Abbas is a regionally acclaimed Marketer with experience in Pakistan and across MENA markets. He is known for his passion for growing brands and businesses while leading capability development for his team as well as entire industry.
He is one of the most awarded marketers at Coca-Cola Company having won 3 Global Innovation Awards from the Board of Directors over last two years.
Currently he leads marketing for Pakistan which is among top 20 markets for Coca-Cola globally. He is leading development of core brands about unique purpose, establishing new ways of experiential and digital marketing and inspiring the organization for exponential 10X thinking.
Under Abbas's leadership, Coca-Cola became Marketer of the Year at the Effies in 2018, and had won 10+ awards previously in Campaign Asia, Dragons Asia and PAS.
Abbas led campaigns such as Coke Studio which is the largest digital asset of the Coca-Cola Company globally with 7B+ minutes of watch time. He also designed Coke Fest, which is the largest experiential marketing platform in Asia. He has been leading innovation agenda with brand launches of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Dasani water, Roar and Cappy over last 3 years.
Abbas is committed to developing capability of his team and the community he lives in. He is marketing capability lead for Coca-Cola Middle East North Africa, with responsibility for 50+ marketers across 24 countries. He is also General Secretary for Pakistan Advertising Council which leads Media Monitoring standards, advertising trainings and government relations on behalf of entire industry. He is also on the board of LUMS (his Alma Mater) Alumni, which provides industry perspective on recruitment of new MBA students as well as providing industry knowledge to graduating MBA classes.
Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network
Andria is a leading Food & Beverage Innovation Executive who has delivered over $2 billion in revenue growth across 7 Fortune 1000 companies in the intensely competitive CPG space.
She has a proven track record of growth in over 60 categories, 20 brands and at top tier food companies like Kellogg, Sara Lee, Keebler, M&M/Mars and Johnsonville.
Andria has built two Innovation Centers of Excellence from scratch and generated over $1 billion in revenue in her roles as Vice President of Innovation & Strategy at Sara Lee and Vice President of Innovation & Consumer Insights at Johnsonville.
At Johnsonville, she built and led operations of a freestanding, independent operating unit focused on generating growth and consumer insights. At Sara Lee, she led the entire food & beverage North America Retail and Foodservice businesses with a $1 billion growth P&L.
Andria shares her validated approach to growth and her wealth of firsthand experience by providing advisory services to companies looking to accelerate growth, serving on the boards of Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network and Matot Inc. and speaking on cutting edge topics in the industry.
Managing Director, Client Services Midwest
Anthony puts his relationships with clients above all else, valuing a collaborative approach for all projects. He comes to Curion with 11 years of experience in the market research industry, spanning both the supplier and client side of the aisle. Anthony has primarily focused in the food and beverage sector but also has experience in home and personal care. Through a workbook of various methodologies, he has helped a number of Fortune 500 companies build and maintain successful portfolios. From his experience working onsite for various clients Anthony has gained an appreciation for the nuances involved in working with cross-functional teams to answer project objectives for all business units involved. Anthony holds a BS from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.
Aylon is an expert in the alternative protein industry and has spoken regularly on food innovation at conferences and schools such as Harvard, MIT, Yale, Berkeley, and Stanford. In his work at the Good Food Institute, Aylon incubated dozens of startups and advised investors and strategic partners on the protein alternative space. Aylon has co-founded two startups and has worked with companies such as Kraft Heinz, Nestle, and Kellogg’s.
Group Development Leader - Meat Products
CEO & Founder
New Age Meats
Brian Spears is the founder and CEO of New Age Meats -- making meat from animal cells instead of animal slaughter. Previously, he spent eight years as co-founder of Sixclear, creating software and products to automate the research labs and production environments of customers such as NASA, Cisco Systems, Sandia National Labs, and GE Healthcare. He is a chemical engineer with 12 years of industry experience in laboratory and industrial automation.
