Retail Dietitian Close Up: Stacey Loftus, Hy-Vee, Inc.
Allison Beadle, MS, RD, LD
Editor, RDBA Weekly
Stacey is a Registered Dietitian at Hy-Vee who received her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics from Iowa State University (ISU). She then went on to complete her dietetic internship through ISU at the Great River Medical Center in Burlington, Iowa. Stacey is certified in Adult Weight Management and is a trained health coach. She serves as chair of the Iowa Governor’s Council on the Board of Dietetics. Stacey is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) and the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; she serves as meeting chair for the Iowa Academy.
Tell us a little bit about Hy-Vee.
With sales of more than $7.6 billion and more than 235 retail stores across eight Midwestern states, Hy-Vee ranks among the top 20 supermarket chains and the top 50 private companies in the United States. Supermarket News, the authoritative voice of the food industry, has honored the company with a Whole Health Enterprise Award for its leadership in providing services and programs that promote a healthy lifestyle.
What’s the story on your experience in retail and your position Hy-Vee?
Before I began my career with Hy-Vee, my background was in retail but in the restaurant business. I started with Hy-Vee in 2007 as a store dietitian and HealthMarket manager in Marshalltown, IA. In 2009, I transferred to a store in Council Bluffs, IA, where I continued to work as the store dietitian until March of 2012 when I became the health and wellness supervisor for Hy-Vee’s Western territory supervising over 90 stores. My team includes Allison Yoder, health and wellness supervisor; Julie McMillin, director of health and wellness; and Rochelle Gilman, corporate dietitian.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a dietitian working in the retail industry?
I feel the biggest challenge is for non-retail dietitians to understand exactly what retail dietitians do and the level of competency it takes in order to be a retail dietitian.
What is one thing that you wish you would have known before starting your career as a retail dietitian?
I wish I would have known more about food products: what’s in them, laws and regulations, varieties and specialty products.
In a similar vein, has there been anything specific that has helped you move forward? If yes, tell us about this.
The knowledge and guidance of many mentors along the way: store directors, corporate dietitians and fellow in-store dietitians.
What have you done to equip yourself with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the retail industry?
Researching and staying up-to-date with the latest trends and products along with actively being involved with our state Academy/profession.
Tell us about one of your programs or initiatives that you are most proud of and why.
I am most proud of the monthly communication piece that my team puts together for our store dietitians. We have allowed them more time for customer service and engagement in the stores.