Developing Your Team and Yourself

Developing your team and yourself

WFIM was lucky to have Krista Payne, Sobey’s Director of Operations, Multi-Format Operations, speak at our January Networking event. Krista tells her story of “accidentally landing in grocery retail”, instead of pursuing a pharmaceutical career.

KristaPayne Empire picSobey's Logo

Krista Payne, Director of Operations, Multi-Format Operations, Sobey’s

Krista has been with Sobey’s now for 6 years, and recalls being the first female District Operations Manager. She had to clear the air with the gentlemen at the table, to relieve them (and herself) of the stigma of female leadership.  Krista now supports the female managers on the Sobey’s team through their Store Manager in Training Program, and with her own leadership style.

2015 - January 258

Krista Payne, and several SMIT’s who attended the WFIM event.


Krista shared her leadership philosophy with us – appreciation; strategy; humility; be present; share; speak up, but be quiet when needed.

Here are her top 6 leadership strategies in developing teams:

  1. Care about them.   Leaders need to have high energy and a positive attitude. You need to know the people on your team, and relate to them in an open and friendly manner. Actively listen, build their confidence, and have faith in them.
  2. Communicate. Set clear expectations, minimize uncertainty. Encourage effective interaction and contribution of everyone. Ask open ended questions. Have a participative management style. Remove the emotions. Provide regular feedback.
  3. Coach. Support their development. Break the vision down. Focus on team excellence, not ego. Know when to cheer & when to challenge. Reinforce the behavior you want repeated.
  4. Stretch your team. Empower them to make decisions. Focus on unlocking the potential of each teammate. Encourage out of the box thinking. Create a culture of continuous improvement…with some calculated risk taking. Hands off – don’t micro manage. Delegate to the right level of responsibility.
  5. Talent Management & Succession Planning. Choose your team. Identify successors and provide appropriate development opportunities. Plan your moves. Work collaboratively with all stakeholders. Build relationship. Showcase appropriate behavior, approach and expectations.
  6. Make the tough decisions. Be responsible (you won’t be popular). Have the difficult conversations. Be consistent. Hold your team accountable. Have a sense of urgency with emerging issues. Role model the expectation.

Krista also discussed the importance of self development. Here are 4 steps to follow:

  1. Manage your own well-being. Self discipline and management is the key here. Along with career satisfaction, you need social relationships, community involvement, solutions for health, exercise & rest, and you need to understand your finances.   (WFIM is a great place for social relationships & community involvement!)
  2. Mentorship. Enlist a mentor. Everyone needs support in navigating their career, no matter what level you are at. Mentors can help hold you accountable, and help you to succeed if you do the work. You can gain access to your mentor’s network, learn from their real world experience, and expand your leadership abilities.
  3. Be a mentor. This allows you to gain insight into future members of your profession, and provides opportunities to build your leadership skills.
  4. Take ownership of your own development. Have an individual development plan to reach your short and long term goals. Never stop learning!

“Leadership is not a title. It is a behavior. Live it” (Robin Sharma).  Krista’s philosophy certainly speaks clearly to that.   Every woman (and man) in the room was able to take something away from Krista’s presentation, to allow them to develop and support themselves & their team.

2015 - January 247

Brenda Seto (WFIM’s Event Team Chair), Krista Payne, Nancy Klassen (WFIM Chair)

The 11th Annual North American Food Safety Summit

The Food Safety Summit provides an opportunity for Manufacturers and Processors, and those up and down the value chain, together with service providers, government agencies and suppliers to connect on all issues related to the conference focus. It is a perfect opportunity to learn the latest in legislative updates, to gain insight from peer best practices, and to hear from industry experts.

This Summit enables participants to readily engage with industry leaders, learn from experiences and best practices in an effort to adapt to the evolving demands of North America’s food industry.  It presents a perfect opportunity to hear the latest findings on North America’s most notable food recalls and source prevention strategies and witness how leading food manufacturers are ensuring food safety across the supply chain.

