Aisle Chatter

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The Milbank Quarterly, a periodical that features peer-reviewed original research, policy review and analysis from academics, clinicians, and policymakers, recently published a study entitled, “Consumers’ Response to an On-Shelf Nutrition Labelling System in Supermarkets: Evidence to Inform Policy and Practice” in which it reported the positive impact of on-shelf nutrition labeling system on supermarket sales and revenues. The investigation, which was equally collaborated on by researchers from Public Health Ontario, Duke University, University of Toronto, and University of Waterloo, found that, not only did shoppers make small but significant shifts towards higher nutritional ratings, but that there were also increases in the number of products per transaction, price per product purchased and total revenues. Information gathered during exit surveys for this study, however, do indicate that building customer awareness on how the nutritional labeling systems should be addressed and improved for optimum results. In response to the study’s release, Jim McBride (director for Guiding Stars, the North American nutrition guidance program used in the investigation) said, “Unhealthy diets are a top risk factor for chronic disease worldwide, so it makes sense for public policymakers to explore interventions that inspire consumers to make better choices. As this groundbreaking investigation shows, not only does the Guiding Stars system help consumers make small but significant positive changes in their nutritional choices, supermarkets also benefit through higher revenue.”

The Network of Executive Women (NEW) Mid-Atlantic hosted its popular “Executive Straight Talk!” networking series earlier this month at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Hyattsville, MD. The event, which was moderated with aplomb by Judy Spires, chairman and CEO of KB Holdings Inc (Kings and Balducci’s), consisted of a panel of three industry executives: Acme SVP Dan Croce, executive vice president of the west region for Albertsons Companies Susan Morris and NEW national president and CEO Sarah Alter. Each panelist addressed the evening’s theme, “The Voice of Leadership: How Leaders Inspire, Influence and Achieve Results” by presenting a real-life obstacle they faced in their careers.  Before each speaker explained how they successfully navigated their dilemma, attendees were asked to engage in a discussion with the other people at their tables to figure out collectively how they would address the issue.  The exercises were not only a great way to keep the audience engaged throughout the evening, but they also helped foster critical thinking and teamwork among the attendees. A special shout-out also goes out to Phyllisann Fobian of GlaxoSmithKline, who was recognized at the event by NEW National with a “Best of the Best” award for Leadership in the networking organization. What a well-deserved honor!

Finally, I would like to commend Elda Devarie, NEW committee member and president of the international foods distributor EMD Sales, for her Relief For Puerto Rico Bags of Love fundraising efforts. In addition to providing more than 400,000 pounds of food and supplies to offer relief for those devastated by the hurricanes in Puerto Rico, Elda and her team at EMD Sales organized volunteers and donations this month to fill 1,500 boxes of 25 pounds each with ingredients for Christmas dinner and board games as gifts for towns with populations below the poverty line. Their hard work to raise funds and collect donations for Puerto Rico continues, so if you’d like to contribute to the relief efforts, every bit helps! For donations up to $1,000, you can go to For additional information and larger donations, you can email or call 301.322.4503, ext 130. Elda, with your generous heart, tenacious spirit, and tireless work ethic, you truly are an inspiration not just during this Christmas season, but throughout the rest of the year as well.

Happy Holidays to each and every one of you!

Until next month AND next year…