The judging panel for the World Beverage Innovation Awards 2021 has been announced.
The panel includes recognised and reputable names from across the international beverage industry and between them, they will decide the winners of this year’s World Beverage Innovation Awards.
This year’s panel includes big names from the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable, PepsiCo, Talking Rain Beverage Company, Kerry and more.
There are 21 trophies to be won in total, and being shortlisted provides a hallmark of success that will prevail long after the awards draw to a close. To find out more information, including how to enter, click here.
A full list of this year’s judges can be seen below.
Leann Du Higashi
Senior Director of Flavor Technology, PepsiCo Global R & D
Leann is currently Senior Director of Flavor Technology at PepsiCo, which is part of the Flavor and Ingredient Science & Technology for Global R&D based in Valhalla, NY. She started her PepsiCo career in 2012, and is currently leading a team of flavoursists, flavour technologists and scientists supporting global and regional flavour innovation, sugar reduction, flavour technical brand stewardship and flavour research to deliver the constantly evolving consumer needs.
Prior to PepsiCo, Leann spent 10 years working for a European confectionery company Perfetti van Melle, leading flavour development for global markets, in which 3 years in Asia, based in Shanghai and supported innovation for China, India, Indonesia, Japan and other countries. She has also worked for 6 years for A. M. Todd company, now part of the ADM, specialized in mint-based flavours for oral care, confectionary, pharmaceutical and other industries.
Leann has a BS in Pharmacy from Shanghai Medical University and a MS in Analytical Biochemistry from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has also attended some Executive MBA courses in the areas of New Product Development and Finance from Booth School of Business, University of Chicago.
Outside of work, Leann enjoys spending time with family, friends, great food and good wine. She is a yogi, and has been practising yoga for 15 years; she also plays competitive badminton, once presented US team in an International Senior tournament in Osaka, Japan.
Click here to view Leann’s LinkedIn profile
Food & beverage industry B2B leader and brewery & water advisory board member
Philip Zinth, is an experienced food and beverage industry B2B Leader with a broad background in strategy, sales management and marketing. With his international experience in SME and multi-national corporations in brewing, packaging and special chemistry, he is focusing on innovation, sales and growth. His passion is strategy and innovation based on service, products, engineering and automation.
Philip was the Segment Marketing Lead for Brewery and Beverage at Ecolab Europe GmbH, Switzerland. Working on the brewery, beverage and dairy markets helping customers in sustainable and efficient cleaning and sanitation procedures. He also served as the European representative at the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) with his strong focus on water and energy sustainability. His background in packaging and the brewing industry brings additional perspectives to the table. In addition, Philip serves on the advisory board of a local brewery and mineral water in Germany.
Click here to view Philip’s LinkedIn profile
Manager, Solutions Consulting, Label Insight
Thea Bourianne, MBA, RD, LDN is a licensed and registered dietitian based in Chicago. Specialising in nutrition, US and international food regulation, and food composition makes her uniquely positioned to work strategically with global CPG and retail clients to build data-driven, customer-centric solutions.
In her current role at Label Insight, a SaaS company that provides insights on food label data, Bourianne supports retailers, CPG brands, US government, technology companies, researchers, and other entities by crafting and applying high order attribution to products in-store and online. Bourianne is passionate about safe, transparent, sustainable, wholesome products and strides for best-in-class customer experiences to make the healthy choice the easy choice.
Prior to working at Label Insight, Bourianne’s previous positions have included product development, commercialisation, fresh and frozen food manufacturing, and regulatory affairs with companies and clients such as Taco Bell Corp., Wilton Brands, Starbucks, Ahold, Walgreens and 7-Eleven, among others.
Click here to view Thea’s LinkedIn profile
EVP of Beverage Technology, Talking Rain Beverage Company
Erik Throndsen is the EVP of Beverage Technology and Innovation at Talking Rain. With nearly two decades of experience in the food and beverage space, Erik is passionate about using research and data to create innovative products that consumers embrace and enjoy.
Erik was promoted in 2012 to Research and Development Manager at Talking Rain. In 2017, he became the VP of Research and Development, where he oversaw the reformulation of the entire Sparkling Ice Product line to include colors from natural sources while maintaining the vibrant colors that Sparkling Ice is known for. Since 2018, Erik has served as the EVP of Beverage Technology and Innovation, where he is responsible for creating and implementing the long-term innovation strategy for the Talking Rain beverage portfolio. In 2020, Erik has helped oversee Talking Rain’s Sustainability Council, driving the company’s commitment to building a sustainable future through reduction, education, and support.
Click here to view Erik’s LinkedIn profile
Jie Ying Lee
Senior Strategic Marketing Manager, Beverage, Kerry
Jie Ying Lee is Senior Strategic Marketing Manager for Kerry Group, leading the Beverage End Use Market in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Kerry Group is the world’s leading taste & nutrition company serving food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries globally, with the purpose and vision of inspiring food and nourishing life through our people, our products, and our commitment to reach over 2 billion people with sustainable nutrition by 2030.
