Retail Dietitian Close Up: Stephanie Rupp, RDN, LD, LMNT; SpartanNash
What's the story behind your experience in retail and your position with your store?
My first job was in a supermarket; I worked under in-store dietitians while completing my degree and then became an in-store dietitian. Today, I work in marketing for SpartanNash as a Regional Wellness Specialist. As a Regional Wellness Specialist, I ensure that health and wellness messages are present in our stores and community through partnerships, and I serve as a nutrition resource. Day to day, I work with 14 Family Fare Supermarkets in and around Omaha, Nebraska.
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a dietitian working in the retail industry?
The biggest challenge I have encountered working in the retail industry is misinformation among grocery management and consumers. I enjoy busting nutrition myths and sharing evidenced-based health recommendations to ensure we promote and guide consumers with correct information.
What is one thing that you wish you would have known before starting your career as a retail dietitian?
Prior to starting my career, it would have been helpful to have additional education in marketing and sales. Knowing what someone needs and why is only half the equation; we also need to know how to sell it to the consumer.
Has there been anything specific that has held you back?
While nothing specific has held me back, I have had to ask questions along the way to learn the interworkings of a supermarket and the grocery industry. In retail, I have noticed you have to be interested to succeed. Also, the retail dietetic environment is very competitive, so I have had to be very bold in order to advance my career.
Has there been anything specific that has helped you move forward?
While it is very helpful to know what you are good at and find your niche, remaining open to opportunities and not limiting oneself is key in moving forward. Networking is also a great avenue to learn from others and open doors. Having worked in grocery since I was a teen was helpful since I was familiar with the supermarket and variety of foods.
What have you done to equip yourself with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the retail industry?
I have taken advantage of every opportunity to learn, as well as network, and I continue to do so. I also push myself out of my comfort zone. I am a firm believer that there is always something to learn.
Tell us about one of your programs or initiatives that you are most proud of and why.
I have actually only been in my current position for about six months, so I am still in the process of developing impactful programs. Most recently, Family Fare Supermarkets partnered with Live Well Omaha Kids for Omaha Family Dining Week 2016, and I created a one week menu to feed a family of four for less than $100 when shopping at Family Fare. I am passionate about showing that healthy eating can be easy, delicious, and economical when planned and this tool accomplished just that. I look forward to the future in this new position, and am grateful for the opportunity to share my experiences in retail dietetics.
About Stephanie Rupp:
Stephanie Rupp, RDN, LD, LMNT is a Regional Wellness Specialist at SpartanNash. She is a resource for employees and customers at the Family Fare Supermarkets in Nebraska and Iowa. Stephanie received her Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Iowa State University and completed her dietetic internship at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. Stephanie will complete her Master of Science degree in dietetics in December 2016. With a passion for integrative nutrition and wellness, she has a wealth of information to help everyone from busy families with young children to older adults. Stephanie was a 2015 Produce for Better Health (PBH) Supermarket Dietitian of the year.