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  • Innovation: Delivering Value For Your Customers

Innovation: Delivering Value For Your Customers

  • 1 Nov 2023
  • 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Imbibe, 7350 N. Croname Road


  • CSIFT Mailing List

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Today, over 60% of consumers are seeing a noticeable rise in the prices of their foods and beverages and seeking ways to eat well on a budget. Buying in bulk, swapping to private label, reduced luxury spending and purchasing fewer items have become common practices as consumers search for brands that can satisfy their varied needs. How can brands innovate in this environment? 

The good news is that consumers are searching for affordable goods that are in line with their beliefs.  Consumers still want brands that provide quality, trust and confidence via their product formulations, communications and wider sustainability actions.

Join us as a panel of experts discuss insights, strategies, and approaches to innovating to deliver value to consumers today and into the future. 


5:00PM   Doors Open/Networking

5:30PM   Panel Discussion

6:15PM   Q&A with Audience

6:30PM   Networking

7:30PM   Event Closes


Andy Dratt, EVP and Chief Commercial Officer, Imbibe

Andy has over 20 years of experience in the flavor and ingredient industry, working with and developing products for some of the largest companies in the food industry. He joined Imbibe eight years ago and has led the company to become one of the leading beverage development resources for CPG, QSR and private label brand owners.


Erin Costello, Senior Marketing Associate, Imbibe

Erin Costello is the Senior Marketing Associate at Imbibe, a product development company and ingredient supplier in Chicagoland. With a passion for marketing, particularly in content creation, copywriting, and campaign strategy, she helps plan and implement communication strategies across multiple platforms. She has developed a keen sense for identifying food and beverage trends at all layers of innovation – flavors, ingredients, and categories – by synthesizing information from primary and secondary market research, including activity from Imbibe’s 60+ person R&D team. Erin also drives event participation by organizing and executing initiatives. She earned her BA in marketing from Benedictine University. 

Ashley Sabo, Technical Sales Specialist, Edlong

Ashley started Edlong working in the applications lab as a R&D Senior Food Scientist on customer projects ranging from vegan products to categories from bakery to snacks. Ashley has a degree in Agriculture Economics from the University of Kentucky, a degree in Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry from the College of DuPage, and is currently working toward a Master in Food Science from Washington State University. While attending the College of DuPage, Ashely was part of the culinary team that won the American Culinary Federation IL State Competition for two consecutive years. She is also a member of the RCA. 

Amy UsiakR&D LeadJPG Resources

Amy Usiak, leverages 20+ years' experience with Fortune 100 firms. Specializing in product innovation and team leadership across grocery sectors, she drives breakthroughs in frozen foods, protein cookies, and more. Amy's expertise spans concept to launch, team building, and client success, supported by strong communication and compassion for her clients.

Michael O'Brien, President North America Appetizers Division, McCain Foods

Michael has a diverse food experience leading across CPG channels (Retail, QSR and Foodservice), end to end value chain (from manufacturing to commercial) and International Markets (United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) from traditional Blue Chip to Private Equity owned. A proven and seasoned leader, who consistently delivers sales, market share and profit growth. Results driven through rigorous root cause analysis, strategic planning, holistic P&L management, while delivering excellence in execution by creating engaged and accountable teams.

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