2020 Produce Business 40 Under Forty Award Winner: Daniel Adam Malechuk

Age: 39
Chief Executive Officer
Orlando, FL

A food industry veteran, Malechuk has spent his career managing and growing several of the world’s leading food, grocery, and produce companies. As a leader in the industry, he has worked in all aspects of the businesses he has led including sales, operations, supply chain, and marketing for companies such as ALDI, Keysource Foods, Shamrock Foods, and Kalera. Malechuk began working at Kalera in 2019 as chief executive. In this position, he has helped the company expand from its Orlando roots to a burgeoning national and international business through building the executive team, bringing it into the national media spotlight and landing national high profile customers. He also serves as a key figurehead in vertical/urban farming at conferences across the world.

Prior to his position at Kalera, Malechuk was senior vice president of supply chain for Mastronardi Produce and also led the retail division at Shamrock Foods where he drove explosive revenue and profitability growth and expansion across the Southwest. He served as vice president at Keysource Foods, where he led company strategy and sales operations and negotiated contracts with some of the world’s largest food companies, including ConAgra, Carnival Corporation, PF Chang’s, ALDI, and Sysco. He began his career as a district manager at ALDI, where he helped the company expand into new markets and was subsequently promoted to director of corporate purchasing at ALDI’s U.S. headquarters. There he headed several of the company’s perishable programs and focused on global sourcing, purchasing, marketing, and product development. In addition, he developed and spearheaded the company’s corporate seafood sustainability policy and developed a product that won the national Private Label Manufacturers Association’s Salute to Excellence award. He holds a BA in business management and marketing from North Carolina State University where he was a Park Scholar, and an Executive MBA from the University of Arizona.

Hobbies: Flying (he’s a pilot), Scuba Diving, Travel, Fishing, Running, Hunting

Personal/Community: Married, four children, Member of the Parish Council, lector and youth ministry leader, Active in the Knights of Columbus, Board for the Christian Family Living Center

Motto in life: “Make the most of what you’ve got, don’t waste time trying to be something you’re not.” Dave Matthews

Q: How did you begin working in the produce industry?
Produce has been an essential part of my nearly two-decade career in the food industry. Starting as a district manager for ALDI, produce was a “trip driver” for our retail customers. My time at Shamrock Foods introduced a blend of retail customers along with restaurant owners and operators and I enjoyed working with all customers to witness the value of produce to their operations. I took the leadership role as chief executive with Kalera with the desire of being able to bring the freshest, most nutritious produce to people hyper-locally.

Q: What do you know now you wish you knew when you first started your career?
I would have never imagined how complex and ever-changing the produce industry is. Technology is changing the way we grow, distribute, and market produce, as well as the way unexpected challenges, such as natural disasters, or even COVID-19, impacts the industry.

Q: What was the “aha” moment when you knew the produce industry was the best choice for you?
Realizing the opportunity at Kalera has the ability to change the way people have access to produce, and that it can truly change people’s lives by getting them produce, right where they are, right when they want it. I recently passed out hundreds of cases of produce to people in Orlando who were laid off their jobs due to COVID-19, and seeing people crying with tears of joy and gratitude was truly the “aha” moment of understanding what we are doing really matters.