The FoodNavigator-USA business leaders round table debate

Who is driving innovation in the US food & beverage market? Find out at the FoodNavigator-USA business leaders round table debate

By Elaine WATSON

- Last updated on GMT

What are the hottest trends in food and beverage? Tune in on Jan 15th to find out!
What are the hottest trends in food and beverage? Tune in on Jan 15th to find out!

Related tags Entrepreneurship Retailing Food

What are the hottest trends in food and beverage? And are the big bucks really in blue-sky innovation, or have the most successful firms played with an existing concept and just done a better job at executing, marketing and selling it? 

To hear what the CEOs of some of the most innovative US food and beverage companies think, FoodNavigator-USA invites readers to tune into a FREE, live, online debate on Jan 15.

For the inaugural live FoodNavigator-USA Business Leaders Round Table Debate​ on January 15, 2014 at 12noon EST, we’ve gathered together the CEOs of some of the most innovative food and beverage companies in the US to talk about the hottest trends, and ask why smaller companies are increasingly outpacing CPG giants in the innovation stakes.

To tune into this unique, FREE-to-attend event, please register here.

In our first debate, moderated by FoodNavigator-USA editor Elaine Watson and sponsored by Ingredion​, Virun ​and BioEnergy Life Science​, we’ll discuss:

1 – How do you get on the shelf, and stay there?

How easy is it to get into the US food retail market, and are retailers and consumers really looking for blue-sky innovation (completely new concepts/categories/foods), or have the most successful firms taken an existing concept and just done a better job at executing/marketing/selling it (Chobani, Clif Bar, KIND, POP! Gourmet, KRAVE Jerky, Monster)?

2 - What are the hottest trends in food and beverage?

 Natural energy? Gluten-free? Healthy blood sugar? Plant protein? Premium/gourmet snacking? What consumer trends are the most successful firms tapping into?

3 - Who is driving innovation in the food/beverage market?

Are the leading CPG companies too big to be innovative? Which food and beverage companies do you admire and why?  

4 - What are the biggest challenges you face as a business? 

From securing financing to managing cash-flow, keeping up with regulations, managing your supply chain, dealing with suppliers, brokers and customers, and hiring/staffing issues. What keeps you awake at night?

5 - Is selling up selling out?

What happens when you get the call from Coke, Pepsi, Kraft or General Mills? 

The participants:

MUGSHOT-Steve Hughes CEO Boulder Brands

STEVE HUGHES, CEO, Boulder Brands​ (Udis, Glutino​). Boulder Brands has a dominant position in the fast-growing gluten-free market with the Udi’s and Glutino brands and a rapidly growing slice of the natural, plant-based foods pie  with the Earth Balance brand.  It has also taken a bet on the diabetes management market with the purchase of a controlling stake in Level Life Foods.  

MUGSHOT-David Israel CEO POP! Gourmet Popcorn

DAVID ISRAEL, CEO POP! Gourmet Popcorn​. In year one of launching his first retail products, Israel notched up sales of around $1m. In year two (this year), he's aiming for $3-4m. Next year, he's looking at $10m. And he's also now expanding into international markets beginning with the Middle East via an exclusive partnership with Dubai-based Landmark Group.

MUGSHOT-Josh Tetrick CEO Hampton Creek Foods

JOSH TETRICK, CEO, Hampton Creek Foods​ (Beyond Eggs​). Tetrick, who has persuaded everyone from Bill Gates to the co-founder of PayPal to back his business, started off with retail products (in a Whole Foods near you) but is now on a mission to make his egg replacers so effective that the world’s leading food manufacturers will come to adopt them as standard in everything from salad dressings to pound cakes. 

MUGSHOT-Ryan Black CEO Sambazon

RYAN BLACK, CEO, Sambazon​. Want a definition of high-achiever? Meet Ryan Black, a former NFL player and surfer who went on holiday to Brazil in his early 20s in search of waves and came back with the germ of a business idea that is now worth $100m +in retail sales.


MUGSHOT-Sarah Wallace CEO The Good Bean

SARAH WALLACE, CEO, The Good Bean​. After spending years marketing products from Luna Bars to PopChips, Sarah Wallace decided to put her money where her mouth is in 2010 to create her own healthy snacking company: The Good Bean.Her first product - roasted chickpea snacks - has been a big hit.    

MUGSHOT-Eric Schnell CEO Metabrand

ERIC SCHNELL, CEO, I AM ENLIGHTENED Nutrition, MetaBrand​.Schnell is best-known for launching Steaz, the #1 organic energy drink in the US, and has more recently developed a range of all-natural herbal-based shots under the IAM Enlightened banner. He’s also managing partner of sports nutrition brand CodeBlue and founder of MetaBrand, a one stop for early-stage entrepreneurs looking to make it big in beverages and supplements.  

MUGSHOT-Elaine Watson editor FoodNavigator-USA

Moderator: Elaine Watson, editor, FoodNavigator-USA

Elaine moved from the UK to the US in 2011 and has been writing about the food and beverage industry on both sides of the Atlantic for 13 years for a variety of b2b publications.   

The debate will be broadcast live at 12pm EST, 11am MST, 10am CST and 9am PST on Wednesday January 15th online.

To tune into this unique, FREE-to-attend event, please register here​.

Listeners will be able to submit questions to our speakers while the debate is in progress and we will have a 15-minute Q&A at the end.


This debate is sponsored by Ingredion​ - a leading global supplier of starches, sweeteners, texturants and nutritional ingredients to major food and beverage manufacturers across the globe...


... Virun​, which has developed technology enabling functional ingredients such as resveratrol, CoQ10, lutein and lycopene  to be water soluble and shelf-stable; ....



BioEnergy Life Science​, the firm behind top-selling functional ingredient Bioenergy Ribose - which is claimed to accelerate energy recovery, reduce muscle stiffness and provide greater endurance. 

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