Some individuals seem to always attract the interest of many in the trade. So it goes with Bruce Peterson. We have covered his actions and recorded his insights many different times:
Now comes word that Bruce is involved with a new industry activity:
Bruce Peterson Joins YottaMark Advisory Board
Former Wal-Mart Executive to drive policy and retail strategy for the HarvestMark fresh food traceability business.
YottaMark, Inc., the leader in traceability and authentication solutions, announced that produce industry veteran Bruce Peterson has joined its board of advisors. Peterson will advise YottaMark on policy issues and strategy as the Company continues to deliver innovative food safety and traceability solutions for the produce and perishables market. Peterson was previously the senior vice president of perishables for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and most recently served as the CEO of Naturipe Farms.
YottaMark solutions deliver product traceability, authentication and valuable business intelligence, when and where it is needed. HarvestMark, the fresh food traceability solution from YottaMark, is the leading produce traceability solution. To date, over 300 million produce packages — including table grapes, berries, tomatoes, peppers, watermelons and more — are enabled with HarvestMark codes to enhance food safety programs and deliver on-demand product information throughout the supply chain, all the way to the consumer. Some of today’s most successful produce companies use HarvestMark as their solution of choice for both case- and item-level traceability to comply with industry requirements, speed response to potential food safety events, and connect directly with buyers and consumers.
“Traceability is an essential tool for food safety across the perishables supply chain, and a burning issue that the industry is addressing head-on with coordinated efforts,” said Peterson. “I am encouraged to see the level of progress and impact the HarvestMark solution has made in the fresh food industry. The HarvestMark solution is providing grower/shippers an efficient and cost-effective way to increase food safety and comply with the Produce Traceability Initiative. And, the solution allows retailers and shippers to create new connections with the consumer. I look forward to working with the talented team at YottaMark during this phase of growth.”
Serving nearly 40 years in the produce industry, Peterson spent 15 years at Wal-Mart where he successfully launched and built the perishable foods division. Peterson was at the forefront of the Wal-Mart Supercenter expansion which grew from 6 to 1500 stores in 15 years. He retired from Wal-Mart in 2007 to take the helm of president and CEO of Naturipe Farms, a leading grower and marketer of premium berries. He completed his tenure as CEO of Naturipe Farms in 2009 and is currently the president of Peterson Insights, a strategic consulting firm for the produce industry, which has played a key role in the development and rollout of the Produce Traceability Initiative.
“The YottaMark Advisory Board provides valuable insights to help us build solutions that meet the needs of our customers,” said J. Scott Carr, president and CEO, YottaMark. “Our advisors include former executives from Safeway, eBay, Taco Bell, and KFC; a leading Stanford University professor in supply chain management; and a world-renowned cryptographer. Having an industry professional of Bruce’s caliber join this team is an honor, and speaks to our current growth and future opportunities to bring great value to the perishables industry. His expertise and guidance will undeniably help shape the success of the company, and continue to advance HarvestMark as the premier traceability solution for the fresh foods industry. We look forward to working with Bruce in the months ahead.”
What the industry thinks of as YottaMark has a particular scope as a traceability tool. Although the company actually sells various options that encompass case-level and pallet-level capabilities, its marquee product is an item-level label. It is wonderful with a clamshell or bag and on products where the primary issue is a risk of contamination at the source. It doesn’t really provide a solution for repackers or situations in which contamination occurs later along the supply chain. In other words the product doesn’t track what wholesaler or purveyor or trucker handled the product.
We do suspect, though, that its “item” orientation, as opposed to the Produce Traceability Initiative’s “case” orientation, is more in consort with whatever regulations the federal government may come up with in this space. We suspect that this opportunity to sync industry technology with any future federal regulation is part of what would make this opportunity appealing to Bruce.
For ourselves, we have been impressed with the potential for YottaMark as a marketing tool. We have done much work in traceability but also much in sustainability, and we think the ability for consumers to not only trace back their food but to come to know the farmer or the farm through written narrative, online audio and video and photos is very likely to change the way consumers relate to brands and to food.
We wish both Bruce Peterson and the folks at YottaMark a rich and productive collaboration.