Last Year's Jurors
Author of the book “The Complete Arthritis Health, Diet Guide and Cookbook”, Kim speaks and lectures on healthy eating choices, transforming complex scientific information into easy to understand terms to help her clients get results. Kim is often asked to comment on nutrition issues by local and national journalists and is a guest lecturer at McGill for students in dietetics and medicine. A graduate of McGill University, including an integrated internship at several major Montreal hospitals, she is a member of the Ordre Professionnelle des Dietetistes du Quebec, Dietitians of Canada, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and The Canadian Obesity Network.
Founder and President
Food Distribution Guy
Richard Baker is a skilled strategic branding and award-winning marketing professional. His background stems from 25+ years in the consumer-packaged goods sector - working with some of Canada’s largest national brands such as Tabasco Brand Pepper Sauce, Rich Products, and Candle Impressions, in brand development, marketing and business development roles. Today, Richard is the Founder and President of Food Distribution Guy. They provide industry expertise and creative solutions for emerging food businesses that assist them in Getting and Staying listed in Canada’s grocery sector.
Director of Marketing
Tammy Barrett has been working within the CPG industry for 23 years and is currently the Director of Marketing and trade development for Carlton Cards – the number one greeting card company in Canada. Carlton Cards purpose is to make the world a more thoughtful and caring place. every. single. day. Tammy and her team work closely with the best retail partners in Canada to create dynamic and highly profitable greeting card departments selling the brands Canadians love – Carlton Cards, Papyrus, Recycled Paper Greetings and Cartes Carlton.
Senior Director, Content & Market Development
Grocery Business Magazine
Larry Bonikowsky is Senior Director, Content & Market Development, Grocery Business Magazine. He has over 30 years of experience, specializing in marketing.
Robin Bradley is an Associate Publisher with Mercury Publications in Winnipeg. She has over 15 years of experience working with food and beverage manufacturers with Western Grocer and Health & Wellness Retailer Magazine. Robin has worked closely with large and small food manufacturers launching new products in the grocery and health food business. Her specific areas of expertise include: marketing and communication strategies, advertising and sales. Grateful for working in such an exciting, ever changing industry, Robin enjoys working closely with food and beverage clients to help them get their products on shelves in retailers across Canada.
Independent Senior Advisor
Laboratoires d'analyses S.M
Christiane Chabot is an Independent Senior Advisor with a strategic vision and a solid track record in the food industry, namely in retail and distribution, foodservice and industrial manufacturing. She has a strong expertise in successfully managing and building teams of professionals in areas such as Food Safety and Quality Assurance, Product Development, Crisis Management and Environment Sustainability. Christiane is now active in the field of Business Development with the Gluten-Free Certification Program and as a consultant in order to contribute to the growth and success of her clients.
Business Development Manager
Chris took a very non-traditional path into product development. After graduating from the computer science field of study, Chris started his career with Save-On-Foods (SOF) in their I.T. department, developing merchandising and supply chain software. After helping to build some of the fundamental tools used in day to day business, he moved on to working directly with the merchandising and retail services team as an I.T. Business Relationship Manager. Despite enjoying the previous 10 years of his career with SOF, the call of food and product development was too strong for Chris to deny any longer. In 2014 he accepted a position with the Corporate Brands team at SOF as a Business Development Manager and hasn’t looked back. Instead of software, he now builds private label programs that support the category growth in various fresh and center of store departments. This I.T. Foodie has a passion for everything from spreadsheets to sauces.
Director, Product Development Corporate Brands
Metro Brands g.p.
Paula Deane is the Director of Product Development for Corporate Brands at Metro Inc. Paula has a unique combination of product development and business expertise from over 20 years combined experience in the manufacturing, retail and supply sectors. After graduating from the University of Guelph, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, Paula combined her passion for science and food to start her journey in creating innovative products for the Canadian market. Paula started her career at one of North America’s largest food manufacturers as a product development scientist, developing products from concept to commercialization. Several years later, Paula moved to a major grocery retailer as Director of Product Development, where she launched a new 3-tier, 5 sub-brand program reflecting a good, better, best strategy. Afterwards, as Director of Corporate Brands Convenience for a major retail drug chain, Paula managed the private label Convenience portfolio where she developed and launched new brands and revitalized the seasonal programs. Prior to joining Metro, Paula worked with local and international suppliers to bring innovative new products to Canadian retailers. Now at Metro, Paula and her team are focused on developing great tasting, quality products to deliver the best product experience for their customers and earn their long-term loyalty.
Pur-Logic Solutions Inc.
Mohamed graduated from York University in 1991 and articled with one of the "Big 5" accounting firms. He received his designation in the fall of 1993 and for the next 13 years, covered the gamut in the finance and insurance industries. In his spare time, Mohamed serves on Many Non Profit Boards and enjoys cooking and trying different recipes. Presently, Mohamed is Partner in a software consulting firm.
