- The Food Industry Association (FMI) has appointed Krystal Register to lead the organization’s health and well-being policy, operations and communications for FMI members, the trade association announced.
- Prior to FMI, Register spent 12 years as a retail dietitian at Wegmans, where she developed and executed company wellness programs, health messaging, employee training and in-store promotions. Register participated in community events like the NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo, DC Gluten-Free Education Day and Smithsonian Food History programming. She also has experience as a media contact for nutrition-related content.
- Hilary Thesmar, FMI's chief food and product safety officer and senior vice president of food safety programs, said in a statement that Register will be able to work with "seamlessly" with peers in retail dietetics and dietitians in clinics, public health, nutrition policy and the community. She said these experiences will "augment" FMI's work in representing its grocers' programs.
Grocers across the country have doubled down on their health and wellness initiatives over the past few years. FMI’s decision to create this new role and hire an expert like Register to fill it signals the trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
As grocers implement new health-related programs, FMI and Register will be able to provide members with guidance to develop, implement and evaluate these programs to best fit their company, Thesmar said in a statement. But Register’s role could evolve over time. In the statement, Thesmar added that FMI will work with Register to build her role and responsibilities.
Retailers face a new challenge in developing and communicating health and wellness programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have rolled out new programs that connect with shoppers at home. ShopRite began giving customers virtual access to its dietitians in March, and Kroger shoppers can schedule a video chat with a dietitian through the chain's health service. Last month, Giant Food launched a #HealthyAtHome challenge to offer health guidance to shoppers.
FMI has been tracking trends in health and wellness for years through reports like "The Power of Health and Well-Being in Food." In an FMI study last year, 90% of retailers surveyed said they have health and wellness programs in place. The report showed that retailers could do more to integrate these kinds of initiatives into their online and offline strategies. With its new health and wellness internal hire, FMI could help retailers fill this gap.
Pushing health and nutrition further through omnichannel strategies is arguably more important now than ever before. Shoppers are turning to grocery e-commerce in record numbers while at the same time trying to comply with new store safety measures. Practicing healthy habits is important to consumers as well, especially in the midst of a global pandemic.