It’s going to be a great two-day event that tackles issues relating to food safety such as:

* Recall Prevention: Learn from major recalls and source strategies to prevent future ones
* Traceability: Ensure product safety at every step of the supply chain
* Systems Management: Implement programs to contain food safety hazards from farm to fork
* Education and Training: Assess the value of academic and industry-driven initiatives
* Sanitation: Source proven methods and technologies to preserve hygienic conditions
* Emerging Pathogens: Scientific innovations in detection and eradication of microorganisms
* Risk Mitigation: Improve machinery design and cross-contamination risk tools
* Social Media: Refine risk communication procedures and digitally engage consumers
* Allergen Control: Accurately label your products to protect all consumers
* Consumer Demand: Transform your safety procedures to meet consumer expectations

This year’s Pre-Conference Workshop will be help on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 and will be focusing on Strengthening Supply Chain Traceability and Complying with GFSI Standards to be Audit-Ready.

Each day will include a variety of case studies and panel discussions and regulatory updates. Leaders and industry experts will be joining us from Starbucks Coffee Canada, Loblaw Academy, Metro, Chick-fil-A, Nadja Foods, Samworth Brothers Quality Foods (UK), Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, Trophy Foods, Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety – University of Guelph, Canadian Food & Wine Institute – Niagara College, XL Foods Recall Review Panel and Windsor Foods.

2015 Event Highlights:

•    Exclusive insights from 20+ leaders in Food Safety
•    10 Practical Solutions to your challenges
•    Latest updates on safety standards from CFIA and USDA
•    6 in-depth Case Studies from leading local and international companies
•    Best practices from top food businesses, key regulators, and academic leaders
•    Vital information on GFSI Standards and Supply Chain Traceability

Without a doubt – this will be an excellent, excellent Summit full of opportunities!

The 11th Annual North American Food Safety Summit ( is scheduled for March 4th and 5th, 2015 and will be held at the International Plaza Hotel in Toronto, Ontario. More detailed information and a complete Agenda overview is available online and if you are interested in joining us, please use VIP code WFIM20 – we would love to see you there!

Three Easy Ways to Register:
Register Online @
Call: (866) 298-9343 ext 200 (Toll Free)

All the best as always!


Bren de Leeuw, Director of Events
WFIM – Women in Food Industry Management – 519-396-6521

Breakfast with Champions

WFIM holds an annual “Academy Roundtable” where our members and guests have the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by industry leaders. This year’s Academy theme was “Breakfast with Champions”.  After networking and having a wonderful omelet breakfast made fresh in front of us by the International Center’s chefs, we got down to business.  In three intimate round table sessions, we had the opportunity to meet with the leaders to discuss the importance of Trust, Responsibility and Positivity for success.

Our 2014 Champions:


Sharon Beals, V.P. Food Safety, QA & Technical Services, Maple Leaf Foods

Isabelle Hemond, Director, Food Category Management, Starbucks Coffee Canada

Joanne Hillion, Vice President Sales, Food Division, Mars Canada Inc.

Anna Janes, President & Founder, Cocomira Confections Inc.

Rosanne Longo, Spokesperson and Brand Ambassador, Longo’s

Nadja Piatka, President & CEO, Nadja Foods

Maureen Taylor, President, The Ingredient Company

Ursula Wydymus, Director of Operations, Contract Manufacturing, Nestle Canada Inc.

November 2014 089

Our 2014 Champions with WFIM’s Chair, Nancy Klassen, and the Academy Co-Chairs Nadine Farran-Gatti and Mary Jezerinac.


Round One: TRUST


According to the 2013 Edelman Barometer of Trust, less than 1/5 of the general public believes that a business leader can be trusted to tell the truth or make an ethical decision.