Director of Research and Development
Passionate R&D leader with a proven track record for creating and launching innovative & successful platforms in the natural/organic, better-for-you protein space through supportive, goal-oriented teams.
- Established a remote R&D team for Applegate before Covid made it commonplace
- Lead R&D for Applegate, the foremost meat brand in the Natural and Organic space
- Passionate about environmental stewardship, ecological restoration, unique food experiences, gardening, enjoying the outdoors and family
- Previously led innovation for Perdue Farms & Coleman Natural Foods
- BS & MS in Food Science and Poultry Science University of Arkansas
- Sit on the Board of Directors for Pennsylvania Native Plant Society
- Prior experience with Sara Lee Foods, Jimmy Dean & Tyson Foods
Former VP and GM, Coca-Cola Freestyle and Dispensed Innovation
The Coca-Cola Company (Formerly)
Chris Hellmann is the Global Vice President and General Manager, Freestyle Division at The Coca-Cola Company. In this role, he is responsible for leading North America’s Equipment Innovation Center and technical R/D team encompassing strategy, customer and commercial leadership, innovation, equipment & software engineering, supply chain development and e-business to advance the global growth of this vital Company platform. There are currently +50,000 Freestyle dispensers globally and the Equipment Innovaton center operates as a vital innovation hub for The Coca-Cola Company. Chris is responsible for the Freestyle P/L which represents a $1b business for the Coca-Cola Company.
Prior to this role, he was the Global VP leading the SUBWAY Restaurant business overseeing all of the Coca-Cola business and contractual agreements for approximately 45,000 customer outlets in 100 countries. He was responsible for leading sales, marketing, finance and operations as well as managing the Company P/L for this customer business.
Previous to the above role, Chris was Vice President, Global Commercial Execution. In this position, he was focused against the Europe and Eurasia Coca-Cola Business units and was responsible for building Customer Leadership Capabilities for both Bottler and Company associates. He built and deployed The Coca-Cola Modern Trade Customer Management System across the global system.
Chris was previously Marketing Director for Coca-Cola North America, responsible for planning and executing marketing plans for large-scale Coca-Cola Foodservice customers in the Northeast Region. Chris also served as a Segment Marketing Manager, where he was responsible for identifying and developing new opportunities for growth among U.S. customers in the casual dining trade channel. Chris joined Coca-Cola North America as a Marketing Manager and later as Assistant Brand Manager for brands including Minute Maid, PowerAde and Hi-C.
Prior to joining The Coca-Cola Company, Chris held several positions in advertising and marketing, most notably BBDO South, where he was responsible for developing and executing marketing and advertising campaigns.
Chris received a B.S. in Journalism from Ohio University, and a Masters in Marketing from Johns Hopkins University – Carey School of Business.
Almond Board of California
As a classically trained chef with a background in food product development and holistic nutrition; a few of Christine’s passions include working with plant-based proteins. She thrives on exploring and showcasing ingredients to industy and consumers through tangible applications. Her work focuses on recipe and product development, hands-on culinary workshops and presentations, and trend-spotting through local and global travel.
Director of R&D Columbus Craft Meats
Sr. Director Culinary R&D, Carvel & Seattle's Best Coffee International
David Fenner is a Sr. Director of R&D of Carvel Ice Cream and Seattle’s Best Coffee International. Fenner has been with Carvel for 9 years. During that time he has been responsible for innovation of flavors, fountain, cakes and novelties. Fenner has over 28 years of experience in operations, training, and research and development. Prior to his tenure with Focus Brands, Fenner was the Corporate Chef and Field Support for Flying Biscuit where he was responsible for strategy, research and market testing for all new products. Earlier in Fenner’s career, he served as Director of Culinary Operations for Shorty’s Mexican Road House and Executive Chef for the National Porter Inn. Fenner is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University and resides in the Atlanta area with his wife and daughter.
