Program 2023

7:30 AM - 8:30 AM

Registration & Refreshments

8:40 AM - 9:25 AM - Panel Discussion

Innovation & Technology

Food Based on Animal Ingredients is a Big Market Segment, but Can we Demonstrate the Sustainability Behind Animal Protein?

Selma van ‘t Hul, Global Human Intelligence Lead – Chocolate Portfolio, Mars Wrigley

Adam Brock, Vice President of Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory Compliance, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin

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

Luis Carlos Chacon, Op-Ed Columnist | Global Consultant Forbes Latin America | BusinessCase

Miri Eliyahu, Senior Research Analyst for Food and Beverages, Euromonitor International

  • Vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and fruits. You may choose a plant-based diet for various reasons but are these the most sustainable options?
  • Can food sustainability be achieved through responsible meat consumption? If so, what are the opportunities for our market?

9:25 AM - 9:55 AM - Keynote

Innovation & Technology

Embracing Collaborative Innovation – The Impact of Start-Ups on the Food Industry

Olaf Gruess, Director of Partner Development, Cargill

The rise of startups and the constantly evolving startup ecosystem provides an immense opportunity for all industries, including the food industry. However, not all startups are the same, have the same needs, or are looking for the same support. Recognizing the unique status of a startup is the first step towards building a successful collaborative relationship between startups and the industry. Then, cultivating the relationship, creating value for all, and claiming a fair share are all critical steps to impactful, collaborative innovation.

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

Innovation & Technology

Lessons Learned in Scaling Innovation in a Big Market

Ana Plasencia, Innovation Explorer Associate Director, Mars Wrigley

Skate ramp versus sand dune and the importance of thinking of retailer strategy early in the innovation process.

R&D & Formulation

Sustainable Protein Production for Food Applications

Debbie Yaver, Chief Science Officer, Nature's Fynd

In 2009, as part of a NASA and NSF-supported project on extremophiles, a Fusarium strain, now called Fusarium strain flavolapis was isolated from an acid sulfate chloride spring in Yellowstone National Park.  Under appropriate cultivation conditions, a filamentous mat of mycelial biomass (biomat) can be grown with a texture profile similar to muscle fibres.  

Our research led to the development of an air-liquid interface fermentation technology that allows for the fast production of protein. The final product is Non-dairy cream cheese and meatless breakfast patties made with Fy under Nature’s Fynd label.

10:30 AM - 11:20 AM

1-2-1 Meetings & Networking Refreshments

11:20 AM - 11:50 AM - Solution Spotlights

Innovation & Technology

How PLM Can Significantly Reduce Risk While Managing the Ever-Changing Regulatory Landscape

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

Alex Eapen, Director – R&D Scientific & Regulatory Affairs – North America, Cargill

John Sweeney, NA R&D Shared Capabilities Team Global R&D PLM project lead, Cargill

In the current era of uncertainty, compliance risk management is rapidly becoming one of the most critical aspects of product development. Given the ever-changing landscape of global markets, food and beverage manufacturers must be prepared to anticipate and respond to potential risks to the supply chain. This requires agility and data insight to improve time-to-market, reduce unnecessary costs and meet rigorous safety requirements. Explore the unlocked potential PLM holds for your organization in helping meet these challenges. Join us to learn from an industry leader, Cargill, how PLM can help significantly improve collaboration and operational efficiencies while ensuring that all new product development is compliant with all applicable regulations.

Innovation & Technology

Sustainability and Brand Strategy; Is Sustainability Part of Your Brand's Growth Strategy but You Are not Sure Where to Start?

Rachel Calomeni, Senior Vice President, Growth & Innovation, HowGood

Nearly half of all food brands have set emission reduction goals, but many face challenges measuring their current impact. You can't improve what you can't measure. In this interactive session, we will discuss a variety of impact metrics, including Carbon, Water, Labor Risk and Biodiversity. Ingredients, crop location and growing standards and their essential role in determining Impact.

