Share best practices and strategies with fellow restaurant nutrition professionals.

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What is the Nutrition Expert Exchange?

Network with restaurant nutrition professionals who face the same challenges, and share on-target, specialized experiences. What better way to discover best practices, solutions to stubborn problems, or opportunities for advancement than from restaurant leaders in your field? Our Nutrition Expert Exchange delivers information essential to your daily workload and long-term career. Whether you need guidance on menu labeling, dietary guidelines, sodium or food allergens, or insight into consumer trends and preferences, this group is your window into what fellow restaurant industry leaders are doing and which strategies work best.

Do members engage year-round?

Yes. Our members communicate year-round via a member-only Listserv. Join this email discussion group to ask your colleagues questions, share news and contribute to discussions on issues important to professionals in your field. To be eligible, you must work full-time in the field of nutrition for a company that is a restaurant member of the National Restaurant Association. Learn more about the Listserv.

Attendance Policy

National Restaurant Association events are designed specifically for industry professionals who work directly for restaurant and foodservice operations, otherwise known as Operators.
We also invite Allied members as well as Allied companies who are not members of the Association to sponsor, support, and participate in our events. Allied companies are defined as industry suppliers, distributors, manufacturers, commodity groups, and other non-restaurant operator companies within the restaurant and foodservice industries.

Operator Pricing

Early-Bird Rate (through Jan. 17, 2020)
National Restaurant Association Member: $299
Non-member: $499
Regular Rate (starting Jan. 18, 2020)
National Restaurant Association Member: $499
Non-member: $749


Wednesday, March 4
8:30 a.m. – 9 a.m.  Breakfast 
9 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Welcome and introductions
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Keynote Address: What does “healthy” mean?
Speaker: Dr. Robin McKinnon, Senior Policy Advisor, U.S. Food & Drug Administration 
Join Dr. McKinnon for an update on the FDA’s recently launched Nutrition Innovation Strategy for encouraging nutritious and healthful eating, and providing standardized information customers need to make healthy menu choices. On the table: an official icon or symbol for identifying healthy food items; new, efficient evaluations of qualified health claims; and making ingredient information more consumer friendly.
10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Sponsor introductions: Part 1
10:45 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Networking Coffee Break
11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Peer-to-Peer Discussion: Reducing Sodium without Sacrifice 
Speaker: Marissa Thiry, Nutrition Specialist, North America, Taco Bell
Learn from Taco Bell’s experience: how they got internal buy-in for sodium reduction, how they executed it menu-wide, and if guests noticed a difference. You’ll get firsthand insights into how Taco Bell was able to reduce sodium and meet FDA’s sodium reduction guidance while maintaining brand strength — insights that can guide your own leadership. 
12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Networking lunch
1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Plant-Based and Alternative Proteins: What’s New and What’s Ahead
Speaker: Zak Weston, Foodservice Analyst, The Good Food Institute
Demand for plant-based and alternative proteins is growing along with the diversity of products available. The Good Food Institute’s latest research on the landscape explores this important trend and how your business can profit from it over the next five years. You’ll explore the category’s drivers; what consumers are really looking for; options across plant-based and cultivated meat products; and marketing, menu placement, and promotional strategies for encouraging demand among mainstream diners.
2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Sponsor introductions: part 2
2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Plant-Based vs. Protein-Rich Diets: Tales & Trends from School Foodservice
Speaker: Margie Saidel, VP Nutrition and Sustainability, Compass Group
This session focuses on the changing balance between plant-based and protein-rich diets in school foodservice, where future trends are born and future customers are shaped. How are these new plant-based food options affecting school foodservice demand and menus? How are they determining student preferences today and five years from now when many will be dining out on their own? How are they influencing parents’ choices? Compass Group shares insights from its plant-forward school menu strategy, and discusses implications for menus of the near future. 
3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Networking Coffee Break
3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Nutrition Regulatory Affairs: Policy Update & Kids LiveWell
Speakers: Maggie Gentile, Vice President of Food & Nutrition Policy, Food Directions, LLC
Jeff Clark, Sustainability & Nutrition Engagement, National Restaurant Association
Today, state and local nutrition regulations are impacting restaurants as profoundly as federal regulations, and all policies are constantly changing. Keep up with the latest developments that affect your company’s practices — so you can prepare, pivot and prosper. Hear too about the exciting new iteration of the industry’s popular Kids LiveWell program, coming in April. 
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Peer-to-Peer Discussion: Menus Kids Crave
Speaker: Amanda Ford, Nutrition Manager, Red Lobster 
What goes into developing a nutrition-focused kids menu? Hear what happened when Red Lobster’s nutrition and culinary development teams worked together to construct a new meal children will crave — and parents will purchase. Our speaker shares her own front-line experience and lessons learned.
5:00 p.m. Networking Happy Hour
Thursday, March 5
8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Food Trends, Nutrition Technology & Artificial 
Speakers: Daniel Zadoff, Managing Director, Nutritionix at Syndigo
As customer habits change, so must our customer interactions. Food trends like digital ordering present new opportunities for customer engagement. Lessons learned from grocery stores and other food sellers can inspire new tactics. And increasingly, artificial intelligence can connect nutrition information with each customer’s digital menu choices. Explore the possibilities of this new nexus between nutrition technology and the customer experience.
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Blockchain and Food Supply Chain Tracking
Speakers: Lucelena Angarita, Director, Supply Chain Systems & Standards at Independent Purchasing Cooperative
Julie McGill, Vice President of Supply Chain Strategy and Insights, FoodLogiQ
How do customers know what allergens are in a menu item? How can you enable end-to-end supply chain traceability for all products your customers eat, ensuring freshness and safety? GS1 standards can form the foundation for all food supply chain tracking , as well as blockchain-based nutrition information and customer engagement. This session will answer your questions about how to realize the maximum benefits of adopting GS1 standards, as well as the emerging technology of blockchain.
10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Networking Coffee Break
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Peer-to-Peer Discussion: Lessons Learned from Advancing Nutrition and Technology Together
Speakers: Kelly Vaccaro, Quality Assurance, Nutrition, and
Regulatory Manager at Panera Bread
Katie Tyler, Sr. Manager, Nutrition & Quality Assurance,  
Panera Bread
Technology’s transformation of how customers order and receive menu items is having a continuing major impact on the restaurant industry — especially customer nutrition. Panera Bread’s nutrition and quality assurance professionals share their deep experience meeting regulatory standards and customer needs as the company launched its own delivery service, customer-facing app, and in-store kiosks. 
12:05 p.m. Adjourn



Bahia Mar Hilton Hotel
Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach - A Doubletree by Hilton Hotel
Registration for this event does not guarantee you a room reservation; you are still required to make your own reservation via the link in your registration confirmation email. Please register for the conference before you make your room reservation.

Deadline to book your room: Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020
Room Rate: $239 - $269/night + tax, dependent upon room type

Air Travel

We are pleased to partner with United Airlines for air travel to Fort Lauderdale (airport code: FLL | Travel dates: 3/1-3/8).
  • MileagePlus members earn Premier Qualifying Dollars and miles for their travel.
You may also call United Meeting Reservation Desk at 800.426.1122
  • Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time
  • Saturday – Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Booking fees are waived for Meeting reservations. International customers may
contact their local United Reservation Desk.



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Sponsorship opportunities are available. If you are a product or service provider, you are welcome to attend the conference as a sponsor. For available sponsorship opportunities, please contact

Contact us

For questions regarding the Nutrition Expert Exchange, contact Jeff Clark, Sustainability & Nutrition Program Director.