Innovation For Our Future: Research Chefs Conference 2021

by Heather

Innovation For Our Future: Research Chefs Conference 2021

2021 is the 25th Anniversary of the Research Chef’s Association, and we were happy to help celebrate this milestone by attending and participating in their RCA+ Conference online last week. The theme of the conference was “Innovation: For Our Future”, and not only did we speak about innovation in our session “Behavioral Research –A New Tool for Creating Winning Concepts and Prototypes”, we heard some interesting talks on innovation from some of the other presenters.

What We Learned

We kicked off the show with a casual fireside chat with Chef Iliana Regan along with Justin Kanthak from Griffith Foods Group. Mr. Kanthak also moderated a panel with the RCA Past Presidents, Jeff Cousminer, Janet Carver and Winston Riley –a fitting event for the anniversary celebration this year! We saw where product development is going with “2021 Trends: Innovation Comes Roaring Back” with Mike Kostyo from Datassential, and “The New Normal, How the Covid-era has Accelerated Food Trends”with Barb Stuckey from Mattson. Another great panel capped the show, “Current Trends in Food Technology,” moderated by Kyle Stuart (Darifair Foods) with Dave Arnold (MOFAD), Dr. Paul Takhistov (Rutgers), and Jessica Hargrove Coon (Texas Food Solutions) on the panel.

What We Shared

In our session on Wednesday, March 24, our CEO Dr. Dave Lundahl along with Mark Crowell, CEO of CuliNex, spoke on “Behavioral Research–A New Tool for Creating Winning Concepts and Prototypes.” They discussed how behavioral research seeks to understand what motivates people to do what they do. Attendees learned how behavioral insights can reveal critical new ideas and information to culinologists as they seek to design exciting new food and beverage products. The session covered the basic principles of behavioral research, how to effectively collaborate on projects, and the best types of tools and methods. Dave and Mark used real-life case studies in their talk to illustrate how actual insights were turned into new product ideas and prototypes.

Find the handout from the presentation here.