Our commitment first and foremost is to the health and well-being of our global community. Because of this, we have decided to cancel the 2020 Food Summit. We hope you'll be able to join us for the next Food Summit, scheduled for April 13 - 14, 2021, at the Radisson Blu Hotel in downtown Chicago.
This event has been canceled.
6100 North River Road
A sense of renewed energy is palpable at the intersection of the food, foodservice, and home industries. At the start of this new decade, there’s no time to lament the market’s slower growth as the new normal. Instead, leaders are busy transforming their approaches and reinventing their brands. NPD Industry Advisor David Portalatin kicks off the Food Summit, showcasing what’s at the center of the new mindset.
Michael Wolf will talk about the innovators, disruptors, and creators helping to reinvent food, cooking, and the kitchen. From smoothie robots to edible spoons to autonomous grocery delivery, Michael will share the big trends he sees shaping the future of food.
Priced to Grow
Check increases have supported nearly all sales growth in the restaurant industry in recent years, as operators have passed along increased costs to the consumer. With foot traffic essentially flat, pricing strategies have gained in importance. This session will explore the potential and limitations of taking price in order to grow.
The Digital Revolution
Digital ordering has changed the face of restaurants. This session will include a deep dive into digital consumer behavior, ordering patterns, and what it all means for restaurant growth.
Ready, Set, Cook?
NPD’s Joe Derochowski and Susan Schwallie will join Michael Wolf in a panel discussion on how Gen Z and Millennials are putting food on the table. New tools and technology, plus a changing food landscape, are reinventing kitchens and the path to consumption. The panel also will explore how dinnertime meal solutions will evolve in the near future.
Wake Up to the Future of Morning
The morning meal occasion has to become both faster and more need-inclusive in order to win over U.S. consumers. This session will show you how morning occasions, both in-home and away from home, will look in the future, revealing the most promising opportunities for growth over the next five years.
Cannabis: Food, Function, and Fun
This session will explore the consumer side of cannabis, including CBD. It will size the market, identify the consumers who are using cannabis and how, and provide a future outlook.
Tap into High-Growth Segments with Broadline Distributors
Today’s evolving food and beverage landscape has opened up new opportunities to partner with broadline distributors to grow sales with operators outside of full service restaurants. By knowing where the growth opportunities are, you can better partner to grow sales. In this session, we’ll explore some of the fastest-growing segments broadline distributors are selling to today.
You don’t have to be a celebrity to influence the food behaviors of others anymore. Now more than ever, influencers on Instagram and other social media platforms are helping consumers make their food decisions. This session will be a Q&A panel featuring a range of influencers in the food space.
The next BIG THING is probably a small thing today. Natalie Shmulik, CEO of The Hatchery Chicago, enables local entrepreneurs to build and grow successful food and beverage businesses and provides job training and placement programs, which in turn create sustainable economic growth and new job opportunities. She will discuss how The Hatchery is bringing together innovation, technology, passion, and experienced leadership to help food and beverage entrepreneurs create the next BIG THING.
Network with your peers and enjoy a feast of appetizers, live entertainment, and more!
Assess the impact of changes in the economic environment and their effect on foodservice industry consumers and their spending.
We keep hearing that America is “more divided than ever,” and it’s not just about politics. Eating behaviors vary from one region to the next. While some trends get all the national buzz, many localities haven’t accepted them. Find out what’s truly relevant to your business as we look across America’s divisions.
What’s possible and what do consumers really want when it comes to protein alternatives? NPD research shows 61% of U.S. adults are trying to get more protein in their diets. New products are entering the market at a rapid pace: plant-based meat-mimickers, blended products, nut milks, insect flours, and more. It’s clear there’s lots of momentum in alternative proteins. Suppliers and restaurant operators are weighing the possibilities of technology, consumer demand, and business impact with the goal of giving consumers the eating experience they crave. You won’t want to miss this panel discussion with leaders who are driving the conversation!
Boxed lunches available
Anne Brook brings more than 15 years of experience to her position at The NPD Group, where she manages a variety of restaurant operators and foodservice manufacturers. Prior to joining NPD in 2010, Brook worked in market research for NBC/Telemundo and FOX Network groups.
She received her master’s in business administration from The University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Kalamazoo College.
Joe Derochowski follows behavioral trends on a wide variety of categories, developing a unique perspective on what consumers do and why they do it. Driven by this insight and his own passion, Derochowski has been helping manufacturers and retailers identify opportunities for growth for the past 30 years, from product innovation to new marketing and merchandising opportunities. His background in all facets of business gives him the ability to connect the dots between the consumer and the marketplace and help companies understand today’s trends while anticipating future demands.