11:55 AM - 12:25 PM - Case Studies

Innovation & Technology

Using Technology to Minimize Your Food Waste and Optimize your Sales

Arne Saupe, Vice President of Technology , Farmer's Fridge

At Farmer’s Fridge, we set out to make the best product on the market, and we believe we’ve done it. It didn’t sit right with us that many people don’t have the time or money to feed themselves well, and we solve that problem by producing the freshest, tastiest products at the best price on the market. Customers are naturally sceptical when it comes to salads from a vending machine, and it’s our job to deliver on the promise of the freshest, safest meals around.

Every day, we produce salads, bowls and snacks using fresh ingredients and distribute them around the country; in order to make that work, we need to accurately forecast production and distribute our food to locations with the best chance of making a sale without losing any opportunity to make a sale. 

We have used a combination of data, data science and engineering to reduce our waste by over 15%. We will walk you through our unique challenges and the solutions we have put together to meet those challenges.

Consumer Insights & Marketing

Influence, Increase, Inspire: The Role of Community-building for Brand Growth

Lori Taylor, Founder and CEO, The Produce Moms

Lori Taylor is the founder of The Produce Moms, which has grown over the last decade as the leading influencer brand and online community for fruits & vegetables. This session will bring forward data insights as well as actionable tips to build an online community around your brand.

12:25 PM - 1:25 PM

Networking Lunch

Roundtable Title: The New Era of Smarter Supply Chains

Let's discuss how organizations, including people, processes, and technology, are working more efficiently today than a few years ago and how to stay current.

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

Innovation & Technology

Learning, Adapting & Growing Toward Future Foods – How to Access the New Opportunities With a Pivot Mindset

Joaquin Tirado Escobosa, Director of Product Development and Technological Platforms , Sigma

The food industry is evolving very fast. Novel technologies have developed swiftly, creating new opportunities and challenging current business models.

In this changing environment, Sigma, a multi-billion-dollar food company with leading brands in 18 countries across North and South America and Europe, has been developing a strategy to ensure the company's future growth without compromising present business goals.

In this session, Joaquin will share some of the challenges of this journey:

How to build the foundations and develop a collaborative ecosystem (internal and external) and not die on the effort?
How to test ideas and products successfully that don't exist yet?
What lessons have we learned in Sigma, and what can we do better for the future?
How to generate differentiated offers that respond to consumer and customer needs across different geographies?

Innovation & Technology

Positioning and Customization of Pet Food Products

Ding Wang, Director of Research and Development, BrightPet

With humanization being a significant trend in the pet food industry, customizing products has found its way to increasing. More and more human edible ingredients are used in pet food products, where a synergetic opportunity arises between human food and pet food industries. In this session, the presenter will identify some key trends and attributes for pet food development to fulfil the market gap created by this change.

Donuts, cupcakes, pizza, ice cream, birthday cakes, and biscuits are not only for human purposes anymore; pet food manufacturers have started creating these products for dogs and cats. Additionally, the concept of “food for a purpose” also finds its way into the pet food industry. Because consumers make purchase decisions based on personal experience and knowledge, the presenter will categorize the common attributes and similarities between humans and pets to explain the concept.

At last, we will discuss the customization of pet food products from raw ingredient production to retailing to increase customer satisfaction.

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

Innovation & Technology

Change for the Better: Harnessing Networked Power to Slash Time to Market

Paul Bradley, Senior Director of Product Marketing, TraceGains

Change has been a constant for the last several years, and while much of that change has been positive, most of it has been driven by necessity. We see an opportunity to move from surviving to thriving in 2023, and we believe it’s about connection - bringing people and information together so that teams can drive change with purpose. If the industry can connect around standardized and consolidated formulas, recipes, specs, and supply chain data, teams can collaborate efficiently, manage R&D costs, and accelerate innovation. The results are powerful for organizations – slashing time to market by 75% and letting professionals focus on passion over paperwork. But there’s value for the entire industry and the world in a connected global supply chain. The food and beverage industry connects on TraceGains networked ingredients marketplace – come see what the buzz is all about.

