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General Session Luncheon and Workshops

January 14-16, 2020 | Tucson, AZ

The FreshStart Conference General Session Luncheon and Workshops  focused on how the fresh produce industry can increase kids’ access to fresh produce, and find new business opportunities serving  kids and families.

General Session Luncheon

Colleen Lindholz leads a team of more than 22,000 healthcare professionals who provide an extensive suite of health and wellness solutions to 13 million people each year. She is the lead architect of Kroger Health’s ‘Food as Medicine’ strategy, connecting customers’ grocery experience with their healthcare needs through innovations in recruiting, training, and technology. Colleen presented on the importance of taking a more holistic approach to health, one that begins with the food we eat and stresses food-based solutions to health problems.

Colleen was recently recognized by Forbes as one of the Powerful Women Shaping the Future of Food, and EatingWell named her one of 2019’s American Food Heroes.

Katie Wilson shared insights on how the Urban School Food Alliance provides fresh produce to 3.3 million students served every day, maximizing their food budget of over $755 million. With a commitment to sourcing a variety of fresh produce, using sustainable packaging, and addressing the environmental impacts of their purchasing, the Urban School Food Alliance is influencing food, food service products, and distribution in ways that would never be possible by an individual school district. The Urban School Food Alliance is comprised of these 10 school districts:

Baltimore City Public Schools Los Angeles Unified School District
Boston Public Schools Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Broward County Public Schools New York City Dept. of Education
Chicago Public Schools Orange County Public Schools (Orlando)
Dallas Independent School District The School District of Philadelphia

Fresh Insights for Foodservice Fall 2019: Kids’ Menu Issue

DYK: Fresh Insights for Foodservice Fall 2019 is the Kids’ Menu Issue! Download the issue today and learn more about how foodservice is developing tasty creations and new menu concepts delighting our youngest consumers in schools, restaurants and beyond.


Through education sessions in two tracks, attendees heard from leading produce marketers, technology innovators, and retail and foodservice buyers who are creating new opportunities for children and families to select and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. The workshops presented opportunities to capitalize on growing school foodservice sales, while addressing how school-based programs can influence what families purchase and serve at home. 

Retail Track: Fresh Approaches at Retail: Growing Sales and New Consumers

The produce aisle may boast the healthiest choices for children, but competing forces often drive sales elsewhere. This track explored innovative strategies to grow fresh produce purchases in-store and new solutions for getting children – our future decision-making consumers – excited to choose fresh!

2:00-3:00 pm | Leading with Health to Drive Sales: How Retail is Engaging Families to Choose Fresh Produce

This session focused on innovative retailer-based programs that aim to establish a culture of health in stores and communities, all while driving sales in the produce department. Attendees learned how suppliers can be integral partners in health-centric initiatives.

Moderator: Lori Taylor, Founder & Owner, The Produce Moms


  • Samir Balile, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Giant Food
  • Amanda Beauvais, Sales Manager, Solutran, Inc.
  • Jillian Griffith, In-Store Nutritionist, Giant Food
  • Sam Kramer, MS, RD, LDN, CSSGB, CISSN, Senior Retail Nutrition Coordinator, Kroger Health
  • Alice Sanders, Director of Health Strategy & Consultation, Medica
  • Andrea Talhami, Manager, Produce Rx Program, DC Greens

3:15-4:15 pm | Snack Attack: How Can Produce Take Back the Snack Category

Kids snack anywhere from 3-10 times a day, comprising about 30% of their daily calories. It’s no surprise, then, that processed snacks makers utilize television marketing, on-the-go packaging, and familiar cartoon characters to entice young consumers. Attendees heard how our industry is bringing back the original snack aisle (the produce department!) – one convenient, kid-friendly, and fun option at a time.


  • Melissa Athanasopulos, Senior Director Key Account Sales (Fresh-cut) North America, Del Monte Fresh Produce
  • Tony Freytag, Executive Vice President, Crunch Pak
  • Amy McClellan, Senior Vice President, Martin’s Super Markets, Division Vice President, Retail, SpartanNash
  • Linda York, Founder, Sticky Lickits

Jeff Cady, Director of Produce & Floral, Tops Friendly Markets, will close out the retail track of education by recapping the day’s insights.

Foodservice Track Fresh Opportunities in Foodservice: Schools and Restaurants

Over the course of 24-hours – whether at school or grabbing dinner on the go – children often get the majority of their calories outside the home. These sessions explored how leading school foodservice programs are enticing kids to choose fresh fruit and veggies on the lunch line and beyond, and how restaurants can capitalize on diner preferences for plant-forward meals and healthier children’s menus.

2:00-3:00 pm | How Schools Feature and Market Fresh Produce to Students and Families: Tapping into Generation Z 

Over the past ten years, there has been a dramatic increase in the amount and variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that are available to children at school. Schools are finding creative ways to highlight healthier foods, while encouraging similar choices at home. In fact, more schools are immersing children in healthy experiences that go beyond just the lunch tray. As schools aim to get more students to participate in their meal program, they need to offer on-trend, familiar dishes, while showing parents that healthy, fresh options are being offered.


  • Stefanie Dove, MBA RDN SNS, Coordinator, Marketing & Community Outreach Division of School Nutrition Services Loudon County Public Schools
  • Dayle Hayes MS, RD, President, Nutrition For the Future
  • Margie Saidel MPH RD, Vice President, Nutrition and Sustainability, Chartwells

3:15-4:15 pm | Kids’ Food Preferences & How Restaurants Can Incorporate Fresh with Success

Today’s digitally-connected generation has a lot of information at their fingertips, making them savvy consumers and household influencers, especially when it comes to their food choices.  This session exploreed young consumer eating habits and trends, and how foodservice operators can make it easier for children and parents to choose fresh produce when dining out. Whether produce is part of the main entrée, a side dish, or the kids’ menu, restaurants are always looking to delight customers with on-trend, fresh and tasty options.


  • Robert Gordon, President, FreshPoint
  • Lanette Kovachi, MS, RDN, Global Corporate Dietitian, Subway Restaurants
  • Sharon Olson, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Y-Pulse
  • Peter Rosenberg, Director of Operations Support, Texas Roadhouse

Alex DiNovo, President & COO, DNO Produce, will close out the foodservice track of education by recapping the day’s insights.

For more information about the FreshStart Conference, contact Amanda Griffin, Vice President, Education & Program Management at 202.303.3412.