Marvin Jiwan has over 15 years of experience working across the food innovation funnel from tactical to strategic, from manufacturing, corporate R&D to Front end innovation. In his latest role, He is currently the Director of Concept Design at Starbucks. Previously, he was Ferrero's Open Innovation Lead for the Americas region. He holds a Master’s in Food Science and Technology from University College Cork, Ireland and an MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University, New York.
Vice President of Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory Compliance
Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin
Adam has been involved in the food industry for 25 years. His career began in retail and food service roles which eventually landed him in quality and research/development roles at several major food companies before finding his home at the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. As the Vice President of Food Safety, Quality & Regulatory Compliance at Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Adam works with Wisconsin dairy industry partners to provide education, training, strategy, and support in the areas of research, food safety, quality, regulatory compliance, sustainability, and crisis communications.
Adam has extensive product and process knowledge in natural cheese, frozen appetizers, dairy and non-dairy-based sauces, dairy ingredients, seasoning blends, and both fresh and frozen meat products. He is also knowledgeable in the areas of new product development, dairy product food safety, process improvement, analytical and microbiological laboratory techniques, and supplier management.
He is a proud Phoenix (University of Wisconsin Green Bay - Chemistry) and Wildcat (Kansas State University – Food Science). He is also a Certified Food Scientist, ASQ Certified Six Sigma Green Belt, ASQ Certified Quality Process Analyst, ASQ Certified Quality Auditor, and Preventive Controls (PCQI) Lead Instructor.
He is currently on the Board of Directors of the American Cheese Society and is a former Chair of the Regulatory & Academic Committee. He is also Chair of Wisconsin Dairy Rules Advisory Committee, Chair of the Wisconsin Laboratory Association, Treasurer for the Wisconsin Association for Food Protection, and Chair of the Wisconsin Agro-Security Resource Network. He has been married for 17 years, has 4 children, and In his spare time, he coaches youth sports and supports local FFA and Master Gardener programs in the state of Wisconsin.
Chairman of the Board
Chicagoland Food & Beverage
Andria is a leading growth expert and Food & Beverage Executive with over 20 years of brand innovation and consumer insights experience across 5 Fortune 1000 companies food companies in the intensely competitive CPG space. She has a proven track record of growth on over 12 brands and 30 categories across food and beverage and at top tier food companies like include Sara Lee, Kellogg, Keebler, and M&M/Mars. She has built two Innovation Centers of Excellence from scratch in her roles as Vice President of Innovation & Strategy at Sara Lee and Vice President of Innovation & Consumer Insights at Johnsonville. At Johnsonville, she 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 during the transformation with a $1 billion growth P&L. Andria is known for scaling for growth and delivering over $2 billion in revenue from sustaining innovation launches like Cheez-It Cheddar Jack, Ball Park Burgers and Gripz. Andria leverages her deep expertise in innovation, brand and strategy by providing advisory services to companies looking to accelerate growth, serving on the boards of Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network, Matot Inc., Neuco, Wesco and University of Florida Business School and speaking on cutting edge topics in the industry.
Innovation Explorer Associate Director
Insights leader. Creative mind. Big picture thinker. Chaos Pilot and agile problem solver. Experience: 16 years of experience in insights, sales, and marketing in local and global roles across different FMCG categories. Currently part of the Global Agile Innovation team focused on building the innovation pipeline for the next 3-5 years. Methodology tester and pilot enthusiast. Sustainability advocate.
Vice President of Technology
Disruptive Innovation Manager
The Kraft Heinz Company
Former VP and GM, Coca-Cola Freestyle and Dispensed Innovation
The Coca-Cola Company
Chris Hellmann was 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.
Chief Science Officer
Director of Research and Development
Fabien Robert is currently head of zone AMS for Nestlé Quality Assurance centres. He has worked for Nestlé for 20 years, dedicated to the enhancement of the quality of life and contributing to a healthier, sustainable future. His past positions within Nestlé have included the Analytical Services Manager and Food Safety Platform Leader in Corporate international HQ, Project Manager in the corporate Nestle Nutrition Operation department, and Project Manager in the corporate Regulatory and Scientific Affairs department. He previously worked for 9 years in R&D at the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne (Switzerland). Fabien graduated from the University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 in France, where he earned, amongst others, his PhD in Organic Chemistry. Following his university completion in France, Fabien earned his post-doctorates in Bio-Organic Chemistry and Organometallic Chemistry from Université de Genève/Sciences II & III in Switzerland. Fabien earns 56 publications in peers reviewed scientific journals and is an experienced speaker in scientific congresses in food chemistry and food safety.
As a former professional baseball player in the Chicago White Sox organization and college coach for the Nebraska Huskers, Jeff Tezak has always had a passion for sports and an interest in sports nutrition since it was always an important component of his performance. Sports nutrition led to an interest in everyday nutrition as he transitioned out of competitive sports. He found a passion for providing himself and others with natural nutrient dense foods while living overseas in Australia, where he started, owned, operated and sold a food company that sourced and sold local products. He returned to the U.S. to coach Division 1 baseball at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and received a Masters Degree in History with a thesis focused on international commodity trading. His passion for nutritionally dense food, trade and sustainability came together when he met one of his co-founders Harrouna from Burkina Faso, who was in graduate school with him. Harrouna introduced Jeff to the baobab fruit and they soon started Tiiga which uses the nutritionally dense, wild harvested baobab fruit.