  • Cut sourcing and approval time by 50%
  • Reduce error, wait time, and wasted effort
  • Automate and measure for continued, data-driven improvement
  • Accelerate innovation across the industry

R&D & Formulation

Climate Proof Agriculture

Simon Carr, VP Head of Practice, Evalueserve UK Ltd

With the world facing increasing temperatures, prolonged mega-droughts and decreasing viable agricultural land technologies that provide a level of climate proofing either standalone or in combination with other solutions, will become increasingly important. This presentation will take delegates through technologies that show the most promise now and technologies that may be implemented in the near future.

2:30 PM - 3:20 PM

Meetings & Networking Refreshments

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

Innovation & Technology

We Are Eating the Planet to Death - Here is How We Can Solve It

Rich Dillon, CEO, Ivy Farm

We are eating our planet to death. Globally, animal agriculture is the second largest contributor to climate change, bigger than all of the transport put together. And as the world’s climate changes and extreme weather becomes more common, it’s clear we need to change the way we consume and produce meat.

Consumer Insights & Marketing

Innovating for the Future of Food

Andria Long, Chairman of the Board, Chicagoland Food & Beverage

Driving innovation in today’s fast-paced world requires more than just knowing the trends.

Our industry is facing massive changes, from digital transformation, to supply chain disruption, to changing consumer preferences, all of which will shape the landscape for the future of food.

The pace of change is accelerating and learning quickly to evolve for the future is essential.  Understanding the shifts in consumer behaviour and the drivers of change propelling disruption are critical to success.

3:55 PM - 4:30 PM - Solution Spotlights

Innovation & Technology

Recipe for Innovation: How PLM Increases Resilience and Shortens Time to Market

Eric Krums, Sr. Solution Consultant, Food & Beverage , Infor

Consumer preferences and available ingredients are constantly changing. To protect margins and grow market share, food manufacturers must eliminate IT silos from the business to introduce new recipes and products to the market faster. Does your business have the enterprise-wide visibility and agility to bring new products to market quickly? Join the session to uncover the ways food manufacturers can leverage technology to speed up product development and successfully go to market with new and improved products.

R&D & Formulation

The Customer Isn't Always Right: When AI Knows Consumers Better Than They Know Themselves

Ian O’Neil, Senior Account Executive, Tastewise

Natalie Taake, Senior Innovation Manager, The Kroger Co.

Kroger and Tastewise discuss the impact of AI on food & beverage innovation and market success.

4:35 PM - 5:20 PM - Keynote

Innovation & Technology

The Vertical Farming Industry's Current Landscape

Andrew Opp, COO, Wilder Fields

It is no secret that long-standing macro-economic trends (i.e., scarcity of land, labor, and water) are a challenge to the stability and sustainability of traditional field agriculture. Additionally, it is becoming clear that the broad and unpredictable effects of climate change will only exacerbate the existing issues with our current produce production model and increase the volatility of our food supply chain. These dynamics are more than enough to encourage the exploration of innovative solutions, but at Wilder Fields we believe there is more to the story:

90% of the leafy greens in this country are harvested and shipped from either the Central Valley of California or the Yuma Valley in Arizona - the flavour, quality, and nutritional content of our country's produce is a function of this constraint
One of the most prosperous countries in the world has been forced to develop a term to describe endemic nutritional inequality - "food desert"
The rise of eCommerce has shuttered Big Box retail stores across the country, to the significant detriment of local economic activity
Wilder Fields' model is predicated on the belief that vertical farming technology and innovation, executed thoughtfully, can make a positive impact on all of these issues. We believe in doing good by doing well, because being sustainable requires a sustainable model.

We will discuss how vertical farming works, the vertical farming industry's current landscape, the role that technology and innovation plays in this space, and how vertical farming can be applicable to food innovation, more broadly.

5:25 PM - 5:30 PM

Chair's Closing Remarks & End of Day 1

5:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Evening Drinks Reception

8:20 AM - 8:55 AM

Registration & Refreshments

9:00 AM - 9:30 AM - Keynote

Innovation & Technology

The (R) Evolution of The Innovation in The Food Industry

Sergio Pollak, Vice President R&D Foods Potato for North America and Latin America , McCain Foods

The way of managing innovation in the Food Industry has been evolving in the last decades, and we are probably in front of a revolution more than an evolution in the way our industry is innovating. During the last decade, we saw many industries having a Technological revolution, and we, as food professionals, are probably witnessing one of the last industries entering this tech revolution. What can we learn from that? How can we evolve the way of innovating in food? Those are some of the questions we will need to address in the short term if we still want to be part of this game.