People tend to trust two groups of people:

  1. Experts and Analysts
  2. Colleagues and Peers


Rosanne Longo shared that “the values of honesty, trustworthiness and mutual respect are the values that our founders built the business on and have remained the foundation of how we do business. As it is engrained in our DNA and such a significant part of the culture at Longo’s, our leadership styles and characteristics include: leading by example, living the values and walking the talk and continuing to treat people the way we want to be treated whether you are a team member, a customer or a vendor or community partner.”

Sharon Beals agreed, and shared that “communication, integrity and knowledge drive trust, and that core values should be honesty by demonstrating, and practicing what you preach”.

Anna Janes discussed how building collaborative relationships with vendors, suppliers, and consumers helps leaders gain trust. A familiar face that ensures two-way communication – even through social media – is a trustworthy one.



From the book titled The Law of Success, “No one may become a real leader in any walk of life without practicing the habit of doing more work and better work than that for which [she] is paid.” Being able to start something and follow through until it is completed is a key to long-term success.

Nadja Piatka shared her story of responsibility to her family when she was a single mother hiding under the table from the debt collectors. She knew she had to get up from under it, and she knew she had to work smart to get there.  She did, starting her company in her kitchen, and turning it into a multi-million dollar company that is now a supplier to international food companies such as Subway and McDonald’s.

Sharon Beals motto is”trust but verify” – let people do their work, and hold them accountable for it. That’s what makes a responsible leader.

The best advice Rosanne Longo has on this front was left by her late Uncle Tommy, one of the 3 founders of Longo’s. He lived and preached the words “Always do the right thing…especially when no one is looking.”



Negative thoughts result in average performance.


A great percentage of successful people have all experienced some sort of setback or failure. Instead of stopping their journey at this point of difficulty or failure, they adapted a positive mental attitude about themselves and their abilities, which gave them the power to move forward and reach their goals.

Sharon Beals shared that she is inspired by people who are committed to life-long learning, and people who overcome adversity. This inspiration helps to keep her positive outlook.


Isabelle Hemond discussed what our triggers are for negativity, how to identify them, and how to overcome them. Having a family member or colleague willing and able to help you identify those triggers can be a great resource to help you remain positive.


For herself and her role, Rosanne Longo hopes that she inspires the people around her by remaining positive despite challenges, remaining grateful every day for the all the good that we have and to look at any challenges as opportunities and find the silver lining, no matter how small.




Gaining the trust of your employees, customers, vendors and suppliers, while taking the responsibility and being accountable, and maintaining a positive outlook are all keys to successful leadership.

Special thanks to Nadine & Mary, and all of the volunteers who helped execute an amazing, inspirational event!


“Before you are a leader,

success is all about growing yourself.

When you become a leader,

success is about growing others.”

– Jack Welch




Molecular Cuisine

You have probably heard of Avant-Garde Cuisine, but what about Molecular Cuisine?  Huh?  I knew nothing about this fascinating scientific approach to cooking before I attended the Women in Food Industry Management (WFIM) networking event featuring Chef John Placko at Humber College in October.   And the attendees at the event were either huge Chef Placko/molecular cuisine fans, or had no idea what they were getting into that night.

Molecular cuisine (or gastronomy) investigates the physical and chemical transformations of ingredients that occur during cooking. It is a modern style of cooking and uses many technical & chemical innovations.  Chef Placko shared with us the three key elements to molecular cuisine: modern kitchen ingredients, unique equipment, and precise techniques.

One not so modern ingredient that was used was Sunflower Oil, which Chef Placko says is a great product to use because it doesn’t alter the taste of the main ingredients (The National Sunflower Association was a sponsor for the event – with Melon Pearls

Spherification was an interesting technique that Chef Placko used to make the Proscuitto with melon pearls that we tasted.  This process used ingredients such as Sodium Alginate and Calcium Chloride.

