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World Food Innovation Awards 2024: Judges announced

The World Food Innovation Awards have been a symbol of excellence in the global food and beverage industry for years. As we gear up for the 2024 edtion, we're excited to once again celebrate the pioneers who embody innovation in final products, creative business practices and groundbreaking solutions. Today, we are delighted to introduce our esteemed judging panel for the upcoming 2024 World Food Innovation Awards, a group of industry leaders poised to recognise and reward the most exceptional contributions to F&B advancement. These awards not only illuminate major industry players but also cast a well-deserved spotlight on the smaller companies and start-ups disrupting the industry. This demands a judicious panel of experts, ready to leverage their skills and knowledge to evaluate this year's entries. Join FoodBev at IFE 2024 in London on Monday 25 March from 2.45-3.30pm at the Trends & Innovations Platform for a special winners ceremony. Head over to the FoodBev awards website to sign up for updates and be the first to know who's shortlisted.


Stefania Pérez Beltrán



Business hunter manager team foods – Colombia

It’s a great pleasure for me to be on the judging panel 2024 World Food Innovation Awards. The world food industry is a very exciting scenario, where innovation, products, systems and a lot of proposals develop a vision and alternatives for today's consumers. I insist on consumer behaviour as the major pillar of understanding habits and needs. That's why it is the moment to recognise the impact on sustainability, wellness and innovation in the frame of this edition. In terms of product/packaging innovation, the impact and perception become the real experience. The connection is developed through senses and this is why it's so important to understand the new ways and habits our consumers are adopting. I will consider the following aspects to evaluate the different categories:

  1. Product benefits: The product experience needs to deliver a benefit in terms of nutrition, taste and an impact on today's wellness. It will be incredible to find natural ingredients, technology and of course functionality!!

  2. Sustainability: The sources are nowadays one of the most important aspects to manage, it is relevant to have clean labels, excellent ingredients and also, if there's a positive impact on a community, that would be awesome!

  3. A-ha effect: I´m looking for that element of surprise, for that connection that makes your product different, relevant and sustainable. The most important thing is to engage and connect with the final consumers, so if your product has this ingredient, mission accomplished! Let’s start this amazing 2024 WFIA edition!



Federico Dellafiore



Event manager | IFE

I’m delighted that IFE and FoodBev have once again partnered to run the World Food Innovation Awards, with the results announced on 25 March at ExCeL London as part of Food, Drink & Hospitality Week. I’m also thrilled to have the chance to be a judge for this year’s awards and discover first-hand some of the products and businesses at the forefront of food & drink innovation. Visitors to IFE prioritise innovation perhaps above all else, with retailers, wholesalers, hospitality professionals and more seeking to discover the products that will define the future of food & drink and help them stay ahead of the competition. The World Food Innovation Awards inevitably mirror the most current trends in the industry, with winners last year reflecting the growth of fermented foods, health and wellbeing-focused products, alternative proteins and, of course, innovation in sustainability. This year the awards have two new additions – bakery product and confectionery product – both of which are categories buzzing with new ideas and customer-centric solutions. For this year’s award entries, I’ll be on the lookout for strong brand identities and a clear sense of why a product is outstanding and innovative within its category. Quality ingredients, strong sustainability credentials and a story that can excite consumers will also be at the top of the list. I’m looking forward to reviewing the entries and celebrating the finalists at IFE 2024 – see you then!


María Mascaraque



Global expert in food and nutrition | Consumer Insights | Market Research

María is a Global Industry Manager at Euromonitor International with a focus on Food and Nutrition. Based in London, she has more than 11 years of experience in the industry. María drives the content and quality of Euromonitor’s global food industry research, provides global expertise and forward-thinking insights and identifies the latest product developments and key market trends. María advises clients on food and nutrition trends and has a special interest in the dairy industry, plant-based eating and health and wellness trends. Mascaraque holds a PhD in Nutrition from Complutense University, Spain.



Gavin Wren



Food systems consultant, content creator and writer

2030 is only a handful of years away, meaning we are close to the endpoint of countless health and environmental initiatives, such as the Sustainable Development Goals and UN Food Systems Roadmap. Despite being way off target in meeting many of these goals, they call upon a vital area of food to improve the health of both people and the planet – innovation and technology. Greenwashing is being firmly stamped out, meaning that business innovations need to be fundamentally sustainable at their core. Yet, health and sustainability aren’t everything. We can only reach those goals when people find new food exciting, nourishing and desirable. In countries like the UK, we give high value to our enjoyment of food, a value which differs for everyone, meaning that the future needs to present an alluring vision, as well as a healthy and sustainable one. It’s been shown countless times that we need behaviour change amongst citizens to make progress towards health and environmental goals, and innovation can help drive that. Giving people alternatives that are far better than business-as-usual is one way that we can drive genuine change. I’ll be looking for innovation that delivers on all counts, presenting a solution that people on the high street can get on board with, while still delivering upon the high-level goals that are necessary.


