Retail Dietitian Close Up: Janice Cox, RDN, LD, Lunds and Byerlys
Janice Cox, RDN, LD, and the Corporate Dietitian for Lunds and Byerlys in the Minneapolis/St Paul metro area, shares her experience in health and wellness program planning and development.
Tell us a little bit about your company:
There are 26 family-owned, privately-held Lunds & Byerlys stores in and around the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area. The brand is known for a high level of service and expertise. I am the only dietitian with the company and work both corporately and in the stores doing customer education programs. Each store has a FoodE expert, and they are my in-store team. They have great culinary skills and a passion for food. I train the FoodE team on shopping guidance and tours for NuVal, gluten-free and other topics to help customers navigate the aisles. They refer customers to me with specific dietary questions.
What's the story behind your experience in retail and your position with your store?
Prior to joining Lunds & Byerlys in 2011, my background in the field was expansive and diverse. I’ve worked in a variety of positions including nutrition research, clinical and outpatient settings, counseling, medical nutrition sales, and teaching. I was between jobs and happened to come across an ad for this position. It sounded interesting to work with a supermarket brand I greatly admire, so I joined the team.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a dietitian working in the retail industry?
My job was a new position, so the biggest challenge was jumping in and creating the right niche in the organization. We tried a few things. It takes support, a group effort and time.
What is one thing that you wish you would have known before starting your career as a retail dietitian?
It’s helpful to understand the degree to which it can be uncharted territory. The role of the RD in supermarkets varies greatly from company to company. I am very fortunate to attend other industry meetings where SRDs gather. It is so helpful to have a network of experts to share ideas with and ask questions.
Has there been anything specific that has helped you move forward?
What’s helped me move forward is upper management’s support and development of a corporate health and wellness team.
What have you done to equip yourself with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the retail industry?
I think my particular role requires a good amount of experience. In any day, I may be doing a cooking class at our cooking school, writing an article, mentoring our FoodE experts, answering customer questions, managing partner relationships or sampling nutritious foods and sharing educational materials with customers. It’s really all over the board, and you need to be able to go with the flow.
Tell us about one of your programs or initiatives that you are most proud of and why.
We rolled out the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System shortly after I came on board. It was a huge initiative that required a lot of training for all departments, material development, store tours, media, articles and on-going program support.
Janice Cox, RDN, LD, is the Corporate Dietitian for Lunds and Byerlys 26 supermarkets in the Minneapolis/St Paul metro area. Her corporate role includes working with the health and wellness team on program planning and development. She offers in-store programs on a wide variety of health topics. Her role as a customer resource is one she particularly enjoys especially helping people develop healthy lifestyles that include delicious and highly nutritious foods.