Chief Executive Officer
Peace Of Meat
President, Beyond Beer
In his role as President of Beyond Beer at Anheuser-Busch, Fabricio Zonzini leads a dedicated team focused on offering more choices that bring even more people together. Zonzini works to leverage A-B’s internal strengths and capabilities to drive growth and embrace a people-first approach to innovation that delivers what consumers want across a range of occasions and trends. In the last year, his team has launched new, industry leading products that are on the pulse of what today’s consumers are demanding: cocktail-inspired hard seltzers, high-quality wine and spirts to go, and low-and no-alcohol beverages. With nearly 20 years of experience at A-B, Zonzini is driven by a passion for creating meaningful experiences and succeeding beyond expectations to shape the future of this industry.
Farmer Lee Jones
The Chef's Garden
Farmer Lee Jones always wears his trademark overalls and red bowtie as a symbol of his commitment to sustainable agricultural practices. Ever since the early days of The Chef’s Garden’s creation over thirty years ago, he has remained tirelessly committed to not only ensuring that the family’s three hundred acre farm remains one of the most innovative and pioneering in the world, but to fostering a nuanced conversation with the chefs in our industry who look to the farm to grow vegetables that are as aesthetically pleasing on the plate as they are flavorful to the palate. He is devoutly committed to the chefs he works with in all corners of the world and takes great pride in the relationships he has with the people who have become his mentors, guiding light and inspiration. These are the bonds that have inspired the highest quality, most flavorful and extraordinary vegetables in the world and for Farmer Lee Jones, every day promises a new opportunity to connect with the chefs who have helped to make the farm the pioneering leader in sustainable agriculture that it is today. Farmer Lee Jones works alongside brother on the farm, inspiring The Chef’s Garden team to perpetually discover innovative ways to become more sustainable while at the same time, producing the highest quality ingredients possible. He is committed to rediscovering, saving and telling the stories of the unique heirloom products that are grown on the farm. He is an in-demand speaker and expert on sustainable agriculture and has presented at national and international conferences and seminars including at The Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone Flavor Summit, The American Culinary Federation’s National Convention, the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs National Conference and Chef Raymond Blanc’s American Food Revolution in Oxford, England. He was honored to receive the James Beard Foundation’s award for Who’s Who in Food & Beverage, making him one of the first farmers to receive it. He serves on the boards for Chef Magazine, Chef Concept and Modern Farmer. He has been profiled in conjunction with The Chef’s Garden in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Cooking Light, Newsweek and The Washington Post. The Chef’s Garden has been chronicled by “The Martha Stewart Show,” “Roker on the Road,” “CNN Business Unusual,” and ABC World News, and Farmer Lee Jones was the first farmer ever to judge the popular Food Network show “Iron Chef America.” He appeared in an episode of the Food Network’s “Food Network Star” as well as “Restaurant: Impossible” along with First Lady Michelle Obama. Farmer Lee Jones has also been heard on “Fresh Air,” “All Things Considered” and “The Story.”
He was previously Food Arts Magazine’s Produce Pro, contributing articles about unique ingredients grown at The Chef’s Garden. He is proud to have been named one of The Daily Meal’s “60 Coolest People in Food” in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and recently enjoyed spending time on the farm with television personality Andrew Zimmern for his Bizarre Foods program.
Head of Food Defence
Bart Ingredients supply a wide range of ingredients including herbs and spices from origins around the world. These products are widely considered to be at risk from adulteration and contamination. Bart Ingredient’s Food Defence Team focusses on the Integrity of Ingredients throughout the global supply chains. Gideon has worked in the UK and overseas in primary food production and technical management for 15 years, with experience of the challenges of emerging ingredients and new technologies.