In addition to working closely with manufacturers and retailers throughout the home industry, Derochowski is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, where his combined consumer and industry-driven approach drives the insights he provides. He is also regularly quoted in trade and national media publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, CNBC, HomeWorld Business, and HBS Dealer.
Stephanie Epperson has 15 years of consumer-based research experience in the foodservice industry. She has spent her career partnering with foodservice manufacturers and operators to produce in-depth analyses that solve strategic business issues. Epperson enjoys tracking evolving dining patterns and helping clients leverage analytics to uncover actionable insights. She previously worked in Analytic Solutions at NPD, where she focused on forecasting, market sizing, and segmentation in the foodservice industry. She is a graduate of Miami University.
Melissa Ferguson works with retail and foodservice clients on strategic projects including market forecasting, segmentation, and category sizing. She has spent more than 10 years at NPD combining consumer-based data assets and industry expertise into business solutions. Ferguson previously served as Director, Foodservice Client Development, partnering with leading foodservice operators and manufacturers to interpret industry trends, produce detailed, consumer-based analyses, and anticipate what comes next. She relishes the opportunity at NPD to combine two of her favorite passions: data and food! Ferguson completed her undergraduate studies at Dartmouth College and received her MBA from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College.
Tim Fires is president of the SupplyTrack practice, a service tracking over $105B in annual sales from broadline distributors to foodservice operators. He joined the SupplyTrack team in 2013, leading distributor relations, where he advanced the usage of syndicated data and worked collaboratively with NPD’s partners to embed SupplyTrack data into their business processes. In 2019, Fires was promoted to president, overseeing subscriber services, distributor relationships, product development, and industry execution.
Prior to his role with SupplyTrack, Fires worked in NPD’s Retail practice, helping food manufacturers and retail grocers address business questions and create execution strategies using NPD’s broad portfolio of consumer information. This role followed a position in NPD’s Retail Business Group, where he worked with retailers across all selling channels, helping them use NPD information to develop strategic business plans and measure performance.
Ann Hanson has worked in the consumer packaged goods market research field for more than 20 years. She oversees management of existing services offered by NPD’s Food & Beverage practice, as well as new product development. Hanson developed NPD’s cohort forecasting methodology and has conducted multicultural studies on consumption habits in the U.S. and internationally. She has published reports on meal kits, shopping habits, grocery e-commerce, the future of eating, and more. Hanson is overseeing launch of NPD’s new Health Aspirations and Behavioral Tracking Service, Nutrition Tracking, NET’s In the Moment Trigger Surveys, and enhancements to the company’s tracking studies.
For over a decade, Kristin Pizzimenti has worked at The NPD Group, tracking and uncovering insights on how U.S. consumers eat and drink, including snacking, attitudes and motivations driving consumers’ choices, and nutrition and wellness patterns impacting behaviors. She works closely with food manufacturers and retailers to provide strategic business insights based on data into current and future eating patterns in America.
David Portalatin is The NPD Group’s national analyst on all aspects of food and beverage consumption in- and away-from-home. He provides information, insights, and analysis on how U.S. consumers eat and drink, their attitudes and motivations, diet and nutrition, snacking, personal characteristics, and their usage of restaurants and other foodservice outlets. Portalatin works closely with food manufacturers and retailers; foodservice distributors, manufacturers, and operators; and media outlets to provide strategic business insights into current and future eating patterns in America.
Portalatin’s diverse background and experience give him an in-depth understanding of consumer behavior and purchase patterns. Previously, he was NPD’s industry analyst in the automotive aftermarket, motor fuels, and convenience retailing industries. Portalatin held various positions in petroleum marketing, convenience retailing, and foodservice wholesale distribution before joining NPD in 1999.
He is a frequent featured speaker at food industry events and corporate conferences/meetings with distributors, manufacturers, and retailers. Portalatin also serves as a media source for a wide variety articles on food and beverage consumption trends and how these trends impact the food industry. His comments have appeared in USA Today, CNBC, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, and other nationally recognized media outlets.
Peter Ray is an experienced director of market research and has spent the past 14 years providing consumer insights to manufacturers and operators that help influence and drive intelligent, sound business decisions. He finds developing data-driven stories that provide guidance for the most important decisions made by many of the largest brands in foodservice both exciting and rewarding. Ray holds a B.A. in Marketing from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a M.B.A in Marketing from the University of New Mexico.
