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Lauren McNamara

Lauren McNamara is the Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the Plant Based Food and Beverage Business at SunOpta. She leads a business that includes manufacturing finished goods for brands & retailers, bringing to market innovative plant-based ingredients, and managing 3 consumer brands. In 2022, Lauren was named one of Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s 40 under 40 which recognizes young business and community leaders on the rise.

After completing her MBA at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of business, Lauren joined General Mills as a brand marketer. At General Mills she worked across various businesses- from yogurt to tacos to cereal- launching innovation, collaborating with retailers, and managing a P&L. Lauren gained experience in the private label segment of the industry at Flagstone Foods managing a large snack nuts & trail mix business.

For the last 5+ years, Lauren built sustainable food and beverage pioneer SunOpta’s plant-based business into a stalwart stream of growth and revenue. With her efforts, SunOpta was 2020’s fastest growing North American food and beverage stock. Lauren leads go-to-market efforts for the plant-based category, including SunOpta’s star: oats, and a $50 million entry into the shelf-stable broth category. She’s added seven $10 million-plus customers, grown the aseptic business by nearly 60% and doubled the ingredients business over since 2017, setting up SunOpta to double plant-based revenue over the next five years.

In addition to her day job, Lauren shares her passion for growing businesses as a mentor for food & beverage entrepreneurs through the MN Cup competition and Techstars Farm to Fork program.

Lauren earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University and an MBA from the Darden School of Business. In her spare time, Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband & 2 kids, solving the daily New York Times crossword puzzle, and competing fiercely on her pub trivia team. A native New Yorker, she is incredibly discerning about authentic New York bagels & pizza, and will tirelessly defend the Yankees against all the haters.