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Global Industry To Converge And Engage
At Amsterdam Produce Show And Conference As Stellar Thought-Leader Breakfast Panel Unveiled

One of the purposes behind the creation of The New York Produce Show and Conference, The London Produce Show and Conference and, most recently, The Amsterdam Produce Show and Conference is to use these iconic cities as gathering points for the best and brightest in the global produce industry. We have always exercised great discernment on who should attend by curating high-level thought and practice leaders from around the globe to give participants a chance to get exposed to the most important ideas and to keep things on an intimate scale. Our goal is to give everyone a chance to engage in topics that are affecting the industry and to discuss issues and topics of concern.

It is one reason we don’t sell “exhibit only” passes, because the value is only fully realized if people participate and, well, participate fully. By attending our Opening Cocktail Receptions — where conditions are perfect for deepening existing relationships and establishing new ones – and by attending the Perishable Pundit’s Thought-Leader Breakfast Panel — where there is great discussion of contemporary challenges and high-level trends — one’s mind is opened to new ideas and ways of doing better.

It is also why we offer free food and beverages on the day of the show, so people can stay engaged on the show floor while sampling and discussing on-trend cuisine, observing chef demos that point the way to increased produce consumption, or interact with our student programs so that the next generation of produce executives can be drawn from a broader pool of future leader who have gotten excited about the industry. It is why we run a “Consumer Influencer” media program – so the industry can create better understanding among our customers for what we are and what we do.

It is why we gather everyone to stay in one hotel — in Amsterdam, it’s the famous Amsterdam Hilton where John Lennon and Yoko Ono had their famous “Bed-in for Peace”. The benefit derived from engaging with the curated group is enhanced when communities of interest are discovered through informal contact in and around the hotel… you meet in the gym and realize you both are early morning exercisers or you meet in the bar and realize you both like a nightcap. As a result, business relationships take on new levels. It is even why we, as organizers, always leave a night or two free — because discovering a restaurant or sharing an old favorite dining spot, all this increases engagement and leads to a depth of contact that can change your career or your business for the rest of your life.

Even with our industry tours, there is incredible learning that occurs because one goes beyond the hotel, but a lifetime in this business has also taught the Pundit that who you sit next to on a bus can change the course of your life and business.

And there is one other little secret: In order to gain a competitive advantage, you need to do things your competitors don’t! It is pretty obvious that we should all attend the events where one regularly does business. But the competitive advantage comes from going places and doing things beyond the norm.

We’ve been able to create a secret weapon, exclusively for the most progressive leaders, for those who own tomorrow. Nothing better symbolizes what we gather than our Perishable Pundit’s Thought-Leader Breakfast Panel. The individuals who participate and the companies that enable their participation are leaders of the most profound sort. Not only have they been carefully selected for their ability to make a unique contribution to the industry, but by their willingness to participate, they exhibit an enlightened generosity of spirit and a recognition that in giving back to the industry, they also have an opportunity to engage and gain new knowledge and insight themselves.

It is with great pride that we announce the 2017 roster for the Perishable Pundit’s Thought-Leader Breakfast Panel kicking off the main show day of The Amsterdam Produce Show and Conference:

Michiel van Zanten
Senior Sourcing Manager, Fresh Foods
Strategic Sourcing
Albert Heijn
Ahold Delhaize
The Netherlands

A retail veteran of 15 years, Michiel established his roots on the sourcing side for Aldi, furthered his skills in corporate purchasing at Ahold, and now his current role is in sourcing fruits, vegetables, flowers and other perishable items for Albert Heijn, a role he has played over the past 3½ years.

As the Senior Sourcing Manager, Michiel works closely with Albert Heijn’s buying, merchandising and operational teams as well as produce and floral suppliers both local and global. The company’s produce growth is mainly driven by an innovation process that it coordinates with suppliers: Locally, regionally, nationally, around Europe and across the globe. It may be introducing a completely new item or creating an adaptation that makes it easier to consume a common item. The company introduces or alters over 500 SKUs in the produce department every year.

Rune Flaen
Bama Group

Rune is CEO of BAMA, the Norwegian leading trading company for fresh produce. Taking over in 1994, Rune has led the company through the most prosperous growth years of its 130-year history.

A global player with a significant operational reach, BAMA counts on a large network of producers on all continents, which is complemented by operations in other European markets. In 2016 thecompany consolidated sales reached €1.8bn.

BAMA’s vision is to make Norway fresher and healthier by linking the value chain from field to fork in the most sustainable and efficient way, combined with strong marketing programmes based on consumer insight, knowledge and inspiration. Fresh and healthy growth for BAMA’s partners is the company’s driving force.

Ed McLaughlin
Robrert G. Tobin Professor of Marketing
Director, Food Industry Management Program
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
Cornell University

Ed McLaughlin is the Robert G. Tobin Professor of Marketing at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management in the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University in the US state of New York, where he also serves as Director of the Food Industry Management Program.

Ed’s research interests include: retailing strategies, linking customer satisfaction to firm performance, and the economics of retailing and fresh food marketing. His research appears in numerous academic journals.

In addition, Ed teaches retailing at the Graduate School of Management in Lille, France; is the Adjunct Professor of Retailing at Nyenrode, The Netherlands School of Business; is Founding Director of the Ahold Retail Academy in The Netherlands; and the Dean of the Cornell Retail Management Program in Japan.

Ed has won several national awards for both his research and teaching, and is the author or co-author of three books. He also serves on the boards of several public and private organisations.

