RD Close-Up: April Sins, MS, RDN, LDN, Rouses Retail Dietitian
By RDBA Executive Director, Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Please describe your role at Rouses.
My role as Corporate Retail Dietitian varies from interacting with our corporate office, to working with our in-store teams, vendors, distributors, along with communicating and educating our customers on health topics and new products at Rouses. I coordinate our Eat Right with Rouses initiative which is geared toward helping customers find foods that meet their health goals. Much of my communication efforts have changed and evolved since Covid-19 to more Facebook lives on Rouses Markets Facebook page, zoom classes, and news segments across the regions to reach a broad audience.
What the story behind your experience in retail?
Rouses Markets is a 60-year-old company that started in the area of South Louisiana where I grew up. So, it is no surprise I have been a customer at Rouses my entire life. Working as an entrepreneur with a cooking school prior to joining Rouses, I gained experience working with local news stations, Facebook lives, and other social media resources along with teaching many classes to adults and kids. When the Rouses position became available, I saw it as an opportunity to put those skills to use in retail. With my love of teaching, building business relationships, and community nutrition, I have been loving every minute of it! In addition, I have a Masters’ Degree in Health Care Management which is heavily focused on economics, marketing, and management.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a RD working in the retail industry?
I started working as a retail dietitian in early 2019, and I remember thinking there is a huge learning curve in retail which is different from the average job in dietetics. Understanding the start to finish of how products get to the shelves is a broad spectrum of knowledge. We have an amazing store support team that really helped me grasp all the layers of retail.
What’s the one thing you wish you had known before starting in retail?
One thing I didn’t realize before starting in retail was all the moving parts involved in the industry. It is truly amazing to think about what goes into the grocery business in addition to the always evolving trends in diet culture and technology.
Has there been anything specific that has held you back?
I am a very optimistic person, and I like to think that challenges can help improve what’s existing – sort of forced creativity! During the first part of quarantine for Covid-19 this year, there were many planned store events that were cancelled. At first, I felt upset that I would not be able to have the personal interaction with customers that I always enjoyed. However, I realized that this was a time to really get creative and dig deep to figure out how to get messages out to customers and still be relevant to the changing world that the pandemic brought on to our environment and the way we are “used” to doing things.
What has helped move you forward in your role as a retail RD?
Since the pandemic began, we launched several wellness segments on the news, a kid’s summer cooking camp on Zoom, and began working more creatively with vendor support as well in the social media space.
Is there a program or initiative about which you are most proud?
Most recently, we launched a program with the support of the National Mango Board. The program resulted in amazing sales in mangoes and drew a lot of excitement. I am very excited about our partnership with a produce organization where we will be working with vendors to raise money for our local food banks. In addition, our Eat Right with Rouses Facebook Live series each week has become quite popular with our customers with thousands viewing each week.
Bio: April is a registered dietitian nutritionist and the corporate retail dietitian for Rouses Markets which spans 65 stores across the Gulf Coast. As a dietitian for 19 years, April has been able to gather lots of pearls of wisdom working as a consultant to nursing homes, hospitals, Council on Aging, teaching as an adjunct professor at Nicholls State University, and a former owner of a cooking school. April received her undergraduate degree from Nicholls State University, completed her dietetic internship in Lake Charles at McNeese State University, and received her Master’s in Healthcare Management from University of New Orleans. April has worked in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and then returned home to Houma, LA after Hurricane Katrina. Find more information about our Eat Right with Rouses program on Rouses.com. Find me on Instagram @dietitian_april_sins.