Culinary and Innovation
Eric Nakata

“Despite being the largest in the States, S&D is still nimble enough to work like a small roaster and put energy into culinary development, which is unique for a company our size. We understand our customers’ needs go beyond just beverages and bringing a culinary perspective helps us to deliver innovative, complete solutions.”

Eric Nakata, Vice President of Culinary & Innovation

Key Initiatives/Projects

  • Collaborating with key partners to develop successful integrated beverage solutions
  • Developing products to meet emerging beverage trends
  • Creating innovations that spark ideas for customers and help them to redefine their menus, amplify their offerings and drive their businesses forward

Eric Nakata manages S&D Coffee & Tea’s culinary innovation efforts—leading a team of food scientists in product development and providing a valuable culinary perspective to the company’s endeavors. As Vice President of Culinary & Innovation, he focuses on the ideation and creation of proactive, customer-driven beverage solutions.

A graduate of the California School of Culinary Arts, Nakata has worked in culinary research and development and product development innovation for 15 years. His breadth of culinary experience and history of successful product creations, including liquid and powdered beverages, shelf-stable snacks, frozen entrées and refrigerated sauces, spreads and marinades, gives S&D an advantage when it comes to understanding how its products interact with other areas of the food industry.

Having an internal resource like Nakata, a classically French-trained chef, further demonstrates S&D’s ongoing commitment to strategic partnerships essential to the development and introduction of innovative beverage, ingredient and extract applications into the culinary world.

Nakata bridges the gap between S&D and customers’ culinary teams, allowing for open “chef-to-chef” dialogue that can lead to symbiotic relationships and product innovation.

Through involvement with the National Restaurant Association and the Research Chefs Association, and time spent exploring the culinary scene, Nakata is in tune with food industry trends and consumer preferences.