RD Close-up: Melanie Berdyck, RD, LDN, CSOWM, LDN, In-Store Nutritionist at Giant Food
By RDBA Executive Director, Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
What's the story behind your experience in retail and your position with your store?
I have always loved visiting grocery stores and seeing new products on the shelves. When I learned that dietitians were working in stores, I knew it was the position I wanted to achieve in my dietetics career. I also had colleagues that worked in the retail setting, and learned from them about all the opportunities that in-store nutritionists and dietitians have inside the store. When a position for in-store nutritionist at Giant came about, I jumped at the chance and got it!
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a dietitian working in the retail industry?
I worked in the hospital setting for years, so moving to the corporate and retail setting was a bit of an adjustment. I had to learn about merchandising, sales, retail lingo, and how the operation works as a whole. It has been a learning curve, but it’s exciting to be part of such a big industry.
What is one thing that you wish you would have known before starting your career as a retail dietitian?
I wish I had known that I’d be involved in a great deal of media. As an in-store nutritionist, we are often on television and have filmed commercials. I wish I would have had more media experience before entering the retail setting. Luckily, I’ve had a lot of on-the-job training and support from my colleagues which has been invaluable to me. N
Has there been anything specific that has held you back?
Since I spent most of my career in the medical field, I had little corporate or retail knowledge when I became an in-store nutritionist. After more than a year with the company, I’m still learning and always asking questions.
In a similar vein, has there been anything specific that has helped you move forward?
At Giant, we have a great team of nutritionists who all have their own area of expertise and have been a great teaching and support system. It’s helpful to get input and feedback on programs and initiatives, which has improved my practice significantly since starting with the company.
What have you done to equip yourself with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the retail industry?
I attend conferences and listen to webinars to stay up-to-date on the latest retail initiatives and food trends. I also visit the RDBA website to stay current on all of the latest news in the retail industry.
Tell us about one of your programs or initiatives that you are most proud of and why.
I’m most proud of the community relationships and partnerships that I formed in my district of stores in the Baltimore region. Everyone in the community is promoting wellness, and it’s great that Giant Food is part of the initiative.
Melanie has ten years of experience as a registered dietitian in the inpatient, outpatient, and retail settings. She is currently an in-store nutritionist for Giant Food. She provides nutritional counseling, store tours, and community education programs for customers on a variety of disease states such as diabetes, heart health, and weight loss. Melanie received her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Eastern Michigan University and is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Applied Nutrition with a concentration in obesity and health prevention at the University of England in Portland, ME. She is a certified specialist in obesity and weight management and a certified personal trainer.