Commercialization Workshop 2022

Commercialization panel

PPIC's 1st Commercialization Workshop

On June 9th - 10th 2022, the Plant Protein Innovation Center (PPIC) hosted its first Commercialization Workshop at the University of Minnesota. Nearly 100 delegates from 37 companies and organizations attended the workshop. The two-day workshop consisted of various presentations that focused on the process of taking a new plant-based ingredient/product from idea conception to market. The workshop kicked off with a presentation from the Director and Founder of PPIC, Dr. Pam Ismail, who highlighted the role of PPIC in “translating research to reality” collaboratively and effectively. The keynote speaker Dr. Julie Simonson, Vice President R&D Product Innovation at Schwan’s Company, illustrated the requirements for commercialization of a new food product/ingredient, while highlighting successful team driven stories. The event also facilitated various networking opportunities, where the attendees visited company booths and connected with fellow plant-protein enthusiasts. PPIC is very grateful to all of the presenters and attendees for making this one-of-a-kind event such a success.


Here’s what some participants shared with us.

Ryan Presenting


David presenting


Regulation Panel






Commercialization Workshop

June 9-10, 2022

This workshop guides businesses in taking a new plant-based ingredient/product from idea conception to market. Speakers addressed topics including development of plant protein based products, technology scale-up, co-manufacturer selection, quality systems, intellectual property, regulatory, project management and marketing launch.  A regulatory panel addressed questions from the audience on the current regulatory landscape of plant-based products. In addition, there was time set aside for networking to connect with potential collaborators, customers, partners and fellow plant protein aficionados.

Speakers included representatives from CPG companies, ingredient suppliers and experienced retired professionals. The day and a half program was kicked off by the keynote speaker Julie Simonson, Ph.D., Vice President R&D Product Innovation, the Schwan’s Company.  Dr. Simonson has a distinguished career in leading global commercialization and innovation, and is a member of PPIC’s Executive Board. At the networking dinner on June 9, Seth Tibbott, founder of the Tofurky company, shared the 40 year journey he pioneered in manufactured plant protein products.

Julie Simonson

Key Note Speaker:
Julie Simonson
Vice President of R&D Product Innovation at Schwan's Company

Seth Tibbott

Dinner Speaker:
Seth Tibbott
Founder of Turtle Island Foods, now "the Tofurky Company"


B. Pam Ismail, Founder & Director of PPIC, Professor, University of Minnesota 

Pam Ismail

Dr. Pam Ismail is the Founder and Director of the Plant Protein Innovation Center and is a Professor at the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota. Dr. Ismail has over 25 years of experience in Food Chemistry research focused on analytical chemistry, protein chemistry, and chemistry and fate of bioactive food constituents. Her research focuses on structural characterization and enhancement of functionality, safety, bioavailability, and bioactivity of food proteins, following novel processing and analytical approaches. She is the recipient of a “Distinguished Teaching Award” and an “Outstanding Professor Award”. 

Key Note Speaker: Julie Simonson, Vice-President of R&D Product Innovation at Schwan’s Company

Julie Simonson

Julie is Vice-President of R&D Product Innovation at Schwan’s Company, an affiliate of CJ ChielJedang.  She leads a multi-site product development team responsible for product design from concept through commercialization for all Schwan’s business units (Consumer Brands, Food Service, Strategic Partner Solutions) and categories (Pizza, Asian, Desserts).  She also champions new category innovations, open innovation initiatives, and nutrition strategy to advance the company’s growth strategy. Julie began her career with Kraft Foods, where she spent seventeen years in progressive R&D roles from Senior Scientist to Director R&D in numerous categories within the US and then Europe. She joined Campbell Soup Company in 2008 as Vice President R&D for North America Soup, Sauces, and Beverages and then moved to leading Global Science and Technology prior to joining Schwan’s Company in 2012. Julie was influential in the original organizational design of the Plant Protein Innovation Center (PPIC) at the University of Minnesota and has been a member of the PPIC’s Executive Board since its inception in 2019.  Julie earned her Doctorate in Food Science from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and her Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science from Iowa State University.  

Presenting: What’s the Secret Sauce to Successful Commercializations?

You have a great product idea – and are really excited to share it with others! But now you need to commercialize it. Scaling up new ingredients and products from benchtop to manufacturing plant is a critical step in seamlessly launching your new venture by minimizing risks and maximizing financial returns. Learn more about key considerations and the “secret sauce” to ensure your success.

Dulce Paredes, Global VP of Consumer Insights and Market Research, Flavor Division at Takasago International Corporation (U.S.A.)

