On this Trailblazer Tuesday, we are delighted to highlight Dr. Susan Kleiner, a visionary leader in the nutrition and human performance industry. Her illustrious career significantly improved the performance and well-being of professional teams, Olympians and elite athletes in countless sports. Dr. Kleiner is co-host of the “Your Food Matters Podcast”, and the author 10 books, including the bestseller The New Power Eating ® . She is a Registered Dietitian, co-founder and fellow of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, fellow and member of several other scientific societies.

In your opinion, what makes our industry uniquely exciting, and why?

Everyone in the world eats. Nutrition and related industries are enormous, and enormously impactful. Whether we are talking agriculture, manufacturing, dietary supplements, human or animal nutrition science, dietetics, food science and chemistry, plant biology, marine sciences, molecular biology, medical nutrition therapy, and more, we have the opportunity to interact globally and impact locally. Advances in technology and communication allow us to continue to learn, evaluate, change, adjust, and create across the globe in real time to meet the needs of communities and individuals. Small local innovations can go to scale to leave lasting legacies. As long as you understand that there is still so much (to) learn, these are very exciting times.

What do you think is the key to building authentic customer engagement and long term trust?

Companies need to talk with and listen to their customers. To a certain point, decision makers need to similarly reflect or mirror their customers. Ask what your consumer wants and needs, don’t make them something and tell them why they need it. Brands need product marketing managers and communications teams that understand how to build communities and relate to them, that build product collateral from the point of view of their consumers and meeting the needs of the consumer. Brands need to research the efficacy of their products and dosages, fully share their results, and talk about how they are going to continue to improve upon their products. If data don’t exist, don’t make it up! You can still create products,just be honest about where the data begin and end. Authenticity and trust require honesty.

What’s the most unexpected source of inspiration you’ve found outside of our industry, and how has it influenced your work?

It’s not exactly outside the industry, but certainly tangential to our industry. Living in the Pacific Northwest has placed me close to our local agricultural community. Access to locally and regeneratively grown and raised produce, grains, and livestock, the farmers and their farms, shellfish farmers and fishermen, has given me a serious appreciation for this intensive method of raising food and taking care of Mother Earth. I have been exposed to the work and knowledge at the Washington State University Bread Lab and now weekly bake my own locally grown sourdough fermented whole grain bread exclusively from fresh flour. I am now passionate about sharing my knowledge and have basically become a whole grain zealot! All of these experiences (there are many more) have informed the work that I do, and why I would choose to consult with a company or brand. 

At this time in my career, I’d like to do more than build a better mousetrap; I’d like to help companies that want to leave a legacy by contributing to the health of our planet and human well-being. These are not mutually exclusive concepts anymore. I’ve learned that the efforts of one individual working to change their small farm from industrially operated and centralized processing of their produce to regeneratively grown and locally processed can change the land, the community, and the nutrition for those who eat their food. I understand that what you do at any level, matters. I keep that knowledge with me and hope that my work reflects some of that greater good.

Radicle Raw Moment
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