Providing fuel for a day of discussion
The main day of The LPS17 opens with an energetic and thought-provoking Breakfast Panel discussion, sponsored for the fourth year by world-leading industry ERP software solution provider Prophet.
The panel discussion is chaired in the Ballroom at the Grosvenor House by world-renowned fresh produce writer and analyst, the Perishable Pundit, Jim Prevor.
Martin Jorge Aguirre, Commercial Manager – Fresh Produce, Spinneys, UAE
Martin has been involved in the fresh produce sector for the last 27 years, developing his experience across countries as diverse as Argentina, Chile, USA, South Africa, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait and UAE. He joined Spinneys in Dubai, a leading retailer in the Middle East with over 60 stores across UAE and Oman, in 2015. Spinneys was the first supermarket in the region to join GLOBALG.A.P. and has implemented a stand- out sustainable sourcing strategy in the region.
Oli Blanc, Actor, Chef and Entrepreneur – LPS16 Show Ambassador, UK
Olivier grew up in a food-loving environment, with chef Raymond Blanc as his father and his mother being a Cordon Bleu chef. His most recent project has seen him create an App to connect young children with healthy food and nature. With the help of Raymond Blanc and actor Simon Pegg, the App was launched in August 2013 and Henri Le Worm was born! It reached the number-one position in Apple’s Education category and several awards followed. Oli is now focusing on raising grassroots awareness within primary schools and has also created a free interactive and fully animated website and free lesson plans.
Duccio Caccioni, Marketing and Quality Manager of the CAAB – Bologna, Italy
The CAAB is Bologna’s Agrofood Centre and the fourth largest general fruit and vegetable wholesale market in Italy. Duccio is also the chairman of the organic stock market in the Chamber of Commerce in Bologna. He is the Bologna Agrofood Centre’s representative on the board of Italmercati (the Italian association of Italian markets). Bologna is renowned as a food gateway to the north of Italy.
Niki Charalampopoulou – Managing Director, FEEDBACK, UK
Niki has the oversight of Feedback’s work and is working with inspiring people from civil society, governments and businesses internationally to catalyse action against food waste and improve the sustainability of the food system. Niki joined Tristram Stuart in 2011 and has since worked on managing the design, organisa- tion and delivery of Feedback’s campaigns, including Feeding the 5000, Gleaning Network and The Pig Idea.
Germano Fabiani, COOP ITALIA, Italy
Germano is the buying manager for fruit, dried fruit and vege- tables at Coop Italia and also responsible for the retail chain’s own Fior Fiore (Gastronomic Excellence) brand. He is the national co-ordinator of all of these categories. He joined the Cop buying team in 1989 after spending five years working at the Cesena Fruit and Vegetable Distribution Centre.
Neil Gibson, Category Manager, Produce, Iceland Stores, UK
Neil has 12 years produce experience, working for multiple retailers Sainsbury’s (top fruit, citrus and stone fruit) and Morrisons (Head of Fruit), as well as convenience and indepen- dent retailers Budgens and Londis (Category Manager, Produce). He has a track record in delivering growth to the categories he works across and has carried that on with his current employer. Neil has been heading up produce buying for Iceland since September 2014 and has overseen a 12-month period of double-digit growth.
Peter Gohl, National Fresh Foods Executive, Spar Group Ltd, South Africa
Peter held various brand-marketing positions with international food and personal care companies in the FMCG industry before joining The Spar Group in 1986. The SPAR Group of Southern Africa operates out of six distribution centres servicing 800 stores. Peter was Marketing Director for six years, after which he became GM Perishables and launched the SPAR Group’s first perishables distribution facility and then he was responsible for the creation and implementation of the group’s fresh private label ranges.
Andre de Klerk, Director: Trading and New Business Development at Capespan, UK
Andre is responsible for taking Capespan’s extensive portfolio of products into existing and new markets, including the Middle East and Asia. He has been in the fresh produce industry since 1999, and has built up an impressive network and knowledge base. Whilst finding fresh opportunities with new and existing customers is Andre’s strong suit, his broad- based experience in working directly with major producers and clients has given him wide-ranging skills in sourcing, quality assurance and strategic planning.
Donghwan (Nick) Lee, President, Daemyung, South Korea
Donghwan graduated from University of Illinois in 2006, and joined the fruit industry in 2008, working for his father’s com- panies; Korea Marketing Co. Ltd, and Dongbu Wholesale from 2009. He founded Daemyung Corp in 2012 and now imports fruits all over the world and provides distribution, storage, ripening, and sales to retailers and wholesalers in South Korea. Dongbu Wholesale has seven wholesale businesses that include an average of 40 individual wholesalers and £100 million sales a year. Daemyung Corp. has exclusive contracts to supply imported fruit to Mega Mart, Top Mart and Woori Mart. It has more than 25 branches across the country. Donghwan has also invested in the banana business and will be har- vesting fruit in three or four years.
Bruce Peterson, President of Peterson Insights, USA
Bruce is the former Senior Vice President of Perishables at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and a 45-year veteran in the produce industry. He started his food-industry career bagging groceries in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan in 1970, later working for several notable supermarket chains, and owning and operating a wholesale produce company. He joined Wal-Mart as Produce Director in 1991 and spent 17 years with the company, during which time Bruce saw the company grow from six Supercenters to more than 2,300, 117 Neighborhood Markets, and establish 42 food distribution centers. He is now President of Peterson Insights, Inc., a consulting company helping fresh food companies successfully navigate through a wide variety of complex challenges.
Sumit Saran, Head of International Foods and Fresh Business, Future Group, India
Sumit is instrumental in growing the fresh produce business at one of India’s largest retailers. His responsibilities include setting up distribution channels for imported foods, establishing international tie-ups and handling international food promotions across the various retail formats that Future Group owns and operates. In addition, he also is in charge of the fruit and vegetable business for the group. Sumit has 18 years of expe- rience in in managing and implementing food projects in India and various other countries, with a special area of expertise in food marketing and in cre- ating and establishing successful food brands in hitherto generic categories through market research, retail promotions and supply chain interventions.
Vic Savanello, President, Allegiance Retail Services, USA
Vic has more than 35 years’ experience in the supermarket industry. His responsibilities at Allegiance include managing sales, coordinating advertising, merchandising, operational activities and managing the procurement of product for more than 85 member stores under the Foodtown and D’Agostinos banners in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Previous to Allegiance, Vic was employed for more than 22 years at Wakefern Food Corporation, where he served most recently as a Category Manager during his last 15 years of service. Vic is a graduate of William Paterson University and resides in West Caldwell, New Jersey.
Hugo Vermuelen, Managing Director, Cool Fresh International, Holland
Hugo has been with Cool Fresh International since 1999 and been instrumental in developing the firm into an innovative and globally operating fresh produce marketing organisation. In addition to overseeing daily commercial operations, Hugo takes special interest in overseas sourcing activities and retail client acquisi- tion. He has been deeply involved in developing the company’s BonSweet and Freedom Fruit product lines into a complete category, and has also served on the board of the Stars in their Eyes Foundation, the non-profit social foundation which executes the Cool Fresh Group’s CSR strategy.