Program 2021

March 29-30, 2021; All timings in Central US Time

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Networking & 1-2-1 Meetings

9:00 AM - 9:05 AM

9:05 AM - 9:50 AM - Panel Discussion

How has COVID-19 Changed the Food Industry and what Lessons are we Taking Forward?

Gideon Ashworth, Head of Food Defence, Bart Ingredients

Staci Willson, Owner, Sunnyland Farms

Dan Howell, Director of R&D Columbus Craft Meats, Hormel Foods

Dr Darin Detwiler, LP.D, M.A.Ed., Assistant Dean, Professor, Northeastern University

  • What kind of disruption has COVID-19 caused to food supply chains and to food suppliers/partners?
  • How have food innovators responded to people’s changing eating habits (less eating out, more home cooking)?
  • What is the most important lesson you have learnt during this period that will affect your work going forward?
  • Employee training as a major component of staying in compliance – how did you manage your teams?

9:55 AM - 10:25 AM - Keynote

Innovation & Technology

The Human First: Food & Beverage Innovation Opportunities

Abbas Arslan, Global Senior Director Human Insights, The Coca-Cola Company

  • We are living in the best of times for innovations. People have never been as open to trying out new things as they are now
  • While innovation can be successful because of technological advancements, understanding human context first is critical to identify long term innovation opportunities
  • In this session, we will take a look at the opportunities offered by shifts in human behavior

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM - Solution Spotlights

Consumer Insights & Marketing

Agile Consumer Research Leading Innovation

Anthony Walton, Managing Director, Client Services Midwest, Curion

Mat Henrichs, Sensory Scientist II, Johnsonville Sausage

  • Consumer research leveraging qual/quant touchpoints
  • Incorporating video assessments of consumer interactions
  • Fully collaborative analysis
  • Leading client down pathway for successful launch of innovation product, disrupting two long-standing categories

11:00 AM - 11:50 AM

1-2-1 Meetings & Speaker Roundtable

Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D., CHE, CRC, Professor and Director, Drexel Food Lab, Department of Food and Hospitality Management, Drexel University

Rebecca Etter, Global Marketing Director, Grupo Bimbo

Roundtable: Development and Consumer Perceptions of Upcycled Food Products
- How upcycled foods are officially defined
- Opportunities and challenges working with upcycled ingredients
- How consumers perceive upcycled foods
- Opportunities to increase consumers' willingness to pay for upcycled foods

11:50 AM - 12:20 PM - Case Studies

R&D & Formulation

Carvel R&D and Marketing

Dave Fenner, Sr. Director Culinary R&D, Carvel & Seattle's Best Coffee International, FOCUS Brands

A brief history of the brand followed by:

1. R&D Innovation and Consumer Insights
a) Dairy Category
b) Dairy-Free Category

2. Top Trending desserts and flavors applying to ice cream

3. Marketing Insights
a) Marketing Team
b) Impact 3PD
c) Carvel Testing Program

Innovation & Technology

Meeting Unmet Needs: Innovating in Baby Food

Magdalena Bartosik, PhD, Director of R&I, Happy Family Organics

Happy Family Organics® has been on a mission to change the trajectory of children's health through nutrition since the company launched on Mother's Day in 2006. As the largest and fastest growing organic baby food brand in the country, we are constantly innovating to provide families with the best possible products, solutions, and resources for their evolving needs.

This presentation will highlight our agile and holistic approach to innovations focused on meeting nutritional needs, feeding trends and addressing parents’ challenges.

12:25 PM - 12:55 PM - Solution Spotlights

R&D & Formulation

Optimizing Protein Content with Almonds

Dr. Swati Kalgaonkar, Associate Director, Nutrition Research, Almond Board of California

Christine Farkas, Chef, Almond Board of California

Plant-based eating continues to be a top trend for consumers. According to Innova Market Insights, plant-based products increase consumer interest when elements of indulgence, bold flavors, and nutrition are added. The versatility of almonds provides manufacturers with endless opportunities to develop a functional and flavorful snack with appealing texture, with one ounce of almonds providing six grams of power-packed protein.

In this session from the Almond Board of California (ABC), Dr. Swati Kalgaonkar will share the nutritional benefits of almonds including almond protein and complementary pairings. Chef Christine Farkas will showcase formulations utilizing almonds, highlighting almond protein powder and advantages of incorporating it in snacking products.