Joaquin Tirado Escobosa
New Product Design Manager
Ph.D, CHE, CRC Professor in the 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. He is the Founding Program Director of Drexel’s Food Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programs. He is the Vice President of the Upcycled Food Foundation and previously was the inaugural James Beard Foundation Impact Fellow, leading a national curriculum effort on food waste reduction for chefs and culinary educators. He 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 co-author or -editor of eight books including Barbecue: A Global History (with Megan Elias), Culinary Improvisation, and The Anti-Inflammatory Family Cookbook, and numerous articles in food studies journals, 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.
Katie H. Hotze
Founder and CEO
Luis Carlos Chacon
Op-Ed Columnist | Global Consultant Forbes Latin America | BusinessCase
Luis Carlos Chacón leads the BusinessCase team, a global boutique consultancy that works with multinational FMCGs to identify emerging and future business opportunities. Also, he 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 he previously graduated in Strategy and Innovation); his educational background includes studies in Design Thinking of 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, and AbInbev, among many others. Behavioural 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.
Senior Vice President of Nutrition & Environmental Research
Dairy Management Inc.
Michelle L. Slimko, DrPH, MPH, RD, is the senior vice president of Environmental & Nutrition Research at Dairy Management Inc., where she is responsible for the dairy checkoff’s investment in environmental and nutrition research to help position U.S. Dairy in a global food system. Slimko is a registered dietitian and holds a doctorate in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. She also holds a master’s degree in Public Health and bachelor of Nutritional Sciences from Benedictine University. She joined DMI in 2013, leading various science areas translating science, creating public-private partnerships, and shaping the dialogue in global food systems and nutrition. Previous professional roles include working in Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, Medical Communications for Abbott International Nutrition, and Abbott’s global Corporate Health & Wellness and Executive Health Programs. Prior to DMI, she spent almost 10 years at PepsiCo Inc., working on global food and beverage brands in various capacities for international markets, including R&D, innovation, global health policy and supporting U.S. Quaker Brands.
Senior Research Analyst for Food and Beverages
Miri is an economic and organizational sociologist at Northwestern University, specializing in food consumption in the US and Western Europe markets. Highly accomplished academic and winner of the emerging scholar award from the food studies research network in 2021. In addition to her academic career, Miri is a Senior Research Analyst At Euromonitor International, researching the food and beverage industry in the US.
Vice President Marketing
Nicky is the VP Marketing at Aleph Farms. With 15 plus years of experience in marketing and branding across multiple sectors, including finance, biotech, and consumer goods, Nicky leads Aleph Farms' global marketing strategy. She is responsible for driving company growth, new product development, and commercialization into markets all over the globe. Aleph Farms grows beef steaks from non-genetically engineered cells isolated from a living cow without harming animals and significantly reducing the environment's impact. Before Aleph Farms, Nicky was the Managing Director of Spring Design Partners, an award-winning boutique creative agency. She oversaw all aspects of the business and led the agency's focus on working with mission-driven, innovative companies. Before this, Nicky held various in-house leadership positions for cult indie brands such as wellness, One Lucky Duck, and the coffee company Brooklyn Roasting Company. She drove growth through product innovation, marketing strategy, and operations optimization.
Director of Partner Development
Olaf Gruess has over 23 years of experience in the food industry, having led new product development (baked goods, yoghurt, cereal bars, shelf-stable and frozen meals), strategic research initiatives (sodium reduction technology, human taste perception), as well as roles in Marketing, Connected Innovation and early start-up evaluation. Gruess was the Head of Connected Innovation and led strategic partnership development at General Mills’ long-term research platform. Gruess focused on identifying technologies externally, developing implementation strategies for those technologies in the broader organization and developing mutually beneficial external partnerships around the globe. Gruess serves as a judge and mentor at MassChallenge, the world’s most start-up friendly accelerator and the European Food Venture Forum; he was on the Industrial Board of the Integrative Food and Nutrition Center at the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland and serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Institute for Food Technology (DIL). Gruess received his master’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Bonn, Germany and the University of Ghent, Belgium, as well as a PhD in Food Science from the University of Bonn, Germany. Gruess holds several patents and shares his expertise globally through keynotes, summits and conference presentations as Director of Partner Development for Cargill.
Senior Vice President, Growth & Innovation
Rachel Calomeni is the SVP of Growth & Innovation at HowGood, the world’s largest product sustainability database. HowGood’s platform helps brands measure their environmental and social impact, as well as identify opportunities to improve sourcing locations or practices to create products that are better for our planet. Rachel has 25 years of experience working in or alongside consumer goods companies, such as Procter & Gamble. She holds a Law Degree from the University of Western Sydney and an MBA from Fairfield University. Her passion for preserving our planet stems from her childhood, where she grew up in the picturesque Blue Mountains in Australia, a UNESCO World Heritage Listed site.
Rich Dillon is the CEO of leading cultivated meat company Ivy Farm, a disruptive food-tech start-up on a mission to create the best guilt-free, real meat, to tackle one of the world’s biggest climate polluters - industrial agriculture - and to help the world reach its net zero goals.
VP Head of Practice
Evalueserve UK Ltd
Simon Carr is VP and Head of Evalueserve’s CPG practice. He has over 20 years of experience in the CPG space in innovation and IP-based roles. With Mondelez International, he was IP & OI Manager for their global coffee business and Crown Holdings as Global IP Manager. He has a degree in Engineering Design and a Postgraduate Diploma in Strategy and Innovation from the Säid Business School, University of Oxford. He has been a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, appearing in their 2016 production of King Lear.
Santiago Pardo Ferrer
International Business Hunter
Team Food Colombia
Santiago started his career 11 years ago after obtaining a Master's in International Business and Marketing at Grenoble Ecole de Management. His experience and contribution helped the development of brands in a wide range of fields, such as sports, luxury and mass consumption, and having an active role in mentoring the new generation of entrepreneurs as a tutor.