Becoming a Corporate Dietitian
More corporations are hiring dietitians as full time employees. The reason: “The food industry benefits from the unique skill sets and guidance that Dietitians offer in helping create foods that give consumers more of what they want and need and less of what they don’t, while still providing great taste and convenience that they have come to expect. Dietitians are also driving the conversation in regards to the evolving nutritional credentials of food that meet consumers’ needs and bringing visibility to trends that impact the food industry,” states David W. Grotto, MS, RDN, LDN, Senior Nutrition Marketing Business Partner with Kellogg Specialty Channels.
Grotto, like thousands of other dietetic professionals nationwide, is working with corporations providing science-based, nutritional advice and education while reaching the masses with his messages.
Read on to learn about the benefits of being a corporate dietitian in addition to how to become one.
Benefits of a Corporate Dietitian:
- Funding support for memberships, travel, additional education, and more. Kaitlin Anderson, RDN, LDN, “Making Lives Easier, Healthier, Happier,” dietitian with Hy-Vee, an employee-owned supermarket chain with over 235 retail stores, expresses how her company pays for additional education, licensure, membership groups, and more which help grow her knowledge and career while providing an increased value for the company. It’s a win-win situation.
- Working with a team. Both Anderson and Grotto note teamwork as a huge benefit. Anderson explains how she has approximately 200 dietitian colleagues at the store level within Hy-Vee, in addition to three area dietetic supervisors, whom she can contact or count on for information, support, and advice. Collaboration on projects is a huge plus.
- Opportunity for advancement and growth. When working for a large corporation, more job opportunities are available and one can climb the corporate ladder, advises both Anderson and Grotto.
How to get a job as a corporate dietitian:
- Join a professional group. Anderson recommends joining a group within your scope of practice. For example, a nutrition professional interested in becoming a Retail Dietitian should join Retail Dietitians Business Alliance to connect and network with other dietetic professionals in the field.
- Get further education. Improving one’s knowledge is always important for growth and development. Anderson adds to get additional training in your area of expertise. For example, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics now offers an online certificate of training program, Supermarket Business and Industry Skills to Thrive in Retail Dietetics. Grotto strongly suggests pursuing a Master’s degree in business. “The didactic focus of many undergraduate dietetic programs features exposure to all areas of practice. Success and advancement in the corporate setting requires an evolved skillset that positions the RDN as an expert in the business of nutrition, as well,” informs Grotto.
- Be active on social media. Grotto notes how social media can be helpful in networking with other RDNs who work in the corporate field and in merging opportunities in the food industry.
Challenges do occur like in every job. For example, Anderson shares her biggest challenge, working on the front lines with customers, is keeping up with the latest products, trends and media headlines. Grotto explains how he comes from a private practice of working for one person (himself) and only having to answer to one person. When working for a corporation, you have to work with a team to get approvals on projects and decisions, which may take a little longer. On the flipside, you always have extra brains and eyes helping you out.
Overall, the future relationship between dietitians and corporations is fast-growing, evolving, and full of exciting opportunities. Now is the time to enforce our nutrition expert status and provide our proficiency to the masses.
Sarah Koszyk is founder of Family. Food. Fiesta. A family-based wellness program and blog focusing on recipes, family health tips, and videos with kids cooking in the kitchen. She is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach specializing in sports nutrition and adult and pediatric weight management. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.