We also tasted Genoa salami with whipped parmesan cheese and black olive crumbs.  How do you whip parmesan cheese?  Chef Placko showed us this Aeration technique using sodium citrate and then placed into a siphon whip with 35% cream. And black olive crumbs? That’s a dehydration process.

genoa salami w whipped parmesan & black olive crumbs

Next on the menu was Sous vide turkey, cranberry foam, sous vide butternut squash, turkey snow, turkey skin crackling, stuffing micro sponge.  This was Thanksgiving dinner “deconstructed”!

turkey dinnerSous vide is basically a water bath, that uses pressure, temperature and time to cook the product. The benefit of this technique was an extremely moist, tender turkey breast! To create Turkey “snow” Chef Placko added malto-dextrin (a starch, usually from corn or tapioca, with no discernable flavor) to turkey fat to turn it into a delicate powder. Once this powder hits your tongue, it’s all gravy from there! The stuffing micro sponge was fun to watch Chef Placko create.  The stuffing was aerated, and then microwaved.  It literally looked like a sponge, and tasted like mom’s stuffing.  The cranberry foam was created using the ingredient versawhip.

carrot ice cream

Finally, dessert. Liquid nitrogen carrot ice cream, white chocolate snow, lemon fluid gel, flexible caramel, shattered raspberry and carbonated strawberry. Carrot ice cream?   It was delicious!  Chef Placko and his team made the ice cream right in front of us, using liquid nitrogen.   The carrot puree he used was from Canadian Prairie Garden (

The lemon fluid gel was made with agar and xanthan gum. And the flexible caramel was made with a blend of iota and kappa carrageenan. You see these items on ingredient lists all the time, but who knew what you could possibly do with them in your own kitchen?

Our eyes have been opened, and our taste buds mesmorized! But without investing in specialized equipment to use these techniques at home, where can we get more? Many restaurants feature menus of molecular cuisine.  Moto (Chicago), Noma (Copenhagen), The Fat Duck (UK), El Cellar de Can Roca (Spain), Alinea (Chicago), and Minibar (Washington DC).   Soon we won’t have to travel so far to find molecular cuisine:  Chef Placko is opening his own molecular gastronomy restaurant at the Pearson International Airport!

The next thing to investigate: Molecular Mixology!



5th Annual Food Regulatory & Quality Assurance Summit

Enabling opportunities for businesses to expand their knowledge to develop strategies and standards to be more compliant in an ever-changing environment from a regulatory and quality assurance standpoint is one of the keys for maintaining business competitiveness in today’s marketplace. With that thought in mind, WFIM is pleased to be partnering once again with the Strategy Institute who will be hosting its 5th Annual Food Regulatory & Quality Assurance Summit in Toronto on October 21st and 22nd, 2014.

This special Event for those in the Food and Beverage Sector is designed to help Regulatory, Quality Assurance and Food Safety practitioners in manufacturing, processing and the retail sector prepare for Canada’s new regulatory requirements. It provides an excellent forum to gain peer insights through best practice sharing and industry perspectives from experts focused on Canadian Food Regulations.

Timely and relevant topics such as: Regulatory Modernization, Health and Wellness Claims, Recall Management, GMO Labelling, Sodium Reduction Trends, Traceability, Risk Mitigation, GFSI Certification, Quality Assurance and a Retailers Roundtable with an excellent line-up of speakers from the US Food & Drug Administration, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Clif Bar & Company, Mars Incorporated, Walmart Canada Corp., Target Canada, Monsanto Canada Inc., VegPro International, John Morrell Food Group, Plats Du Chef, Olymel and Sensient Flavors Canada – promise to make this a wonderful learning opportunity!

To view a complete Agenda for this special Summit including venue information and registration details, please visit:

When:                  October 21st and 22nd, 2014
Where:                 Marriott Toronto Airport, Toronto

As a special media sponsor, WFIM is very pleased to be able to extend a special 20% discount to its Members – please use VIP Discount Code WFIM20 when registering!

Without a doubt, this Event presents participants with a wonderful opportunity to network with industry leaders, to share experiences and challenges with peers, and stay up to date with important industry developments that may affect your organization.