Culinary Adventure Co.
Kevin Durkee is the Big Cheese and Owner of Canada’s largest culinary tourism operator, Culinary Adventure Co. This 8-year enterprise runs a delicious portfolio of Food Tours and Culinary Adventures in six (6) Canadian cities. Winnipeg, Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa, Charlottetown and Halifax. Recognized by Destination Canada, the Culinary Adventure Co. was awarded national Canadian Signature Experience designation for its innovative Escape the City: Canoe Paddle + Culinary Adventure. A designation only awarded to the top 1% of attractions and experiences in Canada. Kevin and his team are called upon to develop and lead Media, Journalist, Influencer and VIP Food Tours on any number of Retail, Food, Culinary and Grocery Trends hundreds of times per year. In addition, their signature TREND TREK, an annual collection of new trends, flavours, chefs, dining + shopping experiences has been sought after by Artisan Food Producers, CPG firms and Retailers alike.
Editor-in-Chief, Canadian Grocer magazine
Canadian Grocer Magazine
Shellee Fitzgerald been on the Canadian Grocer team for more than 15 years and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the magazine. Read coast to coast, Canadian Grocer has been serving the grocery industry for more than 130 years. Prior to joining Canadian Grocer, Shellee, a graduate of Queen’s University, worked in communications at the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (now Restaurants Canada).
Specialty Chef - Ready-to-Eat
Ginette is an effective, results-oriented manager with more than 35 years of relevant experience in the food industry. She owned a franchise of Les 5 Saisons, Metro QC premium banner for 4 years and was also a buyer in bakery and HMR for Sobeys. Ginette was then appointed the operation chief for the Rachelle-Béry banner which she helped grow from a very small banner to the current state - one of the leaders in natural and organic banners.
Vice President and Senior Partner
With 20 years of experience, Manon Genest has solid communications expertise in the political, association, and private sectors. She has held a number of leadership positions, where she learned to develop a strategic approach, set priorities during emergencies, and settle difficult situations quickly and tactfully. She works primarily in business communication, mainly in the agrifood industry. Manon also has a wealth of experience in government and politics thanks to over 10 years of involvement in the federal and provincial political systems. Her community involvement includes sitting on the board of directors of l’Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec
Vice-President Private Brands
Metro Brands g.p.
Ms. Gibson joined Metro in April 2010 and is currently Vice-President, Private Brands. Having received several awards, including Store Brands Magazine's Executive of the Year in 2015 and Innovator of the Year in 2014, Ms. Gibson has been instrumental in developing both the reputation and recognition of Metro's private labels. She is a senior executive experienced in different areas of marketing, including strategic planning, brand management, retail, launching new concepts, marketing and purchasing. In recent years, Ms. Gibson has acquired a strong knowledge of consumer trends and habits in Quebec and Canada. She has evolved in major companies such as Loblaw Companies and The Bay. She helped launch the Warehouse Club concept in Canada, which now operate under the Costco banner.
George Guidoni is the editor-in-chief of the Canadian Packaging magazine, published 10 times a year in Toronto by Annex Business Media. George has been the editor of Canada’s only professional magazine serving the country’s packaging and related industries for the last 20 years. Prior to joining Canadian Packaging, George has also served in various chief and/or senior editorial capacities at other prominent trade magazines, is a past recipient of several awards and award nominations in various competitions dedicated to recognizing journalistic excellence and achievement.
Labelling and Regulation Advisor
Agri-Food Export Group
Holding a degree in dietetics technique, Julie started her career at Première Moisson Bakery and later on she continued her professional experience in regulatory affairs at Plats du Chef. Julie is now working at the Agri-Food Export Group as a labeling and regulation advisor.
Catherine Lefebvre is a nutritionist, speaker and author of Sucre, vérités et conséquences (a book about sugar, its history and impact on health), as well as of recipe books Choux (about local cabbages) and Les Carnivores infidèles (vegetarian recipes). She is particularly fond of food actors, those who feed us every day, whether they are local or on the other side of the world.
Vice President, Co-founder
Martin Lemire is Vice-President Co-founder of EDIKOM, a firm specializing in communication and information in the food sector, leading the magazine L’actualité ALIMENTAIRE, the magazine LE must, the GAÏA Awards and the food WebTV FOODINFO.TV. Since 2012, he is leading the DUX EAT BETTER LIVE BETTER Program, a national and innovative program celebrating the leadership in bringing improved nutrition for Canadians Martin holds a bachelor's degree in nutrition from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Montreal, and a Masters in Communications at UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal) after obtaining a major scholarship from the Danone Institute of Canada, specializing in food media communication.
