Fresh Summit through the eyes of a retail dietitian

Carrie Taylor, dietitian with Big Y Foods (2nd from right) was among a group of nutrition professionals brought to PMA Fresh Summit by the Produce for Better Health Foundation. PBH marketing and communications director Katie Toulouse is on the far right.

ANAHEIM, CA—Carrie Taylor’s PMA Fresh Summit experience was similar to many attendees’: she looked for fresh produce trends and met with existing and potential customers.

As lead registered dietitian nutritionist for the Living Well Eating Smart Program at Big Y Foods, Inc., Springfield, MA BB #:101444, she was part of a group of dietitians brought to Fresh Summit by the Produce for Better Health Foundation.

PBH has been sponsoring dietitians at Fresh Summit for many years to get them better in touch with fresh produce industry issues and companies, to equip them to increase produce consumption among consumers in which they interact.

Taylor said part of her job is working with food companies on healthful eating campaigns, so she benefited from meeting several of them in person.

As for industry trends, she sees what many of us see.

“There’s a big trend on accessibility, bite-sized, snack-sized items,” she said. “Produce is competing better with [consumer packaged goods] with this format.”

“We look at foods with added sugar and fat as ‘treat’ food. Fruit usually isn’t in that category. But we’re seeing naturally healthy items that kids would still look at as a treat,” she said.

Another trend she saw was a bigger variety of vegetables cut to resemble noodles, such as a lasagna cut.

“Preparation is a barrier for people, so it’s great to see not only what’s currently on trend, but also in the future,” Taylor said.

She said she’s more connected than ever with fresh produce, and visits like this to Fresh Summit keep that going.

There are products she saw at the expo that she said she plans to talk with the Big Y produce team about carrying, and then she will promote them in company publications and with consumers.

Big Y has about 75 store locations in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

 

Greg Johnson is the Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services.