Join us for our next event in the 2021 Innovation Series. The Innovation Series is the longest running series in CFBN’s programming – originated in partnership with Fifty Gazelles as our opening offering via the “Innovation Breakfasts” originally hosted at Blue Dog in the West Loop. Today, this virtual series tackles a series of innovation topics of interest to all of us in the food and beverage industry. Our attendees join us every other month on the second Thursday to explore where food is headed, what companies are making a true impact in the market, and who is helping to change the way we all do business!
OPENING CONVERSATION: WHAT’S NEXT FOR FOOD’S MOST VIBRANT GROWTH MARKET?
Impossible Foods raised $200 million in 2020 at a valuation of over $4 Billion. Is this insanity or a massive trend you can’t miss? Come hear three panelists at the forefront of plant-based foods talk about the innovation imperatives for the industry and where they see the next wave of growth.
Our opening panel features:
Tom Mastrobuoni, Chief Investment Officer at Big Idea Ventures
Tom Mastrobuoni is the Chief Investment Officer at Big Idea Ventures, a venture capital fund solving the world’s biggest challenges by supporting the world’s best entrepreneurs. One of the ways Tom is doing just that is through The New Protein Fund, Big Idea Venture’s first fund that invests in the most innovative companies working on plant-based and cell-based meat, seafood, and dairy products, as well as ingredients and technologies that facilitate the growth of these categories. Tom has held numerous board positions with innovative food companies, including Chief Financial Officer of Chicago’s own Tyson Ventures. Tom is tackling the question of “what’s next” in the plant-based space head on!
Andrew Levitt, Founder & CEO at The Purple Carrot
Andy Levitt is the Founder & CEO of The Purple Carrot, the first and only 100% plant-based meal company. While many have been focused on making plant-based food taste good, Andy is making sure there is a platform to share delicious plant-based foods with the world. The Purple Carrot makes it fun and easy for consumers to prepare and eat healthy, great-tasting plant-based meals at home. Andy earned his MBA from The Stern School of Business at New York University, and his undergraduate degree from Emory University.
David Ervin, VP & General Manager Alternative Protein at Tyson Foods
David Ervin joined Tyson Foods in 2012 and leads the company’s Alternative Protein business. He led the development and launch of the company’s first plant-based protein brand, Raised & Rooted in 2019. Prior to his current role, he led the Marketing Services organization and was Vice President of Innovation. Before joining Tyson, David began his career in marketing research at Kraft Foods. After several years in research and corporate marketing, he worked in traditional brand management for 10 years on a variety of brands, including Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Kraft salad dressing, Stove Top, Minute Rice, Kraft Pasta Salad, and Good Seasons. He also worked to develop small businesses during his time with DOM Capital where he identified investments in new consumer-based opportunities in Food and Beverage working on the boards of small quick serve restaurants to drive impact. David received a B.S. in Communications and Economics and a M.S. in Marketing from Northwestern University. He is a husband, father of three boys, a trained cook, and a culinary inspired eater.
Jeremy Anderson (Moderator), Founder at Fifty Gazelles
Jeremy is a business development professional with a passion for getting new ideas into market. Fifty Gazelles’ practice focuses on building long-term contract manufacturing partnerships and adding capacity and external expertise to commercialization teams.