Director of Marketing
Jinny joined Lantic Inc. in Oct 2014 and is currently Director of Marketing responsible for new product development and different areas of marketing, including strategic planning, brand management, promotions, research, new concepts, grocery and packaging. Most recently, she has led Lantic Inc’s efforts into diversifying into a line of award winning nature-inspired sweeteners. Having worked in the CPG industries for over 20+ years, she has started her career as a Food Product Developer at Campbell’s, focusing on developing new technology and product innovations. With a passion for foods, consumer trends and retail launch, Jinny moved over to marketing leading product portfolios and marketing strategies for companies such as Pinnacle Foods and Bayer in various capacities. Jinny holds a degree in Food Science from the University of Guelph, an MBA from Schulich School of Business and a Culinary Baking Certificate from George Brown College.
Director of Private Brands
Growing up in the family business as daughter of one of the Longo’s founders it is a good thing this self proclaimed foodie was born into a food and not a tire business. Growing up working in all areas of the business private label landed on her lap in 1990 as an opportunity for Longo’s to explore and she has been at it ever since. Exploring unique niche items to bare their family name is always a thrilling challenge. As Director of Private Brands at Longo’s, a member of the Family Council , and a member of the Senior Management Team Jenny enjoys the opportunity to create new and exciting programs and strategies, while acting as an ambassador to the family keeping the founders principals and values as a guide along the way.
Cumulating over 35 years of trade and generic marketing with retail experience in organizations like Dairy Farmers of Canada, Launch and Best Brands as well as CPG companies like Colgate-Palmolive and Cadbury (now Mondelez), Gilles works as a consultant for Brand Momentum and his own consulting firm, GMD Consultant, focused mainly on the retail market, helping small, medium and large companies, and their brands, with their retail and distribution strategies across Canada.
Private Brands, Product Development Manager
Walmart Canada Corp.
Manisha Nagar is the Private Brands, Product Development Manager for Consumables, Health & Wellness for Walmart Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Chemistry degree and has over 14 years of experience in Private Label Product Development. She has worked on the development of over 5000 Private Label products over the span of her career and is very passionate about Product Development. In a very competitive environment where Private Label strives to be the leader with all retailers, the ability to differentiate Walmart brands by offering a value-added proposition without compromising quality is what makes Manisha shine as a Product Developer. Save Money Live Better!
Follow Me Foodie.com
Mijune is an international food personality, founder of Follow Me Foodie.com and judge on Food Network's Top Chef Canada. Named “Must Follow” by The Social Media Awards, and one of the "World's Most Extreme Foodies" in The Sunday Times, she is also a judge for the BC Product of the Year Award, and Taste Canada Awards.
SPARKER Strategy Group
Susie Erjavec Parker is the owner of SPARKER Strategy Group, Winnipeg's first and only social media and public relations agency. Susie is a frequent speaker and media commentator on the current and future state of social media having been featured on CBC, CTV, Global News, The Globe and Mail, Moneysense Magazine, Corus Radio, and more. She consults on public relations, marketing trends, and how these intersect with consumer behaviour. Susie is also the founder and managing editor of WinnipegMom.ca, a lifestyle site for Winnipeg parents and the businesses and brands that serve them.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Joann Perron is a Senior Analyst for the food and beverage processing industry, which is one of the largest manufacturing sectors in Canada. Focusing on the economic development of the sector, one of her major responsibilities is coordinating the Food Processing Industry Roundtable, which is the primary engagement mechanism for the department with respect to the food and beverage processing industry. Joann has been working with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for 18 years; she has also served the public as a Senior Policy Analyst and as an Economist. Joann has a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of Manitoba.
Store Brands Specialist
Federated Co-operatives Ltd.
After completing a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing, Nena started her career in marketing consulting where she created business and marketing plans for small and medium sized companies. Eventually her love of food took over and she was excited to start a career in the food industry. Her career at Federated Co-operatives Ltd. (FCL) started in category management, but her ultimate passion for Store Brands and Product Development followed shortly thereafter. Nena works in a small team that creates and manages FCL’s Store Brands portfolio.
TV Host and Feature Reporter
Katerine-Lune Rollet has spent the past 16 years on TV as a host and feature reporter. A passionate gourmet, she dove into the world of gastronomy in 2009 as food ambassador for Tourisme Montréal. After serving up collaborations in various media (Coup de Pouce, Journal de Montréal, Radio-Canada), Katerine-Lune now writes on culinary trends for Ricardo magazine. She was ranked one of the 150 women who have influenced gastronomy in Quebec, according to the book, Femmes engagées à nourrir le Québec. She has helped judge enRoute magazine's list of Canada's Best New Restaurants and, since 2010, she has been concocting food tips for her blog on katerinerollet.com.