Company News

BlueNalu Recruits Mary K. Wagner Former Exec of Starbucks, Mars & General Mills

BlueNalu recruits Mary K. Wagner, a senior food executive previously serving at Starbucks, Mars, Gallo Winery, Yum! Brands and General Mills, and past president of the Institute of Food Technologists, as its first independent board member.

“I’m eager to apply my expertise at BlueNalu, where there is an extraordinary potential impact to help our environment and feed our planet in the decades ahead”

BlueNalu secured the largest ever financing to date in the cell-based seafood industry worldwide when it raised $60 million in January last year. Since then, the San Diego cellular aquaculture specialist has made great strides, including an agreement with Europe’s leading frozen foods supplier – Nomad Foods, – marking the first agreement in Europe between a CPG company and a cultivated seafood company.


In its next stride forward, BlueNalu today announces the appointment of Dr. Wagner, who currently serves on the boards of Griffith Foods, BlueNalu, Premium Brands Holdings, and Jones Dairy. Dr Wagner is past president of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), the largest and most respected organization in the food technology arena worldwide.   

Her career experience includes positions such as:

  • Senior VP of global product innovation, food safety and quality at Starbucks
  • Chief Science Officer/General Manager for Mars Botanical
  • Chief Technology and Quality Officer at E&J Gallo Winery,
  • Chief Technology and Quality Officer at Taco Bell for Yum! Brands
  •  VP of R&D, quality Regulatory Operations at former General Mills subsidiary Gorton’s Seafood.

“The diversity and depth of Mary’s experiences in the food industry, and the breadth of her corporate governance experiences on the boards of both public and private food companies, make her an outstanding candidate for our board of directors, and we are excited that she will join us as our first independent board member,” said Lou Cooperhouse, co-founder, president & CEO of BlueNalu. “Her business acumen in various areas of the food sector will enable her to support our aggressive growth plans at BlueNalu and become an invaluable mentor and resource for our team. We are thrilled to have her guidance on the board as we pursue our mission to create delicious, healthy, and sustainable seafood.” 

Dr. Wagner comments today: “I’ve spent my entire career on the forefront of product innovation, and I’m eager to apply my expertise at BlueNalu, where there is an extraordinary potential impact to help our environment and feed our planet in the decades ahead.”

Close up of BlueNalu's whole-muscle, cell-cultured yellowtail, beer-battered and deep-fried for fish tacos

BlueNalu’s Board of Directors also includes Lou Cooperhouse; Chris Kerr, chief investment officer at New Crop Capital and founding partner and CIO at Unovis Asset Management; and Chuck Laue, chairperson at Stray Dog Capital.  

Dr. Wagner was also previously appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and served as co-chair of the USDA National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) board. Dr. Wagner is a graduate of Harvard’s Program for Management Development (PMD), and a participant in the Kellogg Family Governance program.

She adds: “BlueNalu has the right team, the right technology, at the right time that can transform seafood, and result in a global, trusted brand for sustainable, delicious, and healthy cell-cultured seafood. I’m thrilled to be a part of an organization that’s pioneering this exciting new food technology.

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