Loren Zhao

Loren Zhao is the co-founder of Fruitday, China’s largest fresh fruit online retailer in sales revenue terms; supplying high quality, imported fresh fruits including: cherries, oranges, apples and kiwifruit.

The company has expanded rapidly since it was founded in Shanghai in 2009, registering over 5 million members to date. In 2014, the e-tailer amassed US$75.5m (RMB 500m) in sales revenue; growing more than 150% against 2013.

Currently, Fruitday operates six distribution centres in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Hangzhou. Its home delivery service covers more than 300 cities across China and promises to deliver within two days of customers ordering.

Before founding Fruitday, Loren worked in China’s telecommunications market after graduating in Telecom Engineering from Shanghai University in 2001.

For five years Loren worked at Alcatel Shanghai Bell and SVA Intrusion, followed by five years as an industry analyst at iSuppli Research.

Sumit Saran
Head of International Foods
Future Group

Sumit is the Head of International Foods at Bloom Foods and Beverages – a subsidiary of Future Consumer Limited, which is the Food and FMCG company of one of India’s largest retailers, The Future Group.

His responsibilities include setting up distribution channels for imported foods, establishing international connections and handling global food promotions across the various retail formats that Future Group owns and operates.

Sumit’s expertise lies in food marketing and establishing successful food brands through market research, retail promotions and supply chain interventions.

Before joining The Future Group, for 15 years Sumit was the Director of agribusiness consulting firm The SCS Group.

He has also been closely involved in the successful launch of several imported produce items in India, including: California table grapes, USA pears, Washington State apples, US apples, California prunes and California walnuts.

Sumit regularly advises wholesalers and retailers in India on issues such as: retail merchandising, cold chain management and the ways in which to overcome the country’s fragmented supply chain.

Tim York
Markon Cooperative, Inc.

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 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-takeholder collaboratives working on food safety, food waste, sustainability, and environmental protections.

Diana Dobre
Category Group Manager, F&V
Mega Image Ahold Delhaize

Diana is Category Group Manager, fruit and vegetables for Mega Image Ahold Delhaize. Her responsibilities include the coordination of the F&V buying team; the development of strategic directions in the produce department; focus on share consolidation in sales and profitability; initiating and implementing strategic projects in F&V.

Diana also is responsible for sustaining the local products but requesting a responsible production under specific parameters; identifying opportunities on the local and external markets; focusing on developing sustainable business with all of the Ahold Delhaize partners; forecasts for quantities and establishing the terms for specific contracts; targeting the differentiation in assortment and concepts; interest in developing new consumption trends.

Marc Hoogenberg
Director Strategy
The Netherlands

Marc Hoogenberg is a partner with the PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) Strategy& team based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Marc consults food and beverage manufacturers, foodservice and food retail organisations across Europe on commercial strategies and ways to develop their commercial capabilities such as marketing, sales, e-commerce, and revenue management.

Cindy van Rijswick
Industry Analyst Fresh F&V
The Netherlands

Cindy is a senior research analyst within the 80-strong global Rabobank Research Food & Agribusiness team in the Netherlands, where she focuses on the international fresh fruit, vegetable and floriculture sectors.

She has published numerous reports on various topics covering the complete supply chain from grower to consumer. Topics include: the berry business, the European greenhouse sector, the fresh-cut fruit and vegetable industry, fresh produce sourcing, the global floriculture trade and the impact of online grocery retail within the produce sector.

Cindy has been a keynote speaker at several international fresh produce events. Her research and analyses are key deliverables for Rabobank customers and prospects, both in the corporate and rural domains.

Before joining Rabobank in 2001, Cindy worked for Wageningen Economic Research and the European Parliament as a research analyst in the food and agribusiness sector. She earned a Master’s degree in Economics from Tilburg University in 1997.

James Lonsdale
National Fresh Produce Manager
South Africa

James heads up the fresh produce procurement division at SPAR Group in South Africa, which he joined in 2004.

At SPAR he is responsible for sustainably sourcing over 500 fresh produce house brand lines from 200+ local growers, as well as importing from Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Spain.

Over the last four years James has been instrumental in the creation of mutually-beneficial ‘Rural Hubs’ that link rural small-scale growers to local consumer demand and retail requirements.

Prior to SPAR, James worked in the agri-food processing industry at Fisher Foods and Afgri-Fresh Cut, following over a decade in primary agriculture; first at Constantia Estate and later for mango supplier Bavaria Estates. Before that, he spent four years in R&D on completing a Master’s degree in agriculture.

James is active on several industry forums, including the National Technical Working Group for GlobalGAP and the PMA Country Council of Southern Africa. He has published over 30 scientific articles in local and international journals.

Drees Peter van den Bosch
The Netherlands

Drees Peter van den Bosch founded Dutch social food enterprise Willem&Drees in 2009 in a bid to reconnect consumers with producers.

Owned by farmers and citizens, today the co-operative delivers fresh, seasonal, local and organic food to thousands of people in The Netherlands every week.

The 43-year-old has long had an interest in food and the food chain, having spent his entire childhood growing up on his parents’ farm.

Drees Peter has also worked at Unilever, where he spent 10 years in marketing and sales.

Drees Peter graduated with distinction from Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands, with a degree in Operations Research.


Please give yourself a competitive edge by joining us at The Amsterdam Produce Show and Conference!

You can check out the website here.

Please register right here.

Book a hotel room at the Official Headquarters Hotel here.

If you would like to exhibit or sponsor please let us know here.

And if you have any questions just ask away right here.

The attention of the world of produce will be pivoting to Amsterdam. Be a part of it. Be there!

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