Marketing Nutrition and
Retail RD Strategy Consultant
Like others in the produce industry, Barbara Ruhs says there is no typical day as a retail health and wellness expert. That’s because dietitians working in retail are involved in many different areas of the business — in marketing and communications, merchandising, compliance and regulatory, e-commerce, pharmacy, employee wellness, ESG initiatives, and of course, directly with food in culinary, recipe development and product innovation.
For the past nine years, Ruhs has been doing all the above, working predominantly with Avocados From Mexico (AFM) as a retail health and wellness expert.
“Since I started with the AFM when they first formed their U.S. organization back in 2014, my role as a retail health and wellness expert has evolved. I’ve been most focused on working directly with retailers to elevate health and wellness in marketing of avocados to shoppers,” she says
Before pivoting her career into retail and leaving the East Coast for the Southwest, she worked at Harvard University and ran a private practice nutrition business for several years.
“I’m a ‘people-person’ and love to teach and find practical solutions to problems. Since clients would often want to know what I would personally recommend as an athlete or as their dietitian, I’d recommend meeting at a nearby supermarket so that we could evaluate choices together,” she says.
Barbara appreciates Produce Business for republishing Jim Prevor’s columns. “His wisdom is so appreciated and needed,” she says.
“I loved the July column on taste/flavor and pricing challenges faced by retail produce CMs. Sprouts in my area just started carrying ‘Pink Cosmo Berries’ for $6.99 for a small clamshell. My first thought was, ‘is the flavor/nutrition/novelty worth it? How can anyone perfect nature’s original blue?’ Of course, there’s years of breeding behind the ‘traditional’ berry as well, but no one except produce people know this!”
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