Courses

About the Health Food Institute Courses

WELCOME to the Health Food Institute Professional Courses for those working in the natural products industry. There are two parts to the HFI Professional Diploma Course. The HFI has also developed a short course for Field Sales personnel, known as the Supplier Course. Scroll down for details of each course.

 

PROFESSIONAL DIPLOMA COURSE – PART 1

 

MODULE 1 – INTRODUCTION TO THE NATURAL PRODUCTS INDUSTRY
This Module is designed to give new members of staff a good start in their role as a sales assistant in a health food store. It will provide a greater understanding of the goods that they are dealing with and give an insight into the health food industry.

 

  • Chapter 1 – Overview of the Natural Products Industry
    Introduces you to the history and ethos of the Health Food Trade and an insight into what makes it unique
  • Chapter 2 – Products found within a Health Food Store
    An introduction to the health food market, giving a useful summary of the groups of products that will be sold. New members of staff can take the time to locate the products in store, read the labels and familiarise themselves with them.  Knowing the full range of stock in store means that they are well on the way to being a valuable member of the team.
  • Chapter 3 – Effective Selling Part 1
    Introduces the concept of customer service and how a sale is made, making you more aware of the dynamics involved in selling to a customer.
  • Chapter 4 – Legal Selling Part 1
    How to sell products without incurring the wrath of lawyers.
  • Chapter 5 – Health and Safety Part 1
    Provides an awareness of how health and safety is maintained in stores – both for those who work there as well as your customers.

MODULE 2EFFECTIVE AND LEGAL SELLING
This module provides an understanding of the principles behind the task of selling, helping you become more competent at this aspect of working with and selling specialist health products.

It is also necessary, even from early days of working in a health food store, to be aware of the requirements of legal selling. There are laws that dictate how certain products are sold and an agreed ‘protocol’ should be used when advising customers on the many remedies that will be available in store.  This module will provide you with an understanding of these laws and how they apply to your daily work, as well as how these affect the way you recommend products to customers.

MODULE 3 – PRODUCT AWARENESS AND QUALITY ISSUES
This area has been a focus for the health food sector since its inception and today with an increase in intensive factory farming, processing, packaging and storage methods, the very nature of the food we think we are purchasing is being changed. An awareness of the production and processing methods and their impact stands you in good stead when fielding questions on that subject from anxious customers. Receiving and dealing carefully with stock is a major part of any retail business. How you handle the continual flow of stock and its packaging will have a major impact on the standard of housekeeping in your store. The correct storage conditions for food items are also very important. Handling and dealing with customer complaints will be examined and you will learn skills to turn a complaint to your advantage.

MODULE 4 – HEALTH AND SAFETY
A guide to the mandatory requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act and COSHH regulations relevant to work in a retail health store. Health and Safety has an impact on almost all areas of work that involve a physical action. These include food safety, personal safety, that of colleagues and, of course, that of customers.

MODULE 5 – BODY SYSTEMS
This module will provide a basic understanding of human body systems and how the body works. A majority of enquiries in a health food store are concerned with addressing solutions to human conditions and, more importantly, maintaining the healthy function of body systems.

CANDIDATES SUBMIT AN ASSESSMENT SHEET AND PRACTICAL EXERCISES FOR EACH OF THE PART ONE MODULES AND THEN COMPLETE THE LEVEL ONE FINAL ASSESSMENT

 

PROFESSIONAL DIPLOMA COURSE – PART 2

 

MODULE 1 – BASIC FOOD COMMODITIES
This Module is designed to give you a greater understanding of basic food commodities.  In particular, it provides a wealth of information on the essential features of wholefoods and why they are essential for good health. Chapters include the important aspects of each of the following food groups: cereals, nuts, seeds, pulses, dried fruit, milk and milk products, sweeteners, sea vegetables, fats and oils. Throughout this module the key nutritional characteristics are shown.

 

MODULE 2 – HERBAL MEDICINE

This Module will provide you with a greater understanding of the basic principles of herbal medicine and knowledge of the most commonly found herbs in health stores and their role in maintaining health. An introduction to phytotherapy is followed by an interesting summary of the use of herbal medicines through the ages from pre-historic times, through traditional Chinese, Ayurvedic, Greek, Roman and Persian/Arab medicine to early Western use. The place of herbs in the modern world and in modern medicine is addressed along with information on herbal preparations, their chemistry, adverse reactions and quality. The bulk of the module provides you with the basics to the background and usage of the herbs most commonly found in a health food store.

