Should dietitians patrol Kroger’s supermarket aisles?
Shoppers can find advice on selling floors on what running shoes to wear, how to fix a leaky faucet and what to take for an upset stomach. Nutritional advice from grocers? Not so much.
Kroger wants to change that.
An independent research study funded by Kroger and conducted by University of Cincinnati reportedly validates the positive impact of retail-based dietary interventions, including the benefits of in-store dietitians.
The study, “Supermarket and Web-based Intervention targeting Nutrition (SuperWIN),” showed that in-aisle teaching with a Kroger registered dietitian significantly increased adherence to a heart-healthy dietary pattern compared to traditional nutrition counseling alone. Adherence further improved when in-aisle teaching was paired with education on how to use Kroger’s delivery and app, as well as OptUP, Kroger’s nutrition rating system.
The findings were revealed recently at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session & Expo.
“We have always believed in the power of Food as Medicine in managing and preventing disease before it starts,” said Colleen Lindholz, president, Kroger Health, in a statement. “The SuperWIN study provides real world evidence that our dietitians can help customers eat better and live healthier lives through use of technology, education, and shopping tools.”
Dylan Steen, MD, of the Division of Cardiovascular Health and Disease at the UC College of Medicine, in the statement said the study underscores how purchasing data being collected by retailers are “progressively being linked to nutrition information and thus could be used by dietitians, nurses, pharmacists, and physicians to provide the best, individualized guidance to patients.”
Kroger said the study’s findings also support Kroger’s Food as Medicine platform that seeks to position the grocery store as a destination for preventive healthcare. Kroger began delivering “Food as Medicine” messaging in 2019 soon after launching OptUP and started assigning nutrition technicians to stores and licensed dietitians to operating divisions.
In May 2020, the chain introduced a free “telenutrition” service that offered two-way video chats with trained dietitians to help customers develop personal nutrition programs. Kroger piloted a program that year in which physicians could write “food prescriptions” that patients fill at a local grocer.
- Kroger Health’s Food as Medicine Platform Recognized as a Leading Healthy Lifestyle Approach by University of Cincinnati Study – Kroger
- Supermarket and Web-Based Intervention Targeting Nutrition – SuperWIN – American College Of Cardiology
- Food as Medicine – Your Questions Answered – Kroger
- Kroger Health President Talks ‘Food as Medicine’ Strategy – WSL Strategic Retail
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Why aren’t dietitians or other nutritional experts widely accessible at grocery stores dispensing nutrition advice? What do you think of positioning the grocery store as a destination for preventive healthcare?