Susan Schwallie has over 20 years of experience in research. In her current role at NPD she manages two strategic accounts and spearheads two to three annual studies. For Schwallie, the most exciting part of her role is working with clients to discover new ways to drive their business using NPD’s unique consumption data. What makes NPD unique is the breadth of industries it tracks, and its ability to bring the retail perspective into the marketplace. NPD’s Food and Beverage Consumption team is unique because of the consumption data the company has been tracking for over 30 years. Nobody else has been doing this; no one else has the whole view of consumption behavior, with the ability to understand how this information relates to the broad retail marketplace.
Darren Seifer provides insights based on NPD’s food-related research to organizations and companies across the country. Prior to joining NPD in March 2007, he was an analyst with Information Resources, Inc (IRI), where he spent more than seven years examining consumer packaged goods trends and worked with a variety of industry leaders covering dozens of food and beverage categories. Seifer has authored NPD reports on how the economy affects consumers’ in-home meal strategies, a profile of the organics consumer, the impact of Baby Boomers and Millennials on America’s eating patterns, and the unique consumption behaviors of Hispanics in the U.S., and he has been a contributing writer for trade publications.
Seifer is a frequent speaker at industry events such as the Institutes of Medicine and Biome Research, National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA), Obesity Society, Shopper Marketing Expo, and United Fresh. He is a faculty member of the Path to Purchase Institute.
Carin Stutz is the CEO and President of Native Foods, the original 100% plant-based fast casual eatery. Stutz recently served as the EVP/COO of Red Robin, overseeing company and franchise operations across the U.S. and Canada. Prior experience includes time at FOCUS Brands as the President of McAlister's Deli; CEO and President of Cosi, a fast-casual restaurant chain; and President of Global Business Development for Brinker International, leading all operations and franchise development for Chili's and Maggiano's restaurants around the globe.
Prior to joining Brinker, Stutz was EVP of Operations for Applebee's International and the Pacific Division Vice President for Wendy's International. She served as Regional Operations Vice President for Sodexo, U.S.A. and was Vice President of Corporate Operations for NutriSystem, Inc.
Stutz is a Past Chair of the Women's Foodservice Forum. She has been recognized in Chicago's Top 100 Women to Watch and Women Making a Difference. She received the Texas Women Worth Watching Award and received the Distinguished Alumni Award from WIU. She is a national judge for ProStart and NRA Education Foundation.
She serves on the board of trustees for Western Illinois University and the Fast Casual Industry Council, and the board of directors for Checkers and Rally’s Restaurants.
Sylvia Wulf is the President & CEO of AquaBounty Technologies, a publicly traded aquaculture and seafood biotechnology company, leading their growth and commercialization efforts globally. AquaBounty Technologies markets the first approved bioengineered animal for food, approved in both the U.S. and Canada. She was previously the President of the Manufacturing Division and SVP of Merchandising for US Foods, a $23 billion broad line foodservice distributor, where she was responsible for the P&L of the $10 billion protein and produce categories and the $1 billion Manufacturing Division of US Foods Meat, Seafood and Produce operations.
Wulf has a reputation as a proven leader and accomplished executive with over 25 years of P&L experience driving both growth and improved performance. Her diverse career encompasses executive-level positions in General Management, Sales, Marketing, and M&A in the Consumer Packaged Goods, Distribution, Agribusiness, and Ingredient Technology industries. Her success in growing revenue and market share, coupled with her strengths in strategy development, mergers & acquisitions, and operations, positively impacted respected brands such as US Foods, Tyson, Sara Lee, and Bunge. She serves on the boards of the National Fisheries Institute and BIO. Wulf was named one of the most powerful women in Illinois by the National Diversity Council in 2016.
With over 35 years of foodservice experience, Rick Seiler started his foodservice career as a line cook, and over the years held multiple positions within kitchen operations until he found his calling as a Banquet Chef with Marriott Hotels. As banquet chef, he found the challenge of cooking for groups from 10 to 10,000 fast paced and exciting.
Although he enjoyed his culinary experiences, Seiler leaped into foodservice sales, and for the last 25 years he has worked with General Foods, Huhtamaki Packaging, McCain Foods, Sara Lee, Hillshire Brands, and Tyson Foods.
Over the last 15 years, Seiler has enjoyed partnering with national and regional chains to support their marketing/menu strategies. He recently worked with national chains to include Subway, Arby’s and Tim Horton’s, as well as regional chains throughout the U.S. He enjoys partnering with customers to learn about their business and menu strategies in order to uncover the next great menu item that will delight customers.
After 12 years in the Chicago advertising agency scene, Leana Salamah found her calling in event marketing, spending six years leading marketing and content efforts for the National Restaurant Association Show — where she directed multiple years of record registration growth —before moving on to launch the Chicago office of event marketing agency mdg. During her time at mdg, Salamah guided efforts to build event brands, develop compelling positioning and messaging for relevant audience segments, and plan effective tactical communications that generated attendee acquisition results for events of all shapes and sizes, and across multiple industries.