12:55 PM - 1:55 PM

Networking Lunch

1:55 PM - 2:25 PM - Case Studies

R&D & Formulation

Win, Win: Developing Plant-Based Protein with No Compromise

Jitendra Sagili, Chief Research & Development and Food Technology Officer, Greenleaf Foods

  • The future of plant-based protein is clean, minimally processed food that tastes good – with no compromise between simple ingredients and a great taste.
  • The journey to find high-quality protein never ends. To develop the best products for consumers, R&D teams need to continually innovate to stay ahead of the curve and continue appealing to changing consumer desires and demands.
  • One of the most important parts of R&D is consumer research – consumer preferences and desires can and should drive product reformulation. Lightlife found that consumers were looking for products with clean, simple ingredients which led the brand to challenge themselves to reformulate products to meet these demands.
  • Where food is made makes a difference. There is significant value to developing plant-based protein products in a kitchen versus in a lab. You can taste the difference.
  • R&D provides an opportunity to reimagine and change the food ecosystem to make great tasting, nutritious, sustainable and affordable food.

Consumer Insights & Marketing

Smart Diets: How Technology Is Creating New Opportunities for Personalized Food and Drink

Melanie Bartelme, Global Food Analyst, Mintel

The food and drink industry has been advancing toward ever more personalization in how consumers select and consume their meals. From DNA-based diets to 3D printed products to interactive apps, customization is possible like never before. In this session, Mintel global food analyst Melanie Zanoza Bartelme will explain how consumers view these advances and how brands can ensure consumers see the value in sharing their data in exchange for more personalized food and drink experiences.

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM - Solution Spotlights

Innovation & Technology

How Networked Product Development Drives Better, Faster Innovation

Gary Nowacki, CEO, TraceGains

TraceGains orchestrates product development from concept through production, accelerating research, recipe iteration, claims verification, and change management. Teams can go from manual processes to automated results by digitizing and streamlining product development for better, faster innovation. 
  • Gain a unified view of products, data, and processes across the business and throughout the supply chain, no matter how complex or dispersed.
  • With network connectivity, the software gives teams immediate access to more than two million supplier-provided documents to accelerate formula and recipe development. 
  • Achieve more informed, cost-effective ingredient and material research choices, and significantly reduce product development timelines.
  • Digitally model recipe variants with real ingredient and supplier data to meet cost, nutrition, allergen, and claims product criteria faster.
  • Automate version control with roll-back capabilities to instantly find current and past product details with all documentation, recipe variants, and information exchange digitally tracked for a complete audit trail.

3:00 PM - 3:50 PM

1-2-1 Meetings & Networking

3:50 PM - 4:20 PM - Case Studies

Innovation & Technology

How Eclipse Foods is Building the Beyond Meat of Dairy

Aylon Steinhart, CEO, Eclipse Foods

The press has called Eclipse Foods the "Beyond Meat of Dairy", but what does that actually mean? Eclipse Foods co-founder and CEO Aylon Steinhart will present what makes Eclipse so different from other plant-based dairy companies, how he (an advocate and long-time vegan) and his cofounder (an world-renowned chef) aim to transform the food system, and how the dairy industry can actually benefit from the plant-based movement.

Innovation & Technology

Demystifying the Secrets to Success for Innovation

Andria Long, Board Member, Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network

After building two Innovation Centers of Excellence and leading innovation at multiple companies, Andria has a proven and repeatable approach to deliver transformative innovation.

Andria will share some of her favorite pages from her innovation playbook. She has found no matter what company she has worked for; they  all have similar pain points when it comes to innovation.

Learn expert industry insights to help you catapult your innovation based on what took decades of experience to figure out.

The key insights she will share:

• Ideas aren’t the hard part - Designing innovation for the new consumer reality
• Differentiate or die - Importance of a Sustainable Point of Different
• How can I go faster? Ways to streamline the innovation process

4:25 PM - 5:10 PM - Panel Discussion

Innovation & Technology

How can the Food Industry Become More Sustainable and More Appealing to Evolving Consumer Demands?