Morgan Oliveira



Founder and principal | Grounded, Etc.



Morgan Oliveira, founder and principal of Grounded, Etc., specialises in consulting with startups in various ways, including communications, strategy, and more.

With a track record of working with top brands including Sweetgreen, Apeel Sciences and Calm.com, Morgan also serves as an advisor to companies such as Actual Veggies and FTW Ventures, and as a Venture Partner to New Climate Ventures. Previously, she was the first employee at Eat JUST, a global food technology company known as an early leader in the space as well as its egg made from plants.

Recognised as one of the Top 50 Best PR People in the Tech Industry by Business Insider, Morgan's earlier achievements include significant revenue growth and influencer co-branding strategy development at LA-based Fresh 'N Lean. Beyond work, she enjoys fitness, painting, and of course, food.



Steve Osborn



Steve Osborn BSc (Hons), M.Phil, director & technology scout

Having graduated as an analytical chemist, Steve completed a research master's on Maillard Reaction Flavours, with the University of Reading. This was followed by many years in commercial and technical roles with Nestlé, Northern Foods, Ashbury Confectionery and Leatherhead Food Research where he became a recognised food industry expert. The Aurora Ceres Partnership Ltd was established in 2015 and provides innovation management for the Food and Beverage industry. A key focus is technology scouting through the ‘ACTION’ technology scouting platform, and the ‘FoodDrinkACTION’ innovation portal. Steve is also a regular contributor to food and beverage industry events and has spoken on numerous topics from nutrition, including salt and sugar reduction to waste valorisation and the future of food-themed discussions. He is also regularly invited expert judge for several food and beverage innovation awards panels.



Silvia D'Alesio



Food & packaging ecosystem expert

I am very happy to find myself in the community of tireless food innovators. Consistently coming up with new products to be feasibly brought to market: and there is a great need for this! Passion and experience in food will be the levers that will push my careful observation and judgement to the entries of this award. As a food innovation expert and enthusiastic foodie, I will bring my perspective to allow businesses to understand what the world requires especially in food tech and eco-packaging design. I believe this contest really has the potential to create a community without limits, connecting with fellow food lovers and professionals. So, I’m going to share honest and thoughtful reviews towards the importance of food culture and its impact on society. I’m looking for new products behind the ingredients, flavours, and practices that shape our meal consumption, stressing the importance of fostering a right-designed food industry My points of judgement will concern:

  1. Challenging consumers through proposals for new consumption practices to respond to their demand for more sustainable food products from production to consumption;

  2. Changing taste through new recipes and ingredients while leaving palatability in traditional versions of products

  3. Optimise the package format to allow better conservation of the product based on its characteristics so as not to be thrown away

  4. Find new textures that help children approach a healthy and nutrient-balanced diet

  5. Designing a new product through a multisensory analysis, therefore without neglecting the aspect of food linked to conviviality and the sharing of habits and customs


David Echevarría



News reporter | FoodBev Media

The world of food and beverages is a fast-growing and ever-changing landscape, with each year presenting new opportunities for innovation. As a journalist for FoodBev Media, I get to watch those innovations and trends evolve in real-time, from dairy products to packaging, and from technological innovations to marketing campaigns. Plant-based foods capture my attention because of their vast innovation potential. As more people adopt a plant-based diet, these products are expected to meet higher standards. Evaluating how each product rises to this challenge certainly piques my interest. Given the continued importance of reducing emissions and using green energy, I’m excited to see what innovations and technologies are offered with environmental benefits. The health of the planet is just as important as the health of the people living on it. Functional products have been trending recently and that trend doesn’t seem likely to go away anytime soon. Seeing the innovations and products in this area is certainly something I’m looking forward to. We're confident that with such an extraordinary group of industry experts, our judging panel will add gravitas and integrity to the 2024 World Food Innovation Awards. It will help us uncover the groundbreaking work of global food innovators. More exciting details about the event will be revealed soon, so stay tuned!


About FoodBev Awards

FoodBev Media awards schemes have been running for more than 20 years and are now recognised as the most credible and respected awards schemes to influence the international food and beverage industry.

For more information about our selection of awards programmes, please visit foodbevawards.com or email awards@foodbev.com.

Stay tuned and get excited for the World Food Innovation Awards 2024, entries close on 22 February 2024.

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