Healthy Plates Healthy Planet

March 22-24, 2015
St. Petersburg, Florida

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Tackling some of the country’s major public health issues, our fifth annual symposium in 2015 offered discussions and probed for actionable solutions that can influence shoppers to be more conscious of their plates by promoting healthy and sustainable food choices.

This year’s symposium brought together 50 dietitians currently working in supermarkets or with retail experience, including seven from Canada, plus a dietitian from Waitrose in the UK and one from Haifa, Israel, who is planning to implement a supermarket program in her country. Barbara Ruhs, MS, RDN, LDN, Oldways partner in coordinating the symposium, reminded the group that six in ten consumers shop at least twice a week for groceries, and 70% of all health care costs are the direct result of behavior, giving supermarkets an important position in influencing shoppers.

Guest speakers included Dr. Jim Painter, PhD, RD, Professor Emeritus at Eastern Illinois University who raised questions about the science behind theories of heart disease and Kate Geagan, MS, RD, who addressed how sustainability is shaping the shopping cart and pointed out that U.S. per capita food waste has increased 50% since 1974. Representatives from a number of retailers shared ideas for building successful promotions, working with the media, creating in-store sampling programs, and working effectively with dietitian teams.


Here are a few comments from our dietitian attendees and sponsor partners:
“Amazing event and kudos to the whole Oldways team for pulling off a wonderful event. I left the conference feeling invigorated, inspired, and ready to take the very applicable information back to my retailer. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this beautiful, fun, and informative symposium. I look forward to attending again next year!”

“As usual, I came back with very pertinent information from vendor supporters and fellow dietitians.  There have been some important changes within supermarket RD community over the past couple years.  We don’t know these things unless we get together, thanks to Oldways!”

“From the initial contact with Oldways, everything was so smoothly and professionally managed. All my questions were answered before I even asked them. As a newbie to the event, the speed dating on the first night was a great way to break the ice. The venue was amazing — great food, friendly and professional staff, very comfortable rooms. And the evening events were so much fun. It was an inspiring and memorable event.”

“This was my first time at the symposium. I learned a lot about key points of products that we can incorporate into our POP, websites. Networking among the dietitians was fabulous. I feel I can reach out to anyone if I need a little help or guidance. Sponsor vendors were knowledgeable, and I became better acquainted regarding the resource tools they had available. Time was managed well, and the whole experience was very professional, beneficial, and enjoyable. I truly appreciated the opportunity to be a part of this.”

“I really liked the Market Place.  I felt like I talked to people who wanted to talk to me — not because they had to. Everything was lovely and extremely valuable. I like that the presentations were short, moved along pretty quickly but provided valuable info. There’s a good balance of networking and session time compared to other conferences.”



The 2015 symposium featured presentations from 30 speakers. You will find copies of some of the speakers’ presentations below. Do keep in mind that speakers add considerable information orally that is not available in the PDFs. And, please note that these works are copyrighted by each speaker and may not be reproduced without the speaker’s written permission.


Setting the Stage
Barbara Ruhs, MS, RDN, LDN
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Store Level Impact on Quality of Life
Anne Lee, EdD, RD, LD, Director of Educational Services, Dr. Schar USA
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Building Your Brand as an RD
Patricia Marie Chuey, MsC, RD, formerly with Overwaitea (Canada)Download PDF
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Beverage Trends at Meal Time
Carolyn Kallio, MAN, RD, Nutrition and Health Manager, Unilever
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California’s Healthy Retail Produce Program
Courtney Cagle, Marketing Specialist, Public Health Institute
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Meeting Consumer Trends and Proving ROI
Kara Lydon, RD, LDN, Nutrition Manager, Mushroom Council
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Menu Calorie Labeling and the New Requirements for Supermarkets
Monica Amburn, RD, LDN, Director of Health and Wellness, Vestcom International
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How Sustainability is Shaping the Shopping Cart
Kate Geagan, MS, RDN, on behalf of the Almond Board of California
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Buy-Ology of Store ReDesign
Cindy Silver, MS, RDN, LDN, Lowes Foods
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Brand Partnerships to Engage Customers
Stephanie Frances Schultz, MSM, RDN, CD, Skogen’s Festival Foods
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From Organic Farm to Supermarket: Mobilizing Supermarket RD Ambassadors
Cate Hollowitsch, Community Engagement Manager, Organic Valley
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From Cart to Heart: Potential Resources for Supermarket Dietitians
Jessica Lee Levings, MS, RD, LD, Policy Analyst, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Engaging Shoppers to Drive Fruit Sales: Social Media Best Practices for Brand Loyalty
Brittany Wilmes, Communications Manager, Pear Bureau Northwest
Christine Christian, MS, Senior Vice President, California Strawberry Commission
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Squeezing Fact from Fiction
Diane A. Welland, MS, RD, Manager, Nutrition Communications, Juice Products Association
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Medical Sneak Peak
Marda Heuman, RD, LDN, Wegmans
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An International Viewpoint
Nathalie Winn, MS, Waitrose (UK)
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Reaching the Hispanic Shopper
Joan Williams, RDN, LDN, formerly with Albertson’s
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Managing Communication with Your RD Team
Julie McMillin, RD, LD, Assistant Vice President, Retail Dietetics, Hy-Vee
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Supporting Your RD Team Across a Country
Alexis Williams, RD, Senior Director of Health and Wellness, Loblaw Companies Ltd.
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The Kids Cook Monday: How Supermarket Dietitians Can Benefit from Cooking with Kids
Diana K. Rice, RD, Public Relations Associate, The Monday Campaigns
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Trends and Functional Ingredients and the Consumers Who Drive Them
Mary Ellen Lynch, Director of Consumer Insights and Strategic Partnerships, SPINS
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Creating an In-Store Sampling Program
Meredith Mensinger, RD, LDN, Redner’s Warehouse Markets
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Lessons Learned from In-Store Demos
Patricia K. Farano, DTR, Dierbergs Markets, Inc.
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