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Retail Focus - Digestive Health

Laura Groves – Nutritional Advisor at Scoopaway Health Foods in Bristol – discusses the various causes of digestive problems and the best remedies

Before I worked here, I worked in a health food store in Australia, and while I was there I studied for a certificate of nutritional sciences, which is part of the nutritional diploma. I find it really helpful when I’m selling products in the shop that I have the knowledge and expertise to help people with their problems. I’m also very interested in herbal medicine and have done some courses here in Bristol. It’s good to be able to apply all that knowledge to a retail job. I tend to be the main person that customers come to when they want advice about nutritional issues.


Some of the customers who come into the store already have a diagnosis of IBS from a doctor, and others may have been to a doctor who hadn’t been able to find out what the problem was. IBS is an umbrella term anyway, and can cover different issues, so it doesn’t make a huge difference whether you have been diagnosed or not.

The demon wheat!

It is common that wheat is an issue for people. We get a lot of people coming in asking for gluten-free products. People with coeliac disease are often diagnosed and then just left to find out for themselves what they can and can’t eat, so they need to be pointed in the right direction when it comes to avoiding gluten. Then there are the customers who don’t have coeliac disease but just don’t get on with gluten. Because of my studies I feel confident in advising people, I know which grains are ok and which should be avoided, and we do a good range of gluten-free foods in the store. I know a lot of supermarkets sell gluten-free ranges now, but I think that people like to be able to get advice about what to buy, and how to cook it, and you just don’t get that in big multiples. We can also advise people on what supplements they might want to look into to help with adjusting to a new diet.

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