Adjust Font Size :

For The First Time On The Continent
The Perishable Pundit’s Thought Leaders Panel At The Amsterdam Produce Show And Conference

One of the highlights of The New York Produce Show and Conference and The London Produce Show and Conference that we are bringing to Amsterdam is kicking off the day of the show with our “Thought Leaders” panel. The program is intentionally designed this way because before we head off to a trade show, we need to open our minds to new ideas and new ways of doing things. This is especially important at an event such as The Amsterdam Produce Show and Conference where the floor is not divided by normal commercial considerations, but, instead, is divided into four Knowledge Centres, with zones focusing on Innovation, Sustainability, Education and Health.

The Inaugural Thought Leaders Panel at The Amsterdam Produce Show and Conference:

Said Belhassan
Sr. Director Produce & Floral & Plants
Albert Heijn
Zaandam, Netherlands

Said Belhassan has been part of Ahold/Albert
Heijn’s management team for 20 years. His experiences have taken him from being a store manager to category manager for various food and non-food items and onto his current position as Senior Director Produce & Floral.

His knowledge of the various aspects of retailing gives Said a unique perspective on ways the produce and floral industry can maximize sales to consumers, and he is currently working on repositioning Albert Heijn’s produce departments to do just that. Current plans are in the works to overhaul most of the Albert Heijn produce departments this year and finishing in 2017, and Said’s love for the global and local nature of the produce industry will be seen in each store. 

Said has a Masters Degree in Food Management from EFMI Business School.  

Andrei Durnescu
Commercial Director
Chisinau, Moldova

Andrei Durnescu is the commercial director of Dalimarcom, based in Chisinau, Moldova. He imports fresh produce for the country’s leading retail chains, specialising in product from Spain, Holland, Turkey, Italy, Greece, South Africa, Egypt and Israel, as well as exports to retail and wholesale customers in Romania, Russia, Egypt, Iraq and Turkey.

Dalimarcom supplies its customers direct from growers’ facilities and works constantly to improve the logistics chain to add value and provide a consistently high quality product.

Natalia Jenunchi
Import Manager
Karema Fruct SRL
Bucharest, Romania

Natalia has worked in food import industry in Romania since 2006, dealing with fish, fruits and vegetables, and has headed up the import division of Karema Fruct for the last 18 months.

Karema Fruct was founded in 2011 by a team of 3 brothers who have now been working in the fresh produce business for 19 years, principally importing fruit and vegetables for the major Romanian supermarket chains.

James P. Lemke
President of Robinson Fresh
C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.

As President of Robinson Fresh, Jim Lemke has global oversight of the company’s fresh produce and temperature controlled supply chain activities. Primary responsibilities are to carry out the Robinson Fresh strategy and long-term goals as well as be an active member of the CEO’s leadership and management team that oversees the Enterprise. 

Jim was named president of Robinson Fresh in January 2015. Prior to that, he served as senior vice president from December 2007 to December 2014, having served as vice president, sourcing since 2003. Prior to that time, he served as the vice president and manager of C.H. Robinson’s Corporate Procurement and Distribution Services branch. Jim joined the company in 1989.

A logistics and fresh produce industry veteran, Jim is the current chairman of the United Fresh Start Foundation, and a member of the Fresh Executive Committee for the Food Marketing Institute.   Jim is a passionate advocate for increasing kids’ access to fruits and vegetables and recently announced Robinson Fresh’s campaign, Kids Speak Fresh.

Jim holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of Minnesota. 

Bruce Peterson
Peterson Insights
Former Senior Vice President and
General Merchandise Manager
of Perishables for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

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.

Dr. John L. Stanton
Professor and Chairman
Food Marketing Department
Saint Joseph’s University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

John L. Stanton has a Ph.D. in Quantitative Methods and Marketing from Syracuse University, and has been in the food industry for over 30 years. Besides academia, Dr. Stanton has held executive positions and conducted extensive consulting work globally for leading national and multinational food companies on both the supplier and retailer side.

Dr. Stanton has run ground-breaking seminars at food associations across the globe and also worked with many commodity agriculture groups.  Dr.  Stanton is widely published, including two new books Winning Marketing Strategy and Precision Target Marketing. Dr. Stanton is currently the editor of the Journal of Food Products Marketing, and an editorial advisor of the British Food Journal.

Timothy E. York
Markon Cooperative Inc.
Salinas, California

Markon is a purchasing, marketing, and logistics cooperative serving North America’s leading independent foodservice distributors. It distributes produce to more than 70 facilities in the U.S. and Canada.

Tim has nearly 40 years’ experience in the produce and foodservice industries. He began his career in 1977 at H. Hall & Company, a grower/shipper of strawberries and mixed vegetables. He joined Markon in 1985 as purchasing director, and was named president in 1990. His numerous industry positions include chairman of Produce Marketing Association’s Foodservice Division (1994-1996), and chairman of the Produce Marketing Association (2002-2003), and member, USDA Fruit and Vegetable Advisory Council. He is currently on the Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s board of directors.

Tim was instrumental in bringing buyers and sellers together in 1996 to address the food safety crisis and in the formation of the Center for Produce Safety, which he chaired from 2007-2012. He remains involved in several multi-stakeholder collaboratives working on food safety, food waste, sustainability, and environmental protections.


This is an intellectual tour de force  including the leading retailer in the region, a man who has transformed what supply chain management actually means, a man who built the largest retail produce program on earth, a man who revolutionized produce procurement for foodservice while helping the industry to think about food safety and sustainability in whole new ways, an academic who, literally, wrote the book on marketing food and two key players from Eastern Europe who are able to bring a breath of innovation to the conversation.

The panel starts 7:30 AM at Westergasfabriek, there is free parking and continuous looping buses from both the Amsterdam Hilton and Central Station.

Come and be a part of the conversation.

You can register here to avoid lines, but you can also register at the event.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Latest from Jim Prevor's Perishable Pundit