 

MODULE 3 – SPORTS NUTRITION

The aim of this module is to provide a basic understanding of the key principles behind the science of Sports Nutrition. Chapters in this module cover the benefits of exercise, water and hydration, the importance of correct nutrition including the provision of adequate amounts of protein and carbohydrate in the diet are discussed. Sports nutrition supplements including hydration drinks, meal replacements, protein supplements, glutamine, creatine, beta-alanine, HMB, CLA, BCAA’s, ZMA, arginine and nitric oxide are summarised. The module also provides useful tips for those involved in selling sports nutrition products.

 

MODULE 4 – HOMOEOPATHIC MEDICINE

Homoeopathy is a system of medicine which has a different approach to disease and remedies from that of conventional medicine. This Module will provide you with a basic understanding ofthe principles behind homoeopathy and how a number ofindividual homoeopathic medicines relate to common medical conditions. The preparation of homoeopathic medicines is discussed and remedies for general family use are identified. Answers to common questions from customers seeking homoeopathic treatment are provided along with the main characteristics of some common homoeopathic remedies

 

MODULE 5 – ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES

Holistic good health aims for the complete balance of mind, body and spirit. If one part of the whole is slightly off balance this can cause dis-ease in another part – the recognition of this, and crucially, being aware of the first sign of any imbalance at an early stage and correcting it, can very often prevent disease itself and this is where alternative and complementary therapies, within the sphere of an integrated health care system, can be so advantageous. This module will provide you with a useful summary of the most widely used alternative and complementary therapies practiced in the UK allowing you to inform your customers of some of the choices available should they seek your advice.

 

MODULE 6 – FOOD SUPPLEMENTS

This module provides you with a comprehensive guide to the most common nutritional supplements found in health stores and their role in maintaining health. Once limited mainly to vitamins and minerals the expression ‘dietary supplements’ now covers an array of products.People realise that taking appropriate nutrients in supplement form that are not being adequately supplied by their diet can bring added energy, health and balance to their lives. With supplements readily available the potential to change the lives of sufferers is immense and relatively inexpensive. In this module the role of the most popular dietary supplementsare summarised. The information will help you to build your knowledge of food supplements in nutrition enabling you to give good advice to your customers, and better enable you to understand the rationale for healthy eating practices.

 

MODULE 7 – NON-FOOD PRODUCTS

Many of your customers come to your health store for natural, organic alternatives to mainstream household, cosmetic and bodycare products.  This module provides you with a summary of harmful ingredients that may be found in mainstream products. In individual products various chemicals may represent only a trace amount, but with multiple exposure the cumulative effect of using numerous products a day can amount to a substantial internal dose to potentially harmful chemicals. The module provides you with information on the principles of eco-living and the facts about what’s in beauty, bodycare, skincare and household products.

 

APPENDIX1 –A CODE OF PRACTICE

The expected standards and actions taken in the performance of day to day tasks in a health store should reflect its professional code of practice. It must be practical for the efficiency and improved sales of the store, follow the legalities, be approved by those in authority, be open to scrutiny and be seen to follow the principles of legal and moral trading both in spirit and in fact. The benefit of having a clear code of practice will be seen in higher awareness of the professionalism of the store.

 

APPENDIX 2–LEGALITIES OF SELLING FOR HEALTH

A clear outline of the conditions and functions of the body for which a retailer is NOT ALLOWED to sell products.

  

CANDIDATES SUBMIT AN ASSESSMENT SHEET AND MODULE EXERCISES FOR EACH OF THE PART TWO MODULES AND THEN COMPLETE A PROFESSIONAL DIPLOMA FINAL ASSESSMENT.

 

SUPPLIER COURSE FOR FIELD SALES PERSONNEL

Suppliers and their sales teams can now study for a certificate in health products, thanks to a new initiative by the Health Food Institute (HFI).

The innovative single-module course gives an overview of the natural products sector including its heritage and values, core categories and protocols for selling.  By completing the short course, sales representatives can enhance their understanding and demonstrate their commitment to education in the industry.

Candidates who successfully complete the £50 course are awarded an HFI Certificate and attractive metal badge, plus the chance to join the HFI as a Supplier Member (first 6 months free) and receive a free educational book, free magazine IHCAN magazine and monthly newsletter.

Tom Moses, MD at Natural Trade Brokers said: “Our sales team is enrolling on the Supplier Course – education is the backbone of our business.”

Angela Walker, Sales Director at Viridian Nutrition said: “Our sales team will be pleased to undertake the Supplier Course, and proud to wear the HFI badge.”

“The launch of the Supplier Course is part of the HFI 3-year plan to drive education in the industry,” said HFI Chair, John Frisby.

The Supplier Course joins the well-established Health Food Institute Professional Diploma Course which is designed for those working in specialist health food stores.

To purchase any of the HFI Courses or to find out more, please email enquiries@healthfoodinstitute.org.uk

 

To strengthen the gravitas and influence of the specialist health food sector through excellence in education.