Today, Salamah serves as the Vice President, Marketing, of the International Housewares Association, where she is part of the team that is re-launching the International Home + Housewares Show as The Inspired Home Show in 2020, to better align the event with the industry’s consumer-driven shift from product functionality to lifestyle development.
Keith Nunes has spent the past 25 years writing about the production, formulation, processing, and consumption of food and beverage products. His experience has introduced him to the leaders of the industry's largest companies and the entrepreneurs who are driving change throughout the supply chain. As the Editor of Food Business News, he has led the editorial department from a start-up in 2005 to the leading news source in the industry on the web and in print. Prior to joining Food Business News, Nunes spent 10 years writing about the dairy- and meat-processing industries.
Natalie Shmulik is The Hatchery’s CEO, and the go-to resource for everything food-business related. Along with an M.L.A. in Gastronomy from Boston University, she has a wide range of experience working with supermarkets, culinary publications, consumer packaged goods companies, and foodservice establishments. After successfully operating her own restaurant, Schmulik was hired as a specialty consultant for one of Ontario’s largest supermarket chains, where she enhanced consumer experiences through educational initiatives. Discovering her passion for innovation, she was brought on as a brand strategist for the first cold brew tea company and later moved to Chicago to run The Hatchery Chicago. With over six years of food incubation experience, Natalie has gained a unique perspective on the industry and what it takes to launch and grow a successful business. Schmulik is a regular contributor to Food Business News, was recently featured in the Chicago Tribune's 10 Business People to Watch in 2020, and received the Specialty Food Association's award for leadership in vision. She continues to play a valuable role in branding and marketing for food businesses around the country, with her specialty in trend forecasting.
Stephen Cusato is a one-man cooking show crew. He's the creator, host, chef, cameraman, and editor of “Not Another Cooking Show,” a stylistic new approach to a cooking show with the single goal of ensuring more people are cooking today than yesterday, and doing so with confidence. Using cameras and editing, along with sound culinary technique, Cusato has amassed over 200,000 loyal followers in just under two years. Many of them credit him with either sparking a newfound love and desire to cook or reigniting a passion for home cooking.
Andrew Steinthal is the quarterback of The Infatuation sales and partnerships team, using his skill set as a former music business publicist to build deep, meaningful relationships with like-minded brands such as American Express, Anheuser-Busch, Nike, Diageo, Lyft, Delta, and more. Steinthal was born in Manhattan and grew up in Scarsdale, where he still returns quite often to visit the Candlelight Inn and get dirty on a big sloppy bowl of wings. He’s scared of cheese, hates mushrooms, and refuses to eat olives. His true food passions include cereal, ice cream, and chocolate chip cookies. Weird, we know. Prior to going full-time Infatuation, Steinthal was the VP of PR at Warner Bros. Records. His dream would be to own the Knicks someday.
Talia Koren started Workweek Lunch in 2016, with the mission of teaching people all over the world how easy, cost-effective, and fun meal prep can be. Koren writes all the recipes and designs weekly meal plans that go out to a base of over 2,000 subscribers (and counting!) each week with the help of her amazing team. Her favorite dish to cook: anything with sweet potatoes.
Carlos Herrera is Chief Economist for Coca-Cola North America Foodservice and On-Premise division. The main thrust of his work is to increase the visibility of what’s to come through a deeper understanding of the foodservice industry from an economic perspective. His forecasts are a key input to the development of strategic and operational plans.
Herrera regularly shares his insights on the impact of the economy on consumers and the restaurant industry with the executive leadership, boards of directors, and franchisees of leading foodservice companies around the world. He has spent the last 26 years at Coca-Cola North America, serving in various capacities in Operations, Finance, Marketing, and Strategic Planning. Herrera worked for eight years at Federal Express and holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech. He is a member of the National Business Economists Issues Council and the Harvard Industry Economists Discussion Group.
As consumer tastes change and the retail landscape evolves, new business opportunities and threats abound. We offer data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world.
More than 2,000 companies worldwide rely on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels. They trust us to benchmark performance, guide strategic decision making, and find the best actions to take regarding pricing, product management, new product innovation, assortment, and customer segmentation.
6100 North River Road
The NPD Group has secured a room block at the Westin O'Hare with a discounted rate of $149.00 per night, exclusive of taxes, etc. We have a contractual obligation to fill this block, so please support the event by staying at the host hotel. Our group rate is available until April 4.
To make a room reservation, visit the hotel’s website,
or contact the hotel at 1-847-698-6000.
NPD account representative or