Past NOSH Live Speakers
Speakers will be announced closer to the event. Please check back for updates.
Co-Founder & Chief Organic Optimist, Stonyfield Farm
Gary Hirshberg is Co-Founder and Chief Organic Optimist of Stonyfield Farm, the world’s leading organic yogurt producer, and the author of Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World (Hyperion, 2008). Gary frequently speaks on topics including sustainability, organic agriculture and the profitability of green business. Gary serves on several corporate and non-profit boards, including Blue Apron, Forager, Orgain, Peak Organic Brewing, and UNreal chocolates as well as Advisory Board member for Applegate. He has received 12 honorary doctorates and numerous awards for corporate and environmental leadership including a 2015 Champion for Children Award from Mount Sinai Hospital’s Children’s Environmental Health Center and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the US EPA.
Founder & ChairMom, Happy Family Brands
Shazi Visram is an entrepreneur and mother committed to bettering the world through business that is socially, financially, and environmentally enlightened. Visram is the Founder and ChairMom of Happy Family Brands, which she led to become the #1 organic baby food company in the US market with disruptive innovations that have democratized organic food for new families. Visram's business focus is rooted in an unflinching dedication to the health and wellness of children and families around the world. As an advocate of social entrepreneurship, Visram is actively engaged as an investor and advisor to companies innovating for a brighter future, including EpiBone, Bulletproof, Ovia Health, Frontier Nutrition, and Recycle Track Systems. Additionally, Visram holds a seat on the board of Environmental Working Group and serves on the Board of Overseers at her alma mater, Columbia Business School.
Co-Founder & CEO, Once Upon A Farm
John is the Co-founder and CEO of Once Upon A Farm, a company on a mission to build a purpose driven brand focused on reinventing a number of kid-food categories in the US toward better health & nutrition, while driving significant positive social and environmental impact. Company information can be found at www.onceuponafarmorganics.com. Prior to his new start-up, John spent more than 30 years in the natural and organic food industry running businesses with a sharp focus on sustainability and social responsibility. John was the longtime leader of Annie’s, Inc., a leading natural & organic food brand, in the US from 1999 to 2017. As CEO of Annie’s, he took the company public in 2012 under the symbol BNNY before General Mills acquired the business in 2014 for $820 million. For the following three years John ran the Annie’s operating unit and also advised General Mills’ small business incubator 301, Inc. He was recognized as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year® 2015 in Northern California. In August 2017, he transitioned into a new role as Chairman of the Bunny, where he continues to work with General Mills to drive leadership in company culture, organic and regenerative agriculture, and strategy support. Foraker received a B.S. in agricultural economics from UC Davis and an MBA from UC Berkeley.
Director, Retail Brand Partnerships, Starbucks
Deb joined Starbucks 5 years ago, and for the past year has led the Retail Brand Partnerships team. She and her team run the snack category across North America and have the enviable task of finding new food brands for Starbucks stores that customers can feel good about—ones made with simple, pure ingredients and crafted with love and care. Prior to working with food entrepreneurs to build a snack business for Starbucks stores, Deb spent 12 years in traditional consumer packaged goods. At Starbucks she created the shopper marketing and shopper insights function from the ground up, and managed various coffee brands for the FDMC channel including Starbucks packaged coffee, Seattle’s Best, and VIA Instant coffee. At Kimberly-Clark she worked in various brand management and innovation roles. There she managed the creation of multi-brand marketing programs and the brand and shopper marketing efforts for the U by Kotex® launch, which won numerous awards including an IRI product Pacesetter, a Silver Effie for Shopper Marketing, and a Gold Hub Prize. Prior to Kimberly-Clark, Deb worked as a consultant with several leading retailers for Kurt Salmon. Deb has an undergraduate degree from Texas A&M and an MBA from Goizueta Business School at Emory University.
Director of Business Development & 7-Ventures, 7-Eleven
Marisa Bertha is the Director of Business Development & 7-Ventures. She joined 7-Eleven in 2013 as a part of the internal strategy group and transitioned to BD & 7-Ventures in 2015. Her team’s mission is to ensure 7-Eleven leads the marketplace as the destination for customers to find new and innovative products and services. Marisa leads the discovery, testing and investment in startups to help 7-Eleven maintain engagement and relevance with the ever-changing consumer. Previously, Marisa worked at Deloitte Consulting where she partnered with Fortune 500 clients on large-scale business transformations. Marisa holds a BBA from Southern Methodist University and an MBA from Duke University Fuqua School of Business.
Vice President of Foods, Unilever North America
Matthew McCarthy heads up Unilever’s Food business in North America. In his 20 years with the company Matthew has cultivated a diverse path in marketing and general management working across Foods and Personal Care. He has led a wide range of iconic consumer brands and has a passion for building teams and creating transformative growth. Matthew has received a number of industry recognitions including Cannes Gold Lion, One Show Gold Pencil, IAB MIXX and Adweek’s Brand Genius award. As Vice President Foods NA Matthew is a member of Unilever’s US country board and global Foods Leadership team. Matthew’s wife Lisa is a director at the Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Society and together they are actively involved in their personal passions of animal welfare and social justice.
Managing Director, Piper Jaffray
Janica Lane is a managing director at Piper Jaffray focused on providing investment banking and M&A advisory services to consumer companies in healthy, active and sustainable living industries, with a focus on food and beverage, as well as nutritional supplements. Prior to joining Piper Jaffray, Lane was a partner at Partnership Capital Growth, a boutique investment bank providing M&A and private placement services to health and wellness-oriented businesses. Prior to investment banking, Lane was a researcher at Stanford University’s Center for Environmental Science and Policy (CESP) and an equity research associate on Prudential Securities’ energy team. Lane has a Master of Business Administration degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She received dual bachelor's degrees (international relations and Spanish) with Phi Beta Kappa honors from Stanford University. She spent six months living in Santiago, Chile, as part of her undergraduate education and is fluent in Spanish.
