Anne Zybowski, team leader for omnichannel business development at The Clorox Corp., discussed her company’s strategy to engage with the “OmniShopper.”

On Thursday, April 20, Niagara University’s Food Marketing Center of Excellence hosted its inaugural event, “Innovations and Strategies for Food and Consumer Packaged Goods,” for regional leaders in the food marketing industry.

Held at the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls (N.Y.), the summit was a sellout, with more than 150 business leaders from the food and consumer packaged goods industry in attendance.

Brian Todd, president and CEO of The Food Institute, delivered the keynote address and spoke about a variety of trends in the marketplace, including shifts away from traditional grocery stores, mergers and acquisitions in the industry, and shifts toward home-delivered, ready-to-prepare meals known as meal kits.

In addition to Todd’s keynote address, the summit also featured insightful presentations from industry leaders in food marketing and consumer packaged goods, including Rich Products Corporation, Tops Friendly Markets, Wegmans Food Markets, Rosina Food Products and The Clorox Company, to name a few.

Michelle Bulan, executive director of marketing and corporate communications for Perry’s Ice Cream, provided critical insights on consumer trends and how these can fuel corporate brands. Robert Maybee, vice president of customer loyalty and insights for Wegmans Food Markets, spoke about innovation inside the food industry and, specifically, how disruptive innovation can change and impact the industry.

Jamie McKeon, vice president of marketing for Rich Products Corp., illustrated the Rich’s winning approach to building a culture of innovation. John Persons, president and COO of Tops Friendly Markets, provided his insights on new product development and its importance in the ever-growing, competitive food industry.

Chef Herb Stockschlaeder II, director of R&D and procurement at Rosina Food Products, offered insights on culinology and meeting customer needs in a competitive market. Anne Zybowski, team leader for omnichannel business development at The Clorox Corp., discussed her company’s strategy to engage with the “OmniShopper.”

Overall, the inaugural Innovation Summit was a great success. Dr. Peggy Choong (professor of marketing, Niagara University), Dr. Paul Richardson (MBA director, Niagara University) and Bill Chiodo, EVP of grocery sales, Acosta, and Food Marketing Advisory Board chairman) each played a critical role in bringing this successful summit to fruition.

Niagara University food marketing and MBA students participated in the conference and were afforded the opportunity to learn from industry leaders.

This year saw much activity around food marketing at Niagara University in partnership with regional industry leaders and the Food Marketing Center of Excellence. Inquiries about NU’s food marketing curriculum, membership in the Food Marketing Center of Excellence (FMCOE), and upcoming FMCOE events can be directed to Dr. Richardson at ude.aragain@rsp. Additional information is also available at