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.
Vice President, Research & Development
Glanbia Performance Nutrition
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.
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.
Vice President of Research & Development
Claire Kerr is Vice President of Research and Development for Bakkavor USA. She oversees the product development strategy for Bakkavor in the US across 5 manufacturing locations, focusing on a number of fresh prepared food categories including meals, hummus, soup, bread and burritos in private label. Bakkavor is a UK-based company with global revenue exceeding $2.4MM annually.
With over 20 years’ experience in fresh prepared foods at Bakkavor, Claire has extensive knowledge associated with short shelf life, clean label foods. She was instrumental in the development of innovative new ranges for top retailers in the UK and leading regional grocers in the US. Claire is passionate about developing high quality fresh prepared food offerings across the US to meet the ever changes demands of retailers and consumers. She is also passionate about passing on her knowledge to the next generation and growing talent.
Claire grew up in a small village in the east of England countryside where there was a tightknit community, those early days of her childhood showed her the importance of family and communities that support each other, which transfer into her working life today. She moved to the US seven years ago with her husband and son. Claire loves to cook and entertain others and travel to new places. She has a weakness for thrifting/antiquing, as ‘there’s always something fun to buy!’, and Claire’s creativity and crafting capabilities are one of a kind.
Director of R&D Columbus Craft Meats
Jeff is nationally acclaimed marketing strategist and speaker, specializing in igniting food and beverage brands. He is best known for helping to create GOT MILK?, widely recognized as one of the best, most influential campaigns in advertising history.
Jeff is a powerful and highly entertaining speaker who uses witty, often hilarious Got Milk? creative to drive home serious, pivotal points about strategic innovation and disruptive ideation. Jeff speaks nationally and internationally on a range of subjects including innovation, ideation, brand potency and on how marketing might help end world hunger. He is currently leading the development of a Food Innovation Center for the state of Utah. An independent consultant, Jeff lives in Northern California, epicenter of food and menu innovation and spawning ground for numerous early stage food brands.
Prior to GOT MILK?, and his position as CEO of the California Milk Processor Board, Jeff had extensive ad agency experience with Grey, Ted Bates, JWT, McCann Erickson and Ketchum. His clients included a range of CPG companies, including P&G, Clorox, Con Agra, Pillsbury and Safeway Stores.
He is considered a leader in association and category marketing and has helped reposition commodities such as beef, eggs, potatoes, dairy, cereal, raisins, strawberries and tart cherries.
Jeff is a prolific writer. He authored GOT MILK? The Book, and continues to write numerous articles on subjects ranging from managing creative resources to marketing non-profits to getting the best service from the service sector.
Chief Innovation Officer
Dairy Farmers of America
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.
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.
VP of Research & Development
Co-Founder & CEO
Next Gen Foods
Andre Menezes is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Next Gen, a Singapore-based food tech company with a mission to create delicious and satisfying food products, all with the power of plants.
A Brazilian native, Andre has spent his career working in various capacities and multiple countries, creating long-lasting relationships along the way. A passionate learner, he's delved into multiple verticals including energy, private equity, agribusiness, and of course, deeply into the F&B space.
Prior to co-founding Next Gen, Andre served as General Manager of Country Foods Singapore, the largest meat distributor and processor in the country, as well as the company responsible for scaling Impossible Foods from a newcomer on the scene, to a household name in the region. Through this work, he met co-founder, Timo Recker, which led to the idea and establishment of Next Gen in Singapore.
Andre has worked in food and beverage for nearly a decade, including seven years at BRF, the largest poultry exporter in the world, and has risen in recent years to become a pioneer in the plant-based scene in Asia. His knowledge in distribution and processing F&B products has been recognized by leading food tech companies around the world. Andre is driven not only by the mission of Next Gen, but the potential to leave a lasting, positive impact for future generations to come.