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The personalities driving plant-based NPD and innovation

The Table Talk Podcast has had the pleasure of talking to passionate innovators from across the world of food, drink and nutrition. With plant-based food achieving significant growth in the past few years, the producers, platforms and personalities in the plant-based sector are among the biggest drivers of innovation and NPD in food.

In this collection, we look back at three guests who’ve been doing their part to impact the way we view compassionate eating, and to offer tasty, healthy alternatives to traditional animal proteins. Meet Derek Sarno, co-founder of Wicked Healthy, LLC, and Executive Chef & Director of Plant-Based Innovation for Tesco PLC, to hear about his journey supporting plant-based innovation at Tesco, Chris Kerr, Founding Partner, CIO, Unovis Partners; CIO New Crop Capital; Co-Founder, Gathered Foods (US), to find out how he’s helping to promote seafood alternatives to reduce the impact on our oceans, and Ria Rehberg, CEO of Veganuary to hear how the annual vegan pledge has managed to help save the carbon equivalent of driving around the world 15 times. Join the conversation on Table Talk.

About our guests

Derek Sarno

Derek Sarno is the co-founder of Wicked Healthy, LLC, and also serves as Executive Chef & Director of Plant-Based Innovation for Tesco PLC, where he is leading the company’s efforts to bring delicious, unpretentious vegan foods to market.

Prior to co-founding Wicked Healthy and partnering with Tesco, Derek served as the Senior Global Executive Chef for Whole Foods Market, where he oversaw global research and development for the company’s prepared foods department, worked with suppliers and leadership to develop and promote plant-based foods across the organisation, and served as Culinary Director for the WFM Academy for Conscious Leadership.

Ria Rehberg

Ria Rehberg is the CEO of Veganuary, a UK based charity that encourages people worldwide to try vegan for January and beyond. Since 2014, Veganuary has inspired and supported more than one million people in 192 countries to try vegan. Additionally Veganuary works with hundreds of businesses to drive up vegan food provision in shops and restaurants, and have made veganism more visible and accessible through their work with national and international media.

Chris Kerr

With almost thirty years of leadership experience with start-ups and venture capital investing, Chris Kerr has spent the last decade focused on impact investing in the plant-based foods sector. Chris is a co-founder of Gathered Foods and its Good Catch plant-based seafood brand and has worked with and helped launch many game changing companies in the plant-based sector, including Beyond Meat, Daiya, Alpha Foods, NUMU and many others.

He is the Chief Investment Officer for Unovis Partners, which is the asset manager for New Crop Capital, one of the world’s most active investors in the plant-based foods and cellular ag technology sectors.

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