Meet the Chairpersons

Chair
EIT Food Alumni
Global Head of FMCG Operations & Commercial
Nandos
Innovation Director
Aviko BV

The Speakers

General Manager (Managing director)
Signature Foods

Amy Brix is General manager at Signature Foods in the Netherlands, known for Salads, Tapas with popular brands like Johma, TopKing and Westland, found in many Dutch homes. Her journey started in the travel industry, where she learned the importance of listening to customers and the power of taking businesses online and work with Lean teams. In 2013 Amy moved to Unilever to disrupt the industry set up new Business models and DTC. She created Quick commerce and launched new beauty brands across Europe digitally first. In 2020 she got promoted to director to run all digital sales and media channels for Unilever Germany in Hamburg.

In July 2023 Amy took a more entrepreneurial role as General manager Meal solution (Johma, westland and digital group). She is now managing a business end to end from sales, marketing to product innovation. Amy loves the speed and impact you can make in a smaller business. You can take a lot of learnings from a big corporate, but can keep the speed in execution. Amy uses her Growth mindset to inspire her team who just launch a new BBQ pasta range in just three months. Amy her journey with big ambitions and dedication for results earned her a spot in the Next Leadership 50 in the Netherlands. Amy always love a challenge and besides work I love sports, Matchmaking my friends and Being a child again with my 2 kids. She looks forward to meet you all.

Senior Manager, Forward Lab
Fazer

Annika Porr is an experienced R&D leader with an entrepreneurial ‘think big, start small’ mindset. At Fazer Annika oversees Forward Lab’s visionary planning that supports Fazer’s sustainability targets, with consumer in the core. Forward Lab’s ambitious long-term R&D plans includes high tech food ingredients and novel disruptive technology development. These plans are carried out with Fazer’s in-house team, and in collaboration with research centers and emerging start-ups. Disruptive innovations are evaluated for commercial viability under a successful ‘Taste the Future’ piloting concept.

Annika Porr on LinkedIn 

For more information on Fazer Group, please visit our website 

Quality, Security & Safety Director
Leonidas

Dr. Athanasios Moschos is a Quality and Food Safety professional with 30 years of experience. He obtained his PhD in physical chemistry at Brussels University (ULB). He is also graduate in Occupational Safety & Hygiene and in Innovation Management. He worked as expert at the European Commission for 3 years. Since 1995, he works for the food industry in Belgium. As head of Quality Department, he has a global and integrated vision of quality and safety. He is also member of Regulatory Committees of Industry Associations. Its expertise covers the fields of certification (ISO 9001, FSSC 22000, BRC, etc.), risk & crisis management, innovation, as well regulatory aspects in the food industry. For the past 3 years, he has taken a keen interest in the digital transition and the implications that this transition will have on his areas of expertise. He is also one of three internal project managers responsible for the construction of the company's new manufacturing site.

Founder
The Real Co

David founded The Real Co. in 2016 with a mission to create non-alcoholic beverages that were every bit as good as their alcoholic cousins. After 2 years of development work, REAL launched a series of non-alcoholic sparklings that quickly built a passionate following amongst the leading sommeliers in the UK and around Europe. REAL has now become one of leading proponents of the exploding no&lo sector, selling through many of the leading restaurant, bar and hotel chains as well as across premium multiple retail.

Following his success in the no&lo sector, David expanded his focus to include the broader non-alcoholic drinks category, working with a range of partners in the development of fermented drinks that compete with products that would be traditionally recognised as soft drinks.

A manufacturing engineer by training David spent his first 10 years in strategy consulting, primarily with Bain & Co. Since then, he has been part of the founding team of disruptive start-ups Active Hotels (became booking.com), Tom Dixon, Mindshapes and Clippings.com. But his passion for food, growing, sustainable health and regenerative food systems was the origin of The Real Co

Co-Founder & CEO
BiteMe Nutrition

Edo Mujkić is the CEO and co-founder of BiteMe Nutrition, a startup that has generated significant consumer and industry interest in just a few years. This is evidenced by its extensive distribution network and various accolades, including the World's Best Snack Award received at IFE London in 2023. Edo has acquired rich experience in the food industry by working for leading European sport nutrition brands and distributors. He has translated this knowledge into a brand that aims to meet the increasingly pronounced demand from customers for healthy and indulgent snacks in a unique way.

Head of Product Development
Adamo Foods

Gareth Payne is the Head of Product Development for Adamo Foods, where he is leading the creation and scale up of groundbreaking whole cut meat alternatives produced from mycelium. Gareth has over 15 years experience in food science, leading development in multiple categories across a range of business sizes.

Head of Food & Beverage Strategy
Veeva Systems

Geert joined Veeva Systems in 2021 as Director QualityOne Strategy, focusing on the Food & Beverage industry. After receiving his PhD in Applied Physics from Delft University of Technology, he joined Unilever R&D in 1998. He has 23 years of experience in Foods, R&D, innovation, Quality and Quality systems. Geert has spent most of his career working for Unilever’s Spreads Division, developing expertise in oils & fats as well as product & processing technologies. He published his work in peer-reviewed publications and holds several patents. Geert has led several regional and global product innovation projects, and worked 3.5 yrs in Johannesburg, South Africa, leading the Spreads R&D group for Africa & Asia. In 2015, Geert joined Unilever’s global Quality group, initially responsible for Spreads & Dressings. Led the development of several GMPs, and supported Engineering in various factory design projects. From 2017, responsible for various Quality systems, including supplier and manufacturing systems, and led Unilever’s global digital Quality transformation project, introducing Veeva QualityOne.

