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Food & Data Symposium

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Date 18 Apr 2024
Time 14:00 to 18:00
Location JADS Mariënburg

Food & Data Symposium

Delve into the Intersection of Data and Food: A Symposium for Innovation

Are you passionate about data and do you work in the food sector? Then this symposium is for you! With this symposium we are bringing industry leaders in the food sector together to learn from each other, network and inspire. The speakers will share the latest data trends, technological developments and practical experiences.

We would like to invite you to the inspiring environment at JADS on April 18.

What to expect

  • Thought-provoking keynote speakers: Hear from industry leaders and data scientists on how data is revolutionizing the way we produce, distribute, and consume food.
  • Interactive workshops and sessions: Deepen your understanding of specific data-driven applications in topics like food safety, personalized nutrition, sustainable agriculture, and more.
  • Networking opportunities: Connect with other data enthusiasts, food professionals, and potential collaborators.
Register now

Special thanks to:

Keynote: Transforming Innovation in Foods through Data (by Unilever & JADS)

Within Unilever, we use data and technology to drive sustainability and to turn people’s needs into innovations. By using real-time data, unique insights, AI and more, we anticipate trends and predict what consumers want. Based on this information, we design new products by mapping, modelling, and experimenting virtually, testing thousands of recipes in seconds, with the aim to bring our innovations to market in a faster and more agile way. Finally, we are moving towards combining R&D and Supply Chain data with manufacturing simulation to scale up production, to be able to respond to changing consumer demands in real-time.

About Leo Abrahamse

Leo is the Digital Transformation Leader for Nutrition at Unilever R&D. He also coordinates the Unilever Nutrition R&D development program for in silico design capabilities. Prior to his Digital Transformation role, Leo was responsible for capturing and maintaining technical data of farmed ingredients in the Project Life Cycle Management System. Before that, he led the innovation programs for taste and flavor and bioactive ingredients from foods. Leo started his professional career as post-doctoral research fellow in pharmaceutical and food research. He graduated in Biology at the University of Nijmegen (The Netherlands) and holds a PhD from that same university.

About Rogier Brusee

Rogier Brussee studied mathematics and Physics at Leiden University. After his PhD In 1992 he worked in Oxford, Bayreuth and Bielefeld as a mathematician. In 2000 he became a member of the Telematica Institute and from 2010 worked at the University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht.  In 2019 he joined JADS in the Agrifood-Nature and Data group. His research interests involve data analysis of sensor streams in agri-food and nature related domains, remote sensing and more generally the use of data to analyze and improve the food production chain and reduce its footprint.

Breakout: Forecasting at Scale - Ahold

Taking CU forecasting at Albert Heijn as an example, we provide you with guidelines on how to scale up your forecasting process. From prerequisites to team setup and from technical challenges to collaborating with stakeholders, we illustrate how CU forecasting at Albert Heijn manages to generate over 1 billion predictions each day.

About Rogier van der Geer

Rogier is a seasoned Data Scientist and Machine Learning Engineer with experience in a broad range of projects. Before switching to consultancy at Xebia Data, he finished a PhD in Particle Physics. With a passion for applying data science to solve real-world problems, he is driven by the desire to make a positive impact on society through his work. He strongly believes in the power of knowledge sharing and understands the importance of building a skilled team around a project.

About Renze Marree

Renze recently started at a Data Scientist at Albert Heijn, as part of the CU forecasting team. Having obtained a master’s degree in data science & Entrepreneurship (JADS) and possessing a background in Psychology & Technology (TU/e), he applied himself in various roles, including those of a data scientist, digital consultant, and researcher.

Breakout: Turning AI into Value: Smart Pears Project - AI Zeeland

AI creates opportunities for improving food processing systems. The Smart Pears project demonstrates the use of vision technology, robotics and artificial intelligence to create an autonomous sorting  and packaging system in fruit grading. In the business case of fruit sorting many aspects need to be considered in the system architecture. The presentation “Turning AI into Value” will provide an overview of design decisions for production ready machine-learning in an AI driven project. In other words how do we get value out of the SOTA technology. Join this presentation if you want get the maximum out of your next AI system.

About René Slabbekoorn

René Slabbekoorn is the owner of Artificial Intelligence Zeeland. Artificial Intelligence Zeeland is a worldwide operating software- and robotics company. Part of the activities of Artificial Intelligence Zeeland are the commissioning, designing and optimisation of production lines in fruit sorting using vision systems and robotic solutions. All of these activities are based on advanced data analyses techniques and AI-algorithms to make data driven decisions.


Breakout: Cutting Through the Hype: Practical Strategies for Implementing Generative AI in Your Business - Xebia

“Is the buzz around generative AI leaving you overwhelmed and unsure about its real-world applications for your business? You’re not alone. Many organizations struggle to separate the potential from the hype and to integrate these technologies into their existing workflows effectively.
In this talk, we’ll address the common challenges around building applications generative AI. Drawing from our experience in assisting multiple organizations transition from prototype to production, we’ll share actionable insights and proven strategies.
You’ll learn about:
– The pitfalls to avoid when starting with generative AI.
– Real-world case studies of successful generative AI integration.
– Techniques to scale your AI initiatives from a proof of concept to full-fledged production systems.
This session is aimed at giving you a clear understanding of how to assess the potential of generative AI for your organization and the tools to implement it efficiently and effectively.”

