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.
Chief Operating Officer
Adam Grogan is Chief Operating Officer at Greenleaf Foods, SPC. In this role, Grogan oversees business operations and commercial strategy for Greenleaf’s leading plant-based brands, Field Roast and Lightlife. He is also responsible for long-term capital plans, business goals, and cost management of manufacturing and supply chain processes.
Grogan began his career in the food industry with Maple Leaf Foods, of which Greenleaf is a subsidiary, most recently serving as Senior Vice President, Marketing, Innovation, Research and Development. Prior to that, he was Vice President and General Manager of Customer Business Teams, where he helped shape one of the largest transformation agendas in Canadian food history.
Grogan graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration in 1998 and with an MBA from York’s Schulich School of Business in 2003. In 2013, he won the Generation Next Award which recognizes a leader under the age of 40 for Outstanding Innovation and Contribution to Canadian Grocery Industry.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 Research & Development and Food Technology Officer
Maple Leaf Foods
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
The Good Food Institute
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.
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
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.
Founder & Principal
Morgan Oliveira is the co-founder of Planet Reserves, a blog and podcast dedicated to the stories of those building companies to save the planet. She's also 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 JUST), a food technology company that is currently valued at over $1B, which has received investment from a number of global billionaires including from Li Ka-shing, one of the wealthiest men in Asia, Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures, and Marc Benioff, CEO & co-founder of Salesforce. It was here that 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, a startup in Los Angeles, 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. Morgan, a RI native, is now based in NYC having spent over seven years living in LA and San Francisco. When she’s not working, she enjoys running, spinning, and has love for all karaoke bars, big and small.
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.
Chief Scientific Adviser
Farmer Lee Jones
The Chef's Garden
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sensory Scientist II
Sensory Scientist with 10+ years of experience working on fragrances, home cleaning, personal care and food.