’Tis the season for predicting what’s to come. Identifying what will be on trend for the New Year excites consumers, business owners, marketers, and media alike. And when it comes to food and nutrition, there’s a surplus of forecasts and a ton of interest. Despite the copycat surveys of influencer insights, the standout, the gold standard among consumer, industry, and media for five years running is the annual “What’s Trending in Nutrition” survey, brought to you by venerated health and wellness public relations agency (and my place of employment) Pollock Communications and the one-and-only Today’s Dietitian. Why the top billing? Why the 351 pick-ups and 146,102,065 media impressions in a three-week span? Why was it talked about in USA Today, the Food Network Dish, Shape, Redbook, Yahoo, Dr. Oz the Good Life, and even The Telegraph India? I’ll tell you why—registered dietitians.
Since it’s conception in 2012, the annual “What’s Trending in Nutrition” survey has captured the insights and predictions of RDs across the country. With about 250 responses in year one, it has steadily grown to over 1,700 respondents for 2017. The survey results provide consumers, industry, and media with a professional, front-row view of what dietitians believe consumers are really thinking—what’s impacting their behaviors and what drives their purchases. Based on RDs’ wide reach, they tell the world about the key influencers of consumer choices, the foods that are growing in popularity, what lifestyle factors are changing meal planning, and what consumers care about when they buy food. The RD is the ideal judge of consumer perception; interacting, listening, and influencing consumer food and nutrition decisions is their No. 1 job. The RD knows what consumers care about, and the “What’s Trending in Nutrition” survey pulls this together so we can truly understand what will be important in food and nutrition in the upcoming year.
Because the “What’s Trending in Nutrition” survey reflects the expertise of RDs in a variety of practice settings, from clinical care and private practice to foodservice, media, and industry, the food industry and health media gain unprecedented access to an expansive sample of the population. Respondents represent and work with rural and urban regions, all generations, and diverse cultural backgrounds. What they have in common is that they know food and nutrition and have a firm grasp on the challenges and desires Americans bring to the supermarket.
What’s In It for Us?
For the RD, it’s a powerful way to learn from your peers. By hearing what your colleagues see in their practice from their clients can help expand your own practice and focus. Whether it’s for an article you’re writing, a client you’re counseling, or a class you’re teaching, you can draw lessons from the predictions your peers make about the year ahead.
— Jenna A. Bell, Phd, RD, is senior vice president and director of Food & Wellness at Pollock Communications, a food, health, and wellness public relations agency in New York City.