At a Glance Program

On the agenda this year are engaging sessions and discussions based on the latest research, inspiring case studies from across the region and interactive panel discussions with industry leaders. Take a look at the day-by-day agenda or discover more with the buttons below.

We are currently updating this page, please check back soon for more sessions.

Program PDF  Speakers Register

Day 1 – Monday November 12


4.30pm – Registration

5.00pm – Panel discussion: The consumer panel

We ask parents to tell us what they like, what they don’t like, and what they look for on a food label when they shop for food for their children. We’ll also take a deeper dive into eating and shopping habits. Do the kids eat at the same time as the adults in the house? Is it hard to get children to eat things we consider to be healthy? Are parents more likely to buy organic for their kids? Is it hard to find healthy options they like when you eat out? What drinks are the best choices? Milk? Juice? Water?

6.00pm – Trailblazers! Emerging brands – start-ups focusing on food for babies or children – will present their innovations to our expert panel live on stage for constructive feedback.

Expert panel:

7.00pm – Networking reception

Day 2 – Tuesday November 13


9.00am – Chairman’s welcome

9.05am – Turn back time:  Recovering 100 years of deterioration in the infant gut microbiome
Dr David Kyle, Chairman and Chief Science Officer, Evolve Biosystems

Babies being born in the USA today don’t have the same microbiome as babies born 100 years ago.  Increasingly absent is the single commensal species that, through its unique ability to consume Human Milk Oligosaccharides, underpins every child’s ability to thrive.   In his presentation David draws upon more than twenty years of research to explain how the near extinction of the commensal species has come about, the implications for infant and long term health, and how that extinction can be reversed.

  • How did we get here?  How infant formula, antibiotics and C-sections have compromised the infant microbiome
  • Why this is a bad place to be.  Threats to long term human health through disruption of the immune system
  • Where do we go from here?   New data reveals how we can turn back time and restore the infant microbiome

9.35am – Infancy’s Big Bang: Explosive growth and development in early childhood
Robert Murray, Professor of Pediatrics and Human Nutrition, Ohio State University  

From birth, infants begin an extraordinary burst of physical growth, organ development, and brain expansion. Based on exposures and experiences, a child will form the foundations for their future health, mental health, and cognitive abilities. Optimal nutrition is critical during this time. Dr Murray will explore the many functions of breast milk, discuss good and bad choices we make during the introduction of first foods, and present several ideas for consciously planning a toddler’s initial diet between 6 months to 2 years of age that will shape their dietary pattern for life.

  • You think the baby is just “playing”, right? The stunning sensory and motor exploration that builds the brain
  • Why is breast milk such a big deal? The dual functions of breast milk – nutrition & transition to protect the baby in the new world
  • What are we trying to do with feeding? The parenting part of introducing a baby to non-milk foods
  • What is a dietary pattern anyway? Thinking about diet as a positive, powerful force in your family’s health and well-being

10.05am – Panel discussion: Where next for babyfood?

Panellists include:

10.40am – Refreshments

11.30am – The big picture… Is the food industry helping or hindering parents?
Margo Wootan, VP Nutrition, CSPI

How can we encourage healthier eating habits among children and parents? And what role should the food industry play? Are we marketing junk food to our kids? What messages is the industry giving to children? How do we get kids to eat more fruits, veggies, wholegrains, and milk?

11.55am – Why do so many kids have food allergies and what can we do about it?
Stephen L. Taylor, Co-founder Food Allergy Research and Resource Program, University of Nebraska, Lincoln  

One in every 13 children in the US has a food allergy, and prevalence and in some cases severity – appears to be rising, likely for multiple reasons, from changes in gut bacteria to the hygiene hypothesis, to the rising use of antibiotics.

12.20am – How should the food industry respond?
Joel Warady, General Manager, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Enjoy Life Foods  

How are food and beverage companies responding to the rise in allergies among children?


12.45pm – Speed networking – Grow your network with a series of four-minute meetings with your fellow attendees. Introduce yourself to a new contact every time you hear the signal and find out if you’ve got mutual interests that would make a subsequent, more in-depth meeting worthwhile.

1.30pm – Lunch with roundtable discussions – Tables will be hosted by an expert from industry or academia who will lead an informal discussion on an industry hot topic. Join the table that suits you best, subject to availability.

3.00pm – Fireside chat: Meals for kids!
Matt Cohen, CEO, Kidfresh

3.25pm  – Panel discussion: What’s in your lunch box? Healthy snacks for kids.  

Panelists include:

4.05pm – Refreshments

4.35pm – The new marketing playbook… How to build a kids’ food brand
Fred Hart, Creative Director and Partner, Interact

5.05pm – The most trusted source: Earning brand recommendations from pediatric professionals
Brian Levy, CEO, Pulse Health & Wellness

The clutter and clamour of health information has consumers confused and questioning their choices. Through all the conflicting information, conversations with health professionals remain the most trusted source of guidance for consumers – particularly moms and dads. Pediatric professionals regularly discuss nutrition with parents, and they are eager to share information and product recommendations with them. This presentation explains how marketers can tap into these trusted conversations and earn professional recommendations for their healthy food brand.

  • What are they talking about?  The current pediatric landscape and the conversations professionals are having with parents.
  • Does it change what they buy? The unique role played by pediatric professionals in parental buying decisions.
  • Engagement and education.  How to build trust in your healthy food brand and earn recommendations from professionals to parents.
  • In on the action?  Putting your brand at the center of face-to-face conversations between pediatric professionals and millennial moms and dads.

5.25pm – Chair’s closing remarks

Day 3 – Wednesday November 14


9.00am – Chairman’s welcome back and recap of day two

9.05am – Fireside chat: The kids menu. Do we need one, and if so, what should chefs serve?
Diane Schmidt, Co-founder, Healthy Fare for Kids

Parents say they want more healthy – and more interesting – options on the kids’ menu beyond mac & cheese and cheesy pizza, but how do chefs come up with delicious and affordable alternatives packed with fruit, veggies and whole grains that kids want to eat?

HFFK has worked with dozens of chefs in the Chicago area from Rick Bayless, Paul Kahan and Beverly Kim, to foodservice providers at Shedd Aquarium, Lincoln Park Zoo, Brookfield Zoo, McCormick Place and Chicago’s two airports. Quiz them on what works, what doesn’t, and how to make a healthier kids’ menu a win win for kids, parents, chefs and food businesses.

10.00am – Panel discussion: What should children drink?  

Panellists include:

10.45am – Refreshments

11.15am – School meals: Challenges and solutions
Pat Donovan,  Vice President – Business Development, Revolution Foods  

11.45am – Chicken nugget 2.0: Plant-based innovation for schools, QSR
Christie Lagally, Seattle Food Tech

Combating childhood obesity and other chronic health conditions is often at odds with the need to provide ready-to-serve meats in our school cafeterias, and yet “better for you” foods rarely meet the needs of school districts struggling to feed children with limited financial resources.  Furthermore, in 2015, the World Health Organization declared processed meat, such as chicken nuggets, to be a known carcinogen, and therefore should not be served to children, despite the convenience and low cost.  Seattle Food Tech is aiming to solve these issues by providing ready-to-eat plant-based “chicken” nuggets containing no cholesterol or nitrates (common in processed meat) and no milk or eggs (common allergens).  Through our innovative, modern production facilities, Seattle Food Tech is making it possible for schools to serve plant-based, ready-to-serve nuggets at the same price as chicken-based nuggets, and thereby allowing schools to address health, convenience, and affordability concerns of their school lunch programs.

12.15pm – Chair’s closing remarks

12.20pm – Networking lunch

1.30pm – Departures