It’s finally happening! I am in San Francisco representing Team HAE and Kale United at The Good Food Conference 2019. For those of you who don’t know, the conference is being put on by the amazing folks at The Good Food Institute (GFI). GFI’s mission is to nourish the world sustainably and by bringing together scientists, entrepreneurs, lawyers, lobbyists, researchers, government and industry they are working inside the system to make huge change in our food system.
For the past three years, I have been following GFI’s work and it is incredibly exciting to be in a room full of innovators and change-makers who all care deeply about the future of our planet, our health, and the animals. It is unlike anything I have ever experienced.
Day one started out with coffee hour including breakfast from Alpha Foods.
The Executive Director of GFI and everyone’s hero Bruce Friedrich opened with a welcome and introduction. I had seen him on multiple videos including his TED Talk and also chatted with him on Skype in the past but it was really great to hear him speak in person. Oh, did I mention that this entire conference is being livestreamed for free here?
The first session was entitled “The Tipping Point: Why Plant-based Meat is Going Mainstream”. We heard from a whole panel of industry experts including Gil Phipps from the largest grocer in America, Kroger Co who announced the launch of their own plant-based line. It was an exciting moment. Here is the complete list of panel participants.
- Elaine Watson, FoodNavigator-USA (moderator)
- Sophie Egan, Director of Health and Sustainability Leadership and Editorial Director for the Strategic Initiatives Group, The Culinary Institute of America
- Anubhav Goel, President, Client Growth Solutions, SPINS
- Dan Altschuler Malek, Managing Partner, Unovis Partners and New Crop Capital
- Gil Phipps, Vice President of Our Brands, The Kroger Co.
- Barb Stuckey, President and Chief Innovation Officer, Mattson
The next session was “Marketing to Meat Eaters: How to Reach the Other 95% of American Consumers. We heard from three different panelists including Patty Trevino from CKE Restaurants, the company that operates Carl’s Jr. and heard a bit of the back story of how Carls came to launch the Beyond Famous Star Burger. Here is a list of panel participants:
- Ezra Klein, Vox (moderator)
- Chuck Muth, Chief Growth Officer, Beyond Meat
- Patty Trevino, SVP of Marketing, CKE Restaurants, Inc.
- Sara Young, General Manager, Plant-Based Proteins, MorningStar Farms
The session Capitalizing on Change: How Investors Accelerate the Plant-based and Cell-based industries brought together the most active VCs and strategic industry investors including Tom Mastrobuoni of Tyson Ventures who had invested in Beyond Meat pre-IPO and has their own line of plant-based and blended products. I was happy to hear that they have recently invested in plant-based seafood. The panel list is:
- Nathaniel Popper, The New York Times (moderator)
- Lisa Feria CEO, Stray Dog Capital
- James Joaquin, Co-founder, Obvious Ventures
- Tom Mastrobuoni, Chief Financial Officer, Tyson Ventures
- Darren Streiler, Investment Director, ADM Ventures
- Costa Yiannoulis, Investment Director, CPT Capital
Another interesting session was called “Beyond Plants: Using Fermentation, Fungi, Algae, and Bacteria to Create Novel Proteins and Ingredients”. It was absolutely fascinating to hear how micro-organisms can help us to create proteins and ingredients. I am excited to hear more about this space and will definitely be looking into it more.
Here is a list of participants for that panel:
- Jeff Bercovici, Los Angeles Times (moderator)
- Michele Fite, Chief Commercial Officer, Motif FoodWorks
- Thomas Jonas, CEO and Co-founder, Sustainable Bioproducts
- Mark Matlock, Sr. Vice President Food Research, Archer Daniels Midland Company
- Anja Schwenzfeier, Business Development Manager, Novozymes
That brings us only up to lunch time on day one but I am now in danger of being late for day two so I will leave you for now. You can watch the livestream of day two by clicking here. The schedule is here (It starts in less than two hours!).
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more HAE Dispatches from The Good Food Conference.