Co-Founder & Co-CEO
Glenn Mathijssen is the co-CEO & Co-Founder of Alberts, leading a Belgium-based team focusing on food robotics and AI. The result is Vending 2.0 solutions for personalized smoothies & soups as well as personalized nudging solutions for food service providers looking for options to offer healthier snacks and meals. Alberts joined EIT Food as a Rising Food Star. Glenn holds a double degree Ph.D. in Electro-Mechincal Engineering with specialty in Robotics from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium) and the University of Pisa (Italy). In 2019, Glenn was chosen as Belgium's FITCE Young ICT Personality.
Chief Marketing Officer
Next Gen Foods
Jean Madden is the Chief Marketing Officer of Next Gen, a Singapore-based food tech company combining unique and powerful plant proteins to provide the most incredible culinary and dining experiences in the world. As a veteran in her industry, she leverages her experience to combine content and storytelling to connect consumers with the Next Gen mission in a genuine and authentic way.
Jean comes to Next Gen having spent the last twelve years of her career helping to shape and grow other fast moving consumer goods companies. She's worked with major household names, including L’Oréal and Unilever, and has the unique background of having helped redefine established brands, as well make a name for new, emerging companies and markets.
Jean's tenacity and versatility in her field make her a true asset, and she's become recognized for her talent in brand development, disruptive product innovation, as well as digital-first marketing campaigns. Her work has catapulted brands into white spaces, fueled consistent growth ahead of the market, and even earned her two prestigious Cannes Lions awards.
As a leader in her industry, Jean's ability to connect consumers to the deeper story and underlying mission of everyday products is a true and special talent. A global citizen, she grew up living across Asia, Europe, and North America, allowing her to relate with a wide range of people and cultures. Jean's a global traveler, believer in the critical importance of sustainability, and committed to creating a change in the world with her work at Next Gen, not only for her own family, but for those of future generations to come.
Jennifer co-founded Nurture Life, a provider of freshly made, nutritionally balanced meals for children on a mission to deliver a healthier world through better nutrition for our kids. Jennifer is a lifelong foodie and mother of two little boys, passionate about helping families feed their children nutritious, delicious meals they're proud to serve, and creating a new standard for kids' food in our country. Jennifer’s work at Nurture Life is focused on new product development and innovation, customer experience and strategy. Prior to Nurture Life, Jennifer spent 17 years in marketing and product development in the technology industry, most recently as vice president of marketing at a high-growth, cloud platform startup. She previously ran marketing at a media software company and cleantech company. Jennifer holds a B.S. in Economics and MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Chief Research & Development and Food Technology Officer
As the Chief Research & Development and Food Technology Officer for Maple Leaf Foods and Greenleaf Foods, Jitendra Sagili is responsible for culinary development, process and packaging technology functions for the company across all protein divisions (fresh and prepared meats & plant-based proteins including Greenleaf’s plant-based protein brands, Field Roast and Lightlife).
An industry veteran, he has also held leadership positions at OSI Industries, Armour Eckrich Meats and ConAgra Foods. Sagili earned a Master of Science degree, Animal Science, from University of Wisconsin-Madison; and a Bachelor of Science degree, Veterinary Sciences, Sri Venkateswara Veterinary University, India.
Chief Product Officer
Dawn Foods Global
With more than 25 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, Johan has dedicated his career to providing the industry with innovative new ideas and offerings to help companies of all sizes grow their business. As Chief Product Officer, Johan is responsible for Dawn’s R&D and Category marketing globally, prioritizing innovation efforts within Dawn to provide customers with the best bakery products in the business. Since joining the team in 2012 as vice president of R&D in Europe, Johan has led the research and development of multiple Dawn product launches, specifically the Dawn Balance Line, which contains clean label, vegan and better-for-you products. In addition to his focus on product development, he also drives global technology projects to keep Dawn at the front of introducing new industry capabilities both for bakers and within the walls of the company.
Prior to joining Dawn, Johan was the Innovation Director at Sara Lee and also previously held various R&D roles across food product categories at Unilever in the Netherlands and the UK. He holds a masters and a PhD in Molecular Science from the Agriculture University of Wageningen, and an MBA from Rotterdam Erasmus University.
Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D., CHE, CRC
Professor and Director, Drexel Food Lab, Department of Food and Hospitality Management
Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D., CHE, CRC is Professor in the Department of Food and Hospitality Management in the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University and Director of the Drexel Food Lab. He was the inaugural James Beard Foundation Impact Fellow, leading a national curriculum effort on food waste reduction for chefs and culinary educators and was named a Food Waste Warrior by Foodtank. Before moving to Drexel, Deutsch built the culinary arts program at Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York (CUNY) and the Ph.D. concentration in food studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and School of Public Health. At Drexel, he directs the Drexel Food Lab, a culinary innovation and food product research and development lab focused on solving real world food system problems in the areas of sustainability, health promotion, and inclusive dining. He is the author or editor of eight books including Barbecue: A Global History (with Megan Elias), Culinary Improvisation, and Gastropolis: Food and Culture in New York City (with Annie Hauck-Lawson) and numerous articles in journals of food studies, public health and hospitality education. He earned his Ph.D. in Food Studies and Food Management from New York University (2004), his culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of America (AOS, Culinary Arts, 1997), and is an alumnus of Drexel University (BS, Hospitality Management, 1999). A classically trained chef, Deutsch worked in a variety of settings including product development, small luxury inns and restaurants. When not in the kitchen, he can be found behind his tuba.
Kantha Shelke, Ph.D., CFS
Johns Hopkins University
Kantha Shelke, Ph.D., CFS, and IFT Fellow, is principal at Corvus Blue LLC, a food science and research firm that expedites development and commercialization of products and technologies to create market demand for honestly healthful foods and teaches food safety regulations at Johns Hopkins University.
The Good Food Institute
Kyle analyzes data and market research to identify meaningful insights and trends within the plant-based food industry, helping to pave the way for the development and sale of more plant-based food. Kyle previously worked as an associate at EY-Parthenon, a global strategy consulting firm. He received his B.S. in Business Administration and B.A. in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkeley.
VP, Research & Development, Nutrition and Scientific Affairs
Simmons Pet Food
Leah Lambrakis is the Vice President of Research & Development, Nutrition and Scientific Affairs at Simmons Pet Food. In this role she leads a team of 25 scientists across Simmons’ wet and dry pet food, and pet treats divisions. Leah has a life-long passion for nutrition, health and wellness, innovation and consumer insights for pets and pet parents.
Leah is a University of Guelph (ON, Canada) Alumna, with undergraduate and graduate degrees in Animal Science and Animal Nutrition. As a Nutrition Research Assistant for the Toronto Zoo during her graduate program, she performed research on the nutritional evaluation of diets for exotic animal species and participated in diet management for species in reintroduction programs.
In 1999, Leah moved into the field of Companion Animal Nutrition with Menu Foods Limited, which was later acquired by Simmons Pet Food. During her career, Leah has developed deep knowledge and expertise in pet food nutrition, formulation and food science, palatability and feeding behavior, as well as product safety and manufacturing processes. As a result, her work spans major categories such as pet specialty, private brands, organic and veterinary formulas. In her career, Leah personally created, commissioned and launched over 1,000 pet food products into the market, today continuing this work by driving forward new innovation with her team.
Luis Carlos Chacón
Op-Ed Columnist | Global Consultant
Forbes Latin America | BusinessCase
Luis Carlos Chacón leads the BusinessCase team, global boutique consultancy that works with multinational FMCGs identifying emerging and future business opportunities. Also, has been a columnist for Forbes Latin America for several years (being nowadays top-rated) and currently finishing a postgraduate degree in Global Business at the University of Oxford (where previously graduated in Strategy and Innovation), his educational background includes studies in Design Thinking at Stanford, and Futures at The University of Manchester, and Houston. In business, he has worked for more than nineteen years for the operations of Fortune 500 Companies such as Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, LVMH, Diageo, Kellogg’s, Unilever, Dannon, AbInbev, among many others. Behavioral economics enthusiast (understanding the cross between needs and contexts) and believer in connecting the distant (linking the disconnected but inseparable) under the influence of socio-cultural changes in industries and consumption.