For more information on the 5th Annual Food Regulatory and Quality Assurance Summit, please feel free to contact the Strategy Institute at 1-866-298-9343 ext 200 ( or Bren at 519-396-6521 (

On behalf of the Strategy Institute and WFIM, we sincerely hope that you are able to participate in this very special Summit!

Beware of Gluten-Free Claims

“Gluten free” has spread like wildfire. In hot pursuit of sales, brand owners are jumping on the bandwagon and gluten-free products appear to have taken over the grocery aisles.

Through participation in Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) conferences, I have learned a great deal about the gluten problem and, as a result, am concerned about the reliability of gluten-free claims.

In conversations with food processors and brand owners who make gluten-free claims, it is clear that many do not understand the risks behind manufacturing gluten-free products in compliance with Health Canada regulations.They do not know, what they do not know. And that puts their brand and customers at risk.

The Regulations

In Canada, gluten-free foods are classified as “Foods for Special Dietary Use”. Section B.24.018. of the Food and Drug Regulations states: “It is prohibited to label, package, sell or advertise a food in a manner likely to create an impression that it is a gluten-free food if the food contains any gluten protein or modified gluten protein, including any gluten protein fraction, referred to in the definition “gluten”… ”

They go on to define “gluten” as:

“(a) any gluten protein from the grain of any of the following cereals or the grain of a hybridized strain created from at least one of the following cereals: barley,
triticale, or
wheat, kamut or spelt; or

(b) any modified gluten protein, including any gluten protein fraction, that is derived from the grain of any of the cereals referred to in subparagraphs [above] or the grain of a hybridized strain referred to in paragraph (a).”

Note that oats are included in the definition. I still see brands at trade shows advertising products with oats as “gluten free”. Even when made with “pure uncontaminated oats”, Canada does not permit a gluten-free claim.

Unfortunately, Health Canada’s rules do not specify the threshold for gluten. For that, we must look to the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) who is responsible for enforcement. When making a gluten-free claim on a product, its gluten content must be LESS THAN 20 ppm (parts per million). To help you visualize how minute this is, consider the following example: a typical flat screen TV has 2 million pixels; 20 ppm is equivalent to only 40 pixels. That’s a scary thought for anyone with celiac disease.

The Watch-Out

Contrary to popular belief, just because a food does not inherently contain gluten, like rice for example, does not mean it is gluten free.

The Culprits

#1. Cross-contamination can come from anywhere in the supply chain, from the field to the fork.

Major risk areas include raw ingredients, manufacturing facilities, packaging, transportation and storage. Take a look at our grain handling system. Wheat and other grains are stored in the same elevators and transported in the same trucks, unless they are handled by grain companies certified under the Canadian Identity Preserved Recognition System (CIPRS).

#2. Common ingredients used in food processing, such as additives, seasonings and sauces, can be hidden sources of gluten. Even packaging materials and adhesives may contain gluten.

What are the risks?

  • Subjecting your customers to illness.
  • Your product could be the cause of a costly recall that will spread through the supply chain. CFIA tests products labelled as “gluten free”. Those with 20 or more ppm of gluten could be recalled. That means paying the costs of withdrawing the product from the market, designing and printing new labels, re-labelling, re-distribution, reimbursing retailers, paying penalties and losing sales in the meantime. Is it worth the risk?
  • Negative publicity that will damage the brand’s reputation, erode customer trust and ultimately result in lost sales.

How can “less than 20 ppm” be detected?

There are a number of scientific tests to detect the presence of gluten. But, according to medical doctors speaking at the CCA conference, these tests are not 100% reliable. 

How do consumers know whom to trust?

There is a plethora of “gluten-free” symbols in the market. Many are self-declarations; in other words, the brand owner created the “certification mark”. Some “gluten-free certifications” are based entirely on end product testing. However, that’s not good enough. CFIA states “manufacturers and importers should have good manufacturing/importing practices (GMP/GIP) in place to achieve the lowest levels of gluten possible to avoid cross-contamination.”

