By: Krystal Register, MS, RDN, LDN, Director, Health & Well-being, FMI
Over the course of the past year, together with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Academy), FMI has been methodically introducing the concept of Food as Medicine, explaining the program models specific to the food retail setting, identifying key stakeholders, highlighting the crucial role of registered dietitians, and engaging in strategic conversations. Now, with increased interest and a broader understanding of the possibilities for the food industry, it’s time to connect the dots on evaluation for success.
In February 2021, FMI released a policy statement in support of the Academy’s conceptual definition for Food as Medicine. The FMI Board Policy states, “FMI believes this conceptual definition, grounded in science, will help guide food retailers and their industry partners to deliver programs to connect food to health for consumers in practical and applicable ways.”
Many food retailers have included or plan to include programs for both customers and their own employees that connect food to improved health in alignment with Food as Medicine as defined by the Academy, even if they are not referring to them as Food as Medicine programs.
Food retailers can benefit from Food as Medicine programs in the following ways:
- Increased sales and profits.
- Elevated customer and employee satisfaction.
- Enhanced competitive advantage.
- Improved health of customers, employees and communities.
Quite often, retailers with strong health and well-being programs in place, might not have all of the dots connected to ensure return on investment and improved health outcomes. Or perhaps multiple programs are in place, but key stakeholders are not involved or aware of the impact. Perhaps the right metrics are not being captured and evaluated to report success. Program evaluation provides stakeholders with an understanding of the ROI, business impact, consumer influence, program strengths and areas where improvement is needed.
To help connect the dots, a new resource is now available from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation titled: Food as Medicine in the Retail Setting: A Comprehensive Guide to Program Evaluation, to build on the acceleration of programs and expanding interest in Food as Medicine program development.
NOTE: For a more comprehensive understanding of the definition of Food as Medicine, insight on how consumers are driving the momentum by connecting food to health, and the opportunities for specific programs in the food retail setting, please refer to The Food as Medicine Opportunity in Food Retail previously released report or watch the accompanying recorded webinar.