Jie Ying has 13 years of food industry experience that spans from product development to sales and brand marketing. She holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Food Science from the University of Otago, New Zealand, specializing in flavour science and recently a professional certificate from Harvard Business School Executive Education in Strategic Marketing Management.
Click here to view Jie Ying’s LinkedIn profile
Executive Director, Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER) & Sustainability Practice Lead, Antea Group
Nick Martin is Executive Director of the Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable (BIER), a coalition of 15 leading global beverage companies founded in 2006 and working collaboratively towards environmental sustainability. Nick is also the Sustainability Practice Lead for a Netherlands-based global consulting firm supporting organisations with assessing, prioritising and managing sustainability-related business risks and opportunities. He has extensive experience supporting a wide range of private and public organisations with translating sustainability aspirations into successful strategies and collaborative approaches.
Previously Nick worked in the non-profit sector with the Global Environmental & Technology Foundation (GETF) in Washington, DC focused on private-public partnerships in water and sustainability and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kazakhstan. Specific areas of expertise include: global water stewardship and security, collective action, context-based decision making, and corporate transparency. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science, a Master’s degree in Environmental and Energy Management and a Masters of Business Administration. Nick is married with two sons and lives in Denver, Colorado.
Click here to view Nick’s LinkedIn profile
Bo Sten Hansen
Managing Director & Co-Founder, Copenhagen Sparkling Tea Company
Bo Sten Hansen is the Managing Director & Co-Founder of Copenhagen Sparkling Tea Company. Prior to this, he’s had many years in business consulting, but gastronomy and especially the beverage industry has always been a great passion of his. Alongside business consulting, he therefore also ran a wine export company for some years. However, in 2017 he fully dove into the beverage industry, and together with his business partner and award-winning sommelier, Jacob Kocemba, they founded Copenhagen Sparkling Tea Company.
During the company’s young age (4 years), they’ve managed to make the new beverage category ‘Sparkling Tea’ an international sensation. They’re now exporting to 20 countries and their low-/non-alcoholic Sparkling Teas are served at more than 50 Michelin restaurants worldwide.
Their journey with Sparkling Tea is motivated by the belief, that one should never have to compromise when it comes to taste because everybody deserves a good glass of bubbles.
Click here to view Bo’s LinkedIn profile
Director of Flavor Innovation, Imbibe
Aparna Oak is a Certified Flavor Chemist and has been active in the flavour industry since 2005. Her successful career has been built on her inherent skills, aptitude for tasting and her breadth of knowledge about flavour compounds, which has allowed her to master the art and science of flavour creation.
As the Director of Flavor Innovation at Imbibe, she has applied her skill set to design dynamic flavours and develop sophisticated masking tools. Her cross-functional work has also inspired innovative flavour concepts, has helped identify marketplace gaps and secure new business for beverage brands of all sizes.
She is an active member of the Society of Flavor Chemists and is on the monthly panel of certified flavourists that publish the column ‘Organoleptic Characteristics of Flavor Materials’ in the magazine Perfumer and Flavorist. More recently, she authored, “Plant to Glass, Oat Milk from a Flavorist’s Lens,” in 2019.
Click here to view Aparna’s LinkedIn profile
CEO & Co-Founder, Garçon Wines
Serial entrepreneur Santiago Navarro leads the London-headquartered and multi-nationally represented start-up’s mission of innovating in cleantech beverage packaging to make the wine industry more sustainable, starting with better bottles, which is vitally important given that the status quo bottles – round in shape and made from glass – are the single largest contributor to wine’s carbon footprint.
Santiago’s first venture was an online retailer that was the world’s first to use science to rate and score wines for their intrinsic quality. While building this business, Santiago became increasingly aware that innovating in wine packaging would likely be the largest commercial opportunity with the most far-reaching impact. Today, his multi-award-winning sustainable wine bottle innovation – flat to save space and made from recycled PET to save weight & energy – is internationally recognised for helping to make wine’s packaging and shipment kinder to the planet, people, and profit.
Garçon Wines have entered in three of the last four World Beverage Innovation Awards, proudly achieving two wins and one commendation. Santiago is honoured to be part of the 2021 judging panel in celebration and recognition of worthy innovations, concepts, and ambitions in the beverage industry.
Click here to view Santiago’s LinkedIn profile
Antonia Garrett Peel
News Reporter, FoodBev Media
Click here to view Antonia’s LinkedIn profile
Enter the World Beverage Innovation Awards now
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World Beverage Innovation Awards – NOW OPEN FOR ENTRIES!
The awards celebrate excellence and innovation across the global beverage industry.
Don’t miss out on having your innovations recognised on a global scale.
Early bird deadline 11 June – enter now!