SNIC Speaker Spotlight – New Challenges, New Opportunities: Future Environments and Innovation


SNA is providing you with a “sneak peek” into some of the speakers we have lined up for the upcoming School Nutrition Industry Conference (SNIC). Read on for a Q+A with Christian Crews.

Join us on Sunday, January 17 to kick off of the 2016 School Nutrition Industry Conference (SNIC) in San Diego. SNIC’s opening keynote speaker, Futurist Christian Crews, will discuss the hottest trends in business and society at large and how these trends will impact both operators and industry. He will also focus on identifying solutions to address the current challenges in school foodservice and help you map out the future of your business. This interactive session will address some of the most compelling topics in school nutrition, including:

  • Dealing with realistic and unrealistic demands of parents
  • Helping school administrators understand how school nutrition program work
  • Recruiting the next generation of school nutrition professionals

To gain additional insight into Christian’s background and presentation, he responded to a few questions from SNA:

Give us a sneak peek about what you have planned for your conference session! How will your talk benefit attendees in their day-to-day?
We are planning a highly interactive session that will educate attendees on the how’s and why’s of thinking ahead, and give them an opportunity to work with their peers to discuss both short-term issues in school nutrition, and long-term assumptions about how it will evolve over the next ten years. The conversation will be supported with highly designed trend cards and innovation worksheets to help attendees find insights about the future and explore what it means for their organizations today.

Why is learning about the future so important?
Often the future is presented in ways that makes it difficult for leaders to connect it to their business. My concentration as a professional has always focused on translating future trends and scenarios into tangible strategy and innovation implications for leaders. Thinking about the future is not just a thought experiment -- to be successful it needs to drive decisions and investments.

In your opinion, what are some of the most significant future trends and how they will have an impact on the business of school nutrition?
Environmental impacts such as drought or cold snaps will drive up the cost and reduce availability to the food most needed in schools today. How can the entire ecosystem from growers, to industry, to school leaders, create an efficient way to reduce food waste, enhance nutrition and shelf-life across minimally processed products?

New technologies are arriving that could dramatically change how nutrients are grown or processed, including vertical farming, advanced genetic editing techniques, and automated growing and delivery systems. These technologies may have large implications for school nutrition.

Describe a little bit about your background.
My education has been focused on studies of the future, which allows me to apply many tools of foresight across different business and non-profit sectors. These include consumer products, technology services, manufacturing, foundations, and member associations. I have worked inside organizations, performing foresight for strategy and innovation. I run AndSpace Consulting, a foresight, innovation, strategy, and design research firm serving Fortune 500 companies and large non-profits. Selected clients include PepsiCo, Disney, Goodyear, and the Institute of Food Technologists.

What are you most excited about for the conference?
I’m looking forward to hearing the interaction of the attendees as they discuss how global trends will be impacting school nutrition. The attendees will be representing organizations of all sizes from school districts and companies, so the mix will encourage a diverse conversation that should result in very rich conclusions.

SNIC 2016 will ensure that you leave sunny San Diego well equipped with new ideas, creative solutions and the enthusiasm to enhance your professional life well after this conference. To register and to learn more, visit Register soon—the early bird registration deadline is November 6, 2015.

Contact Us

2900 S. Quincy Street, Suite 700
Arlington, VA 22206  

Tel (703) 824-3000
Fax (703) 824-3015

> For The Media

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Read the latest news and developments facing the school nutrition industry, as well as stay on top of important trends and resources.


> Read the Latest Newsletters

SNA State Associations

The School Nutrition Association has a presence in every state across the country. View links to many of the state associations to find out more about what SNA is doing nationwide. 

> Learn More