Magdalena Bartosik, PhD
Director of R&I
Happy Family Organics
Magdalena Bartosik is a food research & innovation professional with 14 years’ experience in the baby food industry. She holds a PhD in Technical Sciences from Lodz University of Technology in Poland. Magda began her professional career in Poland in 2005 by joining Danone as a Product Development Specialist responsible for baby food jars development. She then took several different assignments focusing on wet weaning food development for Danone European business units. In 2014, Magda joined Happy Family Organics, leading the Research & Innovation team responsible for new organic product and packaging innovations in baby, toddler and kid categories. Focusing on both wet and dry foods she has gained extensive knowledge and expertise regarding ideation, formulation, processing and packaging. Currently, Magda holds the position of Director of Research and Innovation at Happy Family Organics. As part of the Danone Specialized Nutrition Division, she leads a team of professionals with both domestic and international scope. She is passionate about mission driven, best in class and sustainable innovations for young & vulnerable consumers.
Sensory Scientist II
Sensory Scientist with 10+ years of experience working on fragrances, home cleaning, personal care and food.
Global Marketing Director
After the graduation in Economics at Università Bocconi and a Master of Science in International Public Policy at UCL (University College London), Matteo joined The Monitor Group, a strategy consulting firm, supporting companies' business development in EMEA.
He joined Barilla in 2008 and moved from Marketing to Innovation in 2012 to develop and launch CucinaBarilla, which he led as the CucinaBarilla Managing Director.
In 2018 he was appointed Global Marketing Director at Barilla, leading of the most dynamic and vibrating product categories of the company with a global footprint.
He is passionate about Food, business modelling, trends and innovation.
He will be chairing the Food Innovate Summit for the second time and attending it for the third time.
Matt Godinsky is a research analyst at Euromonitor International based in Chicago. In his role, Matt analyses the services and payments landscape, providing insights on consumer trends, innovation, competitive environments and the effects of economic dynamics across industries. Matt is primarily focused on North American markets, with an emphasis on the US and Canada. He is a key contributor of data and content to Passport, Euromonitor’s syndicated research database.
Prior to joining Euromonitor, Matt worked as an economics research assistant at the University of Illinois Urbana—Champaign and holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Grinnell College.
Global Food Analyst
Melanie joined Mintel in 2017 as a global food analyst. She provides insights on global innovation and consumer trends across a number of food categories, including produce, pasta and grains. At Mintel, Melanie co-created the annual US Flavor and Ingredient Trends, which spotlight the cuisine types and ingredients that are growing on restaurant menus and on grocery shelves.
Melanie is passionate about sharing her knowledge of the industry. She has presented at conferences and trade shows around the globe and appeared in such publications as the Chicago Tribune, NPR and The BBC. She is also a regular contributor to Mintel’s blog and Little Conversation podcast.
Prior to joining Mintel, Melanie reported on industry news and trends for the Institute of Food Technologists, where she created a new monthly column devoted to product development innovation.
Melanie holds a BS in journalism from Northwestern University. In her spare time, she loves to share what she’s eating at home in Chicago or while traveling the globe on her Instagram, @melanietastestheworld.
New Wave Foods
Michelle is co-founder of New Wave Foods and the driving force behind New Wave Foods’ product development and efficient scaling. She is a former engineer with consumer packaged goods experience at L’Oreal with a degree from Carnegie Mellon. Michelle’s work lives at the intersection of her scientific knowledge and her passion for protecting our Oceans. Michelle was also recently honored in Forbes 30 under 30 Food and Drink List.