Chairman, Beyond Meat; TeaEO, Honest Tea
Seth Goldman co-founded Honest® Tea in 1998 with Professor Barry Nalebuff of the Yale School of Management. In March 2011, Honest Tea was acquired by The Coca-Cola Company, helping to further the reach and impact of Honest Tea’s mission by becoming the first organic and Fair Trade brand in the world's largest beverage distribution system. Today, Honest Tea is the nation’s top selling ready-to-drink organic bottled tea and Honest Kids® is the nation’s top-selling organic kids’ juice drink. The brands are carried in more than 130,000 outlets in the United States, including all Wendy’s, Chik-fil-A, and SUBWAY restaurants. In 2016 Honest Tea’s distribution expanded to Europe. In 2016, Seth transitioned to a new role at Honest Tea as TeaEO Emeritus and Innovation Catalyst for Coca-Cola’s Venturing & Emerging Brands business unit. This transition allows him to take on an additional role as Executive Chairman of Beyond Meat, a privately held California-based enterprise on the cutting edge of plant-based protein research and development. In 2015 Seth was named the #1 Disruptor by Beverage World, and Beverage Executive of the Year by Beverage Industry magazine; he was also inducted into the Washington DC Business Hall of Fame. Seth has also been recognized by the United States Healthful Food Council with a REAL Food Innovator Award for helping change the food landscape by providing options that are healthier for both the body and the planet. Seth serves on the advisory boards of Ripple Foods, the Yale School of Management, the American Beverage Association, and Bethesda Green (a local sustainability non-profit he co-founded). He graduated from Harvard College (1987) and the Yale School of Management (1995), and is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute. Seth and Barry are the authors, along with graphic artist Soongyun Choi, of The New York Times bestseller Mission in a Bottle. The book, told in comic book form, captures their efforts to create a mission-driven business in a profit-driven world. Seth lives with his wife and three sons near Honest Tea’s Bethesda, MD headquarters in an eco-friendly house.
Founder, Sonoma Brands
Jon founded Sonoma Brands in January 2016 to invest in high-growth, emerging consumer brands and selectively incubate new concepts. Through Sonoma Brands, Jon intends to build a leading growth equity fund exclusively focused on the CPG space. As a successful entrepreneur with experience in building multiple brands, Jon understands a founder’s need to look beyond capital and select a partner with value-add capabilities around sales, marketing, supply chain operations, and R&D. Jon oversees current and prospective portfolio investments and leads the firm’s investment and operation teams. Jon began his career steering the sales & marketing for Viansa, his family’s winery, and eventually leading the business as President, becoming one of the most successful destination wineries in the Napa and Sonoma valleys. After helping drive the M&A process leading up to Viansa’s sale, Jon served as Managing Director of wine.com, assisting in the turnaround toward its first profitable quarter. As an avid runner training for the New York City Marathon in 2009, Jon realized the opportunity to turn jerky, a commonly used training food, into something truly special. Influenced by his wine background, Jon founded KRAVE Pure Foods (“KRAVE”) to create a differentiated jerky brand with culinary-inspired flavor profiles and all-natural ingredients. As the Founder and CEO of KRAVE, Jon led one of the most disruptive, fastest growing CPG brands in the industry, culminating in the company’s acquisition by The Hershey Company in 2015.
CEO & Co-Founder, Coolhaus
Natasha Case founded Coolhaus in 2009 with Freya Estreller after she was working in architecture at Walt Disney Imagineering. They launched their architecturally-inspired, unique ice cream sandwich company from their barely driveable postal van at the Coachella Music Festival to an audience of 100,000. They built a loyal following over the festival weekend and returned to LA to an abundance of viral press, a rapidly building social media following, and an eager foodie audience. Since then, Natasha has been named a Forbes 30 under 30 Food & Beverage, Zagat 30 Under 30, Linked in 10 under 35 for Food & Leisure, as well as being featured in many national publications and radio like Cosmo, Dwell, and NPR, and TV shows including Food Network’s Chopped, Barefoot Contessa, Unique Sweets, Good Morning America, King of Cones, Andy Cohen Live and many more. The company has become one of the leading innovative small dessert businesses, growing significantly to include 4 trucks and 2 storefronts in LA, 2 trucks and one cart in NYC, and 4 trucks in Dallas, Texas. Moreover, consumers can now find Coolhaus’ pre-packaged ice cream sandwiches, hand-dipped bars, and hand-packed pints in 6,000+ gourmet grocery stores nationally, including Whole Foods and Gelson's, and larger retailers like Meijer and Safeway, and now internationally in Asia and the Middle East.
