Good Food News| March 12, 2019

TCB at Good Food EXPO’s Industry Panels

by Bob Benenson, FamilyFarmed

The Good Food EXPO got its start in 2004 as a local food trade show. The Good Food Trade Show — Friday, March 22 at University of Illinois at Chicago — remains the heart of the two-day EXPO, presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois. Tickets can be found on the Good Food EXPO site

The following is a rundown of industry and entrepreneur panels, with times and room numbers at the UIC Isador and Sadie Dorin Forum.

Incubating and Accelerating Good Food Entrepreneurs

12:15-1:15 p.m., Room I

Shelby Parchman, Growth & Innovation Strategist, FamilyFarmed (moderator)
Tommy Gordon, Director of Partnerships & Pipeline, Relish Works
Kenya Merritt, Chief Small Business Officer, City of Chicago
Elle Ramel, Director of Development, Farpoint Development
Kelly Reinke, Springboard Incubator Lead, The Kraft Heinz Company
Natalie Shmulik, CEO, The Hatchery Chicago

The Chicago Good Food sector is booming, in part because there have never been so many opportunities for early-stage entrepreneurs to gain professional support, instruction, guidance and mentorship.

Sampling 101

Denise Mackowiak, Vice President of Operations, Custom Merchandising Services, Inc. (moderator)
LaForce Baker, Founder & Executive Chef, Moon Meals, Inc.
Megan Klein, President, Here
Buddy Levin, Local Purchasing Associate Coordinator, Whole Foods Market

12:15-1:15 p.m., Room F

This panel will discuss the effectiveness of in-store product demos, plus new and innovative ideas for retailers that incorporate in-store sampling.

Women Leaders In Food

Lindsey CoxSenior Promotions Marketing Manager, Organic Valley (moderator)
Kim Feil, Chief Marketing Officer, Aspire Drinks
Megan Klein, President, Here
Katrina Markoff, Founder, Vosges Chocolate
Jenny Yang, Owner, Phoenix Bean/Jenny’s Tofu 

1:30-2:30 p.m., Room I

Women — including those on this all-star panel — have gained ground, success and influence in the world of Good Food entrepreneurship. Many of the hottest nationally distributed CPG food companies are woman-owned or woman-led.

Megan Klein of Here Foods provided samples of her company’s delicious dips, dressings and juices at the 2018 EXPO. She will participate on two entrepreneur panels at the 2019 Good Food EXPO’s Good Food Trade Show on March 22. Photo credit: Bob Benenson/FamilyFarmed

Shelf Space and How to Get It

Patrick Nycz, Founding President, NewPoint (moderator)
Kelly Cosgrove, New Business Development Director, Fortune Fish & Gourmet
Buddy Levin, Local Purchasing Associate Coordinator, Whole Foods Market
Tyler Lowell, Managing Partner, C.A. Fortune
Katie Paul, Executive Director, KeHE Distributors, LLC,
Julie Smolyansky, CEO, Lifeway Foods

1:30-2:30 p.m., Room F

All food entrepreneurs think their products will wow consumers. Knowing how merchandisers think — and the kind of products they believe consumers are seeking — is crucial to getting grocery shelf placement.

Raising Capital for Your Good Food Business

Dave Donnan, Senior Partner, A.T. Kearney (moderator)
DD Danforth, Co-Founder, Sustainable Local Food Investment Group (SLoFIG)
Peter Kisluk, Senior Vice President, Solutions, KeHE Distributors, LLC
Jay L. Owen, Jr., President, Dom Capital Group
Mark Thomann, Managing Director, Spiral Sun Ventures 

2:45-3:45 p.m., Room I

Nearly all early-stage Good Food entrepreneurs need to attract significant sums of capital to launch, grow, and succeed. A investor community focused on the Good Food sector has grown exponentially over the past decade.

Go To Market Like a Pro

Michael Movitz, Founder and Managing Partner, The Movitz Group

2:45-3:45 p.m., Room F

The 4 Ps marketing mix (Product, Place, Price, Promotion) is outdated. The Movitz Group Model of Brand Prosperity is based on seven critical roots: Purpose, Positioning, Pathway, People, Production, Promotion, and Pricing.

Attracting E-Commerce Customers

Kara Hanninen, CEO & Founder, Craveity Marketing  (moderator)
Kate Field, Founder, The Kombucha Shop
Steve Gaither, President, JB Chicago
Arn Grashoff, Vice President, Marketing & Merchandise, Innovative Food Holdings Inc.
Ryan Pintado-Vertner, Founder, Smoketown LLC

E-commerce allows early-stage food businesses to go to market quickly at a relatively low cost. But how exactly do you get started, and what are the best approaches for capturing your first E-Commerce customers?

4-5 p.m., Room F

Steve Gaither of JB Chicago (left) will participate on the Attracting E-Commerce Customers panel at the 2019 Good Food Trade Show. Here, he posed for a photo with Conor McInerney of Departure Snacks — an entrepreneur Fellow in FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Accelerator program — at the 2018 Good Food EXPO. Photo: Bob Benenson/FamilyFarmed

There’s Money to Be Had: Funding Sources for Farmers and Food Businesses

Raghela Scavuzzo, Local Foods Program Manager, Illinois Farm Bureau  (moderator)
Casey Cora, Media Director, Frontera Farmer Foundation
Jackie Davis-Slay, Director, Public and Private Partnership, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Brian Frieden, Regional Office Director, USDA Risk Management Agency
Arthur Neal, Deputy Administrator, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service

There are a number of public programs that provide federal, state and sometimes local government assistance to farmers. There are also private sector programs that provide loans and/or grants to farmers who qualify. The crucial part is to make sure the farmers who can benefit are aware that these programs exist.

4-5 p.m, Room I

There also will be informative and inspiring business discussions during the Good Food Trade Show’s Opening Symposium on the morning of March 22.

Are you inspired to join us for the Good Food EXPO? Please go to the EXPO ticket page where you can buy tickets for the Good Food Trade Show that opens the EXPO on Friday, March 22, and pre-register for the free Good Food Festival on Saturday, March 23.


Good Food News


Bob Benenson


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