The role of the registered dietitian in foodservice companies is more crucial to safety and success than ever – given the increased desire for transparency and the growing prevalence of specific dietary preferences and serious food allergies.
Collating, processing, and sharing nutritional information is time-consuming and complicated, but so critical that it can be a matter of life and death. Thankfully, new technology is helping nutritionists get more accurate, cleaner data with less manual work.
We spoke to Galley’s resident dietitian Olivia Schwartz about the evolution of food data and how the role of the dietitian in foodservice companies is transformed by technology.
What we’ll cover:
- The evolution of allergen information accessibility
- The challenges facing nutritionists and dietitians in the foodservice industry
- The effect of technology like Galley’s culinary operating system on the role of dietitian
Read to the end for insider insights that will help you improve the way you store and process vital nutritional information about your food.
What is a Nutritionist’s Role at Galley?
Olivia Schwartz is a registered dietitian, and having worked as a nutrition analysis consultant in the foodservice industry prior to joining Galley, she has a unique perspective from both sides. At Galley, she works as a customer success manager and is the go-to expert on nutrition and food data.
“In addition to having a book of business of customers and helping them be successful using our product,” She explains, “I also help the team and customers with more nutrition questions and nutrition analysis in our platform.”
Olivia emphasizes the importance of menu transparency for people to “make informed decisions on what they eat, because everybody has to eat right, and everyone deserves to feel like they belong at the table.”
Galley’s comprehensive foodservice management software is a culinary operating system that stores complex recipe data centrally and uses it to transform all aspects of culinary operations including inventory management, purchasing, and production.
Find out more about Galley’s culinary operating system
The Evolution of Allergen Information Accessibility
Olivia celebrates the requirement for foodservice operators in the United States with more than 20 locations to “provide nutrition information, allergen information, whether that be a printout, on a piece of paper, or on an iPad, or it has to be readily available.”
But she would like to see that extended to any foodservice business: “I think that there needs to be full access to this information, no matter where you go, wherever you eat.”
“If we're going to be ingesting something into our body, it's almost like a human right to know what's in it,” She adds, “To make an informed decision if we want to actually consume it or not.”
Olivia mentions the work done by FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education), a food allergen research organization campaigning for greater transparency in food nutrition information.
“They're a huge player in the space that are advocating for more transparency, and just also education in the world,” She explains.
Also Read: The Best Nutrition Facts and Food Labeling Software of 2024
Challenges Facing Dietitians in Foodservice
Olivia explains that in order to find out the basic nutrition information of an ingredient, dietitians would previously have to physically dig out the right folder and find a manufacturer’s spec sheet. Then they would have to call the manufacturer and check if the information was up to date.
Dietitians would spend much of their time performing manual calculations using the best data available. “In their antiquated system, it was sort of crazy,” Olivia reveals, “I had to do the calculations manually for the percent daily value.”
This complexity became unwieldy with multiple locations ordering from different vendors. Each location’s version of the recipe would have to be stored, edited, and recalled as needed—a nightmare for internal communications: “Once you have the data calculated, you would have to manually share it with colleagues, who might have a different version of the recipe saved.”
Olivia explains how Galley makes the process far easier and ensures the right information is available to the professionals.
“You just import from the USDA database, bulk import the values, or plug in the numbers that you see on the manufacturer spec sheet into Galley, and it creates an FDA-compliant version of it,” She says, adding, “Instead of the computer file folder method, you have the most up to date information in the palm of your hand, and you can see where that food item is used in every single recipe.”
Olivia explains the problem of shrinkage, where food loses nutrients and water during cooking or processing, and you have to try and account for that with an estimate.
She gives the example of baking a pound of chicken where you lose water, fat, and some of the micronutrients. She explains that certain vitamins and minerals may go out with the water, but some may stay, so there are non-uniform changes that are difficult to quantify accurately.
“You can’t just across the board decrease everything, or across the board increase. So it's very intricate,” She explains, “With Galley, you can account for these changes.”
Improving accuracy is important for both ordering and production. Knowing how much you need to order but also giving customers accurate information about the ingredients and nutrient levels in their food.
“Having the ability to do both of those things is pretty rare because it's sort of mind-boggling the amount of data,” Olivia says.
Also Read: Webinar Takeaways: Food As Medicine — Leveraging Tech to Deliver Healthy Choices
Better Food Data in the Cloud Means More Collaboration
Galley’s cloud-based system facilitates seamless data sharing and collaboration among dietitians across different locations, breaking down silos that previously existed in the industry.
Olivia explains that as Galley’s data is stored in the cloud, the system updates in real-time to give the same information across locations. It can even use local data in one location that is different from another to ensure accuracy.
“You can actually configure Galley to use the same recipe but purchase from different vendors, and show the price, the cost, and different allergens. And so you have this shared resource of not having to recreate the wheel every single time, but also have the data flow for all the separate entities,” She explains.
Another benefit that Olivia points out, is the way the system can connect people working in different areas.
“I think it tears down the walls between these dietitians and other teams,” She says, “Dietitians can oftentimes feel very secluded and isolated and just in their own operation. If there can be some kind of information sharing and collaboration with production and kitchen staff, it's helpful, since there's typically just one or two dietitians in a foodservice operation.”
Also Read: How Collaboration and Communication Is The Future of Food
How Galley’s Culinary Operating System Transforms The Role of Nutritionist
Galley enables dietitians to track allergens from the ingredient level through to final recipes, including the ability to flag dietary preferences like vegan or vegetarian options.
Olivia praises the system’s real-time update feature, which ensures that any change in ingredient information is automatically reflected across all related recipes. This not only saves time but also maintains data integrity, crucial in nutrition management.
“We can surface allergens that are at the purchase product level that then flow into the recipes of the different ingredients that are in the recipes and then the sub-recipes,” She reveals.
“Galley really helps dietitians and nutritionists help maintain the data, integrity, and cleanliness of the data,” Olivia says.
She explains how Galley is a game-changer for professionals like here in the industry: “It's often their responsibility to make sure that the nutritional information, including allergens and dietary preferences, are up to date. With Galley, you have a source of truth where, if you go in and you update a vendor item or an ingredient with the new nutrition information, then it automatically updates every single recipe that includes that item. It's a huge time saver.”
The Future of Nutritional Analysis in Food Service
Olivia outlines numerous ways Galley’s culinary operating system has improved the way dietitians and food service companies calculate and use nutritional information. And as new tools are created, the improvements will continue to come.
“We always are constantly iterating on the product,” She says, “It's not stagnant. It's not static.”
Embrace the future of nutritional data management at your food service company. Discover how Galley’s Culinary Operating System can streamline your operations, enhance data accuracy, and foster collaboration between teams and locations.
Find out more about Galley’s Culinary Operating System today.