Founder & CEO, Presence Marketing
Bill started working in a natural food store when he was 16 and began reading books on nutrition and healthy living at a fervent pace. Paavo Airola, Norman Walker and Paul Bragg were some of the early natural food enthusiasts who influenced his lifestyle choices, along with the inimitable Dr. John R. Christopher, an early pioneer in herbal medicine. After nearly a dozen years of working in the Natural Products Industry, in varied roles within the sales and retail sectors, he launched Presence Marketing in January, 1990. He is surrounded by a dedicated cast of creative and intelligent people who carry out the mission of bringing healthy products to consumers, with great energy, passion, and resolve. With nearly 35 years of industry experience, he is uniquely qualified to lead Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence during booming as well as unstable economic times. His passion for sustainable agriculture, healthy foods and integrated medicine are key drivers behind his commitment to continue building Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence, the only independently owned, national - natural products brokerage in the United States.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Chief Brand Officer & Co-Founder, Foodstirs
Sarah Michelle Gellar is a Golden Globe nominee and Emmy winning actress best known for her roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ABC’s All My Children, CBS’s The Crazy Ones, and Cruel Intentions among others. Off screen, Gellar lends her time and support to child and hunger organizations as an advocate and activist. She works closely with No Kid Hungry and Baby Buggy as well as the nonprofit organization CARE. In October 2015, Gellar stepped into a new role as entrepreneur, co-founding Foodstirs (www.foodstirs.com) along with Galit Laibow and Gia Russo. Foodstirs is a culinary lifestyle brand that offers convenient, delicious and healthier ways to bring families together in the kitchen. From creative cooking kits to premium signature baking mixes, Foodstirs inspires creativity and curiosity, while emphasizing the importance of a healthier lifestyle.
President, Emerging Brands Unit, The Hershey Company
Will Lisman is the President of the Emerging Brand Unit at The Hershey Company. Formed in 2017, the Emerging Brand Unit is a new independent operating division at Hershey that includes barkTHINS, KRAVE, Brookside along with other incubator snack brands. In this new leadership role, Will is spearheading Hershey’s snacking transformation by building a new unit to cultivate its emerging brands and a platform for future M&A. Prior to leading the Emerging Brand Unit, Will was General Manager of barkTHINS following Hershey’s acquisition of the business in 2016. At barkTHINS, Will worked hand-in-hand with its founder, Scott Semel, and management team to accelerate growth, build the brand, and upgrade its supply chain. Prior to this, Will held executive roles in Marketing and Corporate Strategy at Hershey. Will joined Hershey in 2012 from the The Parthenon Group, a management consulting firm in Boston, where he advised consumer private equity and venture capital firms and their portfolio companies on critical issues in strategy, operations, and M&A. Will holds an MBA with distinction from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a B.S. in Management from Boston College.
Senior VP of Merchandising & Product Development, Thrive Market
A twenty-five year veteran of the Natural Products industry, Jeremiah has been on all sides of the business and supply chain, literally from seed to shelf. Thrive Market’s Senior Vice President of Merchandising + Product Development, Jeremiah also served for 7 years as the Executive Global Coordinator for the Beauty, Apparel & Wellness categories at Whole Foods Market, a $1.5 billion annual division of the business during his tenure. During his time at WFM, he pioneered multiple, industry changing, quality standard initiatives including natural beauty standards (AKA WFM’s Premium Body Care standard), organic labeling requirements for personal care, and the largest ever sustainable packaging guidelines for a major retailer later adopted by WalMart. Jeremiah is also a passionate advocate for and creator of Fair Trade standards that changed the natural products landscape. In addition to developing hundreds of branded products that line natural food store shelves and managing the Whole Foods & 365 private label brands, he also helped Dr. Andrew Weil develop his branded product platform. Thrive Market launched in November 2014 and has skyrocketed to become the largest national Non-GMO food retailer in the US while democratizing access to natural + organic foods for all Americans. Jeremiah was part of the startup team and built the initial product launch catalog and also is responsible for Thrive Market’s premium quality, yet value priced, private label program. Since December 2015, Thrive has launched over 370 private label items with over 500 more products in the pipeline scheduled for launch in 2018 & beyond! 98% of the items launched to date are Certified Organic with a focus on regenerative agriculture practices as well. Jeremiah and his team spend countless hours sourcing the highest quality, organic + non-GMO products so that Thrive Market Members can feel confident they are getting the absolute best for themselves and their families everyday. When not working as an eco-superhero, he can be found in the Texas Hill Country practicing hot vinyasa yoga, spending time with his daughters, or checking the surf report and planning his next escape to the coast.
CEO & Founder, Biena Snacks
Poorvi Patodia launched Biena Snacks in 2012, when the plant-based protein snack trend was still in its infancy. Inspired by a favorite childhood snack, she started experimenting with roasted chickpeas in her own kitchen, and ultimately came up with a unique roasting process that resulted in a light and crispy texture, that maintained the protein, fiber and nutrients of a whole chickpea. Today, Biena Snacks has reached national distribution with availability in over 14,000 retail locations, secured dozens of "best snack" awards and recently introduced a first-of-its-kind line of chocolate-covered roasted chickpeas, which includes a Girl Scout Cookie™-Inspired Thin Mints™ flavor that launches in June. Poorvi has been recognized as an emerging business leader, being featured as a "Rising Star" CEO among the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies in 2017, and one of Food Navigator USA’s “Entrepreneurs to Watch. Poorvi has her MBA from Duke University Fuqua School of Business, and lives in Boston with her husband and two daughters. She frequently mentors other budding food entrepreneurs in the Boston area, offering guidance to help grow and produce more successful local businesses.
Founder, Green Park Brands & HIPPEAS
CEO & Co-Founder, RXBAR
Managing Director, CircleUp
Alison Ryu is a Managing Director at CircleUp, the investment platform providing capital and resources to early-stage consumer brands. In her role, Alison leads investments out of CircleUp Growth Partners, a data-driven, scalable fund which leverages CircleUp's proprietary technology Helio to invest in visionary founders. Prior to CircleUp, Alison was a Vice President at TSG Consumer, where she invested in consumer and retail brands. She also spent a year on the executive team of Backcountry.com, one of the TSG Consumer portfolio companies, where she led brand marketing and product development. Before TSG, Alison worked in investment banking at J.P. Morgan in the Consumer & Retail Group.