Head of Operations - Deliveroo Hop
Deliveroo

Giovanni has worked in the Large-Scale Retail Trade for the last 10 years and today he is the Head of Operations di Deliveroo Hop Italy, the quick commerce branch of Deliveroo. The leitmotif of the work path is customer satisfaction, through the drivers that can influence his behaviours.

Since the launch of the first dark store in Italy, he focused on store process in a new market to be able to satisfy a new and growing demand. The previous role of Area Manager at Lidl allowed him to know different contexts around Italy, working on standards, on process efficiency and cost saving. Passionate about travel, food and nature developed in particular after graduating with a thesis in Multifunctional Agriculture and a period of 10 months lived in New Zealand, he started a company of natural wines in Sicily, his own region.

Chair
EIT Food Alumni

Dr. Ir. Glenn Mathijssen, CEO & Co-Founder of Alberts, leads a Belgium-based team excelling in food robotics. Alberts is known for its Vending 4.0 solutions, offering personalized fresh smoothies, hot soups, and plant-based shakes. Dr. Ir. Mathijssen, holding a Ph.D. in Electro-Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in Robotics, also possesses an M.Sc. in Management. He was recognized in 2019 as Belgium's FITCE Young ICT Personality. Today, he is the inaugural chair of the EIT Food Alumni Board.

Nutrition Business Development Manager
Morro – A Xampla Brand

Hannah Pearse is a registered nutritionist with over 15 years’ experience of leading new product innovations, strategic collaborations and driving consumer behaviour change with some of the world’s leading food and drink companies.    

In January 2023 Hannah joined Xampla, a Cambridge based technology B-Corp, as Nutrition Business Development Manager. She works collaboratively with brands to identify new product development opportunities in the nutrient microcapsules and plant-based edible flexible film arena. A strategic nutrition thought leader, she keeps her clients ahead of the competition by identifying applications to fortify food and beverages and replace some of the most polluting plastics.    

Staying ahead of the public health challenges and emerging consumer trends, she works with customers to deliver evidence-based solutions that make a positive impact for both health and meeting business needs. 

Professor
BHT Berlin

After graduating with a PhD in Food Chemistry, Jens joined the Dairy Division at the German KRÜGER GROUP in Stendal as Head of Product Development. In 2013, he joined what used to be called WILD Flavors (now ADM, Archer Daniels Midland) in Berlin as Head of R&D and held various global leadership roles in the field of research and development, including innovation deployment and portfolio, knowledge and IP management. After more than 20 years in the food industry, he recently made the move to the world of academia in order to help students best prepare for their important roles in the world of food and beverage technology. In April 2022 he was appointed as Professor for food technology at BHT in Berlin.

Open Innovation Manager
Damm

Jordi Torrent is the Open Innovation Manager at Damm, where he spearheads the company's open innovation initiatives. Previously, he has played a significant role in nurturing the Barcelona tech ecosystem through his tenure at Tech Barcelona as the International Affairs Officer and his involvement in the inception of the association. His career trajectory also includes impactful stints at the streaming platform Rakuten TV and the e-commerce site LetsBonus, among other startups, underscoring his diverse experience and commitment to the innovation industry.

Founder and CEO
Eatable Adventures

José Luis Cabañero is a seasoned professional with a diverse background in innovation, new technologies, and the food industry. He is the co-founder and CEO of Eatable Adventures, a global Food Innovation Hub that connects entrepreneurial talent with investors and corporates. Cabañero has been active in the innovation and new technologies industry for almost 30 years, working with international companies. Prior to founding Eatable Adventures, he held various leadership roles in companies such as Cisco Systems, NETSCOUT, Broadcom Software, and ADVA.


He also served as a Partner and Chief Operating Officer at Infinitto Networks and held various positions at Oracle EMEA and Unisys.Under his leadership, Eatable Adventures has been involved in the consolidation of the Southern European AgrifoodTech market segment, running multiple impactful programs targeted to the development of emerging technology based startups addressing the multiple challenges of the food system. Programs like Spain Foodtech, Madrid Food Innovation Hub, FoodSeed, Mylkcubator, Eatex or Verona Agrifood Innovation Hub are creating a vibrant startup ecosystem in Southern Europe.


Cabañero's educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Computer Sciences from Universidad de Extremadura and the General Management Business Program from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. In addition to his technology and business background, Cabañero has a strong interest in gastronomy. He has a Le Cordon Bleu issued professional qualification as Chef de Haute Cuisine with a specialisation in French Cuisine, a leading global network of culinary arts and hospitality management institutes.

