Post written by Half Your Plate friend and RD Laurie Barker Jackman
Did you know there are over 15,000 grocery stores across Canada employing almost 400,000 Canadians? Grocery stores and food suppliers are essential to communities. We saw this more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. As grocery stores were deemed an ‘essential service,’ they remained open while the rest of the world shut down. Employees of the grocery industry at all levels worked hard to keep us safe and healthy. They did an incredible job maintaining the supply of consumer goods to Canadian families from coast to coast.
It is because of their extraordinary efforts that Grocery Business Magazine declared July 19, 2021, a GROCERY HEROES DAY! This is an opportunity for the entire industry to recognize and celebrate deserving front line employees at all levels for their outstanding dedication, hard work and achievements during the pandemic.
Grocery stores have a great reputation for sustaining the health and well-being of their customers. Some grocery stores have employed Registered Dietitians to help their customers navigate the grocery aisles to achieve their best health. Many in-store dietitians offer group education covering topics from diabetes and heart health to baby wellness and cooking classes. They may also offer individual consulting to meet the customers unique health needs. Being a retail dietitian myself for 20 years, I can attest to the impact we have on a customer’s health. I always find the grocery aisles to be the best classroom for educating on nutrition and laying the foundation for healthy habits that can ultimately improve health outcomes.
One place I always spend a lot of time during grocery stores tours is the produce section educating customers on many varieties of fruits and vegetables, and their health benefits. I always rely on www.halfyourplate.ca for their amazing fact sheets and recipes to help customers explore the power of produce. The Half Your Plate program does an amazing job supporting the work of retail dietitians, providing tip sheets, storage guides, commodity sheets and more to help consumers reap the health benefits of fruits and vegetables.
In conclusion, our grocery stores have given so much to us, especially over this past year and a half. Let’s do our part to celebrate them this July 19th! Get social and promote YOUR Grocery Heroes on your social media platforms and use the hashtag #groceryheroesday. Tell us your stories, share photos, recognize the people that have made a difference to you.