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09/23/2021

Keynote speakers address sustainability at Store Brands Industry Forum on Beverages

Two leaders in compost and biodegradable products highlight advancements in coffee and tea, and address other areas where retailers can step up and lead through store brands.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Two leaders in the compostables industry are kicking off the virtual Store Brands Industry Forum on Beverages on Sept. 29.

Click here to register

Susan Thoman, managing director, Compost Manufacturing Alliance (CMA), and Rhodes Yepsen, executive director, Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), will discuss advancements in the coffee and tea category but also sustainability issues across packaged beverages, the growth of prepared foods and beverage bars at stores, and ways for retailers to better communicate compostable products and packages through store brands, in-store signage and more.

Retailers with compostable coffee pods that work alongside compostable coffee grinds are certainly leading examples in the space that Thoman and Yepsen will discuss, but the two aim to educate on compostable touchpoints across several areas.

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Thoman is the founder and managing director of CMA a group that works with compost facilities throughout North America to certify compostables via lab and field science. Thoman brings with her more than 30 years of leadership in the area, with a dozen years working on the senior leadership team at Cedar Grove Composting in Seattle.

The CMA works to enhance composting capacity and the development of appropriate food service packaging options to increase food waste diversion in composting, minimize contamination, and create respectful and mutually beneficial business partnerships between compost manufacturers and compostable product manufacturers.

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Yepsen oversees the BPI nonprofit organization advocating for the value of compostable products in diverting organic waste to composting. Yepsen is passionate about systems-based solutions, specifically the synergy in solving for food waste and packaging at the same time — to address climate change, ecosystem impacts and regenerative agriculture. He has served on the Board of USCC, is an advisor to several sustainable packaging groups, and was an editor and writer at BioCycle magazine.

The two kick off the Store Brands Industry Forum on Beverages at 11 a.m., EST. The keynote is followed by four panels on various segments of beverage:

Coffee and tea with Brandon Wehmeyer, director of private brands, Boxed; Kevin Smartt, CEO, TXB; and Claudio Gemmiti, chief innovation officer, Club Coffee

Dairy with Elizabeth Guthrie, senior director of product management, Own Brands, Albertsons; Jacqi Coleman, SVP, partnerships, Dairy Management Inc.; Molly Renaldo, partnerships manager at Fair Trade USA

Nonalcoholic beverages with Erin Butler, private brand manager, Casey’s; and Dale Johnson, senior director, divisional merchandise manager for consumables, Walgreens; 

and alcoholic beverages with Darla Reig, director of DSD, beer, wine and ehtnic, The Giant Company; Julie Joy, director of beer, wine and spirits, Rouses Markets

In between sessions, attendees can meet and network during brief breaks.

Register for the event here.