This panel will feature innovation examples developed by new companies and startups that are disrupting the approach to design, materials selection, applications and R&D for food packaging.
Senior Manager SPC, GreenBlue
Olga Kachook is a Project Manager at GreenBlue, where she leads the Essentials of Sustainable Packaging courses and the Composting Collaborative. Her background includesexpertise in compostable materials and packaging, zero waste facility certification, life cycle analysis, and sustainable materials management.Prior to joining GreenBlue, she led corporate sustainability and waste initiatives at World Centric, Etsy, Cascade Designs, and Cascadia Consulting. Olga has a Master of Environmental Management from Yale Universitys School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Washington. She is certified as a LEED Green Associate and a TRUE Zero Waste Advisor.
CEO, Hazel Technologies
Aidan is the CEO and a co-founder of Hazel Technologies, a biochemistry company that develops news technologies to extend the shelf life of perishable food. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Northwestern University. As the 2014-2015 chemistry fellow for the Institute for Sustainability and Energy at Northwestern (ISEN), he developed an interest in applying his chemistry knowledge to agriscience, co-founding Hazel Technologies before completing his Ph.D. Aidan is one of the inventors of the Hazel® technology platform and a co-author on 20+ papers, patents, and filings. Under Aidan’s leadership, Hazel Technologies has received numerous awards, including winning the Clean Energy Challenge (2016), receiving the VentureWell Sustainable Practice Impact Award (2019), and the World Food Innovation Award in Best Sustainable Packaging (2020). Aidan was recently named to ChicagoInno’s 50 on Fire list (2019) and Hazel Technologies is a THRIVE Top 50 company (2020). Aidan has raised more than $17 million in private equity for Hazel and helped Hazel obtain nearly $1 million in grant funding from the USDA and other sources. Hazel’s 2019 Series B round features investments from firms Pangaea Ventures, S2G Ventures, Asahi Kasei Ventures, and The Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust. Hazel Technologies works with more than 150 grower/packer partners in more than 12 countries to date, and treated more than 3 billion pounds of food in 2020, saving more than 240 million pounds from going to waste and reducing 2020 emissions by more than 200K metric tons of CO2E.
Max Grell, CEO at BlakBear
Before founding BlakBear Max took a Physics degree from the University of Warwick, and a PhD in Bioengineering from Imperial College London. He has specialised in new sensors that combine electronics with chemistry, harnessing data with machine learning. He is an inventor on 5 patents spanning soil sensing to fabric electronics, as well as food sensing with BlakBear. Max previously founded and exited a start-up (a crowdfunding platform for charities), and worked in sales for a SaaS company.
Adam is the CEO and Co-founder or Mori. He has spent his career developing and translating technologies in the areas of food, agriculture, healthcare, and nutrition. He was previously a postdoctoral associate in the Langer Lab at MIT where he managed several projects focused on improving healthcare and nutrition in the developing world. He was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2017. Adam holds a BS in Chemical Engineering and a PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Maryland.
Founder and CEO, Ryp Labs
Moody Soliman is an experienced entrepreneur and startup founder with more than 15 years of experience in the Medical Device, Biotech and AgTech industries. His wide breadth of experience spans multiple disciplines including executive leadership, business development, sales, marketing, program management, operational excellence and manufacturing engineering. Previous leadership roles included the product launch and commercialization for a Biotech start-up, the manufacturing of a Class III interventional cardiology medical device, and the introduction of a 510(k) neurological medical device. Moody has a deep passion for delivering products that ultimately improve people’s health, safety and quality of life.
At Ryp Labs (formerly known as StixFresh), Moody is leading a highly talented and passionate team, developing and commercializing biomimicry solutions to combat global food waste, naturally and safely. Their technology has been shown to keep fruit fresh up to 14 days longer, helping us to shape a safer, more sustainable food supply chain future.
Moody earned his M.B.A. from University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management with a focus on entrepreneurship and marketing, complimenting a strong technical background which includes a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Founder & CEO, PolyNatural
Francisco Palma is a Biochemist with a PhD in Engineering Sciences with a great entrepreneurial mindset. 10 years of experience in the field of natural edible coatings and uses of vegetable raw materials to extend the shelf life of fresh food matrices. 5 years ago he founded PolyNatural, a company that developed Shel-Life, a 100% natural (plant-based) - certified organic - no switching cost & inexpensive - product for reducing the FRUIT WASTE by extending the shelf life of fresh fruit by controlling dehydration and microbial contamination. Francisco is convinced that listening to us, understanding us and trying to accept us will take us to the next level.