For Stephanie Schultz, MSM, RDN, CD, being a dietitian at Festival Foods in Wisconsin means being passionate about helping people make better choices. Customers seek her help for everything from general information about healthy eating and food allergies to unbiased, evidence-based resources on GMO regulation and organics. “Nothing beats hearing a customer tell us that our resources and programs have given them the start or support they needed on their journey to a healthier lifestyle,” Schultz says.
In 2014, Schultz was honored as the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance Retail Dietitian of the Year for her implementation of the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System and her work on the Eat Well at Festival Foods ad program.
What led to your career in nutrition and dietetics?
In short, it was my dad. I was probably 6 years old when I went to a doctor’s appointment with him, where his doctor prescribed him cholesterol medication. Dad asked, “How long will I be on this? Two or three weeks?” His doctor replied, “Your father died in his early 40s from a heart attack, right? You’ll be on this for life.” I learned the power of prevention through a healthy lifestyle early on. That lesson stuck with me.
Tell us more about your work at Festival Foods.
Our primary purpose is to provide programs that offer general guidance for our customers who are trying to make better choices. We provide real-world solutions to healthy eating, guidance for those who might be newly diagnosed with a food allergy or intolerance, and general nutrition education in our communities. We also serve as a non-biased, evidence-based resource for our customers on nutrition-related topics — even the controversial ones like GMO regulation and organics. We have found that our customers see us as a trustworthy, unbiased resource for nutrition information.
What do you find most rewarding about your efforts?
I truly enjoy making a difference in people’s lives. Nothing beats hearing from a customer who writes, calls or seeks us out at an event to tell us that our resources and programs have given them the start or support they needed on their journey to a healthier lifestyle! As the leader of the Health & Wellness Team, I also find it extremely rewarding to watch my team grow and develop their roles within our organization.
Looking ahead, how would you like to see your project develop or grow?
I would like my team to get more involved with our associate wellness program. The employees working for our organization are our most important asset, so helping them to lead a healthy, happy life is paramount. It will also help to make them champions of our programs in the store!