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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 2-5 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!
Founder, Olive You Whole
Caroline Fausel has always loved nutrition. Married to a doctor, they always had the “nutrition v medicine” debate… Finally, they read the first Whole30 book “It Starts With Food,” which had enough science and research to convince her husband Chaz to try the Whole30. They finished their first Whole30 in June of 2014, and Caroline started her blog Olive You Whole in July of 2014. Caroline, Chaz, and their two kiddos have been Paleo ever since! Now with a better understanding of what makes us healthier, Caroline develops recipes for those striving to eat clean, whether Paleo or Whole30. She is also passionate about the health of the whole body, mind and soul, and helps people detoxify their homes!
Perspective: Farmer, Chef, Restauranteur
Chef Eric Skokan is the most ambitious farm-to-table restaurateur in America, growing most of the food for his two restaurants on 130 acres in Boulder County, Colorado. Eric opened his first restaurant, Black Cat Bistro, in 2006, followed by Bramble & Hare in 2012. As a chef/farmer with a keen palate, Eric grows specifically for flavor, and has experimented with hundreds of varieties of vegetables and breeds to find ones that deliver the most flavor to diners. He also farms for soil health and the environment. The farm is certified organic and biodynamic. In 2017, Eric was a semi-finalist for a James Beard Award.
Erica Eliason Cutts
Sr. Category Manager, Natural Living Fresh Thyme Farmers Market
Perspective: Natural Retailer
Erica Eliason Cutts has passionately dedicated the past 20 years of her career in the natural products industry and is currently the Senior Category Manager of Body Care and Vitamins at Fresh Thyme Farmers Market in the Chicagoland area. She has been with Fresh Thyme since its inception and has been instrumental in the creation, design and success of Fresh Thyme’s Natural Living department. During this time, Erica collaborated with The Creative Pack to develop the perfect design for the private label body care range which has been awarded multiple Vertex Awards. In the years leading up to her current role, she worked for UNFI in space planning and merchandising while enjoying life on the island of O`ahu. Prior to this, Erica held store leadership and national merchandising positions with Wild Oats and Henry’s Markets.
Co-Founder & CEO, Green Spoon Sales
Kari Pedriana is the CEO + Co-Founder of Green Spoon, a modern natural food / beverage brokerage that represents the industry's most disruptive and emerging consumer packaged goods throughout the United States. Green Spoon works with like-minded brands and people that share the common desire to shake things up, to bring the most exciting & highest quality products to shelf, to offer retail partners products that their customers are proud to purchase. Kari helped build the company with a focus on passion, integrity, communication and hard work. Green Spoon is dedicated to going above and beyond for their clients and to continue their success of building natural food and beverage brands across the nation.
President, Rainchild Design Packaging
Perspective: Packaging Expert
Reyna Bryan is the president of RCD Packaging, a Sustainable Packaging Design and Innovation company. Reyna built her career around packaging engineering, materials and manufacturing, with a focus on compostable flexible film packaging, specialty fibers, and bio-polymers. She works to bring cutting edge packaging technologies to the natural product industry and helps brands transition to sustainable material supply chains.
Founder, Do Good & AllergyKids Foundation
Vice President, rePlant Capital
Perspective: Investor, Industry Insider
Robyn O’Brien has helped transform food corporations of every size, from startups to multinationals, in order to help them meet the changing needs of 21st century consumers. Recognized as one of the world’s most visionary voices in the food industry, she is the Vice President of rePlant Capital, an impact investment firm, deploying integrated capital from soil to shelf in order to reverse climate change. Robyn was a founding team member of of AIM/Invesco’s first hedge fund of $100+ million and a team member on their $20 billion Constellation Fund. She was an advisor to Paul Hawken’s “Drawdown”(published in April 2017) and has advised startups, banks and multinationals, while working with global CEOs and management teams in the food industry. Robyn is also the founder of Do Good, a strategic advisory firm, and AllergyKids Foundation, which serves the 1 in 3 children with allergies, asthma, ADHD and autism. Random House published Robyn's book, The Unhealthy Truth, in 2009, and her TEDx talk has been viewed by millions and translated into multiple languages
Founder & CEO, EarthHero
Perspective: eCommerce Retailer
Ryan Lewis is a thought-leader and innovator in the conscious commerce movement. As founder & CEO of the sustainable ecommerce platform EarthHero - a curated online marketplace that uses its strict 5-stage sourcing methodology to ensure only the most sustainable products are selected. This includes vetting the materials and ingredients of each product, how the labor component of each brand is treated, product and shipping packaging, all philanthropic activities, and of course how each product helps people live a more sustainable lifestyle. Ryan combines his two decades of ecommerce experience with his passion for sustainability to deliver awareness, education, and conscious purchasing solutions to consumers, that benefit the planet and society as a whole.