Founder & CEO, Chef'd
Kyle is the founder and CEO of Chef'd, the only nationally distributed omni-channel perishable food platform in the U.S. Mr. Ransford is a proven entrepreneur who has successfully started several businesses, including Cardinal Investments and Bank of Manhattan. He has extensive investment banking experience, having previously worked at Hoolihan Lokey and Halcyon Asset Management, LLC. Mr. Ransford has been on the other side of the transaction as well, having successfully raised more than $50M for his own startup companies.
Founder & CEO, Daily Harvest
Rachel Drori is the founder and CEO of Daily Harvest, the direct-to-consumer brand blending health and innovation to provide delicious superfoods straight to your freezer. Founded in 2015, Daily Harvest was launched as a solution to Rachel’s own daily challenge: squeezing in healthy, nutritious meals into her busy life. From the early days of hand-delivering homemade smoothies from her car, Rachel has built Daily Harvest into one of the fastest-growing nutritional food brands in the U.S. The company has over 100k subscribers, delivering activated breakfast bowls, “nice cream” sundaes, and soups to freezers across the U.S. Today, Rachel continues to reimagine ‘frozen fresh’ to make health foods convenient without sacrificing nutrition or taste. Prior to founding Daily Harvest, Rachel harnessed her skills as a customer-centric marketing executive, leading teams at Gilt Groupe, American Express, and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Columbia Business School. She currently resides in New York City with her family.
Founder & CEO, Saffron Road
Mr. Durrani is the CEO and founder of American Halal Co, Inc. — which markets the Saffron Road brand line of culinary cuisines and plant based protein snacks. Saffron Road is the first halal product to be sold nationally in the USA. Whole Foods has noted Saffron Road as being one of the most successful brand launches nationally in their 30-year history. Saffron Road is now a leading Natural/Organic PLATFORM brand and is sold in over 20,000 retail food stores. According to A.C. Nielson/SPINS Scantrak, Saffron Road is the fastest growing natural frozen entrée brand in USA and nationally ranked #2. Mr. Durrani is a serial entrepreneur and investment professional for almost 30 years, as President of Condor Ventures, Inc., a venture firm devoted to strategic investing in natural food companies. His entrepreneurial ventures have resulted in a successful track record of scaling and growing niche beverage and natural food product lines into mainstream branded companies that also deliver disruptive social impact. Mr. Durrani founded Vermont Pure in 1991. Today, Vermont Pure/Crystal Rock is the 2nd largest bottled water company in the Northeast. Mr. Durrani was also a partner in Stonyfield Farms, Inc., which was sold to Groupe Danone in 2001. He was also a principal of Delicious Brands, Inc., which he scaled, with the financial backing of Carl Icahn, to become the 5th largest cookie brand in the U.S. Adnan also sits on the Board of Directors of Maple Hill Creamery.
Founder, Primal Kitchen
Ancestral health pioneer and ex-endurance athlete Mark Sisson is the bestselling author of the Primal Blueprint and Primal Endurance, and blogger at the top-rated health and fitness website MarksDailyApple.com. He is the founder of several companies: Primal Nutrition, LLC—devoted to designing state-of-the-art supplements that address the challenges of living in the modern world, Primal Kitchen®—delivering uncompromisingly delicious, nutrient-dense foods that are always dairy/gluten/grain/soy free and full of beneficial fats and high-quality protein, Primal Kitchen Restaurants—a franchise of primal/paleo-aligned restaurants that offer healthy, clean and organic fast-casual dining options, and Primal Health Coach—offering an unparalleled and fully-rounded health coaching and business education. Join Mark as he shares over 30 decades of research and experiential learning and unlocks the keys to building metabolic flexibility, becoming a fat-burning beast and taming hunger and cravings forever.
EVP of Sales, La Colombe
To those in the food and beverage industry, Kyle O’Brien is considered a modern-day visionary. He has a unique ability to identify great entrepreneurs and industry-changing products before they launch and help bring them to market. From Greek yogurt, to sliced and bagged apples, Kyle has carved an impressive notch across the food and beverage landscape. His approach is simple: combine natural ingredients, innovation, and a human element to yield market giants and epic brands. At 22 years old, O’Brien first focused his talent alongside a young entrepreneur whose plan it was to preserve sliced apples by using natural ingredients, such as Vitamin C, and suspending them in gas-flushed, breathable pouches. Kyle then pitched it to accounts from McDonalds to major school districts across the country, and the rest is history. O’Brien then met another talented craftsman, Hamdi Ulukaya, and was introduced to his yet-to-launch Greek yogurt company, Chobani, which would fundamentally change the world of yogurt. As a Partner and EVP of Sales, O'Brien built the sales and distribution structure and grew the business from its first cup into America’s #1 selling yogurt, capturing nearly 40% market share. His drive and commitment didn’t stop there, and O’Brien is not one to retire early. Next, O’Brien identified a new category-changing product and visionary entrepreneur, the Draft Latte, invented by Todd Carmichael, Co-Founder and CEO of La Colombe. O'Brien seamlessly assumed the role of Executive Vice President of Sales at La Colombe and immersed himself in the product and culture. Within months, he assembled a sophisticated nation-wide logistics, brokerage, and distribution network, paving the way for La Colombe’s Draft Latte to assume its position on every shelf and refrigerated case in America.