Dulce Paredes

Dr. Dulce Paredes is the global VP of Consumer Insights and Market Research, Flavor Division at Takasago International Corporation (U.S.A.). She calls herself a “Consumer Navigator” or one who brings consumer focus into the different goals and activities of the organization.  She has over 30 years of consumer and product research experience and has worked previously at Avon, Kraft Foods and Pepsi Cola. She holds Ph.D. and  M.P.S degrees in Food Science from Cornell University and a B.S. in Food Technology from the University of the Philippines.  She has co-edited two books: Product Innovation Toolbox (2022, 2012) and Chemistry of Taste (2000).  

Presenting: Product Design for Current and Future Plant Based Consumers

Plant-based products are witnessing significant growth and are purchased by multi-faceted consumers with different diet backgrounds (e.g., flexitarians, vegetarians, vegans). Implementing a multi-stage and iterative learning approach for product design is important prior to actual product development. This starts with understanding consumer mindsets, behaviors, motivations and consumption habits; tracking evolving market landscape and technologies; and implementing learnings in developing new product concepts and prototypes.

David Meyer, Technical Service manager with CP Kelco

David Meyer

David Meyer is a Technical Service manager with CP Kelco. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Meat & Animal Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a Masters of Food Science Degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Dave has worked for 22 years in the food industry including 13 years with General Mills as a product developer in the Meals Division; three years in technical service at Cargill Texturizing Solutions and the last 5+ years with CP Kelco. Dave’s experience with product development coupled with his focus on hydrocolloids for the past 8 years gives him a unique perspective on the use of hydrocolloids in product development. His favorite projects involve complex ingredient interactions in which he works closely with client product developers to find the right product(s) for their application.


Consumers expect plant-based protein alternatives to resemble their ”original” counterparts, especially in beverages, ice cream, cheese and meat analogs. Brands are looking to increase viscosity and mouthfeel in plant-based applications and to create stable and consistent products. A wide variety of hydrocolloids present unique functionality to deliver attributes desired by consumers. We will review the attributes that developers are trying to achieve and explore hydrocolloid options to deliver those attributes in a number of applications (beverages, yogurts, cheeses, meat analogs, egg substitutes and condiments). Specific application formulas and processes and some trouble-shooting tips to use while working with hydrocolloids will also be shared.

Mawele Shamaila, Senior Research Scientist for Plant Based Proteins at Symrise

Mawele Shamaila

Dr. Mawele Shamaila is a Senior Research Scientist for Plant Based Proteins at Symrise. In this role, he is responsible for leading the technical program in plant based savory applications. This entails the creation of plant base matrices, flavor application, and optimization to enhance sensory experience of these products. Prior to Symrise, Mawele worked at Nestle for 16 years as a Vegetable Expert, and in the last 3-4 years focused on plant-based meat analogues. Prior to Nestle, he was a Vegetable Processing Expert at Birds Eye. He has a PhD in Food Science (University of British Columbia), MSc in Plant Science (University of Manitoba) and a BSc in Agriculture (University of Zambia).

Presenting: Flavor in Plant Based Protein Foods

More and more plant protein based products are being introduced that are marketed as healthier substitutes to their animal-protein based counterparts. Consumers always have high taste expectations in their food. However, optimum flavor for plant protein products is still evolving. This talk covers the inherent flavor character of plant proteins and the potential solutions such as masking, flavor modulators and flavor/texture synergies.

Marty Gil, Key Account Manager at GNT

Marty Gil

Marty Gil is a Key Account Manager at GNT. GNT is a global market leader in natural food colors, known for its EXBERRY® line of food colors.  He offers full level support to CPG companies interested to qualify colors made from whole fruits, vegetables and edible plants.  Marty started at GNT in 2004.  Previously he worked in Product Development at Mattson in Foster City CA and graduated from U.C. Davis with a degree in Food Science.

Presenting: Making the Most of Colorful Fruits and Vegetables in Plant Based Foods

The presentation will focus on the key aspects that drive color performance and color product selection in plant based products such as meat analogues, cultured products, beverages, frozen desserts etc. The focus will be on colors made from fruits, vegetables and edible plants. The speaker will discuss technical demands placed on plant based colors, regulatory considerations, supply chain considerations and case studies to demonstrate how solutions can be implemented to meet consumer expectations.

Jay Pokorny, Innovation Group Leader at Extru-Tech

Jay Pokorny

Jay Pokorny is the Innovation Group Leader at Extru-Tech, Inc, a leading extrusion equipment supplier to the food, pet food, and aquatic feed industries. His primary role is to lead and coordinate equipment, process, and automation innovation efforts to expand and enhance Extru-Tech’s product line within the company’s world markets.  Jay holds a bachelor’s degree in Feed Science & Management from Kansas State University. Previously, he spent 20+ years working in R&D & Supply Chain divisions of manufacturers including Mars Pet Care, Frito-Lay, Inc., Del Monte Pet Care, and most recently Hill’s Pet Nutrition. 

