Introducing the FoodNavigator-USA digital summit: Futureproofing the Food System Nov 15-17

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Introducing the FoodNavigator-USA digital summit: Futureproofing the Food System Nov 15-17

Related tags Futureproofing Futureproofing the food system Food tech food as medicine Circular economy Food waste Meat alternatives animal-free dairy Unmetered

The western diet – and the food system that underpins it – is becoming increasingly unsustainable, for the health of humans and the planet. So how do we futureproof the food system to deliver healthier, more sustainable products that nourish our bodies without destroying the environment?

Put another way, how can the food industry stop being part of the problem, and become part of the solution? 

In our FREE-TO-ATTEND digital summit Futureproofing the Food System​ hosted by Elaine Watson and Liz Crawford November 15-17, we will explore three themes over three days via a combination of fireside chats and panel debates with stakeholders​ from across the supply chain, from farm (or bioreactor) to fork…

  • November 15: Food Tech in Focus​ (precision fermentation; meat 2.0; dairy 2.0)
  • November 16: Food as Medicine​ (upgrading the western diet; emerging functional ingredients)
  • November 17: The Circular Economy​ (climate-smart strategies, packaging, food waste, upcycling)

We know not everyone can afford to spend all day attending a virtual event, so we’ve broken down each day into two bite-sized sessions of around 90 minutes, so you can register​ for the whole thing, or pick and mix the sessions you’re most interested in.


biosynth and dairy
​Sustainable Sourcing for Colors, Flavors, and Sweeteners; and plotting a future for dairy… without cows

11am- 12.45pm Central time

PANEL: Biosynthesis: Fermentation and the future of flavors, colors and sweeteners ​Does it always make sense to extract flavors, colors, sweeteners and other food ingredients from plants if you can produce them more efficiently - and more sustainably – via microbial fermentation, ‘cell-free’ approaches or plant cell culture?

  • Dr Joshua Britton, ​founder and CEO, Debut Biotech  
  • Nusqe Spanton, ​founder and CEO, Provectus Algae
  • Dr David Welch, ​CSO and co-founder, Synthesis Capital
  • Ricky Cassini, ​CEO and co-founder, Michroma
  • Dr Erin Marasco, ​global biology lead, Cargill
  • MODERATOR: Elaine Watson​, senior editor, FoodNavigator-USA

PANEL: Dairy 2.0​: Plant-based milks now account for more than 15% of the fluid milk market, while plant-based cheese, creamers, yogurts and ice cream continue to gain traction. So where is the market going next, where’s the white space in the category, and what is the potential of a new wave of ‘animal-free dairy’ products made with real milk proteins and fats, minus the cows?

  • Miyoko Schinner, ​founder and CEO, Miyoko’s Creamery   
  • Dave Ritterbush, ​CEO, Califia Farms   
  • Matt Gibson, ​co-founder and CEO, New Culture
  • Sonia Huppert,​ global innovation marketing leader, re-imagine protein, IFF
  • MODERATOR: Elaine Watson​, senior editor, FoodNavigator-USA

afternoon future of meat

1.30pm-3pm Central time

FIRESIDE CHAT: Cell-cultured (a.k.a. ‘cultivated’) meat: Foodtech fantasy or the future of meat?

Dr Elliot Swartz, lead scientist, cultivated meat, The Good Food Institute and Elaine Watson, senior editor, FoodNavigator-USA

Growing meat from cells in bioreactors instead of living breathing animals should logically be more efficient, as resources are spent on growing only the cells that make up the meat product rather than keeping an animal alive. So is cultivated meat a no brainer, or does the technology face ‘intractable’ problems at food scale?

PANEL: Meat 2.0: ​With weakening sales in the alt-meat segment prompting some serious soul-searching, what does the future hold for meat alternatives, how do the available options stack up, what will distinguish the winners from the losers in the category, and how do consumers feel about the next generation of meat?

  • Ethan Brown, ​founder and CEO, Beyond Meat 
  • Dr Lisa Dyson, ​founder and CEO, Air Protein
  • Dr Tyler Huggins​, co-founder, Meati Foods
  • Abena Foli, ​head of regulatory affairs, Orbillion Bio
  • MODERATOR: ​Elaine Watson, senior editor, FoodNavigator-USA


​Upgrading the Western Diet

11am- 12.30pm Central time

FIRESIDE CHAT:  Is the western diet slowly killing us? ​The western diet – and the modern world, from antibiotic use to hyper-sanitary environments – are wreaking havoc with our microbiome and our metabolic system, so how can we shift consumption patterns in a healthier direction? 

Dr. Charles Platkin, executive director and founder Center for Food As Medicine and Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center​, and Liz Crawford, deputy editor, FoodNavigator-USA

Presentation from IFF Nourish

PANEL: From produce prescriptions to medically tailored meals and personalized nutrition: Integrating nutrition into the healthcare system​ Food is a central force of life – giving us the fuel we need to go about our days, but unfortunately it us also the number one cause of poor health in America with an estimated 700,000 deaths annually related to what we eat. Food doesn’t have to be the enemy though. So how can we boost access and affordability to healthy food through innovative public-private partnerships that bring together retailers, manufacturers, health care providers, insurers and national leaders?

