Trish Zecca, MS
During my college years studying nutrition at Penn State, I never considered that I might end up as a nutritionist in the food industry. Honestly, I never even knew it was an option. I wanted to work in public health, specifically with children, to improve nutrition at an early age and prevent disease. After graduating with my master’s degree in nutrition science, I worked in maternal and child health with the Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) Program, HeadStart, and counseled expectant mothers with gestational diabetes. After nearly 20 years in public health, I learned about a position at the Campbell Soup company and was intrigued. I wasn’t exactly sure what a food industry nutrition scientist did or if I was even qualified, but I wanted a new challenge.
Today, I believe it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Dietitians in traditional areas of practice use their expertise to help people eat better, prevent and treat disease, and improve their health while enjoying the foods they love. Now as a nutritionist in the food industry, I still focus on public health and have an additional responsibility to help create and improve the packaged foods that millions of people eat each day.
So how do we do it?
- Product Development - Nutrition experts collaborate with chefs, food scientists, marketers and consumer insight professionals to bring new, healthful products to the marketplace. We set nutrition targets for foods, and provide input about the ingredients selected. For example, I worked on the team that created Campbell’s® Well Yes!® soups. I set nutrition targets for the brand and identified ingredients that would deliver both flavor and nutrition. Now, each soup contains whole food ingredients like vegetables, beans and whole grains that provide meaningful nutrition and great taste with less sodium than other products in the category.
- Nutrition labeling, Claims and Compliance – Our nutrition professionals and labeling staff decipher analytical data and use their nutrition and regulatory knowledge to establish the nutrition facts panels for foods, as well as substantiate nutrient content claims. For example, dietitians calculate food group contributions such as vegetable and whole grain servings, and assess protein quality for products like Bolthouse Farms® pea protein milk which calls out protein content on label. We are not just fulfilling a regulatory obligation, but are also providing important information about our food to help individuals select products that meet their health and nutrition needs.
- Nutrition Communication - Nutrition professionals develop and review nutrition-related communications on labels and in advertising. We work with our legal team to ensure all communications are truthful, based in science and not misleading to consumers. Nutrition staff also develop educational resources and meal plans and team up with chefs and Campbell’s Kitchen® staff to develop nutritious and delicious recipes made with our products.
Nutrition and health professionals work across many practice areas in the field to improve public health, but your voice matters beyond the clients and communities you serve. Campbell values your input as consumers and health professionals and the role you play to help others make informed food choices. As Campbell works toward our corporate goal of being the leading health and well-being food company, we want to hear from you. Everyone can influence our food supply. You can do that by talking directly to industry RDNs at conferences, via LinkedIn and communicating directly with us about the products you love and what you would like to see more of! Share your feedback on our products and our efforts to provide more of the great tasting and nutritious products you want. I am very excited about the future of our food supply and the great work being done behind the scenes by nutrition professionals. To read about our progress, visit our CSR Report.
Learn more about our Global Nutrition experts.
Trish’s BioTrish leads Global Nutrition for the Americas business of the Campbell Soup Company. She and her team of experienced RDs and nutrition scientists are responsible for nutrition strategy, innovation and labelling for all soup, simple meals and beverage brands in the US. Trish is the lead for corporate nutrition communications and stakeholder engagement and a sought after expert, serving on the Board of Trustees and Executive committee for the Produce for Better Health Foundation, sodium committee of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) and an invited thought leader for the Academy’s Nutrition Impact Summit. She received her Bachelor and Master’s degrees in nutrition science from the Pennsylvania State University, and is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics since 1984. Trish spent 15 years in WIC and maternal and child health programs before transitioning to her current role at Campbell’s.