Wild Oats Chef to Attend National Healthy Food Conference
Greg Roach will represent Wild Oats and the National Cooperative Grocers Association at the Worlds of Healthy Flavors conference in California.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Wild Oats Market Chef Greg Roach will travel to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley, Calif., for the 10th annual Worlds of Healthy Flavors conference from Jan. 22-25.
Roach will join leading nutrition scientists, corporate chefs, world culinary experts, cookbook authors and writers from top consumer and trade publications to learn about the latest trends, tastes, techniques and research in healthy prepared foods.
Roach is also the only attendee to be invited from a small, single-location business and from a food cooperative.
"I'm happy to see the co-op world being taken seriously," Roach said, noting that the National Cooperative Grocers Association that Wild Oats belongs to has 136 members with a combined annual sales of more than $1.5 billion. As the Culinary Team Advisor for the NCGA, Roach is representing them along with Wild Oats at the conference.
The Worlds of Healthy Flavors conference will focus on the use of produce in prepared foods and how produce is used to flavor the cuisines of Asia, the Mediterranean and Latin America.
Roach looks forward to returning with more recipes and ideas for the prepared foods department at Wild Oats.
"I'll also be learning about the latest research into what constitutes a healthy menu and which foods and flavors are trending this year," Roach said.
Roach is also eager to share his knowledge of prepared foods and co-op kitchens with the other conference attendees.
"Co-ops do things differently from large chain store businesses," Roach said. "Unlike the chains, co-ops are standalone businesses. They don't have one solution that is rolled out regionally or nationally across a number of stores. Each co-op has its own kitchen operation, and makes its own decisions about what to prepare and how to prepare it."
Although Roach embraces the chance to learn from food-service leaders like Wegmens, Panera Breads and the Harvard University Dining Operations, he believes that food co-ops have a lot to contribute in terms of healthy prepared foods.
"With their health-conscious, varied food prep methods and their emphasis on the use of clean ingredients, co-ops are no longer a minor player in the industry," Roach said.
The Worlds of Healthy Flavors Conference is sponsored by The Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition. Its purpose is to increase the scope and range of healthy menu choices available to consumers through American food service by bringing together the best of world cooking and the latest in consumer and nutrition research. Conference attendance is by invitation only.