Kim Kirchherr, MS, RD, LDN, CDE Retail Dietitian In the Spotlight
Retail dietitians are becoming more and more sought after as Americans' hunger for nutrition information intensifies. The retail dietitian wears many hats and has a very diverse set of responsibilities. These nutrition professionals are using their expertise to help consumers shop for healthier items in the supermarket and weed though the plethora of information throughout the aisles of the grocery store. Recently the Wheat Foods Council Network talked with Kim Kirchherr, MS, RD, LDN, CDE – an eight-year supermarket dietitian and currently corporate dietitian for SUPERVALU’s Midwest region, to learn what she does on a day-to-day basis and how she helps her customers make better choices.
WFC Network: Are there any innovative programs or techniques you are using to reach your customers on health and nutrition messages? Are you trying to change their behavior?
KIRCHHERR: We utilize social media as well as in store and traditional media to offer nutrition education and tips to make better choices. We also have Nutrition iQ at our stores to help people locate better-for-you options quickly when shopping our stores. Our goal is to help people meet their health and wellness goals, whatever they may be, by helping them navigate the store and locate the choices best for themselves and their family.
WFC Network: What resources are missing in your everyday work? What are your customers asking for in the way of materials or programs?
KIRCHHERR: Registered Dietitians in every setting are always looking for creative new ways to educate their patients and communities they serve, so we utilize materials from credible resources to provide actionable steps towards better eating.
WFC Network: What is the sentiment about carbohydrates and wheat foods from your consumers? Are they asking questions about this topic and what is your advice? Do you get questions about whole vs. enriched grains?
KIRCHHERR: People are asking more questions about the "right" kind of carbohydrates, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. There are more questions about how to get all of these choices in – and making the best ones within each food group.
WFC Network: What are the ways you recommend eating healthy on a budget?
KIRCHHERR: Shop the sales, sign up for emails from the store where you shop, utilize coupons, and be sure to shop all forms. Many people sometimes forget that fresh, dried, canned, and frozen fruits and vegetables, as an example, all provide nutrients – so stock the pantry and freezer, and shop for seasonal favorites – it's great for nutrients and to beat menu boredom, but also helps with the budget, too.