Program 2018

March 26 - 27, 2018; Chicago, IL

7:30 AM - 8:40 AM

Registration & Refreshments

8:40 AM - 8:50 AM

Chair’s Opening Remarks

Dan Howell, Director of Product Development, La Terra Fina USA

Introductory remarks by the Chair in the plenary room

8:50 AM - 9:25 AM - Keynote

R&D & Formulation

The Future of Protein: Why do you need an Animal to Create Meat?

Dariush Ajami, Vice President of Innovation, Beyond Meat

  • Beyond Meat believe there is a better way to feed the planet
  • Their mission is to create mass-market solutions that perfectly replace animal protein with plant protein
  • Beyond Meat want all of the good and none of the bad
  • Replacing animal protein with meat made from plants would do wonders for human health, for the environment, for conservation of natural resources and for animals. It's worth a fight

9:25 AM - 10:00 AM - Keynote

Innovation & Technology

Indoor Gardening — a Movement Reconnecting Families Back to Food

Alejandro Velez, Co-Founder, Back to the Roots

  • Back to the Roots co-founder Alejandro Velez will talk about their journey from a college fraternity kitchen experiment growing mushrooms to building a nationwide movement to get every family in America to grow their own food at home and in the classroom
  • A movement that has not reached 5000 classrooms and thousands of retailers nationwide including The Home Depot, Target, and Whole Foods
  • From mushrooms, to aquaponics, to ancient growing technology, you won't want to miss the fascinating talk about the future of food — what we'll eat in the future and where it comes from!

10:05 AM - 10:40 AM - Case Studies

Innovation & Technology

FOCUS Brands and Carvel Innovation

David Fenner, Director R&D Carvel Ice Cream, Focus Brands Inc.

  • Carvel history (background to Tom Carvel) as well as Focus Brands
  • Expanding on the FOCUS Brands Innovation Campus and innovation at Carvel

R&D & Formulation

Practical Application of Sensory-directed Flavor Analysis of Foods

Keith R. Cadwallader, Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • This talk will focus on sensory-guided flavor analysis, which is based on combining sensory and instrumental methods of analysis for the detection and measurement of important, and often trace level, odor important compounds in foods, food ingredients and other complex materials where odor quality is of concern
  • The identification of odor-important compounds, including character-impact or key odorants, aids in the development of higher quality food products and associated materials (ingredients, packaging materials, etc.) by supporting activities related to product development/improvement and shelf-life estimation
  • The approach may also lead to the identification of sources of off-flavors, taints and other odor-based issues

10:40 AM - 11:40 AM

iSolve Meetings & Networking Refreshments

11:40 AM - 12:15 PM - Solution Spotlights

Innovation & Technology

Accelerate Products to Market in a Safer and More Compliant Way

Michael Frankel, Vice President of Sales, North America, Selerant

  • PLM as an vital end to end platform for new product development in food manufacturing companies
  • New PLM technologies being utilized to facilitate speed to market
  • Potential areas of high return and performance using the latest in PLM technologies

R&D & Formulation

Learnings from the Leaf – Stevia’s Journey to Great Taste

Faith Son, Vice President, Global Marketing and Innovation, PureCircle

When stevia first came into the market in 2008, it was considered the holy grail of natural sweeteners as it was plant-based, had zero-calories and believed to match the taste of sugar. However, the conventional leaf varieties of stevia had taste challenges. Years of agronomic and sensory has led to a better tasting stevia plant called StarLeaf, which can provide sugar-like taste in food and beverage products.

In the ongoing dialogue around natural-origin products, great taste must also be met. This presentation will take an in-depth look at how one company made this journey over the past ten years to get to a plant-based solution for reducing sugar in food and beverage products.

  • How do consumers feel about stevia as an ingredient?
  • Stevia’s evolution on taste – moving beyond Reb A and cultivating StarLeaf
  • The importance of transparency in a growing market

12:20 PM - 12:55 PM - Case Studies

Innovation & Technology

Lessons in taking Ethnic Foods Mainstream

Anshu Dua, Co-Founder and CEO, The Chaat Company

  • Founded 3 years ago, The Chaat Company is building the first brand focused on making Indian street food the next big thing in American snacking culture
  • “Chaat” is a broad category of snacks served in the streets of India that are made from many on-trend ingredients yet have not been popularized to Americans
  • Co-Founder and CEO Anshu Dua will discuss company’s journey, from launching with Whole Foods, soliciting consumer feedback, raising strategic capital, failing fast and evolving the brand and products to be positioned for success

Consumer Insights & Marketing

Everything Changes but the Avant-Garde

Luis Carlos Chacón, Op-Ed Columnist, Forbes Latin America

  • There’s a strong relation between economy and cutting-edge thinkers, that boost the changes that push innovation, where the understanding and visualization of trends is crucial
  • This session presents the characteristics of avant-garde businesses and the global trend forecast 2018–2019 made by Forbes Latin America

12:55 PM - 1:55 PM

Networking Lunch

Lunchtime Roundtable: Sopheon
Time-To-Market. It’s More Than Just Project Execution

Can you identify with internal processes that take far too long to pinpoint, invest in, and execute on new products, programs, platforms or processes?

