Loblaw plans to hire 19 new dietitians for its Atlantic stores in the next three months.
It’s all in an effort to make these locations local resources that further support the health of shoppers, said Mark Boudreau, the company’s director, corporate affairs in Atlantic Canada.
With a dietitian already on staff in Nova Scotia (see photo at right of Atlantic Superstore registered dietitian Anne Marie Armstrong at the Joseph Howe Atlantic Superstore in Halifax), the company is recruiting for an additional 19 positions to be filled by June this year.
These dietitians will provide services for an average of three Atlantic stores each, working with in-store pharmacies as well as independently with shoppers.
Coinciding with National Dietitians Day on March 19, today’s announcement reflects what Boudreau said is a “significant company investment” to expand its network of what will be a total of 75 dietitians serving customers at more than 150 Loblaw banner stores across the country.
He said this new roster of dietitians at Atlantic Superstore and Dominion stores will focus on shoppers’ nutrition needs and on helping customers “simplify healthy living,” be it by one-on-one consultations, school tours or cooking classes related to healthier food choices.
They’ll also team up with in-store pharmacists to offer integrated programs that can help customers prevent and manage certain chronic conditions. Other than the cooking classes, all the services will be free.
According to research by Ipsos Reid commissioned by the Dietitians of Canada, 90% of Canadians say dietitians are the leading expert on food and nutrition, ahead of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and naturopaths.
But less than one in four Atlantic Canadians say they have used the services of one.
“By offering customers convenient access to professional nutrition advice in a local store where they grocery shop, we’re responding to a need,” said Boudreau.
Advising shoppers on nutrition has been an ongoing focus for Loblaw.
Back in 2012, it was the first Canadian grocery retailer to launch “Guiding Stars,” a guide that provides at-a-glance nutritional ratings for foods found in every store aisle. Loblaw will launch the program in Atlantic Canada this year.