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Nutritional Sciences Program

The Thompson Family Foundation Travel Fund

The Thompson Family Foundation Travel Fund has been made possible by a generous donation from UW Alumnus Robert Thompson. This fund will be used to provide financial assistance to Nutritional Sciences students attending conferences, trade shows and expos focused on the food industry. The intent of the travel grant is to provide students with an opportunity to encounter the food industry in order to better understand how nutritional science training relates to the larger food industry issues and to learn about career opportunities in the food industry.

Some of the previous Thompson Travel Award recipients have shared highlights from their experiences below.


Sepideh Dibay Moghadam, America's Food & Beverage Show

America's Food and Beverage ShowAs a graduate student in the UW Nutritional Science Program I was fortunate to get awarded funding through the Thompson Family Foundation Travel Fund to attend the annual “America’s Food and Beverage Show and Conference” in Miami, Florida. Over 500 exhibitors from 28 different countries were present at this exhibition to demonstrate their newest products.  The conference allowed manufacturers, marketers, distributors, and traders to network and develop partnerships and create new opportunities.  Educational seminars were quite informative on how to start one’s own brand and develop menus, as well as how to start an import-export business, through sessions lead by experts in each realm.  As a graduate student with prior experience in the food industry and food imports, this exhibition gave me the opportunity to get updated information about the new products from around the word while learning more about the food trade strategies and policies.

Krista Ulatowski, Fancy Foods Conference

BOGO, FSI, POS – this is a smattering of the lingo overheard at the recent Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. As a graduate student in the University of Washington’s Masters in Nutrition program, there are opportunities to apply for travel scholarships, and I was fortunate to be awarded the opportunity to attend and learn at this event.
More than 17,000 retailers, buyers, food entrepreneurs, marketers and others were present this year, where they networked with one another and showcased new products - 80,000 of them! Words can’t describe the overwhelming expo hall – one needed a spare stomach to truly enjoy all the samples. Notables included soy sauce mochi, beet chips, seaweed snacks and even caviar. Trending items were gluten-free foods, fermented foods, quinoa and cake pops. Local Seattle vendors gaining visibility were Boat Street, Fran’s Chocolates, Chukar Cherries and Skillet Street Food, to name a few.
Educational sessions provided a wealth of information on the lingo of the specialty foods industry; marketing and pricing a new product; and how to work with buyers, distributors and co-packers. As a future RD that is interested in food marketing, learning about product labeling with terms such as “organic” or “all-natural” was eye-opening, especially when walking the show floor and seeing countless goodies labeled as such, or as “guilt-free.” Label debates aside, it was certainly a show that appealed to the senses and taught me plenty regarding the food industry.

IFT Annual Meeting + Food Expo, New Orleans, LA

Kara Breymeyer, Jennifer Ross, and Barbara Pullar with Surgeon General Regina Bell at the IFT Annual meeting. Regina M. Benjamin, MD, MBA is the 18th Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service. As America’s Doctor, she provides the public with the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and the health of the nation. Dr. Benjamin also oversees the operational command of 6,500 uniformed health officers who serve in locations around the world to promote, protect, and advance the health of the American People.