I’m really excited to announce that I recently won the Food and Drink Federation Registered Dietitian / Nutritionist of the Year award for my work with Ella’s Kitchen. I was so excited to meet the brilliantly funny and erudite Jay Rayner, who rattled through the 20+ awards in no time like a pro.
I thought it might be useful to explain what a (freelance) industry nutritionist does, as there are some misconceptions that either we’re all just shills for “Big Food” or that all we do is recipe analysis.
Our roles are crucial in the food industry. With a Masters in nutrition and over 20 years’ experience, it’s my job to be the conscience of the food industry and translate public health advice into commercial nutrition strategy. It’s no mean feat when what sells the most and tastes the best is often less healthy.
It’s not just about understanding nutrition science. You have to have strong commercial, influencing, communication and marketing skills. You have to understand the end consumer and the balance of health, taste and shopper behaviour (what people say they want isn’t always reflected in their purchasing behaviour!) You need strong stakeholder management skills and a passion for nutrition communication.
I love what I do and I’m lucky enough to have brands as clients who truly care and are willing to take difficult decisions in the interest of public health, even if they’re not commercially best for the company.
Every day is different for me. One day I can be filming for a PR campaign and the next day talking to DHSC about the regulation of commercial baby food. It’s a role I love and it’s not easy but I strongly believe that nutritionists and dietitians are critical to the food industry.