Head of R&D
Delta Cafés

João as Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering. With almost 20 years of professional experience, he as started his career in 2003, working extensively in the automotive sector, specializing in control devices for car optics and chassis development. Later transitioned to designing and engineering of home appliances for brands such as Swatch, Bosch, and Philips, as well as medical appliances. Over the past decade, João has led the R&D team at Delta Cafes' Innovation Centre, Diverge, responsible for capsule and capsule coffee machines systems projects for the brand’s group.

Solution Expert
Trace One

Lina is an experienced quality and product engineer with over 8 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, spanning both retail and manufacturing sectors. At Trace One, Lina is a solution expert and subject matter expert in optimizing and standardizing the new product development process using a PLM solution. With extensive experience in quality management, product and packaging development, and compliance, Lina demonstrates how leveraging a PLM system can enhance NPDI processes in the food industry.

EMEAR Food & Beverage expert and Executive Sales Director
Centric Software

Massimo Antoniello, EMEAR Food & Beverage expert and Executive Sales Director at Centric Software, is a Business and Transformation Leader with over 20 years of experience in Organization Development, Operations, Sales, and General Management. Specializing in Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and the Food & Beverage (F&B) industry, Massimo is known for his strong leadership and relentless passion for innovation. He excels in understanding business operations, building and leading high-performance teams, driving financial performance, enhancing customer engagement, and managing change at local, regional, and global levels.

Innovation Director
Smileat

Professional with more than 14 years of international experience managing and executing innovation projects in a range of sectors; packaging, environmental technologies and food, turning innovative ideas into viable processes and marketable products where the end customer is always at the heart of the process.

Senior Director of Product Marketing
TraceGains

Veteran product marketing and development professional with over twenty years in the technology and consulting industries, with a focus on the food and beverage, restaurant, and retail verticals. Worked with some of the largest and most dynamic brands in the industry. Passionate about the power of technology in helping businesses achieve the resiliency in today’s marketplace.

CEO
Rollagranola

A life that is about making change happen & having a great family. Supportive partner who keeps me stable. 3 kids, 2 grandkids and a career spanning 45 years in industry.

20 years managing change in the food industry followed by reusing this experience to lead change programs in multiple industries from Aviation, digital media, jewellery, civil engineering & port and border security, finally 4 years working to integrate businesses following M&A activity.

My focus was always to achieve the change brief in the most engaging, effective and honest manner. Accelerate change by respecting deep industry knowledge and bring new ideas to create sustainable change that is best of both.

2014- founder and CEO of Rollagranola- changing the world one bowl of cereal at a time: Our foundations are to listen to consumers, apply R&D, build a concept that can deliver the result and take it to market to create Rollagranola; a premium healthy brand.

Director of Culinary Innovation
Quorn

Stu Henshall: from a field-to-fork pioneer to the forefront of the food revolution. Stu’s culinary journey took off from his parents' farm restaurant, soared through TV screens, and cemented him as a plant-based cuisine powerhouse. With ten years dedicated to redefining plant-based dining, Stu's influence spans teaching at top culinary schools, developing award-winning products, kickstarting restaurant startups, and advocating for the planet on every plate.

Now, as the UK’s number one Meat-Free Brand, Quorn's Director of Culinary Innovation, Stu is not just in the kitchen; he's in the lab, on the stage, and leading the charge into a sustainable future. His mission? To not only innovate but to inspire a global movement towards meat-free eating. At the intersection of taste, technology, and sustainability, Stu is focussed on crafting the next chapter of our food story, making meat-free not just a choice, but a culinary crusade to create delicious food that’s good for people and the planet.

Innovation Director
Aviko BV

Born in Pasto, an Andes-town in the south of Colombia on May 5, 1976, Willem Fijten has had quite the journey in his professional life. Currently, he's the Innovation Director and Commercial Board member at AVIKO, one of the biggest potato product manufacturers in the world. In this role, he is, together with a team of product developers, product managers and sensory specialists, shaping innovation strategies and overseeing the creation and launch of new products.

Before this, he spent time at NOMAD FOODS EUROPE as the European Senior Development Manager. Leading a team across Europe, Willem worked on an innovative plan that combined technical know-how, business sense, and consumer’s needs. Iglo, Birds Eye and La Cocinera are examples of the portfolio of Brands Willem was responsible for.

Then came his time at MARS FOOD GLOBAL, where he worked as a Product Innovation and R&D Global Culinary Expert. Here, he was in charge of development projects on a global scale, making sure new products were not only developed well but also fit into the overall product lineup. Ben’s Rice & sauces, Dolmio, Seeds of Change amongst other brands were part of his portfolio of responsibilities.

But let's rewind a bit. Willem started in the kitchen, working as an Executive Sous-Chef at the kitchen of The Sofitel The Hague (NL) and later managing the kitchen activities at different restaurants in Europe. This culinary background set the stage for his diverse career. Beyond the work as chef, Willem is an accomplished culinary professional, winning awards like the “Young Chef of the Year in 2003”, the "Zilveren Garde 2004” and the "Grand Prix Culinair 2010".

He graduated from Hotel-School back in 1999 and the School of Culinary arts in 2001. Down the personal development road, Willem’s extra-curricular trainings and interests are very much in the field of Leadership, Innovation and Strategy.