  • Does your innovation/renovation, whitespace initiatives, marketing programs or productivity improvements encounter road bumps along the way?
  • Are you experiencing a lack of cross-functional alignment at the strategy, portfolio, and program level?
  • Have you ever been passed-up by a successful competitor product with one that you had conceptualized years ago?
  • Is your speed to learning failing, so much so, you keep missing a window of opportunity to speed new products to market?

If you said "YES" to any of the above challenges, you need to attend — "Time-To-Market. It’s More Than Just Project Execution"

1:55 PM - 2:30 PM - Solution Spotlights

R&D & Formulation

Chicory Root Fiber: A Natural Solution to Reduce Added Sugar

Scott Turowski, Technical Sales Manager, Sensus America, Inc.

  • Chicory root fiber is a natural, non-GMO, dietary fiber derived from chicory roots. It is a polydisperse mixture of fructose chains ranging in size from 2 to 60 units
  • The length of these chains can be related to specific functional properties in food applications. In particular, the short chain fractions of chicory root fiber share functional properties similar to sugar, including sweetness, humectancy and solubility
  • By applying specific processing techniques, these shorter chains can be isolated and delivered as a food ingredient in both powder and liquid form
  • With sweetness levels as high as 65% that of sucrose, they are effective tool in reducing sugar, particularly ‘added’ sugar in a variety of food applications
  • Sugar reduction of 33% or greater is achievable in dairy, baked goods, bars, cereal and a number of other applications

Innovation & Technology

How Digital is Changing Food - Challenges and Opportunities

Daniel D. Protz, Founder & CEO, FlavorWiki

  • The E-Commerce revolution has shortened innovation cycles and raised consumer expectations
  • Emerging and established brands face unique challenges to grow and differentiate
  • Staying focused on consumer needs at every point in the value chain is critical
  • How digital tools can expand consumer insights and product data to improve results

2:35 PM - 3:10 PM - Case Studies

Consumer Insights & Marketing

Meeting the Demands of Today’s Mindful Consumers

Patty Johnson, Associate Director, Purchase Intelligence, Mintel International

Consumer attitudes and behaviors are constantly evolving. What is driving this evolution and where are we going in the future? This look into Mintel consumer trends and purchase behaviors will provide you with the insights to:

  • Discover the key consumer trends and demographic changes that are impacting food and beverage product choice
  • Understand the fundamental attitudes of Millennials, as well as how to develop products that speak to this important group
  • Explore data from Mintel’s new Purchase Intelligence tool which provides deep insight into what consumers want to buy and why
  • Gain critical knowledge about consumer behavior around product choices related to generations and what this means for a profitable future

Innovation & Technology

Edible Insect Industry

Julianne Kopf, Co-Founder, Bugeater Foods

  • Why Insects
  • Past, present, and future of the edible insect industry
  • Products on the Market
  • Farming insects

3:10 PM - 4:10 PM

iSolve Meetings & Networking Refreshments

4:10 PM - 4:45 PM - Keynote

Innovation & Technology

Transform or Stand to be Disrupted

Andria Long, VP of Innovation & Consumer Insights, Johnsonville Sausage

Successful transformation is absolutely critical for businesses to survive now and anywhere in the near future. The pace of change is so fast and staying flexible enough to quickly evolve with future innovation is essential.

Andria is a transformational innovator who has successfully driven strategic growth at 5 companies in the intensely competitive CPG space. She has continued to synthesize her learnings and best practices and developed her own proven approach that quickly identifies opportunities by understanding insights in the rapidly changing consumer, competitive, and industry landscape.

The key areas of discussion will focus on what Andria has learned in building two Chicagoland-based innovation centers: focus on the consumer, how the people and culture of your organization play a factor in transformation and a compelling case for change.

4:45 PM - 5:20 PM - Keynote

Innovation & Technology

Bringing the Real Food Revolution to Vitamins & Supplements

Shane Durkee, Chief Innovation Officer, Swanson Health

Swanson Health was family-founded in 1969 as a catalog-based vitamin and supplement company looking to bring health and wellness to people around the world. Nearly 50 years later, Swanson is a top online and catalog marketer of healthy living products, selling both Swanson Health and third-party brands, yet the opportunity remained to attract new customers.

This session will take you through a case-study of how Swanson transformed their approach to new product development, combining data analytics, health and ingredient trends, and technology processes, to ultimately overcome barriers and challenges to successfully launch a line of synthetic- and yeast-free real food vitamins and supplements to meet the wants of today’s health and wellness customers.