Founder & Principal
Morgan Oliveira is the founder and principal of Grounded, Etc., a consultancy specializing in helping food & health tech startups in a number of ways, including communications, PR, strategy, and more. She has worked with some of the country’s leading brands, including Apeel Sciences, sweetgreen, Calm.com (named app of the year for 2017 by Apple), amongst others.
Prior to Grounded, Morgan was the first employee and Director of Communications at Hampton Creek (now Eat JUST), a food technology company that is currently valued at over $1B and has received investment from a number of billionaires including from Li Ka-shing, one of the wealthiest men in Asia, Khosla Ventures, and Marc Benioff, CEO & co-founder of Salesforce. At Hampton Creek, Morgan worked to spread the company’s story and mission to the press and public, and was the driver behind the press during the Unilever lawsuit and the famed “Mayo Wars” during the fall of 2014. She was named to the Business Insider list of Top 50 Best PR People in the Tech Industry for 2014.
Morgan comes from a background in food, having worked at one of the first meal delivery companies, LA's Fresh 'N Lean, where she helped it quadruple its business in only a year’s time, securing deals with influencers such as P90X founder, Tony Horton, and Vega formulator, Brendan Brazier. An RI native, Morgan is now based in NY having spent more than eight years living in LA and San Francisco. When she’s not working, she enjoys online fitness classes and dreaming of the day karaoke and world travel will once again be possible.
Director of Corporate Responsibility
Nanda Bergstein is the Director of Corporate Responsibility at Tchibo, Europe’s #1 Coffeehouse, which debuted in the US this fall. She began her professional career in 2005 with the sustainability consultancy “Systain Consulting”, a member of the Otto Group after graduating in International Relations at the Technical University of Dresden (BA) and Gender, Development and Globalisation (MSc) at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
In December 2007, she joined German Consumer Goods and Coffee retailer Tchibo and built up the human rights and sustainability management system from the raw material to the product for the Consumer Goods business in different leadership functions. Since January 2018, Nanda oversees all functions related to sustainability and social responsibility for Tchibo as a whole, including Coffee.
In this role, Nanda and her team manage the transition of the company towards a 100% responsible business as part of the overall corporate strategy. Her work focuses on human rights and environmental protection in all Tchibo supply chains and products – both Coffee and Consumer Goods – as well as Corporate Citizenship. An important part of her mission is to scale sustainability via sector initiatives and systemic approaches as well as to develop innovations for more sustainable consumption. This also entails engaging consumers for a stronger movement towards sustainability from the demand side.
Chairman and CEO
Nick Desai has been the Chairman and CEO of Snack It Forward since 2013. Snack It Forward, a better-for-you snack company with a focus on plant-basedSnacks, boasts a portfolio of beloved brands including World Peas™ and Sunkist®Snacks. The World Peas™ mission: to help mainstream America eat better by creating “junk food” tasting snacks with more substance. In 2018, World Peas™ launched Peatos®, a crunchy puffed snack that is a new twist on an American classic, with 4 grams of plant-based protein and 3 grams of fiber per delicious serving. Peatos®, typically found in the produce section, are currently available at over 4000 stores nationwide including every store under the Kroger banner as well as Vons, Pavilions and Albertson. In 2016, Desai led the acquisition of World Peas™, a brand focused on premium, better-for-you pulse based (peas, favas, lentils) snacks, available nationally at retailers such as Whole Foods, Target, and Sprouts. Desai spent the next two years leading the formulation of the revolutionary Peatos®snack which includes significant proprietary technology centered around extruding high protein raw materials.Desai entered the food and consumer space in 2011 by leading the acquisition of Energy Club LLC, a snack food manufacturer based in Los Angeles. Before dedicating his career to the snack industry, Desai’s experience spans an extensive background of over twenty-five years of operations, private equity/investment banking, and law. He started his career as an attorney in the entertainment industry and soon migrated into investment banking and after some time as a Vice President and top dealmaker at KPMG Corporate Finance. He also later became a Managing Director at FocalPoint Partners. In 2008, he moved to the private-equity side of the business as a Managing Director at Shackleton Equity Partners, a private-equity firm focused on the lower middle market. Desai has a JD/MBA from Loyola Marymount University, and was a UC Regents Scholar at the University of California, Irvine. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and four children.
