The 2021 virtual Global Plant Forward (GPF) conference was attended by Adam Veile and Kaci Vohland from Communique on behalf of Northarvest Bean Growers Association. They also presented at the GPF event on March 30 – April 1, 2021.
The Global Plant-Forward Culinary Summit is a joint initiative of the CIA and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition. The summit focuses on cooking and culinary strategy discussions, which are all based on the evidence-based framework of optimal innovation embodied in the 24 Principles of Healthy, Sustainable Menus of the CIA-Harvard Chan School Menus of Change Initiative. Innovative chefs and masters of traditional cuisines from around the world and across the United States are featured, as well as sector experts from full-service restaurants to contract foodservice. Featured chefs included those whose work is highlighted in the Plant-Forward Global 50, a joint initiative of the CIA and the EAT Foundation, summarized by The Washington Post with its headline, “The World’s 50 Best Places to Eat Your Vegetables.” It includes a strong focus on blended burgers and the Pulses of Change initiative which elevates legumes as a plant protein.
Through the online platform, we were able to attend all general sessions. As a sponsor, Northarvest provided a virtual booth in the Plant-Forward Innovation Hub. Attendees were able to visit our booth 2-3 times each day of the conference. We had a different presentation each day to entice attendees to visit our booth each day. Presentation topics included: Meet a Bean Grower, Beans for Every Lifestyle, and Bean Cost and Sustainability. For Meet a Bean Grower we played a recorded interview between Kaci and Leann Schafer. The other two presentations were done live by Kaci and Adam. We were able to provide attendees with resources including Northarvest and Bean Institute websites.
We were also able to sponsor a pop-up session titled “From Spreads to Stews: Elevating the Everyday Bean” that starred Chef Johnny Graham demonstrating two bean-inspired recipes. We set up a cooking day in advance of the conference to record Chef Johnny preparing the dishes.
As a sponsor for GPF, we were able to provide several pieces of content for attendees as well as receive email addresses for over 900 attendees and sponsors. Our content included a sponsored snack recipe of black bean protein snack bites and three educational material links for the GPF website that attendees can continue to access all year. The links we chose were: https://beaninstitute.com/foodservice/, https://beaninstitute.com/beyond-bean-basics/, and https://beaninstitute.com/recipes/.
Other publicity for beans during the conference included mention of white beans being the next big vegetable, the inclusion of aquafaba rather than whipped cream in a plant-forward cocktails session, and the author of the Cool Beans cookbook being highlighted in a Meet the Author session.
Final reports from the conference showed over 80 attendees visited our booth, over 70 attended our sponsored pop-up session with Chef Johnny Graham, and nearly 20 attendees clicked our “call to action” button to visit BeanInstitute.com.
GPF 2022 will take place April 5-7 at the CIA at Copia in Napa, CA.