Brian Spears, CEO & Founder, New Age Meats

Michelle Wolf, Co-Founder/CTO, New Wave Foods

Morgan Oliveira, Founder & Principal, Grounded, Etc.

Chad Clem, Director of Research and Development, Applegate

  • Why are consumers more interested in sustainable, ethical food choices than ever before?
  • What are the key sustainability trends in the food industry right now and in the future?
  • How can personalized nutrition, tastes and diets provide mass appeal for consumers?
  • Why is it more difficult than ever before for product launches to meet the shifting demand?

5:15 PM - 6:15 PM

Networking & 1-2-1 Meetings

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

1-2-1 Meetings & Networking

9:00 AM - 9:05 AM

9:05 AM - 9:50 AM - Panel Discussion

How to Handle Trade-Offs Between Quality, Safety and Costs especially in the Context of a Post-COVID Recession?

Matteo Gori, Global Marketing Director, Barilla Group

Brian Quandt, Group Development Leader - Meat Products, Hormel Foods

Atanasios Moschos, Quality, Security & Safety Director, Leonidas

Philip Calabrese, Senior Quality Engineer, Meati Foods

  • Has your industry experienced an increase in ‘product reformulation’ since the beginning of COVID?
  • How can we serve the different consumer groups that will arise after COVID (e.g. ‘insulated’ vs ‘constrained’)?
  • How to reach the right balance between potential short-term gains and long-term reputation, both at product and brand/company level?
  • What kind of disruption has COVID-19 caused to food supply chains and to food suppliers/partners?

9:55 AM - 10:25 AM - Case Studies

R&D & Formulation

Why we need Healthy New Proteins with a Low Environmental Impact

Tim Finnigan, Chief Scientific Adviser, Quorn Foods

  • Something is broken in the way we produce and consume our food
  • Our demand for cheaper and more plentiful food is unsustainable and our addiction to meat is literally costing the earth
  • Malnutrition and food inequality remain unacceptable with over 20% of global non communicable disease now attributed to poor diets – worse than smoking
  • We can no longer separate the impacts of our dietary choices on their impacts on the health of our bodies and of the planet as well
  • We need healthy new proteins with a low environmental impact as an important tool to help address a sustainable food future
  • We need scientific underpinning to create a strong evidence and proof points for change that will help to change behavior and remove consumer uncertainty. The Quorn story is a good example of what has to be done and, importantly, what continues to be done

Innovation & Technology

How to Adapt your Innovation Approach in a Global Pandemic

Johan Sanders, Chief Product Officer, Dawn Foods Global

  • The trends/innovation platform pre-pandemic
  • Key changes for customer requirements in a crisis
  • What to do differently internally and externally
  • Key learnings relevant beyond the bakery industry

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM - Case Studies

Innovation & Technology

Sustainable Coffee at Tchibo - Creating Value Together

Nanda Bergstein, Director of Corporate Responsibility, Tchibo

In today’s social conscious climate, consumers care about sustainability and where their food comes from. They want social and environmental transparency and strive for brands that are committed to these business practices. But in reality, scaling sustainability in the coffee industry is a long-term journey.

Nanda Bergstein, Director of Global Responsibility at Tchibo, Europe’s #1 Coffeehouse, will discuss how she is transforming a 70 year old heritage brand – that recently launched its coffee brand in the US – to become a holistic sustainable business and what other companies can learn from the innovative initiatives at Tchibo:
  • What does sustainability means for Tchibo and how is it achieved?​
  • Why empowering the people is one essential part for creating change regarding fairness and sustainability​
  • Embracing the challenges:  Unpack the most consequential issues and learn how finding solutions will create a more equitable world: human rights, living income for farmers, environment protection and climate change​
  • We are part of a disruptively changing world.  What does the future of sustainability look like and how will technology play a role in amplifying our efforts?​

Innovation & Technology

Sustainable Farming and Innovation

Farmer Lee Jones, Owner, The Chef's Garden

  • Full session abstract TBC

11:00 AM - 11:50 AM

1-2-1 Meetings & Networking

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM - Case Studies

Innovation & Technology

From Food Robotics to AI in 5 years to make a Healthy Life the Easiest Option

Glenn Mathijssen, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Alberts

Reporting on our progress the past years in Food Robotics & AI, as well as sharing our learnings. We are excited to share our honest insights on:

1) Covid-19 learnings and portfolio expansion towards Soups. 