VP of Research & Development
Co-founder and CEO, B.Sc.,MBA
Racheli is an executive manager with rich and diverse experience in the Israeli start-up scene both in private and public sector. She is passionate about innovation and making an impact on people’s lives through the judicious use of technology and life sciences.
Global Marketing Director
As a part-owner and head of brand management and marketing for Sunnyland Farms, Staci Willson is responsible for creating opportunities in multiple markets by implementing brand strategies through community, corporate and outreach channels. She also oversees new product development for a changing, competitive market. With over 20 years in the food industry, Willson brings experience, passion, and creativity to Sunnyland Farms. Willson studied Behavioral Science at Trevecca University and is active in numerous professional, civic and community organizations past and present including Georgia Grown, the Albany Museum of Art, AMA Friends, Leadership Albany, Albany Chorale, Atlanta Choral Guild, Flint River Fresh, Inc. and Les Dames Escoffier.
CEO & Founder
Love Good Fats
Dr. Swati Kalgaonkar
Associate Director, Nutrition Research
Almond Board of California
Dr. Swati Kalgaonkar has extensive nutritional clinical research experience and her primary focus at the Almond Board of California (ABC) is oversight of ABC contracted nutrition research, public policy analysis and synthesis, and information dissemination in support of the almond industry’s global strategies.
Chief Scientific Adviser
Dr Darin Detwiler, LP.D, M.A.Ed.
Assistant Dean, Professor
Dr Darin Detwiler, LP.D., M.A.Ed., is the Assistant Dean at NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY’S College of Professional Studies in Boston, Massachusetts. He is a professor of food regulatory policy, specializing in food safety, global economics of food and agriculture, Blockchain, and food authenticity. He additionally advises industry, NGOs, and government agencies, addressing food safety and authenticity issues in the U.S. and abroad. Detwiler recently received the INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR FOOD PROTECTION (IAFP) Distinguished Service Award (Sponsored by Food Safety Magazine.) Over the past 25 years, Detwiler has consulted with the USDA in strengthening food safety policies, particularly in the areas of consumer education, product labeling, and their pathogen reduction program. In addition to serving in various educational and advisory capacities, his committee work includes appointments to two terms as a member of the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection for USDA, where his work improved standards and policies related to risk-based sampling. As the senior policy coordinator for a national food safety organization, he evaluated pertinent regulatory issues for the USDA and the FDA as a consumer advocate in their stakeholder advisory group. He later served two terms as a council member for the Conference for Food Protection, identifying and addressing emerging problems of food safety to influence model laws and regulations among all government agencies. Detwiler received his doctorate of law and policy from NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY with a research focus on state implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.
Quality, Security & Safety Director
Senior Quality Engineer
Philip earned his PhD in biochemistry from CU Boulder in 2014. Upon graduating, he raised start-up capital to research and develop algae-based food ingredients as a co-founder of Boom Algae. From 2017 – 2020, Philip served as the Director of Quality, Research and Product development at Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha where he built the company’s Food Safety and Quality program, their patent-pending fermentation strategy and helped scale their process as they grew from local to national presence in grocery and food service. Philip has been with Meati Foods since January 2021 where he serves as their Senior Quality Engineer. He is developing Meati’s Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory program while working in collaboration with other Meati Food Scientists and Engineers to design and validate new processes and procedures as the company scales up to meet demand. Through the years, he has gained experience with a variety of micro-organisms used in fermentation while developing methods to assess product quality and safety in-process and at the end of process.