It’s a cross between walking a tightrope and throwing caution to the wind when you try to combine savings and celebrations. The supermarket dietitian is one of the many who has to make it work for the benefit of the store and the customer.
The winter holidays are always a good time to bring a health image into play since food tends to be the center of the celebration, whether they take place at home or the office and at school. While the holidays are typically a time when people allow themselves to overindulge, we in the dietitian business have to remember the season is also prime time to help people change eating habits. It’s to our benefit that there is concern for wellness, weight control and food allergies.
Again this year, too, the budget crunch is still a headliner for many, even though the holiday spirit tends to lift the mood a bit. With all of that in mind, here are some approaches that might help you on the tightrope!
• Put the emphasis on quality rather than quantity as you guide customers in celebration menu planning. When budgets are tighter steer customers to showcasing a few excellent items that are holiday favorites rather than the huge buffet that ends up with waste. In the end, the price may be the same but the effect is more dramatic.
• Demonstrate some ways to decorate and serve food using food! For example, pomegranates are in season and in style — healthwise — but some of our customers don’t know how to use them. Bell peppers and bread bowls make edible holders for dips and salsa. Pumpkin and squashes are other healthy “bowls.” Even a summer favorite — putting fruit in ice rings — can be recycled for the holiday punch.
• Feature some of the foods and recipes that fit the needs of customers who are looking for vegetarian entrees, gluten- or egg-free dressing for their turkey, party foods for people with diabetes or on sodium-restricted diets. A display of alternative beverages, lower-sodium seasonings, ready-to-use soups and entrees that fit special diet needs are appreciated at busy times like these.
Next time, we’ll look at some food gift ideas that will also help the customer, their wallet and health…. and our sales!