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ROCKVILLE, Md. — Michael Kiss, a chef who works at Whole Foods’ store in Rockville, Md., is one of the natural food supermarket chain’s army of “cooking coaches,” who are on staff to talk to customers about what kinds of food are available at the store and how to pick out the right kinds of food — something that’s helpful in a store known for carrying a dizzying variety of exotic ingredients. For Kiss, according to a recent Washington Post article, the job of a Whole Foods cooking coach is sometimes as simple as helping a recently widowed man pick out the right ingredients to make a quiche.
How supermarkets influence the way people eat has come a long way from free samples on toothpicks. Over the years, Americans have become increasingly conscious and selective about what they eat and how to eat well in general, with a special focus on food that is healthy and tastes good. Many supermarket chains like Supervalu, Hy-Vee and others have hired in-store nutrition experts and dietitians who can give store tours and assist customers looking to eat healthier diets or those who have special dietary needs due to such health conditions as diabetes or celiac disease.