Managing Partner, Boulder Investment Group Reprise
Carole Buyers is a Managing Partner at Boulder Investment Group Reprise (BIGR) a venture fund that invests in early-stage natural and organic food & beverage companies. Carole has been involved with investments & the natural foods industry for over 20 years. As one of the first analysts to cover Whole Foods, she has had a front row seat as the story of this now powerful sector has emerged. Carole has worked with RBC Capital on the sell-side and The Boston Company on the buy-side. In 2008, she left financial services, taking a leadership role in corporate finance and investor relations with Gaiam. In 2010, Carole joined Boulder Brands, Inc., to lead Investor Relations & Business Development. At Boulder Brands, Carole was responsible for the Company’s investor relations program, managing relationships and communications with the investment community. In addition, Miss Buyers managed mergers and acquisitions for Boulder Brands and identified and led the processes to acquire Udi’s, Glutino and EVOL. These acquisitions marked the initiation of the transformation of Boulder Brands to the natural foods powerhouse it is today. Carole was also one of three Directors of the Boulder Brands Investment Group (BBIG), an incubator fund which provided minority capital and helped natural food & beverage companies accelerate sustainable growth in the natural foods channel. Carole also enjoys time with her husband and children, music, yoga, running, tennis and golf.
Founder/Co-CEO, Halen Brands
Jason Cohen, Founder/Co-CEO, co-founded Mamma Says, Inc. in 1999, a food manufacturing company that produced biscotti. He grew the business from concept to gaining distribution at retail giants such as Costco, BJ’s and Trader Joe’s. In a few years, the company was able to establish a national brand where sales volume doubled year-over- year. In 2005, the business was sold to NONNIS Inc., a portfolio brand of Windpoint Partners for 4x revenue. In 2005, Jason co-founded World Gourmet Marketing, creating better-for- you snacks under the flagship brand Sensible Portions, which included all-natural, low-calorie snacks such as Veggie Straws, Pita Bites and Multi Grain Crisps. Again, his strategic plan was to sell into large format retailers such as Costco first. He then moved on to vendors such as BJ’s, Wal-Mart, Sam’s, ShopRite, Safeway, SuperValu, etc. Under his management, the company achieved double-digit growth and became one of the fastest rising snack food industry purveyors. The company went from $4MM in sales in 2005 to just under $100MM in 2009. In 2010, World Gourmet (and the Sensible Portions brand) sold for $110MM to The Hain Celestial Group, one of the leading providers of organic and natural foods. While at Hain Celestial, Jason served as President of Club and Snack Division, and was responsible for executing the sales strategy for brands such as Terra, Garden of Eatin’ and Sensible Portions. In 2011, Jason founded Rickland Orchards, the first shelf stable Greek yogurt brand. In October 2013, after sales soared to $50 million in just 18 months, the company was sold for $57.5 million to B&G Foods, a public company. In 2013, Jason partnered with the founders of SkinnyPop. SkinnyPop successfully went public in 2015 for 1.4 billion in shareholder value. In 2014, Jason received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Excellence in Emerging category in the New Jersey region. In January 2015, Jason co-founded Halen Brands, Inc., which quickly funded Chef’s Cut Real Jerky in March 2015. Halen Brands then purchased Rex’s Outrageous Road Crew Crunch in September 2015 and most recently partnered with Core Hydration in June 2016. Jason has also invested, raised capital, and previously or currently holds Board Member positions for various companies, mostly in the consumer products space including : Dippin’ Chips and Mrs. Thinster’s, Voli Vodka, Pearl Media, and two apparel companies - Trukfit and Asphalt Yacht Club.
Vice President, Global Snacks, The Hershey Company
Anthony (Tony) Tyree is Vice President, Global Snacks for The Hershey Company. He is responsible for fulfilling the company’s vision of developing a $2 billion snacks portfolio across the globe. In his role, Tony leads the development of the strategic plan for Global Snacks, which translates to country implementation plans across focus markets. Tony’s responsibilities extend beyond organic innovation platforms, like Hershey’s Spreads, Snack mixes and Brookside snacks, to strategic opportunities including mergers and acquisitions (e.g. Krave).
Senior Intelligence Analyst, CB Insights
Zoe Leavitt is a senior intelligence analyst at CB Insights focused on CPG and retail innovation. Zoe's research has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, and more, and Zoe was named the #1 voice in retail for 2018 by LinkedIn. Along with her data-driven reports, she also leads the weekly newsletter CPG Insights. Prior to joining CB Insights, Zoe worked in equity research at Cowen and drove consumer analytics efforts at the consumer finance group of the Bank of China in Shanghai. Zoe graduated from Stanford University with a degree in International Relations.
Brian Rudolph is on a mission to make nutritious food more accessible. At the age of 23, Brian co-founded Banza along with his brother Scott. Banza makes the foods you love better, by using more nutritious ingredients. Less important by far than his pasta, Brian has been featured on Forbes and Inc’s 30 under 30 lists and with Scott on CNBC’s Restaurant Startup. Brian received his BBA from Emory University and is an alumnus of the Venture for America fellowship.
Co-Founder & President, Quest Nutrition
Tom Bilyeu is the co-founder and president of Quest Nutrition and the host of the weekly thought leadership talk show, Inside Quest. Tom and his business partners have been working as a team for 13 years, across multiple companies. Quest Nutrition, however, was the company that broke the mold. Previously driven by an obsessive focus on profitability and companies designed to be sold, Tom and his partners founded Quest with a different vision: building a company with a mission - a company designed to last. To do so, they asked themselves one question, “What would we love doing even if we were failing?” Enter Quest Nutrition. In just five years, Tom has helped grow the company from a modest passion project into the second fastest growing private company in America, with over 57,000% growth in its first three years alone (via Inc. 5000). For Tom the mission of Quest is deeply personal – he wants to save his mom and sister from metabolic disease. To do that he plans to transform the entire food industry by creating foods that taste as good as they are good for you. That’s what makes Quest more than just a food company, it’s a company that will never stop innovating until global nutrition has been freed from the stranglehold of junk food. Tom is a forever student of life. His obsession with mastering skills has molded him into a well-rounded leader, battle-hardened and unafraid to fire moonshots.
