2023 Expo East NEXTY Judges

Preliminary Judging: The first round of judging takes place in the New Hope Network office in Boulder, Colorado. Conducted by members of the New Hope Network content team, standards team, marketing team and NEXT Data & Insights team, our-in-house expert judges review hundreds of nominated products using these criteria to select 3-7 finalists in each category.

Final Judging: The final round of judging is conducted by a panel of invited industry experts, spanning specialties such as investment, retail, brokerage, social media influence, sustainability and more. These judges join the New Hope Network content team, standards team, marketing team and NEXT Data & Insights team to select the single winners within each category!

Douglas Yu

Senior Contributor, Forbes

Douglas Yu is a well-versed business journalist writing about the food and beverage industry for nearly a decade, during which he’s covered notable transactions from Kellogg’s acquisition of RXBar to Nestlé’s divestiture of its U.S. candy division to Ferrero. Since joining Forbes as a senior contributor four and half years ago, Douglas has been offering CPG professionals exclusive perspectives on fundraising, M&A, and human-centric entrepreneurial stories. Having witnessed and documented agricultural practices and their impact on local communities firsthand across Asia, Latin America, and West Africa, Douglas has brought his readers to the cornerstone of our supply chain, deep diving into how climate, food sustainability, and farmers’ wellbeing are intimately intertwined. Previously, he has also won an Editorial Excellence Award at William Reed Business Media for applying innovative thinking and technology to multimedia projects, including a podcast named 'The Sweet Business With Yu', and he has been invited by several mainstream media outlets, including NPR Marketplace, Bloomberg Radio, and The Washington Post, to provide commentary on the CPG industry. Additionally, Douglas is an angel investor in consumer goods, while serving as an advisory board member of Naturally’s New York Chapter.” 

Kristine Carey

Executive Director, Naturally Boulder

Kristine is the Executive Director for Naturally Boulder accepting this role June 1, 2023. Her
background is as a food and beverage brand strategist and founder of Brand Guide. Working
internally and as a consultant with pre-revenue startups and emerging brands to help build
consistent messaging that connects with consumers beyond products and services. Kristine has
led brand communication strategies and marketing programs for various natural products
companies such as Frontier Brands, MyChelle Dermaceuticals, Healthy Skoop, Wedderspoon,
Peak State Coffee, Herb’n Pantry, Keef Beverages and Honey Rock Landing. She also created
Brandamentals Academy™, an eLearning branding and marketing communications course, and
is a mentor with the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business New Venture Launch.

Scott Dicker

Market Insights Director, SPINS

Scott Dicker is the Market Insights director for SPINS, a leading wellness-focused data company and advocate for the natural products industry. With a background in nutrition, he believes in the importance of making wellness options more accessible to everyone and that demystifying data can make that happen. By delving into omnichannel, comprehensive, market-wide data, he identifies emerging trends and explores shifting consumer behavior, helping retailers and brands better understand the market and their audience. Scott has spoken at many leading industry events, including the Natural Products Expo, SupplySide, and Plant Based World shows, plus many more. He has been published in top industry resources such as Natural Products Insider, Nutritional Outlook, and Whole Foods Magazine. In addition, he has a longstanding involvement in nutrition and wellness, working as a sports nutritionist and starting multiple entrepreneurial businesses in the field. 


Emily Schildt

Founder & CEO, Pop Up Grocer

Across art and music, fashion and food, Emily has worked with early-stage and long-running companies to help them identify their white space, articulate their positioning, and connect them with their consumers. Evident in her in-house roles, consulting practice, and entrepreneurial ventures, she excels in storytelling through content and live experiences and in reaching, engaging, and inspiring target audiences. Her work has been featured in Fast Company, Time, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and Refinery29.  Emily is the founder of Sourdough, a communications studio that works with emerging products to craft stories that spark emotion. As a Brand Communications and Marketing Consultant, Emily specializes in brand messaging and architecture, content strategy and production and influencer programs and campaigns.  Her most recent venture is founding Pop Up Grocer, an innovative retail experience about discovery, not just shopping. Pop Up Grocer flips the idea of a traditional supermarket on its head and rotates its entire inventory seasonally or in new pop-up locations to showcase new emerging products. With better-for-you ingredient standards and an appreciation for aesthetics, the store introduces curious shoppers to smaller independent brands with fun designs and interesting concepts.  

Jake Deleon

Founder, Fila Manila

Jake  Deleon, founder of Fila Manila and a 1st generation Filipino American immigrant, is on a mission to add much-needed Filipino representation. He started Fila Manila in 2020 with a line of sauces inspired by iconic Filipino flavors and his family's favorite comfort foods. Since then, the company has expanded into three NEXTY-award winning product lines that are distributed nationally with retailers like Whole Foods Market and Target. Jake is also the founder of FoundersHeritage.org, an industry community that connects founders in the surging global flavors space. Prior to his entrepreneurial journey, Jake enjoyed a career working in consumer foods with Procter & Gamble and Starbucks.  


Cristina Kin

Category Manager, Roots Market

Cristina Kin oversees purchasing and category management for the Grocery, Fridge, Frozen, and Wellness departments at Roots Market, an independently owned natural food store focused on clean, organic foods and a favorite destination for shoppers looking for vegan products in Maryland. While living in Italy she took an interest in the slow food movement and natural living which made Roots Market a perfect place for her to be in order to help make a meaningful impact in the local community. Cristina brings 11 years of experience in the industry. She is very passionate about innovation in the natural products world and is always on the lookout for the next exciting products.  


Verity Noble

Cofounder and CMO, Nude Foods Market 

1 part serial-entrepreneur, 2 parts Mum (she’s British, hence the spelling), 1 part zero-waste obsessive, 1 part vegan and 3 parts exuberant lover of life (think dancing til dawn, singing - badly - out loud while mountain biking and the total absence of the embarrassment gene). Too many parts? Maybe for most people, but not this lady. Verity’s obsession with zero-waste has stealthily changed the habits of almost everyone she knows. She doesn’t jam with the word impossible. There’s always a way. 


Chef Daniel Asher

Executive Chef and Founder, EcoChef Culinary | Chef and Co-Founder, The Working Title Food Group

Chef Daniel Asher's obsession with local agriculture, sustainable sourcing and food justice has been the heart of his three decades in the restaurant industry. As Executive Chef/Founder of EcoChef Culinary, a multi-faceted consulting and events company, he utilizes organic, locally-grown produce, ethically-raised meats and sustainably sourced ingredients to conceptualize bespoke dining experiences all over the world. As Chef/CoFounder of the Working Title food Group, Chef Asher shares the culmination of his experience and passions, while expressing the joy and inspiration that comes from gathering at the table. Advocating for food equity, social justice and regenerative agriculture is his expression of nourishing hospitality. A desire to catalyze change is satiated by working with the James Beard Chef Action Summit, Slow Food USA Cook’s Alliance, World Central Kitchen Chef Corps and Zero Foodprint. Chef Asher’s love of ethically driven, relentlessly beautiful, celebratory food is whole-heartedly intended to forge human connections and sustain resilient communities of farmers, ranchers and food artisans, both locally and globally.