Getting to Know Jennifer Mancuso July 2018

Jennifer MancusoAs president and owner of Natural Food Concepts LLC, Jennifer Mancuso spends her days helping both small and large consumer packaged goods companies solve their innovation challenges. Her experience as an R&D manager at ConAgra Foods, along with a variety of scientist roles she has held at General Mills and Kellogg’s, has prepared her to assist her clients in every step of the product development process—from ideation and rapid prototyping to full commercial development. “I enjoy the variety of technical challenges and breadth of innovation required in meeting my clients’ creative needs,” she says. “I also enjoy working with cross-functional teams to bring new products to the market.” 

An IFT member since 1991, Mancuso participated in food science clubs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Cornell. “While I was a graduate student at Cornell, I met Al Clausi, IFT president, after he spoke at a Western New York Section meeting,” she recalls. “Al asked me to participate as a member of IFT’s Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity. It was an honor to serve at the national level as a graduate student. It gave me a great overview of the organization and motivated me to take on more leadership roles.”

Since then, Mancuso has served as secretary of the Minnesota Section and is currently completing her second term as president of the Aksarben (Nebraska spelled backwards) Section. “I’ve been enjoying my role in the Aksarben Section the past five years,” she says. “The section had gone dormant prior to 2013. With the help of other board members, I brought the section back to an active status and am pleased we have an engaged membership. I’m now able to give back to other students through our section activities and scholarships.”

As a hardworking business owner who enjoys traveling, bicycling, and skiing in her off hours, Mancuso finds the time she devotes to IFT to be a worthwhile investment. “Volunteering with IFT has helped me create a strong network in the industry and helped build my confidence in public speaking. I’ve made close friends and found new business opportunities through my various roles.”

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