Lack of consumer understanding of fermentation and its flavor and health attributes is consistently cited by producers the top obstacle to increasing sales and acceptance of fermented product. On this panel we bring together producers, scientists, retailers, and journalists to discuss ways to better educate the (potential) customer.
Educating Consumers about Fermentation
Drew Anderson is Co-founder and CEO of Cleveland Kitchen, an innovative culinary brand focused on fresh, fermented products that taste amazing, are healthy, and accessible for all with a goal to invigorate and excite the American diet with delicious fermented foods. Drew grew up managing some of the first farmers markets in northeastern Ohio through the non-profit his mother started. After serving up mouthwatering takes on sauerkraut under Cleveland Kraut at local farmers markets for many years, Drew and his brothers have expanded their availability and now, provide world-class products across the country and lead the refrigerated sauerkraut category nationally. Drew has always had a love for cooking and experimenting with fermented foods. When he left his analytics career to move into food, it felt like he was coming home.
Hannah Crum, The Kombucha Mamma, founded Kombucha Kamp in 2004. She and partner Alex LaGory are longtime educators and Kombucha advocates. In 2014, to further their mission of "changing the world, one gut at a time," they founded Kombucha Brewers International (KBI) where Hannah serves as President. Spreading KBI’s mission to promote and protect Kombucha worldwide, Hannah has been a featured speaker at business conferences, roundtables and on television as the leading expert in Kombucha.
Anahad O’Connor is a bestselling author and reporter for The New York Times. He joined the paper in 2003 and writes for the paper’s science and health section.
Maria Marco is a Professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California, Davis. Prof. Marco received her BS degree in microbiology from the Pennsylvania State University and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. She then worked as a postdoc and subsequently as a scientist at NIZO food research, The Netherlands where she also led a project supported by the TI Food & Nutrition. Prof. Marco initiated her laboratory at UC Davis in 2008. Her research focuses on lactic acid bacteria in food systems and the mammalian digestive tract. The broad objective of her work is to identify the attributes of microbes that can be used to guide improvements in food production to benefit human health.
Emilio is a third-generation owner at Di Bruno Bros. and serves as the Vice President of Culinary Pioneering. Emilio is instrumental in growing the family business from one small retail store to an omnichannel presence in specialty food; a company with six gourmet retail stores with an artisan cheese focus, 3 craft producer wine and beer bottle shops with a focus on natural wines, a successful e-commerce and gifting business as well as a robust corporate gifting business, a busy import, distribution and manufacturing business, a growing catering and events operation and an independent commissary kitchen supplying a myriad of house made foods using the unique cheeses and in store ingredients keeping Di Bruno Bros at the forefront of specialty food retailing.
He has been a member of the American Cheese Society since 2002 and helped write the esteemed Certified Cheese Professional Exam—the highest standard for cheese professionals. In 2010, the Italian Trade Commission acclaimed Emilio for “Distinguished Service” in importing, representing, and educating on Italian Food and Culture. The James Beard Foundation also honored him for his help in making Philadelphia a world class food city. In 2015, Emilio proudly helped launch The Good Food Retailers Collaborative. He currently serves as a Board of Director for the Specialty Food Association since 2016.
A former newspaper reporter, Amelia is an accomplished writer with a diverse portfolio. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs and social channels. A big foodie, Amelia loves researching and writing about fermentation for The Fermentation Association (TFA). She handles TFA's social media account, writes the editorial content for the website and newsletter and hosts TFA's webinars. Her TFA articles span the gamut from profiling fermentation producers, highlighting new scientific research into fermentation's health benefits, covering fermentation's rich cultural roots, detailing regulation affecting fermenters and covering food industry trends.