Presenting: Best Practices of Process Scaleup

The goal of scale-up is to identify & develop a process that will successfully produce a desired product when manufactured at a commercial scale. To successfully move from the small scale to the large, one must understand how size changes impact a number of physical & chemical phenomena. This talk will cover best practices and pitfalls to prevent costly errors and delays during process development and market introduction

Ryan Burge, Quality Director at Campbells

Ryan Burge

Ryan Burge has devoted over 12 years to QA and Regulatory compliance in snack, beverage, bakery, and nut food processing. Through her leadership experience gained as Quality Director at Campbells she brings a practical approach to Quality, Food Safety, and Sanitation by combining risk assessments and scientific data into best practices. Prior to Campbell's she also worked at Snyder-Lance's Inc. and Diamond Foods  Inc. She has a BS in Chemistry from Western Oregon University. At home in Oregon, she enjoys a strong cup of tea, gluten free baking, and teaching her Yorkie, Stetson, how to talk.

Presenting: Quality Systems in the Food Industry

Whether you are a manufacturer of a plant protein or a plant-based product, quality systems are indispensable to ensure safe, quality food for the consumer. In this talk, quality regulations (FSMA, GMP, HACCP, EMP, etc.) will be demystified and explained with real life examples. These regulations are the foundations for the best practices in product standards, safety, manufacturing process control and XYZ

Adamson Wong, Director of Quality and Regulatory for North America at Oatly

Adam Wong

Dr. Adamson Wong is currently the Director of Quality and Regulatory for North America at Oatly, one of the leading plant-based companies producing oat-based products.   His professional experience consists of 25 years of guidance and oversight of food safety and quality programs across different product matrices (snacks; frozen and canned vegetables; chilled and aseptic oat-based products).  Adam manages staff, multiple contract manufacturers and third-party suppliers, making sure that regulatory, customer and consumer requirements are properly implemented.  His education consists of an MBA (Bloomsburg University), an MS and Ph.D. (Cornell University and University of Illinois respectively).

Presenting: Best Practices in CoManufacturer Selection and Procurement Management

The presentation will provide an overall perspective to navigate the challenges in selecting contract manufacturers and procurement management, with an emphasis on the plant-based industry. Selecting contract manufacturers and procurement management are two related topics, not just in terms of regulation, but also in industry best practice. The presenter will share unique insights in plant-based operations.

Dinner Speaker: Seth Tibbott founder of Turtle Island Foods, now "the Tofurky Company"

Seth Tibbot

In 1980, Seth Tibbott founded Turtle Island Foods, now "the Tofurky Company", on $2500 savings from his 8-year career as a teacher/naturalist. For 15 years Seth pursued his dream while losing his shirt as a pioneer of the early plant-based foods movement.  In 1995, Seth introduced the first nationally marketed vegan holiday roast named "Tofurky. Seth has chronicled his “40-year overnight success story” in a new book, In Search of the Wild Tofurky.

Presenting: What do Graham Crackers, Little Women and Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Have in Common?

Seth Tibbott founded the Tofurky Company forty two years ago. While people credit him and The Tofurky Company as “pioneering Plant Based foods, this talk will be about a longer timeline. Sethwill cover the real pioneers who have been promoting plant based foods since Colonial times. In this very entertaining talk, he will talk about a non-Beatles group from Liverpool, the name sake of a famous cracker, vegan communes, the first commercial meat alternatives and much more. Seth believes today's plant foods stand on the shoulders of these brave men and women who dared to go against the grain and were often shunned and ridiculed by a meat centric society. Lastly, he will discuss the contemporary landscape, including Tofurky, the challenges, hopes and what a plant based future may look like

Robbie Burns, Principal of Nutrition Implications LLC

Robbie Burns

Dr. Robbie Burns is the principal of Nutrition Implications LLC where he assists clients with the application of nutrition science to product innovation, product claims and communication.  He is also an Adjunct Professor of Practice at the Indiana University Bloomington School of Public Health. Previously, he was VP for the Health and Nutrition Policy at Grocery Manufacturers Association where he identified emerging issues for GMA members and advocated for the importance of solid scientific evidence as the basis for impactful regulations and public health policy.  Prior to joining GMA, Robbie held senior leadership roles in the area of nutrition at Cadbury Schweppes and Mead Johnson Nutritionals. He has degrees in Biochemistry and Agricultural and Food Chemistry  from Queen’s University in Belfast.  In 2020 he was selected as an American Society of Nutrition Fellow.

Presenting: Plant Based Foods: Regulatory and Labelling Considerations

Most of today's products have a long history of definition and standards of identity established by the USDA, FDA and other agencies. While plant protein based foods have been around for many decades, the unprecedented resurgence of 'meats', 'milks' and other products have not matched the governmental definitions of such products. This lack of definition has led to a lot of mixed claims in labelling that has been confusing to the consumer. This talk will cover the current state in the plant protein foods category.