  • Amy Jolin, ​development director, Wholesome Wave
  • Leslie Jefferson, ​community health program manager, Giant Food
  • Mark Walker, ​co-founder and CEO, Dugout Ventures
  • MODERATOR: Liz Crawford, ​deputy editor, FoodNavigator-USA

​Hot & Emerging Functional Ingredients

1.30pm- 3pm Central time

FIRESIDE CHAT:  Mushrooms for health with Dr Sandra Carter, founder, Om Mushroom Superfood, and Liz Crawford, deputy editor FoodNavigator-USA

From cordyceps and reishi to chaga, lion’s mane, turkey tail and shiitake, so-called ‘medicinal’ mushrooms are gaining traction in foods and beverages, buoyed by growing interest in adaptogens and immunity. But as with any trending functional ingredients, buyers should do their homework.

Presentation:  Dr Justin Green, director of scientific affairs, EpiCor (Cargill)

PANEL: From immune support to mood moderation: A spotlight on hot and emerging functional ingredients ​COVID-19 has accelerated interest in foods and beverages that support the immune system, with scores of brands now seeking to fortify their shots, beverages, and snacks with vitamins, minerals, probiotics, botanicals, and other ingredients claimed to support the body’s natural defenses. We explore what consumers are looking for, which ingredients brands are looking to, and whether this is a fad, or a sustainable trend.

  • Scott Frohman, ​founder an CEO, Odyssey Wellness
  • Jim Simon, ​founder and CEO, JimmyBar!
  • Rachel Yarcony, ​founder and co-CEO, MyAir
  • Dr Justin Green, ​director of scientific affairs, EpiCor (Cargill)
  • MODERATOR: Liz Crawford, ​deputy editor, FoodNavigator-USA


​What does Sustainable Sourcing Really Mean?

11am- 12.45pm Central time

PANEL: The climate smart roadmap… ​Pretty much every food & beverage brand now makes some kind of appeal to the consumer about its green credentials, spanning everything from ‘carbon-neutral’ and ‘sustainably-sourced’ to ‘climate-friendly,’ ‘water-positive,’ ‘regeneratively-farmed’ and ‘zero-waste.’ But how do industry buyers – and consumers – assess these claims, make meaningful comparisons between products in the same category, and stay alert to the ever-present threat of greenwashing? 

  • João Brites, ​director of growth & innovation, HowGood  
  • Jeremiah McElwee, ​chief merchandising officer, Thrive Market
  • Matthew Hayek, ​assistant professor in the department of environmental studies, NYU
  • Andrew Utterback, ​senior manager sustainability, Ingredion
  • MODERATOR: Elaine Watson​, senior editor, FoodNavigator-USA

Presentation- Andrew Utterback, ​senior manager sustainability, Ingredion

PANEL: Sustainable packaging… from recyclable to compostable to re-usable, to edible packaging ​What progress is the industry making on reducing the environmental impact of food packaging, and what needs to change within industry or at a regulatory level to make this happen?

  • Christine Yeager​, director of sustainability, Coca-Cola Company North America
  • John Hewitt​, VP Packaging and Sustainability, Consumer Brands Association 
  • Sadrah Schadel​, co-founder and CEO, No Evil Foods​,   
  • Anne Greven, ​Global Head of Food and Agribusiness Innovation and the FoodBytes! platform, Rabobank
  • MODERATOR: Liz Crawford​, deputy editor, FoodNavigator-USA

​Food Waste & Upcycling in Focus

1.30pm- 3pm Central time

FIRESIDE CHAT Sherri Livengood, director of environmental affairs, Danone North America, and Elaine Watson, senior editor, FoodNavigator-USA

‘Food waste… an invisible tax on the entire food system…’ ​Waste is generated at every level of the food supply chain, from produce that never makes it off the farm to byproducts of industrial food production from acid whey to sugary wastewater. So how can food companies reduce the waste they produce and divert waste from landfill to be reused, recycled, or composted?

PANEL: Upcycling in focus: From ‘rescued produce’ to barley milk from brewer’s spent grains​ From snacks made with coffee fruit, and pale ale made from surplus bread, to nutrition bars made with spent grains, enterprising startups are exploring innovative ways to square the circle and create value-added products and aspirational brands using byproducts from food processes or ingredients that would otherwise be thrown away. We bring together CPG brands to explore how they built brands and supply chains using upcycled ingredients, how they communicate the benefits to consumers, and what new ingredients or opportunities they are exploring.

  • Turner Wyatt, ​CEO, Upcycled Food Association
  • Caroline Cotto, ​co-founder and COO, Renewal Mill 
  • Dan Kurzrock​, founder, ReGrained
  • Molly Laverty​, senior manager of ESG, Del Monte Foods
  • MODERATOR: Liz Crawford​, deputy editor, FoodNavigator-USA

To find out more about this FREE event​, ​which is sponsored by EpiCor postbiotic (Cargill)​, IFF​, Ingredion​, Cargill​, and FoodBytes! By Rabobank​, Amano Enzyme​, Evergrain (ABInBev)​, Spoonshot​, and Exberry by GNT​,​ and supported by Oat Vita​, click on the links below:

Related topics Industry Voices