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Nutrition information critical to health care

BY Michael Johnsen

There is a need for good nutrition information that can be easily integrated into an overarching healthcare offering, noted Christopher Taylor, an associate professor of medical dietetics and family medicine at Ohio State University, during an FMI education breakout session Thursday.

“Lifestyle is playing a role in influencing an individual’s health,” Taylor said. And consumers are looking to the food industry “to provide the information and help facilitate the lifestyle changes … they’re making.”

With the implementation of more outcomes-based medicine on the horizon, Taylor outlined an Ohio University pilot utilizing eHealth technologies to relay registered dietician consultations at retail back to that patient’s primary care center.

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Regulations rank as top priority

BY Michael Johnsen

Issues surrounding regulations, including product-label requirements, ranked third as a 2013 priority among board members of FMI, according to a poll taken in January, noted Patty Packard, director of nutrition and regulatory for Vestcom International, during an education breakout session Thursday.

Only food safety (87%) and upcoming changes to healthcare regulations (79%) were identified as higher priority issues.

Packard outlined many of the health claims food manufacturers and retailers can or cannot make for their products. “If you’re going to use any term regarding ‘healthy,’” she said, “then [the claim] has to meet the FDA definition of healthy.”

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Industry experts discuss health-conscious consumers

BY Antoinette Alexander

Thursday morning started on a high note as a panel of industry experts from both the retail and manufacturing side of the grocery industry engaged in a discussion on meeting the needs of today’s health-conscious consumer. The PepsiCo-sponsored panel, moderated by Phil Lempert of The Supermarket Guru, comprised of Natalia Menza of Wakefern Food Corp., Kate Rogers of H-E-B, Juli Hermanson of General Mills, Wendy Bazilian of Bazilian, Inc. and Leah McGrath of Ingles Markets.

“I think as part of our program, we see a real value in our retail dietitian program connecting with our retail pharmacists because, at the store level, there is a natural health connection between these two health professionals. So, we do a lot of work around partnerships in stores with our retail dietician and our retail pharmacist to execute programs like health screenings or diabetes education classes,” Menza said.

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