Neither Fish nor Fowl: The Growth of Alternatives to Animal-Derived Food

Joseph Priestley Society
Thursday, March 11, 2021
1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. EST (UTC -5)

The Joseph Priestley Society welcomes a panel of industry leaders for a virtual discussion about the development and commercialization of nonanimal foods.


Print ad for Dow depicting woman buying groceries, 1952

Dow Chemical Company print advertisement: “ for an American,” May 24, 1952.

Science History Institute

In recent years the number of people pursuing flexitarian, vegetarian, and vegan lifestyles has risen. In response several start-up and established companies are developing and commercializing nonanimal foods to provide alternatives to animal-based meat. The technology follows one of two paths—either formulating plant-based products or using cell cultures to “grow” meat.

This program will bring together representatives from companies active in the field, discussing this sector’s growth and the challenges to consumer adoption of alternative meats. Technical challenges aside, these companies must also address regulatory, economic, and consumer-perception hurdles.

Attendees will come away with a better understanding of the most significant transformation of the food industry in decades and how it will affect peoples’ dietary choices in the future.

“Neither Fish nor Fowl” is this year’s Ralph Connor Memorial Lecture, created by the Science History Institute to showcase periodic addresses on the role of research in the development of technology and industry by eminent practitioners in the chemical and molecular sciences.

This event is coproduced by the American Chemical Society as part of its ACS Webinars series.


About the Panelists

Christopher Gregson
Founder, Greenstalk Food Consulting LLC

Christopher Gregson is a food materials scientist with a culinary background. He has founded two companies. Greenstalk is a food consultancy with a mission to help companies in the plant-based foods and clean meat industries commercialize products through the application of materials science and ingredients technology. Paragon Pure is a company he cofounded to commercialize technologies enabling the encapsulation of natural flavors, colors, and nutraceuticals using consumer-preferred carriers.

Previously Gregson led an innovation lab at the Swiss flavor and fragrance company Firmenich for eight years, developing novel delivery systems for flavors and other actives. He then managed the materials science function at Ingredion before becoming director of sweeteners R&D. Before working at Firmenich he did postdoctoral research at Rutgers University working on food systems for long-term space missions.

Gregson holds a PhD in food rheology from the University of Nottingham.


David Benzaquen
Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer, Ocean Hugger Foods, Inc.

David Benzaquen is the cofounder and CEO of Ocean Hugger Foods, a company that manufactures plant-based seafood alternatives to address the overfishing crisis. The company has received innovation awards from Whole Foods Market and Sysco and has been heralded by the New York Times, USA Today, CBS Morning News, and others.

Benzaquen was previously founder and CEO of PlantBased Solutions, a consulting firm helping to launch and scale plant-based consumer packaged foods.

He is an angel investor in the sector and has served as an adviser to numerous plant-based food companies, accelerators, and investors.


Julie Mann
Global Protein Program Manager, Ingredion Incorporated

Julie Mann leads Ingredion’s global plant protein strategy and innovation program. This role is essential to Ingredion’s future growth in plant protein. Mann is tasked with identifying, building, and maintaining strategic relationships with partners and customers in the global plant protein landscape and driving internal go-to-market and technical teams to achieve global leadership and breakthrough innovation in plant protein.    

Before taking the position at Ingredion, Mann spent 20 years at the Hershey Company. Her most recent role there was as senior manager of protein research and technology in the snacks division. She holds five U.S. patents, with one additional patent pending approval. In addition, she is a founding member of Protein 2040, an initiative to feed the growing world population with sufficient protein by 2040. 

Julie has a master’s degree in food science and nutrition from Drexel University.


About the Series

The Joseph Priestley Society (JPS) promotes a deeper understanding of science, technology, and industry, with an emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship. Speakers are leaders from a wide variety of large and small chemical companies and the financial, consulting, and academic communities.

For more information about this event, please contact