The Partnership of Family Meals
Cathy Polley, RPh
Vice President, Health and Wellness
Executive Director, FMI Foundation
Food Marketing Institute
I’m a pharmacist by education, so during my years of working for a major chain, I often consulted with patients to answer their questions regarding prescription drugs. It was critical to understand their diets and what foods might help or hinder their journey to wellness. I was also responsible for directing the patient care programs in-store – from blood pressure and flu clinics to diabetes management classes for nearly 1,600 corporate locations. I grew to appreciate the role of the dietitian and how pharmacists and dietitians can forge an unbreakable partnership for customer health.
When I joined Food Marketing Institute in 2007, I witnessed limitless opportunities to better engage supermarket health, nutrition and wellness professionals to identify the links within the store that translate to shopper solutions at home. Guiding consumer habits and choices are central to the roles of pharmacists and dietitians. Today, the local grocery store makes the concept of wellness both a destination and a convenience. Our recent survey found that supermarkets employ dietitians at the corporate level (86%), regionally (52%) and in-store (33%) at growing rates. Wellness professionals are also guiding the programs at the retail level, as 79 percent of supermarkets provide store tours, and 81 percent of those tours are dedicated to healthful eating*.
FMI is the champion for nutritious, safe and affordable food at supermarkets, and it’s through this mission that we continue to invest in programs that inspire food retail merchandisers and health professionals to develop the motivational programs and ideas that consumers can apply at home. Food retailers understand that health and wellness is the competitive edge, so dietitians and pharmacists are integral to the success of the supermarket. Wellness professionals can come together in the aisles to take the burden off busy shoppers and help empower them to make the decisions that are right for their families. We all believe family meals matter.
This week at Health and Wellness @ Retail conference in San Antonio, FMI will be revealing our inaugural Gold Plate Award winners, an award created through the work of FMI’s foundation, along with partner and founding supporter Nestlé USA, to highlight the outstanding programs FMI retailer and wholesaler members have implemented to encourage family meals. The Gold Plate Award submissions were judged on level of corporate participation, reach and length of program, ability to replicate, and originality.
I’m confident the Gold Plate Award will only stimulate more healthy competition among food retailers, and importantly, create greater connectivity among all those who inspire wellness.
View the Family Meals matter video and learn more about the program: http://www.fmifamilymeals.com/
*Source: FMI Retailer Contributions to Health and Wellness Survey, 2012