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NCA Convention Speakers and Sessions

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Lessons From The Edge: The Art of High Impact Leadership

Alison Levine

Having spent prolonged periods of time in some of the world's most dangerous and inhospitable places, Alison tackles the topics of creating cohesive teams, taking responsible risks, and developing no-nonsense leaders that can succeed in times of uncertainty.

National Coffee Data Trends 2024: Coffee's Bright Future

Cheryl Hung, DIG Insights

Attention coffee aficionados and industry enthusiasts. Brace yourselves for an electrifying journey through the latest National Coffee Data Trends highlights of 2024. Join Cheryl Hung of Dig Insights to catch up on the latest coffee trends brewing our bright futures. Yes, there's much to look forward to, even amidst economic uncertainty. Dive deep into the heart of the data as we explore the hottest trends and cultural shifts that have reshaped the coffee landscape. We will explore where specialty coffee is growing and who is drinking what; the state of work and home coffee preparation; and consumer sentiment around coffee and the future.

The State of the Economy

G. Scott Clemons, Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.

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A look at the current state of economic activity, with a forecast of what is likely to unfold as 2024 progresses.

The State of the National Coffee Association

William "Bill" Murray, National Coffee Association

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Bill will provide an overview of the National Coffee Association's (NCA) work over the past year, along with a look at what's ahead for NCA's advocacy program, as well as the exclusive resources being created for NCA Members.

NCA Mentoring Program: Career Development for Coffee Professionals

Catherine Cordova

This session will present data and background information related to the positive benefits of professional mentoring. It will also cover details about the innovative NCA Mentorship Program and offer an interactive glimpse into the world of mentoring.

Quality Assessment of Instant Coffee  |  Instant Coffee Applications

Eliana Relvas, ABICS  

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"Eliana Relvas is a distinguished figure in the coffee industry, renowned for her extensive expertise and contributions as a coffee consultant. She currently serves ABICS, the Brazilian Instant Coffee Industry Association, and GPA - Pão de Açúcar's Group, a prominent supermarket chain in retail. Eliana's educational background is as impressive as her professional experience, holding an MBA in Marketing from Esalq – USP, and a Q-Grader certification. She is also a certified Barista through the SCA (Specialty Coffee Association).

Eliana's academic achievements extend to a Postgraduate degree in Gastronomy from FMU and in Industrial Administration from the Vanzolini Foundation of São Paulo University (USP). She is also a proud alumnus of UNICAMP – Campinas State University, where she specialized in Food Sensorial Analysis, and of the School of Engineering Maua – E.E.M, where she earned her degree in Food Engineering.

Her role in the coffee community includes being a Cupping Judge for the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), and she actively contributes to the Coffee Industry Syndicate of São Paulo State. Eliana is also the Coordinator of the coffee evaluation group (GAC) at the Coffee Brewing Center of São Paulo and has served as a Coffee Judge in the Brazilian Coffee Crop.

Navigating the Regulatory Lense of Traceability and New Import Laws

Andre Raghu, HAP International

"This session explores the complexities and nuances of regulatory traceability and the latest import laws, along with the practical, day-to-day challenges of creating and implementing a regulatory traceability program in complex supply chains.

Attendees will gain an understanding of the regulatory aspects of traceability and insights into the common challenges presented by new import laws and traceability requirements. The information shared will cover strategies for successfully navigating these regulations, providing practical advice for businesses looking to adapt and thrive in this dynamic landscape. 

Key discussion points will include understanding the impact of new import laws on global supply chains, strategies for effective traceability and compliance in a changing regulatory environment, balancing efficiency with regulatory requirements in supply chain management, and lessons learned from implementing traceability systems. The session will also delve into future trends, anticipating regulatory changes, and proactive preparation.

This session is designed for professionals in supply chain management, due diligence, traceability, regulatory compliance, and international business who are looking to acquire deeper insights and build strategies for staying ahead of the quickly changing regulatory traceability landscape."

Cold Coffee Unleashed: From Trends to Transformation in Coffee Refreshment

Lou Vastardis, BKON

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"Cold brew has revolutionized coffee's role in beverage refreshment. Its distinct flavor profile and surging popularity have driven a significant increase in wholesale liquid coffee products, enhancing consumer accessibility and awareness. The emergence of cold brew concentrates has further transformed the landscape, with coffee-as-ingredient drinks becoming the leading driver of industry growth and sparking new innovations across the sector.

This session will offer a futuristic view of what is likely to become the coffee industry's most significant and innovative growth phase in recent history. We will delve into the opportunities and challenges shaping the coffee refreshment sector and examine the factors propelling the evolution of the cold ""coffee-as-ingredient"" category. Attendees will learn strategies to capture new customers, unlock the untapped potential of the PM daypart, and innovate in wholesale business programs.

Learning Outcomes Paragraph:

In this session, attendees will explore the latest trends affecting the growth of the coffee refreshment category and understand their implications for the industry’s future. We will discuss strategic considerations for tapping into this emerging market and provide practical starting points for businesses looking to capitalize on these trends. This will include insights on adapting to evolving consumer preferences and innovative approaches to expanding your market presence."

Brewing the Future: AI's Transformative Impact on the Coffee Industry 

Alan Lai, ProfilePrint

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Alan Lai, founder and CEO of ProfilePrint will highlight the key quality assessment and supply chain challenges in the coffee industry, and present how AI technologies can help roasters, traders, and producers to buy and sell better by digitally ascertaining suitability and quality, reducing the need for onerous human cupping of coffee and expensive shipment of pre-shipment samples. He will also explain how different stakeholders across the coffee supply chain can benefit from such transformative technologies and share a few case studies with real examples of AI implementation.

