The 2021 Speakers
An award-winning journalist with more than 20 years’ experience in multimedia business-to-business journalism and events management on both sides of the Atlantic, Elaine has covered a diverse range of topics from nutrigenomics to corporate espionage.
Elaine moved from the UK to the US in 2011, and as editor of FoodNavigator-USA.com – a leading online b2b title in the US food and beverage industry – she has helped to establish the site as a pre-eminent source of news and analysis on hot button issues from cultured meat and alternative proteins to CBD and labeling conventions in plant-based foods and beverages.
Director of Science & Technology
The Good Food Institute
Liz works to identify and forecast areas of technological need within the alternative protein field. Her efforts also catalyze research to address these needs while supporting researchers in academia and industry to move the field forward.
Liz has a bachelor’s degree in chemical and biomolecular engineering from Johns Hopkins University, a doctorate in biological sciences from the University of California San Diego, and postdoctoral research experience from the University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.
Prior to joining GFI in 2016, Liz had accumulated a decade of academic research experience in synthetic biology, recombinant protein expression, and development of genetic tools. She is a firm believer in the power of technology to enable us to meet growing food demands in a sustainable way.
Protein Industries Canada
Bill’s combined passions for agriculture and innovation were the driving forces behind his career. Initially, this led him to private sector jobs at a biotech start-up, in the canola industry and at a large multi-national agriculture company. Bill then transitioned to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, where he worked as a Provincial Oilseed Specialist, Research and Development Manager and Executive Director of Crops and Irrigation Branch before accepting the role of Assistant Deputy Minister, Regulatory and Innovation.
While growing up on a farm and throughout his career, Bill saw first-hand the opportunity for growth in Canada’s agriculture industry. As CEO of Protein Industries Canada, Bill helps Canada’s plant-protein sector realize this potential by leading the development of Protein Industries Canada’s programs, resources and initiatives. His efforts have also helped make the Supercluster an instrumental player in the plant-protein landscape.
Black Fox Farm & Distillery
John, together with his wife Barbara, currently operate a unique farming operation in the Canadian prairies. Black Fox Farm and Distillery focuses on using their skills in agriculture to produce many of the ingredients used in the creation of high quality gin, liqueurs and whisky.
John and Barb have been recognized as the Outstanding Young Farmers of Saskatchewan and Canada (which was a long time ago!) and were the SABEX Entrepreneurs of the Year 2018.
John is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan College of Agriculture as well as a graduate of the Canadian Agriculture Lifetime Leadership Program from the University of Laval and the University of Saskatchewan and was awarded a Nuffield Farming scholarship in 2018.
Never one to miss a marketing opportunity, John would like to make everyone aware they are all welcome to visit the distillery in Saskatoon, and hear more of that story.
Riana is the founder of Journey Foods, a food tech company that supports cutting-edge product management and data services for food businesses.
A biologist turned serial entrepreneur, Riana has developed high-growth, nationally recognized technology and food businesses. Her accomplishments include being featured on MIT’s 35 under 35, as well as being profiled on CNBC, Forbes, USA Today, Wired, TechCrunch, Entrepreneur Magazine, Food Tank and more.
CEO | Founder
BetterCart Technologies Inc
Melanie is a Saskatchewan-based technology founder and CEO. A social psychologist turned tech entrepreneur, Melanie started BetterCart Technologies Inc. at the end of 2018, with the intention of democratizing food and grocery pricing and increasing the accessibility of this information for all stakeholders. Two years later, BetterCart is now a big data analytics company that offers pricing intelligence and insights to a majority of stakeholder groups throughout the food supply chain; namely, enterprises, food processors and manufacturers, and consumers.
In the spring of 2019, BetterCart became part of Saskatchewan’s first technology incubator, Co.Labs, after winning the Co.Launch Finale, and has been singled out as one of the most promising new start-ups in the prairies. By helping companies understand their competitive landscapes with AI-powered technology, Melanie and her team are positioning BetterCart to become the go-to platform for all data insights required to increase profitability and margins, and grow market share.
Gary Nowacki is the CEO of TraceGains, which was launched in 2008. Prior to TraceGains, Gary spent 13 years in a variety of software industry executive positions in the ERP (enterprise resource planning), supply chain management, and quality space for food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, pharmaceuticals, and other process industries.
Gary has also held management and individual contributor positions in programming, implementation services, and sales in the ERP software business. Gary’s prior work experience includes serving in senior management roles at CDC Software —Ross Systems, a leading ERP supplier to the food industry.
Professor Emeritus of Food Marketing
Imperial College London
Dr. David Hughes is Emeritus Professor of Food Marketing at Imperial College London, and Visiting Professor at the Royal Agricultural University, UK. He is a much sought-after speaker at international conferences and seminars on global food industry issues, particularly consumer and retail trends.
David has lived and worked in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, Africa and South East Asia and has extensive experience as an international advisory board member with food companies and financial service organizations on three continents. With his American business partner, David established, grew and sold a branded fresh food business which served supermarkets in the USA. For 20+ years, David was a Non-Executive Director of Berry Gardens Ltd. the leading fresh berry marketing company in the UK. He has worked with agri-food companies and spoken at global food events in four continents of the world. His views on food issues are much sought after by the media and food businesses in many countries of the world.