Establishing “Healthy” Partnerships

June 15, 2020

By NGA Nutrition Consultant, Shari Steinbach, MS, RDN

If you’re looking for a way to expand your wellness outreach and connect with credentialed health professionals you may have to look no farther than your community hospital, medical clinics and local health organizations. The mission of these groups will be focused on public wellness and your store(s) can provide food and nutrition solutions that will add value to their work with individual patient/client care and education. Here are some tips for creating and leveraging partnerships that can lead to business success:

  1. Seek out partnerships that align to your company and health and well-being goals and strategy.

While working for a major retailer, we established a partnership with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in the regions our stores were located. With a commitment to diabetes care and prevention it was important to align with a respected diabetes organization for the latest research, expertise and educational resources. Collaboration with the ADA helps us to reach a target audience to promote the many diabetes solutions we offered and drove traffic to both our food aisles and pharmacy. In addition, one multi-store partnership allowed us to save time in planning and executing a year-long strategy. Consider these examples to link the NGA Live.Balanced Wellness Activation Kits to specific health organizations or groups:

Meal Solutions: Family Physician Offices; Young Mom Groups at local churches; Private Practice Dietitians

Heart Health: Local Hospital Cardiac Rehab; American Heart Association office; Cardiac Care Physicians

Plant-Forward: Local Hospital Weight Management Programs; Large Physician Offices; Fitness Facilities

  1. Ensure the partnership provides a win-win-win relationship, benefiting you, the partner and the consumer.

Many local hospitals have healthy living programs geared for weight management, heart health and diabetes. Discover what type of wellness classes are promoted by your local hospital or large physician clinics and set up a meeting to discuss a partnership that can provide mutual benefits and empower consumers to make healthy choices. Your stores may profit by increased sales of better-for-you products while raising the visibility of your solutions in prepared foods, produce and pharmacy. The hospital gains a community location to conduct grocery shopping tours and education to increase patient success and finally, the consumer wins by discovering resources that make living healthy easy and affordable.

  1. Nurture and strengthen the relationship with ongoing communication and evaluation.

All partnerships evolve and grow over time. Keep them strong by discussing what is working and what can be improved. Hold regular meetings or calls to ensure events and activities are being executed properly and make sure your original goals are being met.  Like anything else we do, make sure you are able to document the ROI of the partnership. Keep asking questions – Does the association with this organization help you reach more customers and drive sales and loyalty?

I don’t know any retailer who doesn’t juggle multiple priorities while trying to stay informed on the latest health trends to better serve customers. Seeking out and establishing strong partnerships with local health organizations can spread the word about your products and solutions, drive traffic and sales, and strengthen your ability to execute meaningful wellness programming.

Click here to access NGA’s turnkey resources for the Meal Solutions, Heart Health and Plant-Forward activation kits.

Annette Maggi, MS RDN LD FAND – annette@annettemaggi.com

Shari Steinbach, MS RDN – shari@sharisteinbach.com