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Simon Balderson is managing director and co-founder of Sirane. After many years in research and development, Simon founded Sirane as a development company primarily engaged in the development of packaging technology to extend the shelf-life and optimise the quality of fresh fruit and vegetables. These technologies extend the potential supply network into previously inaccessible regions of the world and open new markets. Sirane works closely in these markets, selling all over the world from manufacturing plants in the UK and Turkey, and expanding rapidly in the Middle East, North Africa and the Americas.
ParknShop (Hong Kong)
Mandy Lo is commercial manager of China's ParknShop supermarket chain. She has been in the fruit industry for more than 15 years, spending six years on the wholesale side and over nine years in the retail sector. Mandy joined ParknShop in 2003 as buying manager, taking up her current position - and relocating to China - in 2009. She is responsible for sourcing fruit from all over the world for ParknShop in Hong Kong and China, which covers more than 300 outlets with a turnover in excess of US$250m.
Chilean Blueberry Committee (Chile)
Felipe Juillerat is sales manager for VitalBerry. He has worked for the company since 1993 and been president of the Chilean Blueberry Committee since its formation in 2010. Early on, he was involved in production and then sales for VitalBerry's frozen division, before moving into fresh sales, with responsibility for Europe, Asia and the US. Working with seven colleagues, today he is responsible for fresh berry sales and exports in the VitalBerry production hubs of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.
Plant & Food Research (NZ)
Andrew MacKenzie is business development manager for plant varieties at the Plant and Food Research Institute of New Zealand (PFR). His responsibilities include maximising business opportunities for its plant varieties and intellectual property capture. Andrew has been instrumental in licensing and generating royalty revenues from PFR fruit varieties including Zespri Gold kiwifruit, Jazz apples and Wakefield raspberries. Andrew is also PFR's nominated berry fruit champion, with the role of supporting PFR's innovation and investment in the berry fruit sector.
José Jon Garcia Allen
Ekland Marketing Company of California (US)
José Jon Garcia is Northern Europe and Mediterranean region manager for Ekland Marketing Co of California (Emco Cal), which serves as the master licensee for the University of Florida's strawberry breeding programme. The university's commercial varieties include Florida Festival and Fortuna. José Jon joined Emco Cal in 2008 and has assisted in launching a number of commercial strawberry varieties from various different programmes onto the European and Mediterranean markets. He travels extensively throughout the year to evaluate the latest advanced-selection trial materials and to continually assess the market needs of growers, exporters and fruit companies.
Marta Bentancur manages international relations and market access affairs for the Union of Fruit Growers and Exporters of Uruguay (Upefruy). She joined Upefruy in 2008 after gaining experience at the country's ministry of agriculture. Today she is a consultant in quality and marketing in Uruguay, and an FAO consultant. She represents Uruguay in Shaffe and regularly appears at trade conferences.
Berry Gardens (UK)
Nick Marsden is sales director and board member of Berry Gardens. He read horticulture at London University and joined Hunter Saphir in 1983, working at their London offices and on their packing site in Faversham, Kent. Then he moved to the Jamaican Producers group before becoming joint sales manager for AFI in 1988, with responsibility for UK procurement. In 1996 Nick was appointed sales and procurement director of Kentish Garden Marketing.
François Lafitte is the chairman of Sofruileg, an SME created in 1998. He has been growing kiwifruit in France since 1979 and is the founder and chairman of SCAAP Kiwifruits de France, the biggest French post-harvest management company for kiwifruit. François is also the chairman of fruit and vegetable exporter Prim'land. Between 2000 and 2004 he served as chairman of Interfel, for whom he remains a board member, and he is an active member of Areflh and Freshfel.
Veiling Hoogstraten (Belgium)
Jan Engelen is head of marketing and sales at Veiling Hoogstraten, a major player in the fresh produce world, that works as a cooperative for the sale of its fruit and vegetables.
Hoogstraten® strawberries in particular are the pride of the company.
Jan Engelen started his career in 1998 on the editorial board of Proeftuinnieuws - a publication aimed at both fruit and vegetable producers and associated agricultural businesses.
In 2000 Jan worked for Syngenta Seeds as a sales representative in Belgium and the Netherlands and went on to become its business development manager.