Chief Marketing + Innovation Officer, Campbell's Fresh Division
Suzanne Ginestro is the Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer for C-Fresh, the new fresh food division of the Campbell Soup Company. In her role, Suzanne not only leads brand management for the Bolthouse Farms and Garden Fresh Gourmet business units, but also spearheads the strategy & development of new product platforms, partnerships and acquisitions that will enable the C-Fresh Division to expand into more fresh refrigerated categories in the future. Prior to this expanded role, Suzanne was the Chief Marketing Officer for Bolthouse Farms, where she led brand strategy, product marketing, creative development, communications and digital engagement for the Bolthouse Farms fresh carrots, super-premium beverages, and refrigerated salad dressings businesses. Before joining Bolthouse Farms, Suzanne had more than 12 years of marketing experience and held leadership roles in both consumer packaged goods and the retail foodservice industry. Suzanne was the Vice President of Brand Marketing for Pinkberry, the Head of Brand Marketing for Red Bull North America, and held various brand management positions during her tenures at both Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream and Kraft Foods.
Founder, Revelry Brands & Bear Naked
Brendan Synnott is the Founder of Revelry Brands and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of PACT | ORGANIC, makers of super soft organic cotton apparel. Synnott is leading his team to change the apparel industry for good. Synnott has built multiple lifestyle brands from scratch. His work has produced a unique signature across product categories that align with the millennial generation’s evolved relationship with consumption. In 2002, at the age of 23, Synnott co-founded the healthy snack company, Bear Naked that was later acquired by Kellogg. In 2009, he founded Revelry Brands as a vehicle to provide strategy, people and capital to new ventures including co-founding EVOL Foods. Currently, Revelry holdings include the pet care brand I and Love and You, candy brand Little Secrets as well as apparel brand PACT | ORGANIC. With a degree in economics from Vanderbilt University, Synnott has levied his strengths to not only follow his passions, but tap into his competitive and energetic nature, which has included a role with the talent department at Saturday Night Live and a stint as a cast member on CBS’s Survivor.
Strategic Advisor & Former Exec Global Grocery Coordinator, Whole Foods Market
Errol Schweizer has worked to build a more natural and organic food system for more than 20 years. A New York City native, Schweizer previously served as Whole Foods Market’s Executive Global Grocery Coordinator, during which his team helped bring more than 6,000 new products to the U.S. marketplace, and assisted dozens of brands in becoming household names. Their focus on ethical sourcing and product innovation drove profits and growth, while establishing Fair Trade, Organic, and Non GMO as generational shifts in consumer preference, and setting new milestones for quality and transparency in pet foods, cleaning products, HPP beverages, Kosher and Halal products, hemp, grass-fed dairy and eggs, vegan/plant-based ingredients, and much more across more than 80 product categories. Errol also serves on the boards of several organizations dedicated to a better food system, including Demeter USA, Xerces Society, Austin Food Policy Board and Farmshare Austin. His previous experiences include retail food cooperatives, community supported agriculture, urban gardening and many years of GMO labeling advocacy. He and his family reside on a small farmstead outside Austin, Texas
Founder, Project 7
Tyler grew up in a family pet food manufacturing business in the Panhandle of Texas so all he’s known is entrepreneurship and consumer products. Tyler went to school at Texas A&M and came back to work for the family business in 2001. Tyler created a specialty natural pet food brand and division called “Merrick” that was known for its innovative recipes and product quality. It became the best selling can pet food line and natural treat line in pet specialty in the mid 2000’s. It eventually was fully acquired by Nestle in 2015 after the company had partnered with private equity firm Swander Pace. Tyler left the business in 2007 but still served on the board of Merrick in order to start his own entrepreneur dreams. He started a creative agency called 29 Agency and not long after he started incubating Project 7 in the fall of 2008. The vision for the brand was an idea of making a “Newmans Own 2.0” a charitable / philanthropic brand of everyday products across the grocery store. Think brandless before brandless but all about charity. Buy this bag of coffee and provide a meal, buy this pack of gum and plant a tree. They did that for about 5 years and the business was not sustainable anymore… the brand had lost all major customers due to velocity. Merrick relaunched the company in the winter of 2014 as a specialty candy brand. Today Project 7 is in retailers like Target, Starbucks, Cost Plus World Market, Caribou Coffee, Wegmans, HEB, Whole Foods in Q1 of 2018 and specialty stores alike. Tyler married his high school sweetheart from Hereford Texas and they have been married for 16 years. They have 3 daughters and live in Capistrano Beach, CA and their company is headquartered in San Clemente, California.
