National Nutrition Month, where produce can be the star
National Nutrition Month is celebrated during March and the annual campaign, created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, promotes nutrition education and invites the public to learn how to develop healthy eating habits and make informed food choices. This makes it the perfect campaign for the produce industry to take advantage of.
This year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, made up of 100,000 credentialed food and nutrition professionals, is encouraging consumers to recognize nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. The new dietary guidelines presented by the USDA, and updated every five years, also focuses on this message of individualizing diet based on personal preferences, cultural traditions and budgetary concerns.
At Healthy Family Project, we are celebrating National Nutrition Month with our third annual Mission for Nutrition program in conjunction with more than 400 retail dietitians across the U.S. and Canada. Our team recognized the importance retail dietitians place on National Nutrition Month and now provide materials and resources in a kit mailed to them mid-February featuring items to use in virtual cooking classes and in-store. In addition to our own content and materials, health-conscious brand partners, who also place high value on retail dietitians and the impact they make, supply additional materials, coupons, recipes and promotional items that can be used during the month.
Retail dietitians embrace National Nutrition Month and outside of National Nutrition Month are year-round valuable partners in educating the public on the importance of proper nutrition and management of health issues. These dietitians build relationships with their local community by giving grocery store tours, hosting cooking classes, answering important dietary questions, providing nutrition counseling, and engaging in community partnerships that highlight nutrition resources at their stores.
Ways to Take Advantage of National Nutrition Month
Download materials and resources from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. These free resources and planning materials make it easy for teachers, coaches, organizations, dietitians, grocers and brands to get involved. Plus, you are staying aligned with the overall themes and messaging being shared.
Create thoughtful and shareable content around the nutritional benefits of your product to use on social media throughout the month. Focusing on key claims that have been approved through your organization for use alongside your product like “Boost your vitamin C” or “great source of vitamin D” can grab attention and prompt purchases. Following along with the #nationalnutritionmonth hashtag on social media is another great way to interact with consumers directly, share information and build your social media following.
Many food banks make a big deal about National Nutrition Month so teaming up with your local food bank could be another avenue to get involved. Local Feeding America food banks are easily identified by searching your location on the Feeding America website. Many food banks champion National Nutrition Month in an effort to educate their end users or host food drives to end hunger. Nutrition information and education isn’t always readily available to those picking up from the food bank, so resources go a long way.
Healthy Family Project’s social buzz in March will be through #MissionforNutrition where we encourage the industry to jump on board and be part of the conversation sharing recipes, nutrition information and meal planning ideas.
Harness the Power of Registered Dietitians
Produce brands can harness the power of retail dietitians during National Nutrition Month through strategic partnerships with retailers in their supply network. As mentioned above, these dietitians can be your direct link to shoppers educating them about the many benefits of consuming nutritious foods and the health benefits of your product in particular.
The opportunity to improve the consumer shopping experience and the public health of your community goes a long way in today’s climate. Retail dietitians often work with store managers to improve cross merchandising, develop nutrition tag programs to help shoppers identify healthy items, work with local media to promote in-store health initiatives, write nutrition newsletters, and plan promotions around health-conscious foods. All of these actions in turn boost sales and awareness.
Produce brands, and the produce department, are the perfect stage to celebrate nutrition. The produce industry is perfectly positioned to capitalize on the health buzz in March as shoppers look to re-commit to their health goals for the year during National Nutrition Month.