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Specialty Food Association Recognizes Six Industry Leaders

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Last updated on June 14th, 2024 at 09:47 am

The Specialty Food Association has named the six winners of its fourth annual Leadership Awards, honoring members who have gone “above and beyond” in advancing food standards in society—and society itself—by creating social, economic and environmental impact through innovation and vision.

Their achievements range from navigating a food safety crisis to creating products that support both health and the environment to enhancing community through launching food businesses that empower workers in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Africa.

The winners are:

Business Leadership

• John Lowe, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

• Greg Steltenpohl, Califia Farms


• Kimberly Jung, Rumi Spice

• Linda Appel Lipsius, Teatulia Organic Teas


• Josh Tetrick, Hampton Creek

• Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez, Back to the Roots

“Throughout the specialty food industry, dedicated entrepreneurs demonstrate creativity, business acumen and a commitment to make the world a better place through their products and practices,” says Ron Tanner, VP of philanthropy, government and industry relations for the Specialty Food Association. “Their efforts toward worker empowerment, protection of the environment and fair regulations and policies continue to break new ground and inspire others to take action.”

The awards will be presented at a special ceremony Jan. 18 at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. The keynote speaker is Paul Saginaw, co-owner and founder of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, who has helped build the company into a $50-million-plus enterprise by pursuing a social as well as a business agenda.

Nominations for the awards were made by members of the Specialty Food Association and others in the specialty food industry. A panel of judges composed of industry experts and influencers selected the honorees from dozens of nominees across the three categories.

The judges included Derek Mulhern, Organic Trade Association, Washington, D.C.; Joe Roy, UNFI, Providence, Rhode Island; Donna Daniels, Social Venture Network, San Francisco; Rebecca Fontes, City Harvest, New York City; Errol Schweizer, Whole Foods Market, Austin, Texas; David Gremmels, Rogue Creamery, Central Point, Oregon; and Sara Holby, Ajiri Tea, Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania.

About the author

Shelby Team

The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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