Overheard at the 12th Annual NLS Food Evolution Summit

Posted by Marc Simony on September 20, 2019 at 12:22 PM

NLS Food SummitTraceGains staff attended the 12th annual NLS Food Innovation Summit last week in Indian Wells, California, and returned home with some interesting tidbits.

Mattson President and Chief Innovation Officer Barb Stuckey

  • “It’s not a pitch, but kind of it is a pitch.”
  • “Upcycling: identifying, stabilizing, and repurposing waste streams into value-added ingredients and products.”
  • “Every single product line will need a plant-based offering.”

Our take: Barb has an unfair advantage. As president and chief innovation officer at Mattson, she’s knee- and elbow-deep involved in food, packaging, and messaging innovation. Maybe that’s why we asked her to speak at TGCon 2020?

PepsiCo VP Snacks, R&D Strategy David Rice

  • “There’s a shift from product preference to transaction preference. What is bought vs. how it is bought.” (“experience”)
  • “Multinationals need to effectively compete with technologically astute regional competitors.”
  • “Since 1970, the global population has doubled, the population in cities has quadrupled.”
  • “Uber doesn’t enter countries, they enter cities.”

Our take: David gave the best strategic presentation at the Food Innovation Summit. You can really base your next 10 to 25 years of product strategy on his insights. What we hadn’t realized—but it’s so duh!—is that it’s not the pricing that’s winning Amazon the war, but the experience. Also, you’d better start making products for the aging and elderly: they’ll make up the largest chunk of the population soon.

Kashi Sr. Director R&D Joshua Reed

Our take: You can maintain a competitive advantage for only so long. What are your strategies for connecting your brand to the deepest consumer values?

Caliper Foods CEO Justin Singer

  • “Think of full/broad spectrum as fruit salad. In CBD, there’s no standard of identity.”
  • “If you’re building a brand, you should build it on consistency.”
  • “CBD, it helps aging suck less. In five years, most of our customers are going to be in Boca Raton, Florida.”

Our take: As a recovering lawyer, Justin is a lot of fun and a fountain of insights. Listen to our interview with him.

Potatoes USA RD MS Rachael Lynch

  • “People consume 110 pounds of potatoes per year.”

MBF (mind-blowing fact): What?!?  

Impossible Foods Senior Flavor Scientist Laura Kliman

  • 47 pigs are slaughtered every second of every day.
  • The demand for meat accounts for more than 90 percent of all Amazon deforestation.
  • Cows outweigh humans by 2.4 times.
  • Animal agriculture requires 30 percent to 50 percent of all arable land.
  • Beef returns 3 percent of protein and calories put into the “manufacturing” process (feed conversion efficiency).
  • The amount of heme in your body is about 300 pounds of Impossible Burger’s.
  • “Plant-based isn’t a trend anymore. It’s just a fact, a reality.”

Our take: Nothing but MBFs. Also, will humans be harvested for heme? Are Impossible Burgers made from people? We’ve seen this movie, literally.

Finless Foods CEO Mike Selden

  • “Finless is essentially a 3D organ-printing company.”
  • “We’re trying to make food that competes on the metrics all foods compete on.”
  • “We want to create a sustainable fish food supply chain without mercury, plastic, hormones, environmental destruction, and animal cruelty.”

Our take: Wait a minute, is “sameness” for once a viable competitive strategy?

Conagen VP Research & Innovation David Nunn

  • “Fermentation is, by many, considered the first technology, and predates the wheel. I guess that getting inebriated was more important than getting around.”
  • “There’s nothing wrong with GMO, but we all know the consumer…”
  • “Synthetic biology is a multidisciplinary approach to creating value.”
  • “Breeding is a form of genetic engineering where we don’t know what changes are happening.”
  • “GMOs should be evaluated on what you’re creating, not how you are creating it.”

Our take: We still don’t get why ride sharing wasn’t the third human invention, after inebriation and the wheel.

Nottingham Spirk VP of Growth Bill Nottingham

  • “500 million straws [are discarded] per day, but straws make up less than 1 percent of the 8 billion tons a year plastic problem.”
  • “A well-designed package can feel like a reward for making a smart purchase.”

Our take: We consider packaging to be the brand. If your first impression sucks, you’re not getting the sale.

Tags: NLS, CBD, TGCon 2020