Concurrent Session IV Consumer Insights, Innovation, and Product Development – Product Development Through the Lens of Retail, Foodservice, and Food Manufacturing Channels

Concurrent Session Sponsored by:

Research and development in the food industry is constantly evolving. Organizations are identifying ways to feed our growing population, developing sustainable packaging, formulating towards targeted trends, and ideating for consumers’ “dinner tonight” solutions. These presentations cover diverse aspects of product development in the food industry. Shelly Thobe, Director of Culinary Innovation at Wendy’s, will emphasize customer-driven menu innovation and supplier collaboration on brand standards. Jesse Collins, Director of Product Development and Sourcing at Sam’s Club, will outline how data-driven development aligns with member’s needs. Devon Cameron-Nubbie, Senior R&D Manager at Simmons Foods, will highlight how curiosity and co-creation addresses consumer’s needs in foodservice and retail development. Wes Friesen, Vice President of Strategy at Food Chain ID, will wrap up the session discussing the future of food innovation, focusing on digitization and AI’s role in enhancing collaboration and efficiency. Collectively, these insights emphasize the importance of consumer focus, collaboration, and technological advancement in food product development.

Understanding the Product Development Process from a Restaurant Perspective

Speaker: Shelly Thobe, Director, Culinary Innovation, Wendy’s

At Wendy’s the customers are critical in the development and improvement of menu items. All menu items are created to match our Fast Food Done Right vision. Join us as Shelly Thobe shares how the culinary team partners with supplier partners to create products that meet the customer needs, evolving consumer trends and meet the restaurant requirements. Success in product development and commercialization is driven by products that can be executed in 6000+ restaurants, meet our long-term brand goals and meet Wendy’s quality standards.  Shelly will discuss how development briefs are created. She will share how suppliers can elevate from transactional partners to development partners and strategic partners through collaboration and partnerships.

Understanding the Product Development and Sourcing Process from a Retailer’s Perspective
Speaker: Jesse Collins, Director of Product Development and Sourcing, Sam’s Club

At Sam’s Club they always have the member in mind as they develop new items for the fastest growing Private Label "Member’s Mark" today.  Join us as Jesse Collins shares how they work directly through producers as well as supplier teams in creating data driven items that meet their standards of quality, value, and sustainability for their members.  This involves the process of conceptualizing, designing, and bringing new products to market to meet the member's needs and preferences.  Success in product development and sourcing requires a deep understanding of the member's behavior, market trends, and competitive landscape to create offerings that resonate with target member and drive sales.

Understanding the Product Development Process from a Poultry Supplier’s Perspective
Speaker:  Devon Cameron-Nubbie, Senior Manager, Simmons Foods

Being curious is a key value at Simmons. We believe curiosity helps us see new possibilities and solve difficult problems. We believe in being relentless, asking hard questions and going the extra mile for our team members and customers. By collaborating closely with our partners in foodservice and retail, we co-create products that resonate with consumers and address their needs effectively. Join us as Devon Cameron-Nubbie shares how Simmons Foods uses insights from both the end consumer and the next-in-line customer perspective to solve pain points and ultimately deliver products that can be successful in the marketplace.

"Digitizing" Food and Beverages Innovation: What's Coming Next…
Speaker: Wes Frierson, Vice President, Digital Solutions, FoodChain ID

This session will explore the use of digital innovation platforms and next-generation technologies such as artificial intelligence to more successfully innovate and to improve collaboration. Join us a Wes outlines the role of digital supply chain collaboration in breaking down information silos and creating new opportunities. He will also explore how the integration of historical insights, compliance, and best practices early in the process can enhance efficiency and enable continuous improvement. Wrapping up his presentation he will visit about the opportunities for companies adopting insight-driven development practices and artificial intelligence to develop optimized products faster and more predictably.