5:20 PM - 5:30 PM

5:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Evening Drinks Reception

8:00 AM - 8:50 AM

Registration & Refreshments

8:50 AM - 8:55 AM

Chair’s Opening Remarks

Dan Howell, Director of Product Development, La Terra Fina USA

Introductory remarks by the Chair in the plenary room

8:55 AM - 9:30 AM - Keynote

Innovation & Technology

Food at the Heart of Chobani Innovation

Rajneesh Hora, R&D Innovation Director, Chobani

  • An insight into the focus on the Chobani values and ways of doing things, which enable innovation with quick turn around

9:30 AM - 10:05 AM - Keynote

Innovation & Technology

Open Innovation and Open Data: the Open Hazelnut Initiative

Giovanni Battistini, Vice President, Open Innovation Science, Ferrero USA, Inc.

  • The principles of Open Innovation have been applied in several industries following different models and strategies
  • This presentation will walk through the Open Hazelnut Initiative project, an open data system being developed in partnership with the MIT Media Lab
  • The stated objective is creating an open knowledge platform designed to create, share, and grow overtime scientific understanding on these cultivars

10:05 AM - 10:50 AM - Panel Discussion

Innovation & Technology

The New Face of Innovation

David Donnan, Senior Partner, A.T. Kearney

Natalie Shmulik, CEO, The Hatchery Chicago

Andrew S. Whitman, Managing Partner, 2X Partners

David Rabie, Co Founder & CEO, Tovala

Josh Katt, CEO, Kitchfix

Sarah Renahan, Co Founder, The Worthy Company


  • Food and AgTech startups have changed the focus of innovation from large companies and large labs to entrepreneurs and enthusiastic startups
  • In this session we will have a panel of new food startup entrepreneurs, a food hub/accelerator and an investor and mentor to discuss the risks and rewards of new food ventures

10:50 AM - 11:50 AM

iSolve & Networking Refreshments

11:50 AM - 12:25 PM - Case Studies

Innovation & Technology

A Philosophical Approach to Product Development in Small Companies

Dan Howell, Director of Product Development, La Terra Fina USA

  • Product Development in small companies is fast and usually resource constrained
  • The non-linear approach laid out here will help point to the right questions to ask and achieve desired results

R&D & Formulation

Regulatory Challenges in Cannabis Product Development

Sanford Wolgel, PhD, CFS, Cannabis Science and Regulatory Expert, KCNM Consulting

  • Ever since the late 1970s, cannabis use in the United States has been shifting from counterculture rebelliousness to mainstream acceptance. The regulatory transitions in this accelerating journey will be briefly reviewed
  • Then comparisons will be made between the recently enacted legal frameworks for cannabis-infused products and the long-standing federal regulations for food products. The focus will be on four core areas of product development and innovation: branding, packaging, labeling and claims. Intellectual property issues will also be noted
  • The presentation will be short and informal, with ample time for questions and audience interaction on this exciting and timely topic
  • A short bibliography for further reading will be available for download

12:25 PM - 12:30 PM

Please Move to your Next Session

12:30 PM - 1:05 PM - Case Studies

Consumer Insights & Marketing

“Big Fish, Little Fish…How Emerging Brands Build Value & Why Big Brands Buy Them”

Jeff Manning, “Godfather”, GOT MILK?

  • Despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars in R&D, big food companies are buying small, emerging food and beverage brands, most often in the health and wellness space, at an accelerated pace
  • It appears that R&D has become R&A. The acquisition of Annie’s by General Mills and Scharfenberger Chocolates by Hershey are superb examples
  • “Big Fish, Little Fish” is an entertaining, sometimes provocative look at how small food and beverage brands build mass awareness, appeal and marketplace value (on miniscule budgets) and why they are so often acquired by huge, multinational companies
  • Using a combination of case studies, interviews and observation, “Big Fish, Little Fish” is designed to be immediately actionable by food companies regardless of size, product line and channel

R&D & Formulation

Innovation Meets the Manufacturing Process – it can be a Dangerous Mix

Thomas Preniczky, R&D Specialist, Sweet Street Desserts

  • Successful Innovation through collaboration.
  • How to develop innovative cutting-edge products that efficiently and cost effectively work in the manufacturing process

1:05 PM - 2:05 PM

Networking Lunch

2:05 PM - 2:40 PM - Keynote

R&D & Formulation

Sharing the Love of Cooking: Translating Chef-Inspired Recipes to Meals Everyone can Enjoy Making

Erik Jensen, Chief Product Officer, Home Chef

  • Erik’s session will address the challenges of translating culinary dishes into meals that are easy and fun to prepare
  • His session will cover the specific things food innovators need to keep in mind when designing their menus, purchasing ingredients and even developing cooking techniques/recipe cards

2:40 PM - 3:15 PM - Keynote

Innovation & Technology

A New Approach to Delivering Transformative Innovation

Ciara Dilley, Senior Director, Transformative Innovation, Global Snacks Group, PepsiCo

  • Unlocking new ways to deliver transformative innovation in the FMCG world
  • Establishing external partnerships to accelerate learning
  • Learning from entrepreneurial & start up culture
  • How to identify and harness the behaviours to deliver change
  • Staying agile and nimble on the path to new Ideas
  • Looking to the Future of Work for inspiration

3:15 PM - 3:25 PM