How Grocery Store and Retail Dietitians Can Use Healthie

Grocery store and retail dietitians use Healthie to:

  • Provide support between sessions via a comprehensive client engagement suite
  • Run wellness programs for specialty populations within their customer base
  • Provide nutrition counseling services to shoppers right from the store and virtually
  • Reach community members who may not otherwise seek nutritional care
  • Store client information in a secure, HIPAA-compliant platform

Benefits of Client Engagement and Telehealth in Grocery Stores

Supermarket dietitians serve as ambassadors between brands and the local community. Retail dietitians are a credible source to help grocery stores promote healthy eating and offer unique experiences and services that consumers are increasingly coming to value and expect. These include supermarket tours, educational classes, in-store cooking demonstrations and samplings, and increasingly, one-on-one onsite or virtual nutrition counseling. Dietitians have the trained ability to translate nutritional science into practical information that helps consumers take actionable health-promoting steps and improve the overall shopping experience. 

As retail becomes increasingly competitive with online food delivery, specialty chains, and other forces disrupting the traditional food-buying experience, offering in-store dietetic services is becoming even more important in sustaining foot traffic and brand recognition. Moreover, as insurance coverage for food as medicine and nutritional counseling increases, dietitians are uniquely poised to generate a strong financial return to grocery stores, with the proper mechanisms in place. 

According to a 2018 survey, 55% of consumers see the grocery store as an ally in their health journey.  However, the USDA ERS estimates 2.1 million households within the US live in a low-income and low food access area, making it much more difficult for that population to purchase nutritious, healthy, and affordable food.  By incorporating telehealth services into your grocery store, you can reach those who don’t have access to proper nutrition education on a regular basis.  Not only can dietitians provide nutrition education and counseling, but they also can walk clients through specific products at the grocery or convenience store that would be best for them to purchase.  This offers shoppers an individualized approach to their nutrition care.

Offering Wellness Programs using Healthie

Online programs can be an extremely effective tool for sharing information with shoppers virtually.  Using Healthie’s programs feature, dietitians can easily create customized programs for clients that they can complete at their leisure and from the comfort of their homes.  Within Programs, dietitians can add videos, documents, modules, and surveys for clients to complete, as well as easily monitor client progress from the Healthie platform.  Dripping out content virtually, over a period of time, allows clients to have that flexibility they crave for their wellness programs.  The content you provide can be easily customized by adding videos and modules specific to your clients’ needs.  You can group clients based on their goals and needs, and share certain content with each specific group. 

5 Kinds of Wellness Programs You Can Offer

  1. Grocery Store Tours: In-person or virtual, grocery store tours can be extremely beneficial to new and returning customers alike. Dietitians can focus the tour on foods beneficial for clients with specific health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, celiac disease, etc. Using Healthie's Programs feature, you can follow up the tour with virtual models that include cooking demonstration, nutrition education, and refreshers on the grocery store layout. 
  2. Virtual Cooking Classes: Traditionally in retail and grocery locations, cooking classes have been conducted on-site to increase engagement of shoppers. These classes have shown to drive shopper engagement, who can participate and cook-along directly from home. Use Healthie's Zoom integration to host cooking classes, and follow-up with resources by creating a drip-out of modules in a Healthie Program. 
  3. Wellness Challenge: Hosting a virtual wellness challenge or program enables healthcare practitioners to deliver content and support in a way that is engaging for participants. Client engagement tools allow practitioners to set goals for clients, track client progress, and connect during the program for an added layer of accountability. Use Healthie's Programs feature to create education modules, send email updates, encourage clients via chat, and track progress over time using surveys and journal entries. 
  4. Nutrition Education: Many of your shoppers may not have had exposure to nutrition counseling services prior to joining your programs. A standard education program can help introduce shoppers to basic nutrition concepts, help them get familiar with the Healthie platform, and set up habits and goals for the rest of your time working together. 
  5. Children and Family Programs: You can also easily adapt any of the above programs to the needs of children and families. Include kids in grocery store tours and cooking classes to foster early nutrition education and healthy habits. 

Other Support Services to Offer Using Healthie

One-on-One Consultations

Providing telehealth services through your grocery store allows shoppers to connect with a dietitian in a comfortable and flexible environment.  Telehealth consultations with a dietitian are an effective way for shoppers to get personalized nutritional care. Additionally, retail dietitians have an edge when working with shoppers: they know the products within their store and can point clients towards specific products that will work for their goals.  Especially for clients with allergies or chronic conditions, dietitians can easily provide clients with an individualized shopping list with in-store products with their locations, making shopping a seamless experience.  With Healthie Video Chat, providers can also give virtual grocery store tours, “walking” clients through the store to find products, as well as show off promotions the store may be running at that time.  

Online Group Education

Telehealth can be utilized to offer group education sessions on topics such as basic meal planning or an in-depth discussion on how to eat for specific chronic diseases. With Healthie’s integration with HIPAA-compliant Zoom, you can easily reach large groups of shoppers and conduct both live cooking classes and group education classes.  

Food Journaling & Nutrient Tracking

With a built-in journaling tool, clients are able to conveniently log water and beverage intake, pictures of meals, and assess their meals using custom metrics set by their healthcare provider. To help improve both the consistency and accuracy of food journaling, Healthie uses a photo-based food journal within the platform and mobile app. Photo food journaling allows clients to log images of their meals in real-time. Clients can now also track macronutrient data within Healthie, using the USDA food database. Healthcare providers can engage with clients by providing feedback or suggestions directly on posts. 

Message Support

Using a secure messaging platform will help you consult clients whenever they need help making a food decision, whether at home or in the store.  More than a text-message style of communication, the Healthie Chat feature is a built-in messenger tool that both you and your clients can access from any desktop or mobile device. It allows you to be in constant contact with clients, without breaking the boundary between personal and work life.  With Healthie Chat, you can act as shoppers’ mobile dietitian, providing reminders on the shopping list, sharing recipes, and just generally checking in with clients.  Healthie Chat is especially useful when dealing with a large volume of clients, as a dietitian might at a grocery store.  Within the chat platform, you can easily search and organize your threads, create groups of shoppers with similar needs, or send a general message blast to all participating shoppers letting them know of an upcoming event or promotion they may be interested in.  

Implementing Healthie in your Grocery Store

When shoppers decide to work with your in-store dietitians, they will receive access to a secure client portal, which they can access from the web browser or the Healthie mobile app. With features like secure chat, photo food journaling, online programs, and live video appointments -- dietitians are able to connect with clients, track their progress, and provide support all through one platform/app.  With membership plans that scale in size, Healthie can be implemented within supermarkets, grocery stores, and retail centers of any size. 

 Grocery stores that use Healthie report: 

  • Enhanced service offerings: in-store events & promotions, MNT counseling (free, out-of-pocket, or via insurance reimbursement), virtual classes, and online distribution of resources
  • Increased basket size, especially of promoted items
  • Coordinated efforts with marketing for food brand awareness & promotions
  • Higher brand loyalty and recognition, contributing to repeat visits
  • Improvements in employee morale and workplace culture

More Resources for Retail Dietitians 

  • Download our guide on using Healthie for grocery and retail here
  • Weis Markets has transformed their retail services to provide more value to their shoppers via Healthie > Read their story

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