9:35 AM - 10:05 AM - Case Studies

Consumer Insights & Marketing

The Fuzzy Front-End of Innovation

Sara Roashan, Associate Director, Agile Disruptive Innovation, Kraft Heinz Company

Anne Babirak, Senior Insights, Strategy and Innovation Leader, Kraft Heinz Company

The new product development and innovation process is not a straight line. Cross-functional teams are in a constant process of diverging and converging, and always seeking to uncover the right insight that represents that key universal consumer truth.

This talk will explore new methodologies and ways to connect with consumers and address the main challenges on the road to disruption.

Innovation & Technology

The Recipe to Fuel Food Sales in a Digital World

Katie H. Hotze, Founder and CEO, Grocery Shopii

The post-pandemic online shopping boom has left brands pondering the wide assortment of paths to fuel their product sales online.   Today’s shopper has an eye on healthier options, lower costs and convenience.  Beneath these preferences lie behaviors that are often difficult to identify quickly, like the lack of risks shoppers take when on a tight food budget in an inflammatory economy.  In this session, you will learn how brands and retailers can sell more products digitally and acquire key insights quickly by creating and deploying trending recipe content.  We will unpack the anatomy of a high-performing recipe and share insights on where and how your brand can create stronger shopper engagement, increase product trials, and access critical data insights to evolve your digital battle plan.

10:10 AM - 10:40 AM - Solution Spotlights

Innovation & Technology

Traceability Tech Talks: A How-To Discussion about Claims Management with PLM

Patrick Pilz, Pre-sales Consultant, Centric Software Inc.

Frederic Van Roie, Regional Sales Executive, Food & Beverage, Centric Software Inc.

Consumers are increasingly interested in knowing what the ingredients are in their food, where it was grown and how it was produced. Governments are updating regulations to make sure food and beverage companies substantiate their label claims.

Are you looking for ways to ensure your food and beverage products are traceable and claims are managed accurately and efficiently?

Join Centric Software® Food and Beverage PLM experts Frederic Von Roie and Patrick Pilz for a tableside chat. They’ll discuss how to transform the way your business tracks and traces everything product-related with next-generation Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions.

You’ll learn how to:

  •  Gain visibility into traceability and claims information
  •  Project manage through every phase of product development
  •  Connect internal teams and external suppliers to the same product information
  •  Create and collaborate on artwork, packaging and labeling
  •  Sell in multiple regions with Centric’s customer case study about Wicked Foods
  •  And much more! Plus, you’ll get the chance to win an exciting giveaway

R&D & Formulation

The Sodium Dilemma: Solutions to Sodium Reduction Challenges

Kara McConnell, Regional Sales Manager , MS, RD , Fuchs

Dan Grazaitis, Director of R&D , Fuchs

Some people eat to live while others live to eat, and there is no reason you can’t do both. The challenge is maintaining a balance of taste and health. This is important when looking at sodium reduction and cardiovascular health.  

The FDA is viewing sodium as a key player in the increase of cardiovascular disease in the U.S. On October 13, 2021, the FDA released the “Voluntary Sodium Reduction Goals: Target Mean and Upper Bound Concentrations for Sodium in Commercially Processed, Packaged, and Prepared Foods,” providing voluntary sodium reduction targets and guidelines for each food category. We will discuss the landscape of sodium reduction regulations and how to decrease sodium in food products without compromising flavour.

10:40 AM - 11:30 AM

Meetings & Networking Refreshments

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM - Case Studies

Consumer Insights & Marketing

Innovation and Hyper-Personalization

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

The Foodservice Industry has gone through a tremendous evolution over the past several years and with the transformative tailwinds from the pandemic, we are moving into an era of hyper-personalization. Advances in technology, data, and analytics will soon allow brands to create much more personal and “human” experiences across moments, channels, and buying stages. This session will cover how successful personalization is powered by the simple foundation of VALUE and will be enabled by technology to deliver tailor-made experiences in real time.

