Nutrition Guidance in the Baby Food Aisles & Beyond
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Feeding infants and toddlers can certainly be a challenge for parents but retail dietitians are in a perfect position to provide meal tips and recommendations to encourage optimal nutrition for their little ones. This educational service can also enhance customer loyalty while strengthening your store’s standing as a trusted source of reliable information. The 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans will include birth to 24-month nutrition recommendations. Be prepared to show your shoppers how to put this guidance into practice with the expert advice and products your store(s) have to offer.
- Meat products are a source of key nutrients that are depleted around the age of 6-8 months (protein, iron and zinc) and U.S. and global pediatric organizations recommend including meat early than currently practiced. Provide tips for selecting prepared baby food meat products or directions for preparing at home and remember that many of the new, “natural” and organic baby foods offer great choices but may not include meat options.
- Partner with vendors to educate shoppers on baby feeding guidelines and appropriate choices based on an infant’s development.
- There is great interest in baby-led weaning. Conduct a nutrition class for pregnant moms to provide guidance on complementary foods to include during this transition time. Market your class to customers coming into your pharmacy to pick up their prenatal vitamins or partner with a local Pediatrician.
- Provide an in-store demo, Facebook live or media segment showcasing how to modify a family meal for infants and/or toddlers. For example, this Ground Beef & Pasta Skillet Primavera can be prepared for the whole family. Show how a small portion can be blended or chopped for an infant or toddler as a delicious way to get needed nutrients.
- Offer infant/toddler feeding tips on your website or in store.
- If your store(s) participate in a baby week promotion make sure to be involved with educational resources such as shelf tags, signage, or an “ask the dietitian” event.
- Support local community family and kid events by providing a presentation or demo discussing nutrition guidelines for infants and toddlers.
- Offer your services to Mom’s groups at local churches. Participates are extremely interested in learning more about successful ways to feed their family. Use the opportunity to promote store brand solutions, and shopping services such as home delivery, which can be a big help for busy parents.