APS Programme

Thought Leaders Breakfast Panel


The main day of the APS opens with an energetic and thought-provoking Breakfast Panel discussion with some of the world’s leading produce and buying experts, chaired by world-renowned fresh produce writer and analyst, the Perishable Pundit, Jim Prevor. Enjoy the conversation and an informal breakfast.


NOVEMBER 3, 2016

Said Belhassan

Sr. Director Produce & Floral & Plants – Albert Heijn
Zaandam, Holland

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 maximise 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 – Dalimarcon
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 the 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 three 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.

Dr. John Stanton

Professor and Chairman Food Marketing Department – Saint Joseph’s University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US

John L. Stanton has a PhD 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. He 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

President – Markon Cooperative Inc.
Salinas, California, US

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. In 1985 he became Purchasing Director at Markon, a purchasing, marketing, and logistics cooperative serving North America’s leading independent foodservice distributors and distributing produce to more than 70 facilities in the US and Canada. In 1990 he was named their President. 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.

James P. Lemke

President of Robinson Fresh C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.
Eden Prairie, Minnesota, US

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

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

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.

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