Produce Processing 7: Q&A with Alison Bodor
Alison Bodor is president and CEO of the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI). Bodor most recently served as executive vice president of the National Confectioners Association (NCA), where she provided strategic leadership across multiple disciplines while directly leading the association’s public policy and advocacy team. In this capacity, she oversaw NCA’s legislative, regulatory and research priorities around health, food safety and quality, agriculture and trade policy, and the cocoa supply chain.
Prior to joining NCA in 2000, Bodor held positions in domestic and international regulatory compliance at McCormick & Co. and the U.S. Dairy Export Council. She also spent four years conducting dietary risk assessments for the food and beverage industries with Technical Assessment Systems and then Environ International Corp.
She holds an MBA from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree in food science from Cornell University.
What are the best words of advice you’ve received?
“Treat everyone with respect. Folks who are your adversaries on one issue may be your allies on the next issue.”
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
“I am looking forward to getting to know the AFFI members and better understand the unique needs of the frozen food and beverage industry. First order of business will be to develop a strategic plan to drive focus and alignment of AFFI resources with the goals developed by the membership.”
What do you do to relax?
“I walk with my friends in the mornings before work, cook with my husband on the weekends, and watch my children’s soccer games and dance performances whenever I can. My daughters also play the violin and piano, and I love listening to their music.”
What would you like to be your lasting legacy?
I’d like my legacy to be that consumers and policy makers have an appreciation for our complex food supply and all the science and technology that makes it safe, affordable, nutritious and delicious. I am an advocate for the food industry and its important role in maintaining health and happiness with consumers. For frozen foods, the consumer value proposition is so clear. Frozen foods offer health, convenience, portion control and variety while minimizing food waste.
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
“Visit the national parks in the West in an RV with my family. Take a cooking class in Mexico. Authentic Mexican food is complex and labor intensive, but oh so delicious. Harvest blueberries in Maine … and then eat fresh blueberry pie. I plan to check this off my list in August with a visit to Jasper Wyman & Son (an AFFI member and a major national supplier of frozen blueberries).”
What job or work would you have pursued if you had not become involved in the produce processing industry?
“I probably would have stayed in the candy industry … it was a pretty sweet gig. I have great affinity and respect for the people and companies that make candy and chocolate in the U.S.”
What is the one truth you’ve learned about the produce processing industry?
“While there are many large corporations involved in the food industry who are true leaders in their sectors, there are still many small, privately held, family owned companies producing much of the foods we eat – from frozen vegetables grown and processed in Tennessee to bread baked in New York, to dairy farms in Wisconsin, to chocolate covered almonds in California. We’re fortunate to have such diverse, responsible companies employing hard- working Americans across the country who produce the foods that we all enjoy.”