- ShopRite customers can now consult online with the company's registered dietitians, the New Jersey-based grocery cooperative announced Tuesday. The service is accessible via ShopRite’s website and available on weekdays from 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. If a dietitian is assisting another customer, shoppers can leave a message and the dietitian will return their calls.
- The new service is aimed at in-store customers as well as the chain's growing e-commerce shoppers, and builds on ShopRite's existing program that allows shoppers to speak with dietitians in stores. ShopRite employs over 100 dietitians who visit the company’s more than 140 Northeast stores.
- The retailer is working with HERO, a company that specializes in helping retailers communicate with customers online via video call, chat and text.
ShopRite's decision to expand its dietitian program online comes as the grocery cooperative is turning its website into a portal for information about food. In November, the company began a pilot with CookIt that suggests recipes and recommends ingredients based on the items people put in their online shopping carts.
The grocer is not alone in offering people a way to communicate with a nutrition specialist while shopping for food online. Kroger, for example, provides people with the ability to arrange video chats with dietitians through its Kroger Health service.
Grocery stores have been employing a variety of techniques to connect with shoppers interested in making health-conscious decisions when selecting which foods to purchase. Giant Food produces a podcast focused on the connection between food and wellness, while Kroger rates products based on nutritional value to help customers decide what to buy.
Grocery retailers across the industry are investing in health and wellness programs in order to bulid relationships with shoppers and position themselves as health destinations. Survey data released late last year by FMI indicates that more than 70% of food retailers view these kinds of programs as a way to boost their businesses, while about two-thirds are looking to them to meet shopper expectations. Seventy percent of retailers polled say they're making health and wellness initiatives available online.