Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford Supermarkets is celebrating a milestone for its registered dietitian program, which has been helping customers make healthy choices for 20 years.
Since its introduction in 2002, the program has become a staple for shoppers in-store and online. It provides free nutrition education from Hannaford’s registered dietitians and helps shoppers identify meal ideas and learn about shopping strategies for eating healthy on a budget or for specific dietary needs.
The program has grown since its launch two decades ago, when it became one of the first programs of its kind to be offered by a large-scale supermarket retailer in the Northeast. Beginning with four dietitians in a handful of stores, shoppers have access to free nutrition education from more than 30 dietitians in more than 50 stores across New England and New York.
“Making it easier for our communities to learn about the benefits of incorporating healthy, fresh foods into their lives has always been important to Hannaford,” said Sue Till, healthy living manager.
“Our registered dietitian program is an important resource for customers seeking to improve their health and wellness. We are tremendously proud to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this program and look forward to continuing to enhance the free nutrition resources we provide to our customers in the years to come.”
Dietitians lead more than 1,000 in-store classes, tours and online seminars per year focused on a variety of topics, including heart-healthy eating, shopping using the Guiding Stars nutrition navigation system, meal planning made easy and nutrition for kids. Additionally, the dietitians support 200 community events each year by providing nutrition education at schools, libraries and health care facilities. The program has supported more than 200,000 shoppers to date in 2022.
While the size and scope of the program has evolved over the years, one element has remained the same: Marilyn Mills, a registered dietitian who has served New Hampshire customers for the program’s 20-year duration.
“Being a supermarket dietitian allows me to support my community, whether it be an aisle walk with a family seeking lower sugar cereal, or in a virtual class teaching attendees about shopping on a budget,” said Mills, who was the first dietitian hired when Hannaford launched the program.
“During my day, shoppers will stop and seek my knowledge to support a new need, such as a change in their health and diet, or a desire to learn more about a new seasoning or cooking method. I feel like I’m giving back to my community as it grows and changes.”
For more information about the program, visit hannaford.com/dietitians.