Wine, Food & Nutrition

So You Want to Be an RD?

The field of nutrition is rising in popularity and it’s about time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of adults in the U.S. are obese (35.7%) and obesity-related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer are leading causes of preventable death. The focus of healthcare is leaning more towards disease prevention, rather than costly treatment. Registered dietitians (RDs) can play an essential role in implementing this strategy towards health promotion and disease prevention through diet improvements.

As an RD working in the field of food communications, I am often asked to give guidance for those who are considering a career in dietetics. My mom used to tell me I should be on TV to talk about food (thanks mom). It’s not that easy and here are some things you should know before deciding to become a registered dietitian.

1. It takes time and work.

Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, but only a registered dietitian (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) has completed the required education and training set forth by American Academy of Nutrition…

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Conducting a Successful Product Recall in a Social World


It’s a company’s biggest nightmare.  A product recall.  What’s worse?  When it’s a children’s product, since emotions run especially high when the wellbeing of little ones is at risk.

Last Friday, baby food and toddler snack brand Plum Organics issued a voluntary recall of a range of their products.  I found out about it on Monday night, while browsing my Facebook news feed.  Comparatively, the well-known Tylenol recall in 1982 was initially communicated with Chicago police driving through the city announcing the warning over loudspeakers.  Indeed, the communication of product recalls has changed since the advent of social media.

In today’s social world, a product recall can present great risk to brands if done incorrectly.  However, as demonstrated by historical best practices from brands such as Tylenol and Lexus, a product recall can provide an excellent opportunity to connect with consumers in a meaningful way.  UK-based Eclipse Marketing found that almost three quarters of consumers will consider a repeat purchase following a recall if they had a good brand experience.  On the flipside, if a recall is badly executed and poorly communicated, 70% of customers would actively criticize a brand online and through word-of-mouth.

While Plum Organics…

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Digital Marketing

The State of the Wine App (Part 2)

It’s been nearly a month since I downloaded, in the name of research, a handful of wine-oriented apps onto my iPhone and now it’s time to report my observations. People think that drinking wine and fiddling with your iPhone is all fun and games but I say, “Science!”.

So, the results: out of the 8 apps I downloaded, I’m going to discuss 5 of them. For the most part, across the board, this current generation of wine apps is a huge improvement. I still have some reservations about all the attempts at reducing the mysteries of wine and pairings down to an algorithm but feel that there are some apps out there that could prove genuinely useful for the average drinker. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

WineSearcher: is a website I go to all the time. It’s simple, has clear and singular purpose (where can I find X wine?) and, although it’s not the niftiest looking website out there it gets the job done. The app version opens up to a random stock image of a guy in a suit perched a couple of steps up a…

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Wine, Food & Nutrition

Chi Chi Chi Chia & Hemp Seeds Grow in Popularity

chia petI just returned from my annual trip to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Houston, Texas. The event was attended by approximately 8,000 Registered Dietitians (my peers!) representing all areas of the field. When I had a moment to sneak away from my client duties, I walked around the massive expo floor where hundreds of food companies and boards set up shop to sample and hand out swag. One trend that I noticed was the rise in popularity of seeds – specifically chia and hemp seeds. Here is an overview of these foods that marketers have labeled and the “next big thing.”

Chia Seeds, Not Chia Pets

chia seedsChia seeds come from the plant, Salvia hispanicasame which comes from the same family as mint. It is native to Mexico and Guatemala, where it was thought to be a staple in the Aztec diet.

Nutritionally, Chia is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, high in fiber, contains protein as well as trace minerals (calcium and magnesium to…

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The Booze Bin

3 Ways the Government Shutdown Makes for a Serious Hangover











Going on week two of the Federal Government shutdown, and this is getting real.

From support for needy mothers and their newborns to clinical trials for cancer patients to benefits for servicemen and their families, there are endless, heartbreaking stories of affected people, programs and agencies, each more horrifying than the last.

No industry is immune, including the one that puts your favorite libation in your glass. It may seem trivial in comparison to liteRepublicans%20boozeral life or death situations, but the effects are hard to swallow (pun intended) to many businesses. Despite stories of Congressmen remaining well-boozed during the shutdown, here are three real life examples of how the government has brought the beverage alcohol industry to a screeching halt.

1. The Godfather of beverage alcohol is on vacation. With the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) shuttered with the rest of the government, all label approvals are on hold. Wine labels, which provide the consumer key information about the product, must be approved before wineries can label their bottles. Bottling lines…

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Break out of your comfort zone: Tips for writing outside the lines


Photo credit: Wikipedia, Antonio Litterio

I guess I’ve always been a writer. For some reason, the process of translating the thoughts in my head into words on a page is one I’ve found I must go through in order to make sense of the world.