R&D & Formulation

Starting With the End in Mind: Tiiga’s Approach to Product Development

Jeff Tezak, CEO, Tiiga

Working backwards from the nutritional facts panel and ingredient labels to create innovative products centred around novel or new ingredients. As a startup, we’re forced to think differently about going to market with new and novel ingredients. By focusing on the benefits that consumers are looking for as well as the increased interest in nutritional facts panels and ingredient labels, we create products that are on trend, different and customer-centric while introducing a new ingredient to the market

12:05 PM - 12:35 PM - Solution Spotlights

Innovation & Technology

The Lack of Nutrition in Today's Food Products Impacts Consumer Health and Manufacturers' Market Share & Profits

William JH Grand, President, NutriFusion LLC

Learn about a botanically based, nutrient-dense ingredient to optimize food nutrition using fruits and vegetables.

12:35 PM - 1:35 PM

Networking Lunch

Roundtable title: Is There a Future for Plant-based and Alternative Proteins?

After years of growth and hype, meat alternatives are experiencing higher scrutiny among consumers and capital markets in the US and other international markets. What does the future look like for this still fledgling industry? What needs to happen for consumers to embrace alt-protein massively? What are the white spaces of opportunity that lie ahead?

1:35 PM - 2:05 PM - Keynote

Consumer Insights & Marketing

Changing the Face of Food: Get Ready to Engage Gen Z

Jana McGuire, Communications Director, The Center For Food Integrity

The emerging Generation Z is poised to change the face of food, bringing with it a distinct set of values, fears and behaviors and a great deal of purchasing power. New research from The Center for Food Integrity shows how to effectively engage this up-and-coming group – giving those in the broader food industry a deep understanding of Gen Z drivers and specific strategies to earn trust.

2:10 PM - 2:40 PM - Case Studies

Innovation & Technology

A BRIGHTULL Product: From the Lab to the Shelf

Angela Liliana Latorre Velásquez, R&D Director, Team Foods

The purpose and duty of a company that unexpectedly identified pain in the community's daily habits led to a fascinating journey of innovation and a higher impact on health and quality of life.

2:45 PM - 3:15 PM - Case Studies

Innovation & Technology

Upcycled Food: A Timely & Delicious Solution to Climate Change

Caroline Cotto, Co-Founder, Renewal Mill

According to Project Drawdown, more than half the work to stop climate change must be done in roughly ten years. To get back on track and keep climate warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, we need to engage "Emergency Brake" measures to reduce emissions as quickly as possible. One of these measures is reducing food waste, which is a crucial driver of climate change – accounting for almost 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions. This session will explore upcycling as a critical solution to food waste reduction. We'll cover the official definition of upcycled food, the measurable impact of upcycling, upcycled supply chains, and some of the most unique (and delicious) upcycled ingredients and products on the market. We'll discuss the growth of the upcycled food movement, how to get involved, and the efforts made through a new "Upcycled Certified" certification program to educate consumers on this concept. Let's fight food waste together!

Consumer Insights & Marketing

Global Food Trends in Post Inflation Times

Luis Carlos Chacon, Op-Ed Columnist | Global Consultant Forbes Latin America | BusinessCase

After a dramatic change in food prices, consumers finally adapt to an emerging reality where expensiveness centralizes sentiments and behaviours. This session describes the main patterns the food industry will follow to drive and thrive change towards an upcoming chapter where reaching margins will challenge producers while consumers evolve how they eat.

3:20 PM - 3:50 PM - Keynote

Consumer Insights & Marketing

The Pioneer of Chocolate Agile Innovation

Liu Yanchun, Senior Global Marketing Manager, Mars Wrigley

Designed with sustainability in mind, Mars Wrigley partnered with food start-up The Perfect Day to introduce the sustainable chocolate CO2COA in 2022. This was a holistic solution of product and packaging which is kinder to the planet (less carbon footprint) and animals, meanwhile it’s the creamy indulgent chocolate you know and love. We thought we could attract lovers of chocolate and planet. What did we learn, how did we make decisions based on data, what can we do better in sustainability marketing?

3:50 PM - 4:00 PM

Chair's Closing Remarks & End of Conference