Recruiting a Wellness Champion for Your Stores

April 27, 2020

By NGA Nutrition Consultant, Shari Steinbach, MS, RDN

According to recent consumer data from NPD, Americans continue to eat in at home during the COVID-19 outbreak, which has led to a sharp increase in meals made at home of about 7%, over 500 million meals per week nationally, or 4-5 meals per household per week. While these stay-at-home periods continue, shoppers are looking for ways to remain healthy and achieve wellness goals.

Grocers may have been thinking about initiating a health & well-being program for their shoppers, but still find it challenging to execute a plan. Since it’s vital to have someone accountable for health initiatives on an on-going basis, key to success may be in identifying a team member (or two) who could champion wellness for your store(s). Here’s how to successfully identify and recruit the right person for the job:

Seek out top wellness champion candidates. Wellness champions are advocates for healthier living. Look for employees who are passionate, have strong social skills and will serve as program advocates and role models to their peers. These individuals are often fired up about their own health and helping to improve the health of others. They should also be self-starters.

Define roles and responsibilities. Once you have your wellness champion selected, it’s important to educate them about the NGA Live.Balanced resources (see link below) and your expectations for the program and their role. Champions may be charged with scheduling annual wellness program initiatives and coordinating in-store execution by maintaining merchandising displays, coordinating marketing efforts, scheduling social media, and directing customers to credible resources. They can also serve as an “ambassador” for community well-being programs or health events and inspire associates to get on their own personal paths to wellness.

Turn them loose – with guidance. Be clear about any store or corporate guidelines that must be followed and your expectations regarding the communication of program activations. However, allowing your wellness champion to take ownership by customizing programs to your specific store locations and consumer demographics will lead to a greater feeling of satisfaction and enthusiasm. It’s very important to remember that your champion should only provide general shopper guidance and approved program resources. If specific health or nutrition questions are asked, credentialed advice is available from the Live.Balanced Registered Dietitians. Provide their emails (below) to your wellness champion.

Recognize and reward champions. Take time to recognize and reward your wellness champion(s). See to it that peers and leadership in the company are aware of their contributions and successes. Personal acknowledgement can be very motivating and rewarding.

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 –

Shari Steinbach, MS RDN –