2) Introduce EIT Food and how innovation is boosted in Europe through start-up, university and multinational collaborations resulting in where we focus on healthy personalized nudging to improve the health of the 100m consumers served daily by Sodexo.

So let's talk FoodTech and Robotics!

11:50 AM - 12:20 PM - Case Studies

Consumer Insights & Marketing

Nurture Life Co-Founder Weighs In: The Importance of Teaching Nutrition At A Young Age & How to Turn it Into a Lifestyle

Jennifer Chow, Co-Founder, Nurture Life

  • Nurture Life is a subscription service that provides busy families with a creative variety of fresh, nutritionally-balanced, ready-to-enjoy meals for children of all ages, delivering a healthier world through better nutrition for kids
  • Co-Founder Jennifer Chow will talk about the state of children’s nutrition in our country, how food brands can help educate parents on the importance of healthy eating from the start from the brand’s experience in working with thousands of families, how the brand’s ‘Picky Eater Bootcamp’ is helping parents tackle picky eating and expand their children’s palates, and more
  • Jennifer Chow will talk about the barriers parents have expressed to bridging the gap between education and execution in fostering healthy eating in their children and why she created Nurture Life to provide parents with a 360 approach to ensuring children receive the proper nutrition through delicious, nutritious, ready-to-enjoy meals and how Nurture Life helps expand children’s palates with a wide variety of flavors, ingredients and cuisines not found in typical “kids food”, helping to lay the foundation for a healthy eating lifestyle
  • Jennifer Chow will discuss why it’s crucial for children to eat nutritionally balanced meals for proper growth and development and the importance of educating children at a young age about variety to help create lifelong healthy eating habits

R&D & Formulation

Challenges and Opportunities in Plant-Based and Alternative Proteins

Kyle Gaan, Research Analyst, The Good Food Institute

The U.S. plant-based retail market is a multi-billion dollar market, and growing rapidly. This webinar will provide an overview of sales data and insights for plant-based foods in the U.S. retail market, as well as cover consumer insights and Covid-19's effects on the industry. Topics covered include:
  • Review of 2019 plant-based market sales growth by category
  • Perspectives on the growth of the plant-based foods during Covid-19 and what it means for the future of plant-based performance at retail.
  • Plant-based consumer demographics and insights

12:25 PM - 12:55 PM - Case Studies

Innovation & Technology

An Innovation Dilemma: Case For Change OR Burning Platform

Chris Hellmann, Former VP and GM, Coca-Cola Freestyle and Dispensed Innovation, The Coca-Cola Company (Formerly)

In assuming leadership of the Coca-Cola's Freestyle Division, Chris Hellmann learned a difficult and meaningful lesson: Disruptive Innovation has a Short Shelf Life.

In today’s environment of lightning-fast business cycles, keeping up with change and innovation is not optional nor should it be an annual planning event.  As leaders we must constantly drive an innovation agenda…but how do you know if it’s time for practical evolution or true disruptive innovation?  Do you have a clear assessment and innovation plan for your company, product or brand?  Are you building a Case for Change or standing on a Burning Platform?  Chris will share lessons learned and a way to help you assess your innovation requirements and a blueprint for how to approach practical evolution vs. true disruptive innovation.

R&D & Formulation

SavorEat – More than just a Meat Alternative!

Racheli Vizman, Co-founder and CEO, B.Sc.,MBA, SavorEat Ltd.

  • Major trends and the fit of SavorEat solution
  • The market potential for plant- based meat alternatives
  • SavorEat game changing platform

12:55 PM - 1:55 PM

Networking Lunch

1:55 PM - 2:25 PM - Case Studies

Consumer Insights & Marketing

Looking Beyond the Pandemic: How the Nature of Foodservice Innovation has Changed in Response to COVID-19

Matthew Godinsky, Research Analyst, Euromonitor International

Consumer priorities, behaviors, and expectations have all changed in response to the challenges brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. The restaurant industry has been forced to adapt to changing lifestyles and redefined consumer experiences. Likewise, innovation in the restaurant industry has taken on new forms as restaurant operators, large and small, strive to redefine their business models and seek out new ways to create innovative products and experiences for consumers in the wake of the pandemic. This presentation will explore the ways in which the nature of foodservice innovation has fundamentally changed, and how these changes will continue to evolve in a world looking ahead to post-pandemic life with cautious optimism.

