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One-third of supermarkets have a dietitian walking their aisles, according to a recent report published by Advertising Age. And almost 9-in-10 grocers have a dietitian housed in their corporate suites.
Is it any wonder? There's a natural synergy between pharmacy and food stores that grocers have been looking to tap in one form or another over the past decade. But now, especially as health systems and large employers become more savvy around the benefits a healthier workforce will have to their bottom lines, this is likely to transform from a supermarket patient's best-kept-secret into a must-have service.
Because if the doctor tells a hypertensive they need to cut the salt out of their diets, what better resource for more information than a pharmacist in a retail food outlet? They can help manage the disease state — hypertension, diabetes — while their resident dietitian handles the healthier diet portion of the better health plan.
Publix just last month announced a pilot featuring paid consultations with a registered dietitian. Leading that program is University of Florida alumnus Jamie Stolarz, a licensed registered dietitian and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Florida Dietetic Association and Tampa Dietetic Association.
If anyone ever figures out how to fold a gym and personal trainer into the supermarket setting, they'll have the perfect trifecta of healthcare and lifestyle solutions.
Sound far-fetched? Maybe not. Earlier this month, Texas-based H-E-B awarded $18,000 to contestants participating in the grocer's annual H-E-B Slim Down Showdown. Contestants are not only schooled on better eating as part of the program, but better fitness, too. The result: The 25 contestants in this year’s showdown lost more than 700 pounds, collectively.