Creating a BDA Industry Specialist Group to support the increasingly diverse dietetic workforce

Corrine Toyn Dietitian

By Corrine Toyn RD

Dietitians have an incredibly versatile skillset. We can translate scientific research into practical nutritional recommendations. We can effectively communicate with other healthcare professionals and the public. We also have attention to detail and analytical skills. So, with just under 10,000 Dietitians in the UK, it’s no surprise that we work across a variety of settings, from supporting people’s nutritional needs within a clinical setting to providing nutritional expertise within the food and drink industry.

To support the increasingly diverse dietetic workforce, the British Dietetic Association (BDA) Industry Specialist Group was launched to bring together Dietitians and nutrition professionals working in industry. We chatted to the group’s Chair Corrine Toyn, Registered Dietitian and Founder of Chickpea Marketing, about why she wanted to create the group and what was involved in the setting up process.

What’s your background within the industry?

Like most other Dietitians, I’ve always been interested in food and science, and so, I wanted to combine the two and study Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Surrey. After graduating in 2017, I got my first job at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital. I really enjoyed the clinical aspect of Dietetics and helping patients by assessing, diagnosing, and treating dietary and nutritional problems. However, even before I went to University, I was fascinated by the potential to positively impact health and nutrition at a wider population level. It was this that fuelled my decision to pursue a career in the food and drink industry. My first industry-based role was at global healthcare company, Abbott. I worked in medical and scientific affairs alongside the marketing and regulatory teams to provide nutritional input, provide training and create evidence-based educational resources to support healthcare professionals on the use of nutritional supplements and enteral feeds.  I then moved to retail and worked at Marks & Spencer in the trends team. This involved assisting the product development team on new and existing product development. Following this, I worked at Raisio Group, a company specialising in healthy food and ingredients and well-known for brands such as Benecol Ltd – a range of foods containing plant stanol ester. I worked in the healthcare professional marketing team and led the UK market to ensure that evidence-based information was delivered to healthcare professionals. In January this year, I launched my business, Chickpea Marketing, a nutrition and marketing consultancy on a mission to grow food and drink brands that are as passionate about improving health as I am. I hope to utilise my experience in the food and drink industry to help brands understand the nutritional needs of their target audience, communicate and educate using evidence-based messaging and ultimately, help brands differentiate themselves through the power of marketing.

Why did you create the BDA Industry Specialist Group?dietitians in industry group

At the time of creating the group, there wasn’t BDA representation for non-clinical dietitians working for industry sectors including, but not limited to, food and beverage companies, pharmaceuticals, communications, and marketing. Therefore, after speaking to dietetic peers that were also working in industry, I wanted to form a group that would support and develop this specialism within dietetics. The group’s committee and I are passionate about helping dietitians to retain their dietetic accreditation and competencies, promote and protect the value of the dietetic profession and encourage our members to develop as leaders and key influencers in the food and drink industry.

What is the process of creating the group and are there any challenges?

The first step is to express an interest to the BDA that you would like to form a group. Then, there is a series of documentation that you must complete which should explain the purpose of the group, it’s objectives and which activities you plan to carry out. The aim is to offer information, leadership and education to BDA members within a certain professional area. Therefore, you must show that your group can deliver this and that it’s aims and objectives align with the BDA’s aims and objectives.  It can take a little bit of time and focus to pull everything together however, the BDA guides you on this process. I also contacted other BDA specialist group committee members and asked them to kindly share any advice relating to their previous experience on setting up a specialist group. One of the pre-requisites of setting up a specialist group is to create a committee of at least a Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. You must also evidence that at least 15 members would like to join the group in order to show that you have a viable community. For this, I’d recommend drawing on your network or you can run a poll. I was fortunate enough to know some fantastic dietitians that wanted to be a part of the group and I am now lucky enough to be on a committee with them! Once these stages are complete, the committee must undertake a series of inductions. Being a part of a committee is voluntary, however, a huge benefit of being a committee member is that in exchange, you develop your skillset and the time spent volunteering counts towards your Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

What work do you have planned for the group and what can we expect to see for the rest of the year?

Without giving too much away, we have lots of exciting things planned, our objectives are:

1) To raise the profile of dietitians working in industry amongst food companies and the dietetic community.

2) To provide a source of networking and peer to peer support for those working in industry roles.

3) To work closely with universities and industry to create at least 5 new student placements which will help to foster new talent and provide more job opportunities in the food and drink industry for the dietetic and nutrition community.

4) To encourage career development and progression by providing dietitians with education and training on professional skills.

5) To provide guidance on adhering to the HCPC code of conduct and ethics and maintaining dietetic competencies in a non-clinical role.

We are also currently planning a study day later in the year to provide education on industry related important topics so stay tuned for news on this by following us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

How can Dietitian’s join the group?

If you’d like to find out more about the group and the committee, visit the BDA website. Members of the BDA can join the group for an annual subscription. If you would like to join, please email your name and BDA membership number to  And of course, anyone can contact me with their questions by reaching me on LinkedIn or emailing

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