James Beard Foundation Unveils Lineup for Annual Food Summit

What do Americans want from their food? How can we engage consumers to encourage companies and governments to provide the healthful and delicious food everyone wants to eat? Where are the new levers of change for policy and business? And what role can chefs and other leaders in the culinary industry play? These are just a few of the questions the James Beard Foundation will delve into at its eighth annual James Beard Foundation’s Food Summit: Consuming Power, taking place at the Convene Conference Center (730 Third Avenue) on October 23 and 24.

The summit, which will explore the evolution of consumer power and its impact on the food movement, will bring together a diverse group of experts from across disciplines to look into the genesis and changing dynamics of consumer power and apply that knowledge to various food system issues we are facing today.

“With technology and social media, consumers today have more influence than ever,” says Mitchell Davis, executive vice president of the James Beard Foundation. “What consumers believe, what they say, and what they buy can be a strong force for change.  This summit will help us understand, educate and empower consumers to use their power to affect positive change in our food system and in our world."

Over the course of two days, leading strategists, business executives, policy makers, nonprofit directors, consumer, behavior specialists, philanthropists, panelists, and presenters will help participants examine their own place in the food movement so they can be more effective and strategic in their work.

The speakers include:

  • Jason Clay, Global Vice President of Agriculture, World Wildlife Fund
  • Deb Eschmeyer, Vice President of Communications, Danone North America
  • Caleb Harper, Principal Investigator and Director, Open Agriculture Initiative, MIT Media Lab
  • Jonas Kaplan, Assistant Research Professor of Psychology, Brain and Creativity Institute and Co-Director of the Dana & David Dornsife Cognitive Neuroimaging Center, University of South Carolina
  • Mehmood Khan, Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer of Global Research and Development, PepsiCo
  • Jennifer Kuzma, Goodnight-NC GSK Foundation Distinguished Professor in School of Public and International Affairs and Co-Director of the Genetic Engineering and Society Center, NC State University
  • Matt Salzberg, Co-Founder, Blue Apron
  • Mark Schatzker, Author, The Dorito Effect
  • Darren Seifer, Food Consumption Industry Analyst, NPD Group
  • Juergen Voegele, Senior Director of Agriculture, The World Bank
  • Mary Wagner, Former Senior Vice President, Global Research & Development/Quality, Starbucks Coffee Company
  • Tunde Wey, Chef

For the first time at this annual gathering, the James Beard Foundation will unveil its own research findings on what drives consumer-purchasing practices and how these triangulate with food-industry market research and consumer behavior. Partnering with Radius Global Market Research, JBF conducted a national survey about food shopping behaviors and beliefs. The Foundation also conducted roundtables with corporate executives of some of the largest and most innovative food companies to better understand what their data show and how they are reacting to the changing food marketplace.

The JBF Food Summit will also include the James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards dinner and ceremony on Monday, October 23, at Hearst Tower, co-hosted by Good Housekeeping. Now in its seventh year, the ceremony will honor six visionaries across a broad range of backgrounds who influence how, why, and what we eat. All six of the 2017 Leadership Awards recipients—Dan Barber, Olivier De Schutter, Joan Dye Gussow, Joann Lo, Jose Oliva, and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree—will also be participating in the summit.

Founding support for this year’s JBF Food Summit was provided by GRACE Communications Foundation, with additional support provided by Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Bon Appétit Management Company, Campbell Soup Company, Distinguished Vineyards Portfolio including Argyle, MacRostie, and Wither Hills Wineries, Edible, Eating City, Eventbrite, the Blended Burger Project and the Mushroom Council, FoodTank, Good Housekeeping, Karen Karp & Partners, Natural Gourmet Institute, Niman Ranch, Pastificio DiMartino, Radius-Global, and The Quaker Oats Company.

Register early and save. From July 19—October 2, the ticket price is $500, which includes breakfast and lunch both days of the summit. Registrations purchased after October 2 are $600. A package ticket that includes the two-day summit plus a seat at the Leadership Awards dinner on Monday evening is available for $1,000. Visit Eventbrite.com to register, or contact Bowen & Company at 914.231.6180 or jamesbeard@bowenandco.com

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