R&D & Formulation

Pawing Through the Pandemic - Pet Food's Solutions in a Covid World

Leah Lambrakis, VP, Research & Development, Nutrition and Scientific Affairs, Simmons Pet Food

As with most industries, the pandemic resulted in turmoil across the pet food industry.  From team member safety, manufacturing disruptions, shortages in ingredient and packaging supply, and a surge in product demand, pet food industry leaders had to step up their game and push for agile and creative solutions. Leah will cover the following topics in her overview about the pet food industry's efforts to adapt during these unprecedented times:

• The Pet Food Market & Spending Behaviors
• Behind the Supply Chain Disruption
• Pivoting for our Company & our Customers
• Opening our Toolbox - Innovative Alternatives in the Funnel
• The Re-Awakening of the Pet Food Bowl

2:30 PM - 3:00 PM - Case Studies

Innovation & Technology

Broadening Lenses to Create New Categories

Ben Goodwin, Co-Founder, Olipop

David Lester, Co-Founder, Olipop

Olipop Co-Founders Ben Goodwin and David Lester have been on a decade-long journey towards creating and owning the functional soda category. When they launched Olipop in 2018 investors questioned the wisdom of using a soda brand to enter the natural products space. Today, just a few years after launching, Goodwin and Lester are spearheading one of the hottest emerging beverage trends in the market and disrupting the soda category for the first time in nearly 40 years. Goodwin and Lester believe that by keeping ahead of market trends, entrepreneurs can gain the opportunity to create brand new categories to then take command of. 

Key takeaways:
  • Don’t look for trends. Instead, ask yourself what meaningful human problem you can solve.
  • Perseverance. Goodwin and Lester have devoted the past decade, which has included one failed venture, to finally deliver in the beverage space in the way they’d hoped to.
  • Do your homework. You must understand the dynamics of the category you are in. Learn the rules, identify one big one, and break it hard. In our case, that’s been the ingredients panel.
  • The future of the beverage industry is functional. Consumer behavior is shifting and shoppers are saying, “This is delicious, but what does it do for me?”

Innovation & Technology

Innovation in Ingredients and Manufacturing Technologies for the COVID and Post-COVID Marketplace

Kantha Shelke, Ph.D., CFS, Senior Lecturer, Johns Hopkins University

This presentation will trace the disruption the coronavirus pandemic has created across the value chain of ingredients in the food industry and innovations that have changed how food is produced and distributed. Case studies and real-world examples will hopefully, inspire new product developers, manufacturers, and marketers to not only take advantage of opportunities emerging from current events, but to also consider evolving consumer behavior and possible changes in regulations to future proof the food industry.

3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

1-2-1 Meetings & Networking

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM - Case Studies

Innovation & Technology

Some Things Don’t Change: Using a Philosophical Approach to Navigate Uncertain Times

Dan Howell, Director of R&D Columbus Craft Meats, Hormel Foods

  • The mental tools and techniques that have stood up to the onslaught that was 2020

4:05 PM - 4:50 PM - Panel Discussion

Innovation & Technology

Learning from the Entrepreneurial and Start-Up Culture: Innovate Faster or Stand to be Disrupted

Dan Howell, Director of R&D Columbus Craft Meats, Hormel Foods

Rajneesh Hora, VP of Research & Development, Chobani

Nick Desai, Chairman and CEO, PeaTos

Suzie Yorke, CEO & Founder, Love Good Fats

Fabricio Zonzini, President, Beyond Beer, Anheuser-Busch

  • What have the past few years shown us in terms of new product launches and the great success of many new, innovative food companies with smaller R&D and Innovation teams and capabilities?
  • What are the key factors to accelerating your NPD without falling into the pitfall of the dreaded 80% fail rate of first-time product launches across the food industry?
  • How do you discover and define potential new innovative products?
  • How can R&D, Innovation, Marketing and all other teams work more cohesively during the NPD process?

4:55 PM - 5:55 PM

Networking & 1-2-1 Meetings