Stop & Shop is reinforcing its commitment to support racial equality with a new partnership to encourage diversity in the field of nutrition and dietetics. To that end, Stop & Shop VP of Sales and Merchandising Rudy DiPietro presented $50,000 to the University of New Haven, in Connecticut, to establish the Stop & Shop Diversity in Nutrition & Dietetics Scholarship, an endowed fund created to provide financial assistance to students studying to become nutritionists or registered dietitians.
The scholarship is the second that Stop & Shop has established this year in partnership with a higher-education institution to foster diversity in dietetics; the first was created in September with Framingham State University in Massachusetts.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Commission on Dietetic Registration found that more than 71% of the United States’ approximately 106,000 registered dietitians are non-Hispanic white, and just 3% are African American. According to the same survey, the demographic profile of nutrition practitioners has remained virtually unchanged since 2007.
“We chose to partner with the University of New Haven in this effort because of their efforts to recruit and retain students of color– and because they share in our commitment to driving more diversity in this profession,” explained DiPietro. “Together, our aim is to break down historic barriers in the field of nutrition, so that more aspiring dietitians of color advance and ultimately create lasting change in the field and in our communities.”
Entry requirements for the field of nutrition are often steep and costly barriers that are only growing more formidable with the rollout of a new graduate-degree mandate that will require prospective nutritionists to earn a graduate degree before they take the registration exam needed to enter the field. The mandate is set to take effect in 2024,
“We are very grateful for the generosity of Stop & Shop,” said Brian Otis, VP for university advancement at the University of New Haven. “We share Stop & Shop’s commitment to increasing diversity in the nutrition and dietetics fields, and we are grateful for the important investment they are making in our students’ futures.”
Through the endowed fund, an annual scholarship will go to undergraduate students in the university’s nutrition sciences program with significant financial need and who meet the university’s academic requirements for scholarships.
The department of nutrition sciences in the School of Health Sciences offers a course of study enabling graduates to actively participate in the changing food environment, in the nutrition education process and in health care delivery systems. The University provides students with two paths to either become an entry-level dietitian or to be accepted in an ACEND-accredited dietetic internship to become a registered dietitian or into a graduate program, or to pursue a career in a food, nutrition or a related field.
Last year, Stop & Shop introduced Nutrition Partners, a dietitian program developed to support health and wellness by giving community members access to licensed registered dietitians for one-on-one consultations, nutrition classes and other resources. Stop & Shop’s dietitians can be consulted by customers to discuss food and nutrition-related questions, with the goal of starting or maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.
Based in Quincy, Mass., the Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. LLC employs 58,000 associates at more than 400 stores throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, is the parent company for Ahold Delhaize’s U.S. companies, consisting of Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Co., Hannaford, and Stop & Shop, as well as e-grocer Peapod; Retail Business Services, a U.S. support services company providing services to the brands; and Peapod Digital Labs, its e-commerce engine. Operating more than 2,000 stores across 23 states, Ahold Delhaize USA is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in the United States.