Making an Impact through Nutrition and Health Education

Samantha Cassetty was VP of Nutrition for Luvo, Inc. and worked as Nutrition Director for Good Housekeeping. She has appeared as an expert on television and radio shows, including The Today Show, Dr. Oz, CNN, and CBS Sunday Morning.

1. What impact can companies make when they become involved in nutrition, wellness, or health education?

With 2/3 of Americans either overweight or obese--a leading factor in chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes--companies can't afford to NOT be involved in nutrition and wellness. It's a relevant conversation for everyone. We need the help of industry--making better, healthier food that's accessible and convenient--to move the needle here. People need a lot of tools to eat well--nutrition education, cooking literacy, as well as convenient options that don't compromise on nutrition. The economic burden to our society of poor diet and inactivity is enormous and we need to deal with it in a number of different ways.

2. What consumer trends and brand opportunities are you seeing around nutrition and health education?

More than ever, there is a strong consumer base of people hungry for nutrition education and better food options. The natural foods category is growing at a time when legacy brands are struggling. The consumer really got ahead of the industry and the entrepreneurial brands saw the opening and are providing foods that are meeting the needs of today's health-conscious consumers. This trend has been gaining momentum for a while now and it's showing no signs of slowing down. I recently explained to my son that when I was growing up, kale was mainly a garnish and he's never lived in a world without kale being front and center on every menu!

Although there will always be a place for fun, indulgent foods, the growth I'm seeing is around healthier options. Though there is a core consumer base of health-conscious people, nutrition education plays a role in promoting these values outside of the core, so that it catches on with a more mainstream audience. I think we're there already and now it's a matter of mainstream brands continuing to build on this nutrition and wellness platform.

3. How are companies supporting and promoting nutrition and health initiatives?

This is happening in a variety of ways. For one thing, many entrepreneurial food companies are bringing better food to consumers. Bigger CPG companies are also balancing out their portfolios with better-for-you options. There are also companies working on nutrition education platforms, promoting healthier eating habits across different channels, such as a brand website, social media, and influencer outreach.

4. What do you do? What do you enjoy most about your work?

I'm a dietitian and I've been practicing nutrition communications for my entire career. I spent six years as the nutrition director for Good Housekeeping and moved on to help build the health-focused brand, Luvo, where I was key to the brand positioning, product philosophy, content strategy, and healthcare influencer marketing strategy.  I'm currently consulting, helping other brands position themselves for growth in this space. I'm passionate about making it easier and more accessible for people to eat well and I love being able to promote good nutritional values to a broad audience.

To learn more about her work, visit  www.samanthacassetty.com or follow her on Twitter @NutritionistSam.