CEO, Kite Hill
Matthew has spent the last 20 years building disruptive consumer brands that have challenged established industries with products that are better for people and the planet. As the CEO of Kite Hill, Matthew leads the company’s efforts to replace traditional dairy in people’s lives with great tasting, plant-based foods. By marrying patented biochemistry with traditional dairy production techniques, Kite Hill has developed a broad range of cultured nut milk products, including artisanal cheese, cream cheese, yogurt, entrées and even desserts. Kite Hill is now seen as a gold standard in plant-based dairy products. Under Matthew’s leadership, Kite Hill has raised $25 million, most recently closing an $18 million round led by 301 Inc., General Mill’s venture capital arm, and CAVU Venture Partners. Kite Hill’s product leadership and industry influence were recently recognized by Forbes and CircleUp who selected Kite Hill as one of the 25 most innovative consumer brands of 2016 and have been covered by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fortune and numerous other publications. Prior to leading Kite Hill, Matthew was the CMO of Impossible Foods, a company developing plant-based options to one day replace our global reliance on industrially raised meat. Matthew was instrumental in raising upwards of $50 million in capital and introducing the public to the Impossible burger through a feature article in the Wall Street Journal. Matthew hasn’t always worked in the plant-based world. He joined Impossible Foods after founding Fork in the Road Foods, a leading sustainable meat company. Matthew started his food career in strategy at Starbucks and managed several food brands at The Clorox Company after earning his MBA from Cornell’s Johnson School.
EVP, Retailer Services, SPINS
Kathryn Peters has served SPINS for 10 years across numerous key areas of the growing business. Her commitment to and passion for retail inspires her work developing and sustaining valuable retail relationships at the foundation of the SPINS ecosystem. Kathryn’s insight into helping retailers succeed with SPINS is informed by her previous vice president roles in merchandising and marketing at Ahold and BI-LO, LLC. as well as years of category management and sales experience with retailers during her time with Ralston Purina.
CEO, Kodiak Cakes
Joel Clark began selling homemade flapjack mixes out of his red wagon at just 8 years old. Years later, Joel’s brother Jon took the family pancake recipe and started Kodiak Cakes in 1995. Joel took over the company in 1997 while going to college and working other jobs to keep the fledgling pancake business alive, and has been running the company ever since. Headquartered in Park City, Utah, Kodiak Cakes has grown into a multimillion dollar business with products in multiple grocery categories. Joel went to school for his undergraduate degree in economics at the University of Utah, and then went on to get his MBA at Oxford University in England.
Co-Founder and CEO, Sir Kensington's
Mark Ramadan is the Co-Founder and CEO of Sir Kensington's, creators of all-natural, globally inspired condiments. While attending Brown University, Ramadan and his classmate, Scott Norton, were inspired by an article penned by Malcolm Gladwell, titled “The Ketchup Conundrum,” which suggested that it was impossible for new ketchup brands to compete with the nostalgic incumbent, Heinz. From there, Ramadan and Norton made it their mission to disrupt the broader condiment category by not only focusing on taste, but by building a brand identity that celebrated both food education and food entertainment. After two years of testing recipes and creating Sir Kensington’s story, the company launched in June 2010. Prior to Sir Kensington's, Ramadan worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company in New York City, specializing in the consumer goods and travel industries. While completing his undergraduate program at Brown University, Ramadan gained experience at the financial companies Goldman Sachs and Oberon Securities. He graduated in 2008 from Brown with a BA in Economics and International Relations. Ramadan has been featured on Fast Company’s “1000 Most Creative People in Business” and Forbes’ “30 under 30” list.
Founder, Siggi's Dairy
Siggi Hilmarsson was raised in Iceland on a traditional Icelandic diet. After moving to the United States to attend Columbia Business School, Siggi started to miss a staple of his childhood diet; skyr, the traditional Icelandic yogurt he grew up with. Yogurt here in the US had far too many ingredients and was much too sweet for his liking so he took matters into his own hands and started making yogurt in his apartment kitchen. After months of experiments, the skyr showed enough promise and soon moved from Siggi’s kitchen to a local agricultural college in Upstate New York, where the first ‘professional’ batch of siggi’s was made. Within a year, Siggi quit his corporate job, set up formal yogurt production and started selling his products at an outdoor farmers market in New York City. From kitchen to dairy plant, and from a local New York City market to Whole Foods as his first retail customer with national distribution, demand for siggi’s yogurt grew quickly. From inception, simple ingredients and not a lot of sugar has been Siggi’s motto and that still holds true today. Siggi’s homegrown knowledge for yogurt and his passion for reducing sugar in our diets have made him a go-to expert with appearances on national TV such as ABC, CNN and CBS Sunday Morning. He has been recognized by Food & Wine Magazine’s 40 Under 40 and Paper Magazine’s cheeky Beautiful People issue.
Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Powerplant Ventures
Mark was the Founder and CEO of ZICO Beverages, a trailblazer of the $8B global coconut water category and one of the fastest growing beverage brands in the world when the brand was acquired by The Coca-Cola Company in 2013. He is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Powerplant Ventures, a fund that aims to remake the global food system to deliver better nutrition in more sustainable and ethical ways. He is the also the author of "High Hanging Fruit: Build Something Great by Going Where No One Else Will" and speaks around the world on entrepreneurship, the global food system and social impact investing. Mark currently serves as CEO for Beanfields Snacks, an LA-based social impact food company. Mark began his career as a Peace Corps Volunteer and has a BA in business from Marquette University, and an MBA and Masters in Environmental Management from Duke University. He lives with his wife and daughters in Redondo Beach, California.
Founder & CEO, Habit Inc.
Director of Regional Promotions Team, KeHE Distributors
35 years in grocery industry. Each career phase involving Snack foods. From well-known regional brands to nationally distributed market leaders, Michael has used direct store-door distribution, regional DSD and national distributors to reach the retail marketplace. His career has been in traditional grocery sales and marketing comprising the first half, and the current half continues in the Natural/Organic focused segment of the industry. Michael brings insights of marketing both branded and private label Snacks as a direct manufacturer, a broker, and a national distributor. He has watched snacking change from a few flavors of potato chips and a few types of pretzels, to an array of meat, nut fruit and vegetable snacks that in some cases have replaced meals. One thing has remained constant. Snacks are still that impulsive buy no matter what type of consumer is purchasing. And reaching that consumer is actually easier than ever.
