Most innovative women in the food and drink industry

Emily Broad Lieb of Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic (left) and Betsy Babcock of Handsome Brook Farm

Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation (left); Conor Harrigan (right)

Who are the most innovative women in the food and drink industry? Food & Wine and Fortune magazines sought to answer that question with a look at those whose work affects millions of people’s eating habits.

The publications researched entrepreneurs and activists who have had “the most transformative impact” on what we eat in 2016 and came up with this list:

1. Emily Broad Lieb, Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic 

Lieb is pushing for legislation on food labeling because there are no federal guidelines on how long foods are safe to eat, and the inconsistent state guidelines are not based on science, she said. The ultimate goal for Lieb is to get food to those in need instead of ending up in landfills.

2. Betsy Babcock, Handsome Brook Farm

Babcock and her husband have a farm in upstate New York, and created a network of farmers whose pasture-raised chickens produce 58 million eggs each year. The former CEO of a venture capital firm has become a leader in the sustainability movement.

3. Monica Garnes, Kroger supermarkets

Garnes is in charge of produce at Kroger, whose 2,700 stores sell over two billion pounds of fruits and vegetables every year. She partners with local farmers throughout the country to source some of the produce.

4. Kavita Shukla, FreshPaper

Shukla invented FreshPaper’s natural antibacterial sheets infused with herbs, which help keep produce fresh up to four times longer. The patented sheets are sold from Walmart to Whole Foods, and she’s now working on specialized sheets for cheese, bread and flour.

5. Sarah Adler & Mackenzie Barth, Spoon University

Spoon U teaches college students in 170 chapters across the nation how to run a food-focused magazine or website, equipping them with event planning, writing, photography and ad sales skills. The site has four million visitors each month. 

6. Claire Benjamin DiMattina, Food Policy Action

DiMattina champions policies to reduce hunger and improve access to healthy food.

7. Susie Weintraub, Compass Group USA

Weintraub introduces healthy options to corporate cafeterias, stadiums and more.

8. Kristy Lewis, Quinn Snacks

With a “farm-to-bag” mission, Lewis’ company makes organic popcorn and other sustainable snacks.

9. Emily Miller & Kimberly Jung, Rumi Spice

Rumi Spice creates economic partnerships with Afghan farmers and produces sustainably-farmed saffron.

10. Christina Minardi, Whole Foods

Minardi, who is the Northeast region president for Whole Foods, helps bring local food artisans to large markets.

For the full list, visit or