Collins Family Markets offers nutrition services via a registered dietitian, Amber Badeau. Amber, who began working for Collins in 2012, plans her programming around the needs of customer, associates, and the community. Collin’s stores have an end cap highlighting the dietitian’s featured items, as well as label items that are “dietitian approved”. The stores even distribute dietitian selected shopping lists that point customers to where healthy items are located throughout the store. Amber provides counseling to customers on diabetes, weight loss, weight gain, eating on a budget, celiac disease, nut allergies, high blood pressure, heart disease, and more. Amber established a program in stores called “Aisle Surfing”. Amber will choose an aisle each week and highlight one specific product. She recently highlighted Greek yogurt, since it is a popular health food item, but there are so many varieties of Greek yogurts in the dairy aisle, which can make it difficult to choose the best one. Amber highlights what nutritional qualities to look for that might make one product better than the other. Amber also leads weight loss classes for customers and associates that include healthy recipes, educational store tours, and cooking demonstrations to teach the skills necessary to prepare healthy meals. Amber led a Biggest Loser challenge for associates and organized a holiday dinner event where she asked associates to bring in their favorite recipes, tweaked the recipes to make them healthier, then challenged the associates to cook the new version for all to enjoy at the holiday pot luck.
This dietitian program is truly aimed at improving health and wellness of the Greater Philadelphia area. The Collin’s dietitian salary is paid by Collin’s Family Markets. Amber has held nutrition education workshops and programs (on the clock) in many offsite locations throughout the community including: • Back to School Kids Event at Tabor Lutheran Church • Vegetarian Diet Presentation and Question Panel at Seventh Day Adventist Church • Olney High School Student Presentation • “Food for Thought” Event at Birney Prep Academy and United Health Care • Health Fairs at ASPIRA Campuses, Philadelphia Libraries, and Cambodian Association • Ongoing nutrition program with the Cambodian Association (translator helps lead classes) • Nutrition Program for Bariatric Patients post-surgery at Hahnemann University Hospital including store tours once released from hospital on how to maintain healthy diet • Employee Nutrition Education at Einstein Medical Center • Nutrition and Cooking Classes for Fight to Learn, an after school program for inner city kids
The program goal is to improve health and well-being of Collin’s customers, associates, and the broader community. To encourage customers to eat local, in-season produce, the dietitian highlights a vegetable or fruit each month and shares recipes incorporating that “produce pick”. She even samples the recipe for customers to taste. This is an opportunity to educate individuals on nutritional content and how to select different fruits and vegetables. Once a month, the dietitian holds a healthy snack cooking lesson for local kids, “Kids Cook Mondays”, where they prepare healthy, fun snacks right on the store’s sales floor. This program allows kids to try new foods and learn about how nutrients in foods benefit our bodies. Amber conducts lunch and learns for store associates every month and hangs flyers in the stalls with nutrition information for the week, which has been very successful at engaging associates around healthy eating and nutrition.
Amber serves an average of 200 people per week in cooking demonstrations, store tours, and classes. She also provides approximately 10 one on one nutrition counseling sessions each week, all free of charge to customers and associates. As of November 30, 2013, Amber had served 6,231 people at customer events in-store, 2,377 people at free community events outside of the store, and 282 associates at special staff events. This programming leads to improved food choices, increased knowledge of health and nutrition, and improvements in overall health among participants.
“Collins Family Markets is dedicated to providing the tools our customers need to live healthier lives. Our dietitian program benefits not only our customers, but our associates, and community as well. Amber Badeau does an excellent job of making nutrition education engaging and fun for a variety of audiences. We are truly proud of the impact we have achieved through this program.”- Larry Collins, CEO Collins Family Markets
Amber Badeau on the importance of her serving as in-store dietitian but also getting out into the community to educate: “At Birney Prep Academy, I partnered with the Food for Thought program and taught the students about kiwis. This was the first event where I realized the importance of me really focusing on the community around the store. One of the students came into the store a week after the event while I was sitting at my desk and she said, ‘You’re the kiwi lady!’ I was like, ‘I am!’… So it connected the grocery store, healthy eating, and the community all together which is so important!”