New York City

19 - 26 September 2018

Only 15 seats available
Register now

Ready to take a big bite out of the Big Apple’s massive market space?

  • You’re thinking about leaping the Atlantic to try and establish your food product in the US
  • You're searching for fresh inspiration and tasty food ideas to innovate and grow your food business? 
  • Curious about the latest food trends that are popping up in New York City? And what about the future of food?
  • Anxious to meet and learn from local entrepreneurs who've made it in the US?

Entrepreneurship goes hand-in-hand with innovation. The ability to produce fresh new ideas and pioneer new products. This fall we are taking you on a trip to New York City, which just happens to be one of the most innovation-driven cities in the world.

Wim Ballieu

Wim Ballieu - Balls & Glory
Proud winner of the Golden Palm for Europe’s most innovative restaurant concept.

Join our tour ambassador: Wim Ballieu

Wim Ballieu is a Belgian tv-chef and founder of Balls & Glory, an award-winning restaurant & shop concept based on the pearl of Belgian slow food: filled meatballs.

The first Balls & Glory meatball recipe was developed and crafted by Wim in his quest for a simple, original and tasty recipe to satisfy hungry stomachs. The first B&G opened its doors in 2012 in Ghent as a pop-up lunch restaurant. In the meantime, a branch has opened in Antwerp, Brussels, and Leuven.

We are delighted to announce that Wim will join Food For Thought as our ambassador.

Meet the Speakers & Experts

'Food For Thought' will cover a wide range of topics from The Future of Food, Doing Business in the USA, The Impact of Tech & Science, Marketing, Branding, Packaging, Retail, Distribution... Here are a some of our confirmed speakers. More exciting speakers will be confirmed soon.


Esther Luongo Psarakis
Managing Partner Foodpreneur

 Esther has business experience of over 30 years. Creator of Foodpreneur, a strategic sales/marketing and educational consultancy, she saw a need to better address the educational needs of entrepreneurial food companies, creating a comprehensive curriculum for launching a specialty foods company. She also works with established international companies seeking to launch products in the US.

As an entrepreneur, Esther launched Taste of Crete, a gourmet food company which imported a variety of artisan Greek food products and created a line of Greek cookies and fresh prepared meals which sold at King’s, Whole Foods, and Shoprite. Its products had been featured in The New York Times, New Jersey Monthly, Star Ledger, Food & Wine, Saveur, Better Homes & Gardens, USA Today, Huffington Report, and Philadelphia Inquirer.

Esther has been a speaker and educator for a variety of organizations, including the Specialty Food Association, Raritan Valley Community College, Bergen Community College, Fairleigh Dickenson University, St. Joseph’s University, Rutgers University Food Innovation Center and Jalima & Associates. She has been featured in The New York Times, New Jersey Monthly, USA Today and Huffington Report, appeared on FOX News, ABC, Channel 12, Ebru TV, WSOU 89.5 and Martha Stewart Radio. Some awards include, NJSBDC Success Award, Somerset County Business Partnership Small Business Economic Vitality Award, BPeace VERA Award, and Sam’s Club Emerging Women Entrepreneur.

thomas degeest

Thomas DeGeest
Founder Wafels & Dinges

Thomas DeGeest is Founder of Wafels & Dinges. Since 2007, the yellow trucks and kiosks of Wafels & Dinges have become iconic of the New York City streetscape. They have served millions of delicious dinges, and countless happy smiles. Thomas will talk about how he brought authentic Belgian waffles to the streets of New York City.

Jean Van Damme

Jean Van Damme
Food Scientist & Founder Startle

Jean’s talk will focus on the food and retail technology ecosystem. Using examples from the US, he will show how technology and science can drive innovation, but will also explain how a deep insight in and focus on consumers is still the most important key to success.

Jean is the Belgian founder of Startle, a New York based company that launches and executes tech- and science-heavy innovation projects for food businesses. Graduated as a food scientist, Jean went into business consulting and innovation. This experience led him to Colruyt Group where he took up a role as R&D and innovation manager. In December 2016 he decided to follow his heart and moved to the United States, considering this change as an opportunity to fuse his business, science and technology skills and forge a new company.

food topics

Steven Johnson
Grocerant Guru® Foodservice Solutions®

Steven Johnson has extensive experience as a multi-unit restaurant operator, consultant, brand & product positioning expert, is a public speaker and Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma (Seattle based Foodservice Solutions®).

Since 1991 Johnson specialized in outsourced business development, identifying, quantifying and qualifying niche opportunity for global foodservice related activity. Johnson writes a blog garnering 26,500 unique views per day from over 32 countries and has 323,255 foodservice followers on LinkedIn.

Johnson’s worked with industry leading international companies including: The Procter & Gamble Company, Papa John’s International, Ritz Camera, Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing, Red Robin,, Office Max, TGI Fridays, Whole Foods, Walgreens, Wienerschnitzel, Fuddruckers, Cyber-slice , Bayer, Technomic, Boston Market, and The Hartman Group.