Attendees will gain an understanding of the successful applications of AI in the coffee industry and insights into the common challenges presented by such transformation. The presentation will cover strategies for successfully navigating these technology complexities, providing practical advice for businesses looking to adapt and thrive in this dynamic landscape.

Key discussion points will include the rise of AI technologies, the opportunities and limitations, balancing human versus technology, digitalization of supply chain management, and lessons learned from implementing AI solutions. The session will also delve into future trends, anticipating new opportunities and how to harness them.

Technology on Instant Coffee Production

Mr. Kim Knudsen & Peter Randsted, GEA Process Engineering A/S

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Explore the intricate process of instant coffee production in this session. From the initial receipt of roasted coffee beans to the final product, delve into the step-by-step methodologies for creating Spray Dried, Agglomerated, or Freeze Dried instant coffee. This session provides a comprehensive look at the technology and processes behind your favorite instant brews.

Cupping Exploration: Cold Coffee – Brewing Methods and Variables

Dan Pabst, Melitta

Experience and taste different cold coffee extractions. Learn how coffee origin and roast level cup affect flavor profile across a variety of cold coffee extractions.  

Diet Drivers: Consumer Considerations Regarding their Food and Beverage Choices

Mark DiDomenico, Elohi Strategic Advisors

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The session spotlights insightful findings from proprietary research on Diet Drivers. This session will illuminate the key concerns and decisive factors influencing today's consumers when they make food and beverage selections. Delve beyond the surface aspects of flavor, value, and convenience, and explore the deeper underlying drivers shaping consumer behavior. Discover what truly resonates with customers in their quest for nutritional and lifestyle choices. 

Caffeinated Convenience: Crafting Coffee Programs to Cater to a New Convenience Consumer

Tim Cox, Franke Coffee Systems

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"The influence of the “Third Wave” of coffee is reshaping programs across various venues, including cafes, QSRs, and significantly within the Convenience Channel. As coffee consumers, especially Millennials and Gen-Z, become increasingly knowledgeable and discerning, the demand for quality and variety in C-Store coffee offerings is growing. This session explores the rapid evolution of Convenience coffee, shifting from traditional, quick drip coffee to innovative offerings like bean-to-cup systems, espresso-based beverages, and seasonal LTOs.
This session aims to equip C-Store operators with the knowledge and tools to adapt to these changes. Attendees will gain insights into key coffee industry and consumer trends that are pertinent to C-Stores. The session will highlight strategies for implementing contemporary programs to meet the expectations of a more sophisticated consumer base, ensuring that operators can evolve their coffee offerings to satisfy the unique needs of today’s Convenience market"

Leveraging EnergyStar Tools for Sustainability and Profitability in Coffee Companies

Clark Reed, EPA | EnergyStar

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Retail stores use a lot of energy, but they don’t have to. The average U.S. store wastes 30 percent of the energy it consumes because of inefficiencies. Working with thousands of businesses, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s voluntary ENERGY STAR program has shown that reductions of 10 percent or more in energy use can be possible at little or no cost, with savings going directly to the bottom line. In this session, participants will learn how to use a free benchmarking tool to measure and compare their store's energy use against similar stores, past consumption, or a reference performance level. They will also gain an understanding of how their property can earn ENERGY STAR certification and use it to demonstrate environmental leadership. Additionally, the session will cover the importance of energy efficiency, the necessity of tracking energy use in facilities, and the best practices to save energy.

The Changing Face of Coffee Packaging

Matthew Barry, Euromonitor

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In this presentation, Euromonitor International will look at the key trends shaping coffee packaging in the US. These include the impact of inflation and price increases on packaging, the influence of sustainability trends, the changing requirements for packaging brought about by the shift to online purchasing, the role of legislation, and much more. There will be a particular emphasis on what younger generations are looking for in their coffee packaging and how that differs from what the industry has traditionally done.

Getting the Most Out of NCA Technical Resources: A How-To Session with NCA's Leading Scientist

Mark Corey, National Coffee Association

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From Cold Brew to Supplier Verification, this session will cover key NCA Technical Resources, including a hands-on look at how to use them, and an overview of the regulatory and compliance issues that the resources will help your business proactively address.

What's Around the Bend: Looking Ahead on Specialty Coffee

Samantha Evans, Dig Insights

Samantha Evans of DIG Insights will dive into the latest trends in specialty coffee consumption, with a focus on espresso beverages and non-espresso-based beverages, such as cold brew and RTD. In this session, Samantha will explore various topics including the most consumed specialty coffee beverages in 2024, the popular additives among specialty coffee consumers, the demographic trends of specialty coffee drinkers and how they differ from traditional coffee consumers, and the unique perceptions and attitudes of specialty coffee drinkers compared to other coffee enthusiasts.

Coffee Market: Supply & Demand Outlook

Andre Acosta

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"Andre Acosta, Director of Commodities Latam at Marex Hedging Solutions, brings over 15 years of expertise in derivatives strategies execution and hedging portfolio management, specializing in coffee. His professional journey encompasses working with roasters, traders, and producers across the US and Latin America. Andre's early career includes a notable tenure with Embrapa, Brazil's leading agribusiness research company. His career has since flourished, spanning various roles in consultancies, trade houses, and brokerage firms across Brazil, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Andre's deep understanding of both the physical coffee markets and the complexities of commodities derivatives positions him as a valuable asset. His skill set enables him to assist companies in a range of industries to effectively manage and mitigate their price risk exposures."

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