Always focused on the customer, Laurie Winward is a transformational culinary innovation executive with foresight, imagination, glowing positivity, and a “never give up” attitude. She has a consistent history of surpassing ambitious goals, building fun corporate cultures, and delivering game-changing product innovations for global food companies and iconic brands. With a career history of repositioning product portfolios, she’s driven multimillion-dollar sales growth, opened new revenue streams, and designed products that demonstrate a profound dedication to customer satisfaction and a relentless pursuit of quality.
Laurie is Vice President of Research and Development, Quality and Regulatory for The Bevolution Group-a $140M Beverage Company serving Foodservice and Healthcare. She is currently leading a successful quality turnaround and innovation growth strategy. Importantly, during the COVID crisis, Laurie and her teams developed and launched a premium Hand Sanitizer in 6 weeks. This was the largest, fastest and most profitable product launch in company history-paying every bill, keeping all three plants open, and keeping every employee in her care employed.
As the Vice President of Culinary Innovation at Jamba Juice, Laurie invigorated the brand with game-changing product development, helping to turn around, and more than double, a record-low stock price. By contemporizing the menu, reducing sugar levels, focusing on product health benefits, and delivering 75+ new products in only 18 months, she transformed the business, reversing seven years of decline, and exceeded industry earnings for nine straight quarters. Bringing a consumer-centered approach, she developed Jamba Juice’s highest-selling limited time offerings and produced 23 concepts that surpassed industry norms. She introduced cold brew coffee smoothies, new breakfast sandwiches, ready-to-drink shots, collagen drinks, and Pumpkin Protein drinks that had half the calories of Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte. Perhaps this is why Jamba Juice enjoyed so much media buzz with passionate brand endorsements from rap star Travis Scott and national acclaim from major health publications such as Shape Magazine.
While working as the Global Director of Product Development at Sabra Dipping Company, Laurie spurred nearly 170% brand growth through incredible culinary innovations while ensuring the highest levels of product quality and consistency across global markets. She achieved challenging business goals by intensely studying consumer insights and behaviors, driving a $200 million sales boost. After creating breakthrough innovation platforms, she launched 25+ new culinary products worldwide. While doing so, she redesigned salsa and guacamole products to rank #1 in their respective markets.
Prior to this, Laurie enjoyed a 22-year career at Mars Chocolate, where she ascended the ranks to ultimately become the Director of Research and Development for Ice Cream and Snacks. While leading a team of 270+ employees across multiple production plants, she drove 20% category growth and realized a $2 million cost-of-goods-sold goal three months early. She achieved a zero-defect rate after realizing double-digit reductions in consumer issues and completed consumer insights testing at a 90% lower cost than her peers.
Laurie has a Bachelor of Science in Food Science from The Pennsylvania State University. She completed executive training at Harvard Business School and MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Her products have won 9 prestigious awards from national outlets such as Consumer Reports Magazine, Dairy Foods Magazine, Convenience Store News (CSN), and the International Dairy Foods Association. She has obtained 3 patents, including one that has generated $100+ million in gross sales volume to date.
Laurie is active in the Boating Community, and is a former racing sailor, completing Chicago Yacht Club’s “ MAC” race twice. She enjoys gourmet entertaining, being at the beach, and having fun experiences with friends and family.
Day 1: Oct 26, 2021
Day 2: Oct 27, 2021
Panel: REGULATORY RELATIONSHIPS
Forge More Collaborative Relationships with Regulators to Strengthen your Food Safety and Compliance Program
Like all other food industry players, regulators are focused on providing high-quality, safe foods for customers. To optimize your compliance program and ease your regulatory burden, it is essential to forge collaborative relationships with those setting the rules. Craft a blueprint to:
- Maximize your compliance efficiency by soliciting regulator knowledge.
- Proactively seek feedback on policies and procedures.
- Identify where regulators can be most helpful so both parties save time.
Work together with regulators to increase the efficiency of your compliance program.