Founder & President, Peeled Snacks
Noha Waibsnaider is a leading food entrepreneur and change maker in the healthy, real food movement. Originally from Israel, Noha grew up on a diet of mostly unprocessed foods and snacking on dried fruit. While working at Unilever in brand management, she learned about the preservatives, chemicals, and processing that fills most of our foods. She realized there was a big gap in the marketplace and an opportunity to create snacks that make people feel good about snacking, with food that tastes great and is naturally nutritious. In 2005, she launched Peeled Snacks: a pioneering clean-label organic food brand with simple, recognizable ingredients. Peeled Snacks makes dried fruit with no added sugar or preservatives and Peas Please, savory veggie snacks packed with protein and fiber. With her vision of providing tasty and nourishing snacks everywhere you need a snack, Peeled Snacks are sold in Target, Whole Foods, Wegmans, Giant, Hudson News, Amazon, and many other retailers. The company has ranked on the Inc. 5000 List of America’s Fastest Growing Companies for four years, has been featured in Oprah’s O List, and received Healthy Snack awards from Health Magazine and Fitness Magazine. Noha has been recognized as a White House Champion of Change, Women Presidents Organization’s 50 Fastest, JWI Woman to Watch, Columbia Business School’s Distinguished Alumna, and received the Ecademy Award for Entrepreneurship. In 2007, Noha founded the NY Foodie Companies group to promote sustainable local food businesses in NY, now with 1,200 members.
President & CEO, Consumer Insight Inc.
For more than 25 years, Lempert, an expert analyst on consumer behavior, marketing trends, new products and the changing retail landscape, has identified and explained impending trends to consumers and some of the most prestigious companies worldwide. Known as The Supermarket Guru® Lempert is a distinguished author and speaker who alerts customers and business leaders to impending corporate and consumer trends, and empowers them to make educated purchasing and marketing decisions. As one of America’s leading consumer trend-watchers and analysts, Phil Lempert is recognized on television, radio and in print. For twenty plus years Phil has served as food trends editor and correspondent for NBC News’ Today show, reporting on consumer trends, food safety and money-saving tips, as well as showcasing new products, as well as regular appearances on ABC’s The View, FOX Business, Dr. Oz, The Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, CNN, CNBC, FOX, as well as on local television morning and news programs throughout the country. For almost two decades, he hosted the syndicated show Shopping Smart on the WOR Radio Network and now co-hosts the weekly Lost in the Supermarket podcast on iTunes. Phil Lempert was one of the pioneers of the new information media, founding SupermarketGuru.com in 1994. The website is now one of the leading food and health resources on the Internet, visited by more than 9 million people each year. SupermarketGuru.com offers thorough food ratings, analyzes trends in food marketing and retail, and features health advice, unique recipes, nutrition analysis, allergy alerts and many other resources to help consumers understand their food, health, lifestyle and shopping options. Phil is the founder and editor of The Lempert Report, Food, Nutrition & Science, Facts, Figures & the Future, and The Food Journal. He has been profiled and interviewed by USA Today, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Newsweek and Ad Age, and is interviewed by hundreds of publications each year. He is also a columnist for Forbes.com. He has served on the Executive Committee of Michelle Obama's Chefs Move to School program. He is the founder and CEO of the Retail Dietitians Business Alliance; and has developed and manages Foodservice@Retail: The Great Grocerant educational program for the National Restaurant Association, hosts and manages the Most Innovative Product Awards for the National Confectioners Association, developed the Supermarket Chef Showdown for the Food Marketing Institute, created and managed the Spud Nation Throwdown Competition for the National Potato Council. Lempert is the author of Being the Shopper and Healthy, Wealthy & Wise. His previous books include: Phil Lempert’s Supermarket Shopping & Value Guide, Top Ten Trends for Baby Boomers and Crisis Management: A Workbook for Survival. He is currently working on his next book which documents the important relationship between Millennials and food - YOLO, The Intersection of The Jazz Age with The Millennials' Passion for Food. Phil Lempert graduated from Drexel University with degrees in Marketing and Retail Management and did his Post-Graduate studies at Pratt Institute. He worked at McDonald’s and Howard Johnson’s before joining his family’s food brokerage firm. Lempert went on to create Lempert Advertising, a full-service, award-winning advertising agency that specialized in food and retail branding, marketing and public relations. A resident of California, Lempert’s roots are in the Belleville, New Jersey dairy farm started by his grandfather. The family food tradition carried on through his father’s work as a food manufacturer, distributor and broker and then to Phil Lempert, The Supermarket Guru®.
Founder & Managing Partner, Boulder Food Group
Founder and Managing Partner of Boulder Food Group, Tom previously co-founded EVOL Foods and was the COO of Bear Naked Granola. Under Tom’s management, both businesses were successfully sold to public companies. In addition to his role at BFG, Tom proudly serves on the board of directors of three non-profit organizations including Chef Ann Foundation, Just Label It and Growe Foundation. Chef Ann Foundation and Just Label It are focused at the national level on critical food related issues. The Growe Foundation works with Boulder Valley elementary schools to provide learning opportunities in school gardens. Tom is also the co-founder of the 929 Non-Profit Summer Series which takes place in Boulder, CO each summer. The event series benefits at least five non-profits each year and raises funds on their behalf. Tom was born and raised in Santa Fe, NM. He attended Santa Fe Preparatory School and then Vanderbilt University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with honors and dual degrees in Economics and Spanish. Tom lives in Boulder, CO with his wife and family.
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