The awards banquet held last night at the Retail RD Exchange was great cause for celebration. In addition of the Retail RD of the Year award, RDBA presented the 2019 Award of Excellence to healthyAisles represented by Monica Amburn, Sr. Director of Health & Wellness and the Jane Andrews Lifetime Achievement Award in Retail Dietetics to Judy Dodd, MS, RDN, LDN, FAND.
Award of Excellence
A key element of real leadership is a long-term commitment to emerging fields, believing in the future potential and the vision, and for this reason, RDBA has presented healthyAisles with the 2019 Award of Excellence. "As a founding sponsor of the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance, Vestcom has shown ongoing commitment to our work to increase the business savvy and industry knowledge of retail dietitians," says Phil Lempert, RDBA's CEO. “In every aspect of their outreach to retail RDs, they hit the mark perfectly, understand the continually evolving role of this group and skills and tools they need to successfully drive health and wellness at retail.”
Vestcom is the creator of healthyAisles, a verified nutritional claim database that enables retailers to highlight product attributes from ‘low sodium’ to ‘organic’ via customized shelf tags and other in-store and digital media. It’s now used in more than 15,000 stores nationwide. “healthyAisles was created to not only provide customers with better-for-you guidance, but to serve as an educational tool for dietitians to use with shoppers on a one-on-one basis, effectively changing how people eat for the better,” says Amburn. “Hands-down, it is the single best tool for a retail dietitian – it allows a dietitian’s message to be visible consistently at the point of purchase, for all shoppers to see.”
Jane Andrews Lifetime Achievement Award in Retail Dietitians
Judy Dodd's work in retail dates back to 1982, while she was employed with the Allegheny County Health Department. She partnered with Giant Eagle Inc on a grant called "An Agency/Grocer Model for Nutrition Education of Limited Income Consumers," which was funded in part by USDA. Nutrition displays were set up in stores providing education materials on budget-friendly eating, recipes were provided, and RDs did in-aisle education. Shoppers could call and talk to a RD at the Health Department. While the partnership was driven by Giant Eagle's involvement in the WIC program, it opened the door for nutrition education in the store and new relationships that extended beyond the grant's end.
Judy's partnership with Giant Eagle continued and in 1994, she helped the retailer implement the "Be a Smart Shopper Program," computerized kiosk where shoppers good get meal ideas. From here, she became the company's Food and Nutrition Advisor and worked in this role from 1994-2014. During her time at Giant Eagle, Judy consulted to chefs, demo team, marketing, and pharmacy. She wrote and edited nutrition materials and did media outreach. Teaming up with pharmacy, she introduced workshops for people with diabetes and allergies. With a kid focus, she developed cooking classes for children, nutrition games for the in-store child care center, and introduced a nutrition curriculum in local schools, in partnership with the then American Dietetic Association Foundation.
Through much of her career, Judy has taught part-time in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Pittsburgh. In this role, Judy has introduced students to the retail dietetics career path and partnered on internship and field experience opportunities for them. "I have always seen this as an opportunity to engage student students in the blossoming role for supermarket dietitians," says Judy.
As a member of the RDBA Advisory Board, Judy continues to contribute to the field. She partnered with RDBA and FMI, helping to develop the Supermarket Business and Industry Skills to Thrive in Retail Dietetics certificate of training available through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
"Judy is a pioneer in the field of retail dietitians," says Jane Andrews. "It's a real honor to have learned from and worked with her across my own career, and no one is more deserving of this award." “Retail Dietetics would not be where it is today without Judy. She is a true trailblazer and was executing programs in the supermarket years before they were popular or trendy - the same programs people think are 'new' now,” adds Caroline West Passerrello, MS, RDN, LDN and a former Giant Eagle colleague.