Innovation in Food Tech
Time & Location
From 3D printed food to customer-facing robots, the way we produce, order, deliver, and experience food is rapidly changing. Advances in technology are automating the food industry making more space for inventive ideas and, in some ways, helping to create more sustainable practices reducing and reusing product waste while strengthening local food economies. Hear from startups and food producers about their predictions for the food industry and what ways they are using technology to further advance their product offerings and bottom line.
Evan Weinstein, Founder, Cocoa Press
Evan Weinstein is an engineer turned entrepreneur. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 2019. After graduating, Evan founded Cocoa Press, a startup building a 3D chocolate printer that lowers the hurdles associated with making beautiful, bespoke chocolates. Cocoa Press will be for sale in the fall of 2020. Outside of work, Evan enjoys singing and tinkering in his hometown of Philadelphia.
Doug Straton, Strategic Futurist, The Hershey Digital Innovation Lab, The Hershey Company
Doug Straton is the Chief Digital Commerce Officer for The Hershey Company. In this role, he manages the strategic development of the digital commerce business unit and P&L. ... Prior to joining Hershey in November 2017, Straton spent nearly 16 years at Unilever.
Jared Cannon, Chef/Founder/CEO, Simply Good Jars
Jared Cannon developed his concept for Simply Good Jars after an award-winning 18-year career as a chef. He set out to change the way we think about consumption—from the kind of food we eat, to the package it comes in.
He graduated from New York City’s reputable Culinary Institute of America and earned a Masters in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Temple University’s top-rated Fox School of Business. Jared has spearheaded culinary teams at Tria, Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant, Ritz Carlton Hotels, FS Food Group, honeygrow, and Di Bruno Bros. He has cooked at New York’s legendary James Beard House and has studied cuisine extensively throughout Italy, Mexico, and across the United States.
Jared founded Simply Good Jars in the fall of 2017 with the intent to help improve lives and communities through responsible, respectful food choices for everyone.
Simply Good Jars brings fresh, healthy and flavorful meals to offices, hospitals, hotels and universities through a fleet of smart RFID enabled, self-service fridges. The company’s signature Return for Reuse program is in place everywhere the jars are sold. When finished with their meal, people return jars in the designated bins near the fridge. The jars are put back into production, eliminating the need for single use packaging. For each jar returned, Simply Good Jars also donates a meal to someone in need.
Laurie Actman, Chief Marketing, Communications and Program Officer at Penn Center for Innovation, University of Pennsylvania - MODERATOR
Laurie Actman serves as the Chief Marketing, Communications and Program Officer at the Penn Center for Innovation (PCI) at the University of Pennsylvania, the University’s commercialization organization which facilitates partnerships to grow Penn’s technology portfolio into products. Laurie as part of the Executive Team oversees the strategic implementation of PCI’s programs and partnerships, marketing, and communications and helped to plan and launch the Pennovation Center, Penn’s new startup incubator where she actively manages programs and partnerships as well. She received her undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a Masters Degree in Urban Planning and Real Estate from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Previously she served as PCI’s Chief Operating Officer from launch in 2014 to December 2016. Before PCI she has worked for notable organizations in the private, non-profit and public sectors in Philadelphia, New York City and Washington, D.C. including as Chief Policy Officer for the CEO Council for Growth, Consultant to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter on his sustainability and ARRA initiatives, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Viridity Energy, and Deputy and Interim Director for the Consortium for Building Energy Innovation, a $150 million public private project capitalized by the US Department of Energy and based at Philadelphia’s Navy Yard.. She received her undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a Masters Degree in Urban Planning and Real Estate from UNC-Chapel Hill. Actman lives in Bala Cynwyd with her husband and three children and is an elected Board Member of the Lower Merion School District.