66%) report that they have made changes in an effort to improve the healthfulness of their diet compared to last year (57%) in a survey conducted by the International Food Information Council. With this in mind, Brookshire Brothers Food and Pharmacy, with 72 stores located in Texas and Louisiana, made the decision to launch an exciting addition to their online-accessed “Healthy Living” program.
 
The new program titled, “Ask Amy,” enables shoppers to ask questions ranging from “Can I cook with soy milk?” to “How can I get my three-year olds to eat their veggies?” Shoppers can also click on the “Ask Amy” icon to view nutrition webisodes.
 
Three new webisodes are posted each month with the most recent topics including Carbohydrate Counting – Rate Your Plate, Weight Loss, and Gluten Free Living. The webisodes are snappy, informative, and fun, with each segment archived for easy access. The site features monthly, calorie-based menu planners, diabetes educational tools and frequently asked questions as well.
 
An extra of “Healthy Living” is a series of monthly store infomercials aired periodically throughout the day. These quick, upbeat nutrition updates are communicated to customers in the store via the store sound system. Here is a sampling of some of the in-store spots:
 
  • · Portion Control

 

There is a handy method to applying portion control to your diet – just use your hand! Hold out your hand and consider this: one thumb tip is the equivalent of one teaspoon of margarine or mayonnaise, one handful is a serving of nuts, two handfuls is a serving of pretzels. The palm of your hand is about three ounces of meat which is one serving, and your fist is the equivalent of one cup, which is two servings of pasta or rice or two servings of oatmeal. So, when you think of controlling your portions, use your hand as a handy reference.

 

  • · Exercise Your Benefits

 

When it comes to making changes in our physical activity it helps to review the cost versus benefit ratio. The cost of exercise is our time, and maybe a little sweat. The benefits are many:  decreased risk for cardiovascular disease, improved cholesterol and triglyceride levels, plus improved blood pressure. Did you know, that if you have diabetes, exercise can improve blood sugar for up to 24 hours? The next time you think about the cost of exercise, review the health benefits.

 

  • · Soy

 

Soy is one of today’s superfoods so try it out and enjoy the benefits. Soybeans contain many nutrients required for good nutrition: protein, complex carbohydrates, Omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins and minerals such as Calcium, Folate and Iron. Consuming 25 to 50 grams of soy protein is believed to help lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol. Try soy milk, soy yogurt, soy cheese or soy smoothies located in the dairy case.  
 
Our new program is doing wonders for consumer confidence. Shoppers love the idea that they can email an expert right from their home or office. And the service is totally convenient. Plus, they appreciate having access to nutritional information while they are actually shopping in the store. Any way you look at it, using nutrition media to keep shoppers informed is a great way to help customers improve their dietary choices while promoting sales of both healthful foods and a healthy lifestyle.
 
 
Amy McLeod, RD, LD is a registered and licensed dietitian in Lufkin, Texas. Amy has been a nutrition and media consultant for Brookshire Brothers since 2005. Amy has experience in television media, public relations and marketing, culinary demonstrations, recipe and menu development, healthcare foodservice management and clinical nutrition. You can reach Amy at askamy@brookshirebrothers.com.
 
 
 

As a nutritionist working for a supermarket, you have a unique outlook on how retailers are increasing health awareness at the store level and the kind of questions that shoppers ask. Each month, we'll be featuring a guest column, written by a nutritionist, that communicates this point of view on a variety of topics. And we want to hear from you. If you are a supermarket nutritionist interested in sharing your perspective and insights, we would love to help you share your thoughts! Please contact Allison Bloom at allison@foodnutritionscience.com.