About Sander van Donkelaar

Sander is a passionate machine learning engineer who loves to build scalable data and machine learning systems, especially with a focus on generative AI. He has extensive experience in creating ML solutions (both, on-premise and in the cloud). Besides, he developed and gave trainings for MLOps. Finally, he has conducted various academic research which he presented at multiple conferences (BNAIC, ICHMS) and contributed to popular open-source libraries such as MLflow.


Breakout: Grip on Enza Zaden's decentralized data platform - Enza Zaden

Enza Zaden is one of the world’s largest vegetable seed breeders. In order to gain more value from the large amount of data within Enza Zaden, Enza set up a robust and technologically advanced data platform. This presentation provides insights how we’ve set up our decentralized data platform that is both well-governed and gives freedom to data teams.

About Bart Rentenaar

Bart is Smart Data Platform manager at Enza Zaden. He has about 27 years of experience in the data domain. Before Enza, he worked at Athora (Zwitserleven and Reaal) as CDO.

Breakout: ‘Samen Slimmer met Data’ – A company-wide Data Transformation - Sligro

Sligro’s journey has been marked by fragmented data analysis and disparate analytics initiatives. With different departments generating insights on their own platforms, utilizing both formal and informal data, the company lacked a cohesive foundation for robust data management and informed decision-making. In 2022, a pivotal shift occurred as many of these initiatives were centralized under the purview of the CIO, opening doors for transformative change.

Now, as we stand at this juncture of opportunity, questions arise: What objectives should Sligro set its sights on? What does the ideal organizational and technological landscape look like, how can both business and technology teams align and what support does Sligro need to navigate towards this future horizon.

Join us as we explore the answers to these critical questions and chart a course towards a unified vision of data-driven success for Sligro.

About Jan Boerlage

Jan’s career trajectory showcases his evolution from a hands-on technologist, building software solutions from the ground up, to a seasoned leader with over a decade of senior management experience. His distinctive blend of management acumen and technical proficiency enables him to navigate complex technological landscapes with precision and insight.

At Sligro Food Group, he spearheaded numerous innovative projects, including the third iteration of Sligro’s Webshop, integration with Heineken, and laying the technical groundwork for Sligro’s future IT landscape. Presently, Jan, in his role as Head of IT Data Platforms, is dedicated to establishing new technical capabilities to propel Sligro further towards its goal of becoming truly data-driven.

Breakout: Building an ML Platform for JustEat Takeaway - Just Eat Takeaway

With ML getting tons of hype, few companies would dare turn a blind eye; on the contrary, many (including my employer, JustEat Takeaway) set up multi-person teams to build ML-based products and applications and stay ahead of the competition. A key enabler to this end is an ML platform that is up to the task. We are currently in the process of building such a platform, with the aspiration to help practitioners within JET on their journey towards ML excellence. While there’s still plenty of work to be done, we already achieved results and learned valuable lessons. In this session we invite the audience for a peek into the platform and give an overview of our design principles and approach with the hope that there are valuable takeaways for them too.

About Dimitris Stafylarakis

Dimitris Stafylarakis has been riding the roller coaster of a career in Software Engineering for 17 years already. In this period, he has fulfilled different roles (development, infrastructure, CI/CD, data & ML platform engineering) in companies of all sizes in a sector where change is the only constant. Together with his team, he is currently busy designing and building an ML platform for JustEatTakeaway.

Host: Sandra van den Poll (JADS)

With 10 years of experience in international relations and partnership management in several sectors, Sandra van den Poll is partnership manager in the Impact team of JADS.

Sandra has specialized in connecting companies within the local, regional and international ecosystem with knowledge institutes, government organisations and advisors in order to create new business opportunities and take the ecosystem to a higher level.
As partnership manager, Sandra is very passionate about helping businesses with their data challenges and connecting them with the right projects and programmes within the institute of JADS. She also wrote several blogs about her daily work on the UK data service blog and the Food&Agribusiness magazine.

About the organization

Eindhoven Data Community

The Eindhoven Data Community was founded in 2022. The goal of the Eindhoven Data Community is to create a meeting space for a community of data engineers, machine learning engineers, analytics engineers, cloud engineers, analytics translators, data scientist, business analysts, data strategists that are enthusiastic about data and want to share experience or want to learn.


JADS is a unique cooperation between the Province of North Brabant, the Municipality of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Tilburg University and Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). We offer various data science programs. From bachelor and master programs, to EngD (formerly PDEng) education and professional education. At JADS, researchers and students work closely with the business community. In addition to education and research, JADS also offers space for innovative, data-driven entrepreneurship and public-private partnerships.

About the sponsor


Xebia is a pioneering and proven authority in the digital transformation arena, partnering with many of the world’s leading companies to help them become digital leaders and build resilient organizations at any scale. Whether it’s harnessing the potential of data and AI, leveraging the flexibility of cloud computing, modern software development, or embracing the efficiency of low code, we provide comprehensive services that address every aspect of the digital landscape.

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