About Us

Building Plant-Based Food & Protein Communities

Bridge2Food is a global leader in the plant-based foods and alternative proteins sector. We’ve been working since 2002 to connect professionals, researchers and industry, to organize summits that grow ideas into actions, to educate in our hands-on academy courses, and to develop ecosystems that foster innovation.

Our driving force is to advance actions for a better food world and to help accelerate the protein transition to make plant-based foods the center of sustainable, accessible and healthy plans good for both people and the planet.

We take pride in doing work that makes a difference and in the relationships we build with our partners. We believe if we bring people together it will act as a catalyst for change.

Our Story

Since 2002, when founder Gerard Klein Essink exited the corporate world after 20 years and decided to become an entrepreneur, he has never wavered from his vision of creating a better food world with a mission to “build bridges between food professionals.”

With about 12,000 followers on LinkedIn, Gerard has a true passion for making connections around the globe and seeding new initiatives whenever and wherever possible.

When Bridge2Food started as a one-person operation based out of the Netherlands, it focused mainly on sports nutrition, healthy aging and, of course, proteins. Recognizing early on the sustainability, economic and food security benefits of plant-based proteins, Gerard pivoted to focus the company’s activities on the industry long before it was a widespread global trend.

Today, there is a core group of staff and many part-time workers on three continents who are committed to the vision of the company, and to trying to keep up to the unstoppable spirit and creativity of Gerard.

 

Our Team

Gerard Klein Essink
Founder & CEO

Gerard worked for 20 years at major food brands in the Netherlands, Europe and Asia before deciding to follow his entrepreneurial heart and start his own company. Gerard is vegan, a football fan and loves to connect with people. He has a food-tech background in his formal education at Wageningen University. He’s happy to be back in his hometown, living on the edge of a national park with his wife, two cats and three mischievous goats.
gkleinessink@bridge2food.com

Charlotte Neher
Programme & Network Leader

Charlotte is the person who keeps all the details together at Bridge2Food, from project managing to Christmas parties. She studied international development at Wageningen University and to her sustainability is not an issue but a way of life. Charlotte has been a vegan since her teen years and loves to share her cooking with friends (and colleagues!) She’s the proud owner of six bicycles and can be seen whizzing about the streets and countryside of Utrecht, Netherlands.
meetings@bridge2food.com

Analia Göttig
Partnerships Leader

Ana and her big smile are the heart of Bridge2Food. She is the person who knows everyone and everything. If you have a question, you can ask Ana. She worked for other international companies previously and we’re pretty sure she still knows everyone there too. She’s streamed just about every show on Netflix and loves to relax on the beautiful beaches of Argentina. Ana lives in Buenos Aires with her delightful young daughter and the cutest dog in the world.
agottig@bridge2food.com

Barb Wilkinson
Communications & Marketing Lead

Barb’s best work is usually done over a latte, or two. Her coffee habit was honestly earned working for more than 25 years for newspapers in Canada. After leaving the Edmonton Journal as deputy editor she did communications and marketing for a plant-protein organization in Alberta where she learned to love oat milk. Barb is a bit of a klutz, a voracious reader and enjoys volunteering with her overweight pug doing pet therapy. She lives with her husband in Edmonton’s river valley.
bwilkinson@bridge2food.com

 

Shannon Snaden
Communications & Marketing Specialist

Shannon enjoys building stories to translate science out of the lab and into the community. Her interest in food innovation comes from 10 years of industry experience in production bakeries, catering and value-added processing initiatives. She is often on the search for unique global ingredients and is the first to sign up for a farm tour to try new flavours. Based in Calgary, she enjoys hiking in the Rocky Mountains.

ssnaden@bridge2food.com

Our Foundation

Bridge2Food finds a lot of joy in giving back, and one way we do that is in supporting the non-profit organization Bountifield International.

Bountifield creates opportunities across African for rural entrepreneurs to process, save and sell more food. Small businesses and farmers increase their income and more jobs are created in order that Africa can feed itself and the world.

CEO Gerard Klein Essink is a board member of Bountifield.

You may also be interested in changing the lives of smallholder farmers and their families, and you can donate here.

 

Stay in Touch

Please reach out to us anytime if you have any questions or would like advice on how to get involved in the plant-based world.

Email: info@bridge2food.com

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