The Solution

Making a gluten-free claim can be a minefield in the absence of preventive control measures. The solution is a HACCP-based gluten-free management system for food processing facilities. That’s the principle behind the Canadian Celiac Association’s, Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP),which is based on Canadian regulations. To ensure compliance with GFCP requirements, annual audits from independent third party auditors are required.

Building Trust in Your Brand

The Gluten-Free Certification Program is an investment that goes beyond protecting your brand. Products prominently displaying the GFCP mark stand out on shelf, are differentiated from competitors and build trust in your brand.


Check out these links to learn more about Canadian regulations and the Gluten-Free Certification Program.

Posted by Birgit Blain, president of Birgit Blain & Associates Inc.; food business specialists, helping brand owners break down barriers and position their brands for growth. Her experience includes 17 years in the grocery trade with Loblaw Companies and President’s Choice®. Her extensive knowledge base spans product management, account management and food retailing. Learn more at

How Prep Instructions Can Impact Sales

Have you ever had to assemble furniture with poor instructions? Then you know how frustrating it can be.

The same applies to food. On one occasion I purchased Chinese dumplings, not having tried them before. The packaging was geared to Chinese consumers but the brand was sold in a conventional supermarket. The cooking instructions were vague, so I followed them as closely as possible. I ended up with a gooey mess, nothing to eat and a time-consuming clean-up job! Needless to say, I will never buy that brand again.

I couldn’t be bothered to take the time to complain to the brand owner, so they will never know there’s a problem. If you are a brand owner, what you DON’T know, can hurt your sales.

Developing prep instructions for mixing or cooking is a blend of science and guesswork.

The final product on the plate depends on a number of variables:
  • Whether the product lends itself to the preparation method; for example, pastry does not crisp up well in a microwave.
  • The clarity of the instructions.
  • The customer’s cooking skills and ability to follow instructions. With Canada being a melting pot of cultures and language abilities, consider how the instructions might be interpreted.
  • Cooking appliances; not all makes and models are created equal. Add age of the appliance to that and performance varies greatly, especially for microwave ovens. Consequently the finished product may be disappointing or even disastrous – not reflecting your brand in a positive light.
How can brand owners ensure their prep instructions measure up?

1.  Developing prep instructions is part of our product development and quality assurance process. If there are several methods for preparing the product (e.g. conventional oven or microwave, stove top or boil-in-bag), choose the one that yields the best results. To allow for variations in appliances, some brands specify a range for cooking times and describe the perfect end result. And don’t forget about minimum internal temperature requirements for food safety.

2.  Testing is paramount; in the test kitchen, using different brands, models and ages of appliances. Also test instructions with your target customers, people with a range of cooking skills and those who are unfamiliar with the product. Employees, friends and family are not the best source for feedback.

3.  Writing easy-to-follow prep instructions is a skill and collaboration between the product developer, quality assurance and the copywriter. This is part of our process for writing the label copy.

You can have the best tasting product in the world but, when the finished dish is not up to scratch, your customer will think twice before buying your brand again.

Posted by Birgit Blain, President of Birgit Blain & Associates Inc., packaged food specialists providing pain relief for food brands.

