The Retail Dietitians Business Alliance (RDBA) has named Cassandra Umile, R.D., L.D.N., who is manager of nutrition services and food production for the Kenny Family ShopRites of Delaware, as its 2018 Retail Dietitian of the Year. The award, presented at the RD Retail Exchange in Chicago, recognizes a retail dietitian who shows leadership in utilizing business skills and industry knowledge to positively impact consumer behavior through the retail sector.
“We congratulate Cassandra and applaud her success that has made a difference with her customers, colleagues and community,” said Phil Lempert, CEO and president of the RDBA. “Although Cassandra is relatively new to the industry, we’re glad RDBA helped her to become a successful leader in her organization and the industry.”
“The thing that impresses me most about Cassandra is her ability to try new ideas that improve the health of our customers and associates,” said Melissa Kenny, owner and director of sales and marketing at Kenny Family ShopRites of Delaware. “Her ability to combine her business knowledge with her expertise on nutrition and understanding of the retail industry makes her an excellent retail dietitian.”
Two years ago, Umile started as a retail dietitian at one of the ShopRite stores and later was named manager of nutrition services and food production for all the stores. She provides nutrition education across the family’s six ShopRite stores and in the New Castle County community. She also teaches the company’s food safety class that certifies employees as certified food safety managers. In addition, she oversees quality assurance to make sure products and conditions meet company and FDA standards.
Umile taught herself how to write grants and was able to launch a “Green Bucks Program” through a grant from the Food Insecurity and Nutrition Incentive (FINI). This program provides Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries with $2 fresh fruit and vegetable vouchers for every $5 spent with SNAP benefits. More than 1,600 people participated in the Green Bucks program and those customers increased their produce purchase by 100 percent.
Umile subsequently went to Capitol Hill with the National Grocers Association to lobby about the importance of the FINI program.
“It’s an honor to win this award,” Umile said. “The RDBA is critical to my success and it has helped me learn about sales, marketing and data analysis, while sharing programming tips with other dietitians. This career is so rewarding, and I know I will continue to grow and help others in the future.”
Through networking, Umile has implemented programs such as The Healthy Food Marketing Strategies initiative that works in conjunction with the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Delaware. She also teamed with the University of Delaware to implement the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s Store Tour Grant that trains dietetic students on giving store tours. They in turn give store tours to customers to help improve their eating habits.
Founded in 2012, RDBA is the professional group to the more than 1,000 retail registered dietitians throughout North America that most often work in supermarkets. RDBA is the first to offer a retail business education programs for registered dietitians that help these professionals better understand the business of retail including trends, merchandising, working with suppliers, and more. In addition to online and in-person training at key events, RDBA offers opportunities through its newsletter, website, and special events for the community of retailers and dietitians to share information.
RDBA sponsors include the American Pulse Association, Arctic Apples, Bob’s Red Mill, Campbells, Egg Nutrition Center, Fresh Mushrooms, House Foods, Lentil Council, PepsiCo, Pulses, Red Bull, Schar, SPINS, SpoonGuru, Starkist, Stemilt, The Other White Meat, US Dry Pea and Vestcom.