His ability to identify, quantify, and qualify, key consumer trends utilizing macro and microdata points early has contributed to his success developing and placing products with national chains. Experienced in sales, marketing, positioning and integrated branding in a variety of food-related industries including Restaurants, C-stores, Grocery stores, Grocerants, Food, and Equipment manufacturing.


Denise Caracappa
Sales & Marketing Expert

Speakers FoodForThought

Ernest Symanski
Food Scientist

Ernest Symanski is a Food Scientist and pastry chef with over 25 years of food product formulation experience..

Specializes in development of confectionery, snack foods and bakery products..

Previously Vice President of Product Development for Popcorn, Indiana brand / Dale and Thomas Popcorn..

Held product development positions at Nabisco, Nestle Foods and Symrise Flavors.

Mathieu Lanssens

Mathieu Lanssens
Founder Fifteen24

Check out the Schedule

Food For Thought Schedule

A combination of experiential tours in New York City to inspire you as well as hands-on workshops and presentations to teach you.

Please note that this is a preliminary program and final visits & timing may change.


5 Reasons why you should attend Food For Thought

Get to know the local consumer, the food landscape and how you get your product onto the American dinnerplate.

Learn from expert speakers how to launch your food business successfully in the US market

  • What does the American food landscape look like?
  • How do you get your product in the US and comply with standardsAnd how do you get them on the shelves?
  • Who's the American consumer and how do you get his attention?
  • How to create a winning approach for brandingpackaging and marketing?
  • Which trade shows should you attend?
Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 4.09.15 PM

Entrepreneurship goes hand-in-hand with innovation. The ability to produce fresh new ideas and pioneer new products. This fall we are taking you on a trip to New York City, which just happens to be one of the most innovation-driven cities in the world.


Become inspired by the hottest and latest food trends in New York City

New York City offers a dazzling array of cultures and is truly the food haven of the world. We’ll take you on a tour of New York's most noteworthy spots, restaurants, eateries, specialty supermarkets and famous establishments.

  • Unique eateries, urban farms, indoor and rooftop gardens/cafes
  • Famous upscale gourmet retail stores and farm to table restaurants, such as Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and many niche gourmet food stores/restaurants all over Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens...
  • Firms utilizing unique technology and consumer paradigm shifts to service the food industry.
  • behind-the-scenes look at wholesale food manufacturers, distributors, and importers.
  • Visit of household brand name stores for USA shoppers, such as Whole Foods & Trader Joes, as well as Walmart, Costco, Fresh Market, and Kings Supermarket in New Jersey. 
  • We'll also venture out of Manhattan to visit various heritage food establishments in Brooklyn, The Bronx...

Learn from local entrepreneurs who've been in the trenches.

Meet and connect with local food entrepreneurs. Take inspiration from their stories about failures and successes in developing a food business.

Learn about how they stay successful, innovative and competitive in a fast-paced and changing environment such as NYC.

You will also have the opportunity to present your product and collect valuable feedback.

meet prospects and partners

Meet potential partners, suppliers and prospects.

Based on your individual goals and needs, we will set up face-to-face meetings with local experts, potential partners, suppliers, prospects...  specifically for your business.

Feel like a star at the Belcham Annual Gala 2018

Suit up, 'cause on Friday evening we will attend the BelCham Annual Gala 2018.

A glamorous evening attended by world-renowned companies, top industry professionals, top speakers, fine dining, and dancing.

belcham gala 2018


New York City

The City That Never Stops...Eating

From bagel shops, pizzerias, award-winning restaurants, to food halls and food trucks... "There’s nothing you can’t find in New York!”

New York is a culinary destination and the scene changes seemingly by the day. Manhattan alone holds a plethora of ever-changing, mouth-watering restaurants sure to make your head and taste buds spin. 


Price & Registration

Participant fee includes:

All workhops

  • 4* hotel accommodation in Manhattan
  • Lunches and diners 
  • Tourplanning
  • Transport from/to the airport
  • Transport during the tour
  • Company visits
  • Tickets where applies
  • Speaker fees where applies

Participation fee does not include:

  • Travel to/from New York City
  • Additional food & beverages


Upon receipt of $500 deposit, we will schedule an individual call with you (Skype or other tool) prior to your arrival in New York. This call will be arranged with our seminar tour hosts to  discuss your overall goals for Food For Thought, preference of business topics and business locations to visit during your week in New York,

(*) mandatory

By using this form you agree with the storage and handling of your data by this website.

After receiving your registration request we will contact you for further details and next step

Subsidy for prospection abroad

Flemish SME companies attending the Food For Thought seminar are eligible for a Subsidy for Prospection via Flanders Investment & Trade.


A big thank you to these amazing companies for their support



Your Hosts

Mathieu Lanssens

Mathieu Lanssens
Fifteen24 Inc - New York City


Florence Brusselmans
Fifteen24 Inc - New York City


Denise Caracappa
New York City


Esther Luongo Psarakis
Foodpreneur - New York City

Contact & Questions

Fifteen 24 Inc
1177 Ave Of The Americas 7t
New York, NY 10036m USA

Food For Thought is hosted
by Fifteen24 and Foodpreneur.

Stay Tuned

Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest food industry news, trends, & insights delivered straight to your inbox.