Western New York Food Industry Expo
Tuesday, March 26, 2019 • Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center • Rochester, NY
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Seminar Schedule....

- 10:00
Coffee Break


Food Safety Begins at Cornell University
Dr. Elizabeth Bihn, Senior Extension Associate
Department of Food Science, Cornell University
  With expertise in fresh produce, dairy, juice, and food processing, the IFS@CU helps the food industry address food safety challenges through research and extension education and training.  The IFS@CU is also focused on making sure the food industry is prepared to meet federal regulatory requirements outlined in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  This presentation will focus on IFS@CU established programs as well as new initiatives that are serve the food industry and outline opportunities to collaborate. Through these collaborations, the IFS@CU personnel actively work to keep food safe from farms to consumers’ tables and every step in between.

Dr. Elizabeth A. Bihn is a Senior Extension Associate in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University. Since 1999 Betsy has worked with fruit and vegetable growers, packers, and farm workers to reduce microbial risks during production and packing. She began her career at Cornell University as the National Good Agricultural Practices Program Coordinator and went on to become the Director of the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) and the Executive Director of the Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University (IFS@CU). In addition to refereed journal publications, she has authored several award-winning extension publications developed to help the produce industry understand food safety risks on the farm and actively work to reduce them. Her research has focused on surface water quality used in the production of fruits and vegetables. Betsy also facilitates focus groups to gather stakeholder input and evaluate the effectiveness of educational materials.
Betsy received her B.S. in Zoology from Ohio State University, M.S. in Horticulture from the University of Florida, and Ph.D. in Food Science from Cornell University. As Executive Director, Betsy’s leadership, vision, and understanding of food safety risks on the farm guides IFS@CU as it builds a foundation for financial sustainability and helps the food industry comply with federal regulations and produce safe products.

11:00 - 12:00

3rd Generation Stevia Extracts

Alex Woo, Chief Innovation Officer, Nascent Health Sciences

2nd generation stevia extracts were all about high purity RA, the higher the purity the better the taste.  Farm-based 3rd generation stevia extracts are the newer 2-way and 3-way blends of RABCDM for even more sugar like taste but at higher cost.  Alternatively, fermentation or enzymology-based stevia may co-exist in the near future.  Enzymatically modified stevia extracts are sweet taste enhancers that can be used as part of the stacking strategy for sugar reduction.


In his capacity of Chief Innovation Officer for Nascent, Alex Woo is accountable for driving scientific discovery, stevia product development, and food and beverage applications.

After earning a PhD in Food Science from University of Wisconsin-Madison, Alex had held various technical leadership positions in companies including Pepsi, Starbucks, Cargill and Wrigley in the past 30+ years.  He specializes in creating “better foods” with niche expertise in taste and smell neuroscience and plant-based ingredients.

12:00 - 12:45



12:45 -1:45
Plant Proteins: Moving to the Center of the Plate
Rody Hawkins, Ph.D., President & Chief Executive Officer
Improved Nature LLC

The global plant based meat market is about $4.6 billion with an annual growth rate of 6.8%.  This demand has created frozen “Plant Protein” sections in most supermarkets and now they are moving to the refrigerated case.  While these products are getting closer to meat, can they replace meat for flavor, nutrition, versatility, and texture?  The answer is yes and this is what we are doing every day at Improved Nature.  

Dr. Rody Hawkins has over 30 years of experience with developing and implementing new food products and solving complex problems for many large, medium and small food companies. He has done contract work for over 100 different food companies and he worked for two of the largest US food companies: Oscar Mayer Foods, a division of Kraft-Heinz and ConAgra Foods. For Oscar Mayer in the 1980s he created the concept and product known as “Lunchables” and for ConAgra in the late 1980s through the 1990s he developed the technology that led to the growth of the meat snack market.  Using this knowledge, he developed shelf stable rations for the US Military, NATO Militaries, and UN feeding programs.

Now, Rody and his business partners have turned their attention on developing and implementing new food products from plants.  Improved Nature was established in 2014 and has a proprietary technology that allows it to make fibers out of plant protein.  These fibers are formed together to make various shapes that have the texture, taste, look, nutritional profile, cooking parameters, and eating sensation as meat and fish products.  This technology is so flexible, efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective that it can seamlessly replace meat products without giving up any of its perceived benefits.


“What's Next! Trends, Issues and Opportunities:
Foods/Drinks 2018+


Elizabeth Sloan
President, Sloan Trends Inc.

Contributing Editor,
Food Technology magazine
Marketing Editor,
Nutraceuticals World magazine

This fast-paced data driven presentation will outline the new megatrends impacting the food and beverage industry for the next few years, from the new Millennial baby boom, to outsourcing meals and eating alone. Dr. Sloan will update the latest on clean label, natural, organic and GMO foods and identify the next generation of food avoids.  Stay tuned for the latest heath/wellness trends and demands including what benefits and ingredients consumers are most interested in getting from foods/drinks.

Dr. Sloan has been a contributing editor to Food Technology magazine for nearly 20 years. She initiated Food Technology’s State-of-the-Industry reports including the Top 10 Food Trends and Functional Food Trends, What America Eats, Great Ideas from Abroad and more.

  Sloan Trends, Inc., a 22-year old San Diego-based consultancy helps identify new market opportunities for U.S./global food, beverage, foodservice, ingredient and commodity board marketers.

  She was formerly Editor-in-Chief of McCall's magazine; Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute/Seal & Asst. Editor-in-Chief, Good Housekeeping magazine – each with > 35 million readers/month; SVP/International Director, Food & Nutrition, Hill & Knowlton Public Relations; the 1st Scientific Director, Am. Assoc. of Cereal Chemists & Director of Nutrition Communications & Technical Services, General Mills.   Of note: the first director of the Good Housekeeping Institute was Dr. Harvey Wiley, who started the U.S. Food & Drug Admin.

  She has authored more than 470 articles on food, nutrition, health marketing and co-authored two college text books on nutrition. She has appeared on many radio and television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, etc.

  She is the 2012 recipient of the Calvert L. Wiley Award from the Institute of Food Technologist’s for “outstanding service to the food industry” and has served as national President of IFT’s Nutrition/Student Divisions and of the Minnesota section.

  She has received two John J. Hill Awards for Excellence in Public Relations for the Kraft Fat-Free introduction and Wendy’s Int’l.

  She has a B.S. in Food Science, Rutgers University; Ph. D. in Food Science/nutrition and Television/journalism from the University of Minnesota.

She lives in Escondido near the Wild Animal Park, where the endangered species are allowed to roam free for the San Diego Zoo. Liz is married to Retired Marine Colonel, James Barton Murtland and is the Mom to 3 cats Winston, Churchill and Blondie. She is the Commodore of the Santa Margarita Yacht Club on Camp Pendleton