Regulatory Panel

Maddie Cohen, Regulatory Attorney at The Good Food Institute

Maddie Cohen

Maddie Cohen is a regulatory attorney at The Good Food Institute, or "GFI." GFI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit working to make the global food system better for the planet, people, and animals by accelerating the world's transition to alternative proteins. Maddie works on regulatory and policy issues affecting cultivated meat, plant-based foods, and fermentation-derived ingredients. Her areas of expertise include the domestic regulatory landscape, federal litigation, and international regulatory work through multilateral organizations. Before joining GFI, Maddie worked as an associate at the law firm Wiley Rein and as a law clerk to federal judge Robert C. Chambers.

Regulatory Panel

Brent Kobielush, Director, Food Safety with The Acheson Group

Brent Kobielush

Dr. Brent Kobielush is a Director, Food Safety with The Acheson Group. His MS and PhD degrees in Toxicology are from the U of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. His previous work experience are with General Mills and Cargill where he was involved in the areas of Toxicology and Regulatory Affairs, respectively. In his Cargill role, he led the rollout of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) across ~500+ facilities, globally. Brent is a governor-appointed member of the Minnesota Food Safety and Defense Task Force (MNFSDT). He also spent 12 years serving as a board member for the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program (FARRP) at the University of Nebraska. He has held numerous leadership positions in toxicology and safety councils in the food industry. 

Regulatory Panel

Dr. Alex Eapen, Director of the R&D North America at Cargill

Alex Eapen

Dr. Alex Eapen is the Director of the R&D – Scientific & Regulatory Affairs Team – North America at Cargill. He has over 20 years of experience as a toxicologist and risk assessor for FDA-regulated products. He received his BS degree in biochemistry from the University of Dayton and a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Iowa. In addition, he completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Mayo Clinic Division of Oncology Research. He has been board-certified in toxicology (DABT) since 2005 and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the American Board of Toxicology.

Regulatory Panel

Wendell Ray Guffey, Intellectual Property Attorney

Wendel Ray Guffey

Wendell Ray Guffey is an intellectual property attorney with over 35 years of experience in CPG companies in all aspects of intellectual property law including patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, and technology law. He is a registered patent attorney that focuses primarily in the area of biotechnology and chemistry. He has a BS and MS in Chemistry from the University of Kentucky, a JD from Northern Kentucky University, and a MS in Life Sciences from Indiana State University. In addition to being registered at the USPTO, he is or has been licensed to practice law in several states, including Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, and Tennessee. He is also a member of the bar for the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Presenting: Intellectual Property for Non-Attorneys

Intellectual property (IP) is an asset for your business, whether you produce a plant protein ingredient or market plant based consumer products. This talk will summarize and compare the different types of intellectual property (patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets) and describe how to obtain legal protection for each type. Each IP type has its advantages and disadvantages but all play an important role in protecting research and business investments.

Kimberly Frey, Senior Product Line Manager, Plant Based Proteins, Ingredion

Kim Frey

Kimberly Frey joined Ingredion in 2012 as a Senior Accountant in the Corporate Reporting function. Over the past nine years, she has held roles of increasing responsibility within various Accounting & Finance divisions. Currently, Kimberly serves as the Senior Product Line Manager for Global Plant Based Proteins. She partners with plant operations, commercial and supply chain teams to drive growth and performs business research and analysis designed to improve decision making. Kimberly earned a degree in Finance from Iona College and a Masters in Accounting from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Presenting: Financial considerations for launching a plant protein ingredient or plant-based food product

Plant protein products are still a fairly new but rapidly growing category. This talk will cover the factors that need to be considered from a financial perspective i.e., the environmental climate impact on the supply and price of the plant raw materials, valorization of the side streams during plant protein processing and capital investments for new manufacturing plants.

Chuck Johnson, Retired Marketing and R&D executive

Chuck Johnson

Chuck Johnson is a retired Marketing and R&D executive with almost 3 decades of experience in Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, manufacturers and retailers and in the food, health and beauty aids, foodservice and housewares industries. Prior to retirement, he was a Worldwide Director for Hill's Pet Nutrition a subsidiary of Colgate-Palmolive. In his career, he had director-level assignments in R&D planning, Marketing Effectiveness, Global Business Development and U.S. Marketing.  Chuck has a Journalism degree from Northwestern University

Presenting: Project Management

Project management should be a core competency for any company, regardless of size. Delivering on a successful commercial introduction of a new product or ingredient can be attained with a structured oversight of crossfunctional tasks, timeline and budget. This talk will cover the elements of project management, best practices and watchouts .