Andy Jackson is business unit manager for fruit at International Produce Limited (IPL), the sole fruit importers and suppliers to Asda. Andy and his team fully manage all aspects of retailing for Asda within his fruit categories. Andy has been in his current role for three years and before that spent 12 years in various trading, procurement and operational roles at Asda. He managed Asda's transition to direct procurement within the berry industry via IPL and has been a regular contributor to industry events and conferences.
Driscoll's of Europe, Middle East & Africa (Netherlands)
Theo Houwen is the managing director of Driscoll's for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Driscoll's is an expert in the breeding, production, sales and marketing of berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. Theo is responsible for the strategic approach of Driscoll's and its expansion within EMEA. Before joining Driscoll's in 2008, he was the director for northern Europe at Bonduelle.
James Waddy is category buying manager for Tesco. He has been working for the UK retail giant for almost seven years across a broad range of product categories - from frozen food to pet food. James moved into fresh produce two-and-a-half years ago, initially buying vegetables and salads. For the last couple of years he has been responsible for soft fruit, also looking after stonefruit, prepared fruit, exotic fruit and dried fruit and nuts.
Kantar Worldpanel (UK)
Ed Garner, communications director of Kantar Worldpanel, has a background in sales, national accounts and marketing, rather than being a pure 'market researcher'. Ed is keenly aware of the need to present findings in a clear and actionable manner, and his ability to do this is supported by feedback from conference appearances across Europe, the US, Australasia, Asia Pacific and South America for organisations including IGD, Citigroup, McKinsey, PwC, Marketing Week, ADMAP, AGRA, NFU, The Grocer and many leading UK FMCG clients.
Please note: this programme is subject to change. Names of speakers and panelists will be confirmed as soon as they become available. Please check later for updates. All sessions will be carried out in English only.
Welcome refreshments at GLOBAL BERRY CONGRESS EXPO
Kantar Worldpanel (UK)
If there is one major lesson the business world has learnt recently, it's the importance of planting commercial ventures in fertile financial ground. At this year's Global Berry Congress, Cindy van Rijswick of Rabobank International will present an in-depth status report on the health of the berry sector and assess growers' ability to cope with the challenges ahead. In a world first for the fresh produce business, Cindy will tell berry producers and suppliers how their business is likely to change by 2030, offering food for thought about areas for improvement. Ed Garner of Kantar Worldpanel will also be on hand to discuss the latest consumer market trends and gauge the impact of factors including the financial crisis, food scares, health awareness and environmental considerations.
With British consumers now spending more on berries than on any other fruit, it's clear that there's a great deal of good work being done in terms of how the fruit is sold in the country. Furthermore, there are signs that this success could be repeated elsewhere in Europe as players right along the supply chain become more aware of the need to address key issues such as availability, varietal mix, promotional strategies, cross-sector collaboration and consumer awareness. But is enough being done to maximise the potential for growth across other European markets? How can companies add value and increase market penetration of different berry varieties while at the same time keeping a lid on their input costs? And what does the future hold for the UK? Can its recent success be sustained indefinitely?
While many of the world's major berry producers and marketers have traditionally focused their attention on supplying developed markets in North America and Europe, new opportunities have emerged over the past decade to begin selling berries to customers in places such as Russia and the Middle East. Even further east, meanwhile, lies the tantalising prospect of a sizeable Asian market that might eventually begin to rival its western counterparts in terms of consumer demand. How will those new opportunities present themselves and how can suppliers and marketers ensure they are well prepared?
When it comes to ensuring that all members of the berry supply chain are able to maximise their returns, identifying the best varieties that are able to meet a wide range of requirements from consumers, retailers, suppliers and growers
is essential. But what features do consumers, marketers and retailers want from new berry varieties? And are breeders in a position to meet those demands? This session will look at the various demands placed on berry breeding companies and identify areas for potential improvement.
Some of the leading players in the fresh berry marketing arena will be invited to share their views on a range of promotional tactics adopted in order to boost sales. What potential do they see to encourage greater levels of demand in key markets and how can they make certain that such marketing investments have a permanent impact on the value and volume of berries sold? Will the trade favour generic campaigns which centre around the notion of boosting sales year-round, or will they adopt a more seasonal, countryfocused approach? Alternatively, will increased investment in proprietary berry varieties mean that promotional efforts are far more targeted in future?