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Plenary Sessions

Monday, August 26, 2024

Research Needs and Funding Opportunities for the Food Industry of the Future

The landscape of the food industry and food supply chains has undergone rapid changes, driven by increased public concern over food and packaging waste, growing consumer demands for safe and healthy foods, and escalating costs associated with raw materials and labor. Additionally, the industry faces technical and economic challenges in its quest to achieve global net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goals by 2050. Food engineers and technologists must be prepared to develop and implement innovative solutions for a sustainable and resilient food industry. In this panel session, a distinguished group of thought leaders from the food industry, academia, and federal funding agencies will deliberate on the multifaceted issues confronting the food industry. They will discuss potential solutions and funding avenues crucial for steering the food industry toward a sustainable future within a circular economy framework.


Presentation (15 min): Case studies on industrial decarbonization in PepsiCo – engineering challenges and needs for future research. 

Sheyla Ramsay, PhD. R&D Fellow & Director Baked Technical Excellence

Foods Global Process Function, PepsiCo.


Presentation (15 min): Summary on findings of ASABE Circular Bioeconomy Systems Initiative (CBSI), Food Processing Workshop – knowledge gaps and research needs toward a circular food industry.

Paul Singh, PhD., US National Academy of Engineering

Distinguished Professor of Food Engineering Emeritus

University of California, Davis, CA


Presentation (15 min): USDA NIFA funding opportunities for food engineers.

Hongda Chen, PhD.

National Program Leader for Food Manufacturing and Nanotechnologies

USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture


Presentation (15 minutes): DoE resources and opportunities to support the U.S. food and beverage industry decarbonization strategy.

Yaroslav Chudnovsky, PhD. MBA

Senior Technology Manager – Energy and Emissions Intensive Industries

U.S. Department of Energy | Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office.


Q&A Session: 30 min

Tuesday, August 27, 2024

Keys to a Sustainable Food System

Isaac Emery

Isaac Emery is the Project Director for WSP USA where he focuses on life cycle assessment, greenhouse gas accounting and sustainability metrics expertise to his clients, seeking answers to key eco-design and sustainability strategy questions. He has his Ph.D. from Purdue University in ecological sciences and engineering.

Isaac Emery works with organizations to identify the costs and benefits of fuels, foods, and industrial systems using life cycle assessment and other systems-level tools. With expertise in bioenergy, agriculture, plant-based and cell-based meats, and other systems, he helps his clients and collaborators to find the most beneficial paths forward.  His specialties include Life cycle assessment, benefit-cost analysis, agriculture, biofuel, land use change, cellular agriculture, and sustainability.

Advancing Innovative Processing and Preservation Technologies: The Food Safety and Regulatory Conundrum

Larry Keener

Dr. Larry Keener, Fellow IFT, is currently serving as the President and CEO for the International Product Safety Consultants. He is in this role and as a Food Safety Scientist Consultant since 1996. His specialties include food microbiology and process Validation, and novel and emerging technologies.


Wednesday, August 28, 2024

What is next for the role of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Food Industries

Sean Sims

Sean Sims is Vice President, Automation and Solutions at Tetra Pak and provides leadership for their automation and digitalization efforts to modernize their industry.





Brand Purpose in Tech Driven Marketing

Jay Picconatto

Jay Picconatto is Vice President – Advanced Marketing Solutions, General Mills.  He built General Mill’s enterprise eCommerce team from the ground up, tripling the eCommerce business in three years and driving double-digit basket increases. Before that, he took over a struggling shopper marketing team, doubling the size, and driving 5x investment. He also digitized a 25-year-old program to modernize the experience for consumers and drive data and competitive advantage for General Mills.





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