Year in review

It’s that time of year…activities wind down so that one can relax and enjoy the sunshine!
It was only a few short months ago that I was standing up on a bus in front of WFIM members & guests saying my first welcome speech!   As the new chair of the board for WFIM, I’ve learned a lot in this past year about our organization, and I’ve gotten to know so many of our members.   We’ve had some changes in the board during the year, and many of us were new in our positions, so there was a rather large learning curve.   We had some issues with the website, but I’m happy to say that our marketing team, led by Michelle shebib, has the new website almost already to launch!
Our events team Bren de Leeuw, Mariana Macocei, and newcomer Brenda Seto have executed many great events this year…starting with our day trip to Niagara on the lake visiting a Chocolate F/X factory and Pilliteri Estates winery.  We had a great networking event with our own Donna Messer. Mary Jezerinac & Nadine Farran-Gatti executed our annual round table leadership academy, and plans are already well underway for the 2014 Academy.  December’s gala dinner featuring Ashley Chapman was our largest event ever- with 180 attendees.   We supported our membership with a health event in January featuring Leah Warner, developed our membership with a leadership event featuring Vanessa Judelman in March, and inspired our membership with street food and a fantastic tour of Griffith laboratories in April.    Our golf tournament at Eagles Nest, executed by Sanja Kivac, our golf chair, was a fantastic day of networking and golf.  To end our year, we had a wonderful dinner, followed by an inspiring presentation from Rose Reisman on the Art of Living Well.
I’d also like to note that our sponsors and members have supported great causes this year.   Between a turkey drive, raffles and donations, we have raised over $6000 for Second Harvest, and through sponsoring a participant in the culinary showdown, speaker  honorariums and a raffle at the June Gala, we have donated over $1000 to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
I am very pleased with WFIM’s success this year.  I would like to thank all of the volunteers on the board – I wasn’t able to name you all in this speech, but you have been invaluable to me and our membership.   As well, big thanks to all of the volunteers at all of our events who help make them successful.  Finally, big thanks to our sponsors who support us financially to make all these good things happen.
Looking into 2014-15, we already have great events lined up:  a special Volunteer Appreciation night in September, Chef John Placko in October, Academy in November, and another Gala Dinner in December to get us going.
I’d also like to announce the newly renovated Scholarship program!  This award will honor a female graduating student from a recognized post-secondary program in the food industry.  Keep an eye on our website for application instructions.
Have a safe & wonderful summer!  See you at an event in the fall.
Nancy Klassen
WFIM Chair

Living Well

Rose Reisman was the keynote speaker at WFIM’s June Gala dinner.  Her theme was “The Art of Living Well”.  As shown by the wonderful meal, made from Rose’s recipes,  that the Toronto International Conference Center served the group of 120 women & men, “healthy eating is not difficult or in anyway a compromise on taste or flavour”.

If done right, our diets can provide us with a long, healthy life.  If done wrong, our diets can kill us through high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and stroke.  Rose realized many years ago that she wanted to be around for her husband and children, so she made healthy changes to her diet to ensure that she did.  From her first cookbook featuring high-fat desserts, she has now written numerous books, including “The Best of Rose Reisman” – which every attendee at the WFIM event received.

Two guides to healthy eating include Canada’s Food Guide, and the Mediterranean Food Guide.  Both ensure that all food groups – including grains and meat – are eaten, which offer many health benefits.  Rose also shared that following a low GI – Glycemic Index – diet,  is also helpful to healhy eating.  Low GI foods, such as whole grains, barley, bulgar, sweet potato and legumes, help to keep your sugar levels stable and keep us feeling satiated longer.  Eating smaller meals more often helps, too.

Another important thing to note is pesticides:  going organic is not always necessary – there are the “15 clean” foods that have very little pesticides used, such as onion, pineapple, asparagus, canteloupe, so there is no need to spend money to buy organic.  However, beware of the “Dirty Dozen”:  apples, celery, sweet bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, nectarines, Grapes, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, blueberries, and potatoes.  These are foods that are best to buy organic.

As food manufacturers, we need to be conscious of what we are putting into the food we make.  More and more, consumers are looking for “clean” labels – for food that have little to no additives, saturated or trans fat.  Consumers – and us! – also need to be aware of the sugar, fat and salt levels in the processed foods we eat. Reading and understanding food labels is an important start to healthy eating and living well.

To those who attended the Gala dinner, I hope you enjoyed the meal, the networking, and Rose’s presentation.  I am looking forward to trying many of the healthy recipes in the cookbook!

Nancy Klassen

WFIM Chair