So, one of the things I love most about my job is that each week brings a new writing assignment — from blog posts and brochures to press releases and creative briefs. But rarely am I forced outside my comfort zone the way I was this summer when I took a “Writing From The Senses” course with former New York Times writer Molly O’Neill.

Every Tuesday evening for six weeks, I’d dial in to a conference call and, fighting brain-fog from a full day of meetings and emails, would do my best to complete Molly’s free-writing challenges, spewing as many sensory descriptions as I could onto the pages of my trusty moleskine.

It was not easy.

But the experience was a good one, and it armed me with several new writing tricks I’ve already put to use in my personal and professional projects.…

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BuzzLine Contest – Week 22 – Make Mine a Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte!

It’s Friday! That means it’s time for the BuzzLine, a weekly “six-word” contest, which gives you a chance to win a Starbucks gift card.

Congrats to Desiree, last week’s BuzzLine winner for her first six words for an alien encounter. Check out her response and all the others here.

On to this week!

The crisp morning air. Kids back in school. Comfy, cozy sweaters and jackets finally out of storage. Football! There is no mistaking the heralds of fall.

Another sure-fire sign that fall is in the air is the return of Starbucks’ aromatic and deliciously intoxicating Pumpkin Spice Latte, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Starbucks devotees have made the drink the company’s most popular seasonal beverage of all time with more than 200 million sold since 2003.

Even “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” had to acknowledge America’s obsession with the Pumpkin Spice Latte this week, in its “Pros and Cons” bit.

But not everyone is euphoric about the return of this pumpkin spice confection.

Media outlets are reporting that Brent Caldwell, of Ferndale, Mich., has started a petition on requesting…

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The Booze Bin

How You Like Them (Cider) Apples! Cider 101

…Everything You Were Curious About But Afraid To Ask

When I was 19 and studying in England, I had my first encounter with cider. It was love at first sip. And when I came home, there was barely any cider stateside with the exception of the big boys with big money. Until now! Here’s a little Cider 101 for those of you who are ready for fall’s flavors.

What IS cider?

Cider is fermented apple juice with varying flavor profiles, just like wine and beer, and is touted as one of the most food-friendly beverages. Here are some quick points for the cider newbie (thanks to Virginia Cider Week):

  • Dry, tannic ciders pair well with meat, acting like a red wine
  • Crisp, acidic ciders are perfect matches with rich dishes that call for a lot of butter
  • Off-dry ciders taste delicious when had with spice and smoke, like grilled veggies or fish
  • Sweet ciders act like a Riesling might, and matches up perfectly with Thai or BBQ
  • Dessert ciders compliment fruit desserts of any kind

Read More

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The Booze Bin

What am I?

The wine publicist is a creature as frequently misunderstood as the product we find ourselves representing. PR professionals occupy an interesting position within the hierarchy of the wine industry; we don’t traffic in sales in the same way as the distributors or importers who haul suitcases of samples during the slow hours of the day. Nor, generally, do we hold the same level of knowledge as the sommelier, gliding through a sparkling dining room, head held aloft despite the weight of all his insight into phenolic compounds and barbaric acid.

Our knowledge and efforts fall somewhere between the work of the trade and the sommelier. Our ultimate goal, of course, is to help our clients sell more wine – aligning us with the sales side – but our means of achieving that goal have more commonality with the tactics employed by the sommelier. If we’re doing our job right, we are educating as often as we are shilling.

Most people who work in wine usually haven’t just fallen into it – it is a passion or, at the very least, an interest. This is important in an industry that doesn’t pay…

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The Booze Bin

Rumming Around for Summer – Top Reasons to Mix up a Rum Cocktail Immediately

My spirits obsession persists year-round, but nothing says cocktail season like the summer. Yes, I’m partial to delicious bourbon side cars in the fall, and gin with muddled berries in the spring, but summer is the season that most strongly screams for slow sipping on my front stoop.

Cinco de Mayo kicks off the season with the ever-tasty margarita, while Labor Day weekend is the sad closing to another epic summer with the liquor du jour. Tomorrow marks summer’s crescendo with the popping 4th of July festivities, and as always, I’m planning the ultimate cocktail for watching the fireworks. Perhaps a red, white and blue mojito… mmm, rum… and, well, my mind begins to wander.

As someone who used to work on a rum brand, the category is notoriously turbulent (sadly, I worked on the down slope when rum wasn’t as popular). But now, it’s on everyone’s tongue! Rum is enjoying its renaissance, and its prominence on top New York City cocktail menus shows rum is making huge sales strides on the shelf and at the bar.

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