How Food Science and Marketing Will Impact the Future of Food

About the Episode

This is the intersection of food science and marketing with consumer preferences and demand. Dr. Utkarsh Shah, a new product developer for Amazon’s food and beverage business, discusses lessons he has learned from developing patents that make food better for consumers through his focus on marketing and business management. He shares insights into the art of food science, challenges around sustainability, the creation of consumer demand, and the impacts these issues will have on this dynamic industry.

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In this Episode

1:51 What were the lessons Dr. Shah learned when transitioning from engineering to science to a management role?
6:49 What is the process involved with inventing something and obtaining a patent?
11:43 What is Hershey’s intellectual property (IP) strategy regarding trade secrets vs. patents?
14:10 What’s the difference between a food scientist and a chemical scientist?
18:26 What is the relationship between a food scientist and a food engineer? To what extent can you train an engineer to create something that tastes good?
20:49 From the business side of the food and beverage industry, how crucial is it for non-technical people to have knowledge of food science?
24:33 What are some of the trends in the food and beverage sector right now?
28:24 How can the challenges associated with sustainability be addressed? What types of companies are likely to emerge as winners?
34:08 What is a broad definition of sustainability, and what issues are involved?
40:38 What is the impact of consumers having more of a voice than ever before, especially through social media?
42:55 Considering the science of nutrition, can the rapid advancements in inventions and technological innovation continue at their current pace?
46:29 How does information influence consumer preferences, and how do these preferences affect purchasing behavior?
59:59 How has the pandemic impacted the food industry and consumer behavior?
1:02:29 Does creating a great product lead to market success, or are there other factors that come into play?
1:05:32 What is the definition and history of food processing?

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Resources Mentioned

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Acronyms or Terms Used in This Episode

  • IP – intellectual property

Meet Our Guest

Utkarsh Shah

Utkarsh Shah

Head of Coffee and Snacks at Amazon

Dr. Utkarsh Shah is a food and beverage leader with 12 years of experience across the entire industry value chain. He is currently with Amazon as a new product developer and P&L owner for the e-commerce arm of Amazon’s Food & Beverage category, with brands such as Amazon Fresh and Aplenty.

Dr. Shah has a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering focused on Food from the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Mumbai. He came to the U.S. to pursue his Ph.D. in Food Science at the University of Arkansas, where he invented a novel healthy vegetable oil technology for which he was granted a U.S. patent.

Dr. Shah then headed the Food Science and Technology team at the Hershey Company to pursue his interests in unlocking commercial applications for food technologies. He has authored five patents in food chemistry, snacks product development, better-for-you confections, and beverages. Dr. Shah completed his Executive Scholar Certificate from the Kellogg School of Business, Northwestern University, transitioned to a Marketing role, and led product innovation programs for Hershey’s before moving to Amazon’s food and beverage division.

Location Location: Hershey, Pennsylvania

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