2020 Produce Business 40 Under Forty Award Winner: Tony Hinderer

Age: 36
Retail Vertical Manager – Managed Procurement Services
Robinson Fresh
Eden Prairie, MN

Hinderer started with Robinson Fresh right out of college in 2007 as a business analyst. After significantly increasing service levels, helping to develop the replenishment software and generating additional case revenue, he was promoted into account management. His responsibilities grew to cover six strategic customer accounts, and he helped create several new service verticals including national direct store delivery, retailer asset backhaul, and end-to-end supply chain solutions through CH Robinson technology. Today, he is the retail vertical manager for Robinson Fresh Managed Procurement Services where he designs new supply chain solutions to bring produce to retail. His goals are to increase efficiencies, decrease costs, and grow new channels to drive growth and profitability for not just Robinson Fresh but the produce industry overall.

Hobbies: Traveling, Hiking, Bouldering, Trail Running, Boating, Skiing

Personal/Community: Married; Alzheimer’s Association; Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Motto in life: “Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.” James Baldwin

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?
I am proud of a recent solution I quickly developed to respond to the impacts of COVID-19. Within two days, I developed a 600 direct-to-store service to redistribute overflowing produce. This supports our retail and foodservice partners during this unprecedented time to bring fresh produce to consumers.

Q: What advice would you give someone new to the produce industry?
I would advise anyone new to the produce industry to learn not just about the product, but the broader industry. There are so many opportunities to work in this industry. Exploring these early on in your career helps you better understand the bigger picture.

Q: What are some of the more challenging aspects of a career in the produce industry today?
The moment you move your product, it’s dying. At the same time, demand for freshness and cost competitiveness are higher than ever before. Supply chain logistics and timing are critical and few other industries face this same challenge. This makes my role critical in the produce industry as I work to develop end-to-end integrated produce and capacity supply.

Q: How has the industry changed during your tenure?
A big change in the industry has been the rise of new channels. Historically, people would often get their produce at their local supermarket. Today, consumers buy produce through a variety of channels, such as convenience stores, small box retail, farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture shares, meal kits, and e-commerce. This change will continue to accelerate while consumers expect the same levels of service, quality, availability and choice. Working on this complexity and change is exciting and will require innovative solutions.

Q: What would you like to be doing in your career when you turn 50?
I would love to still be working in this exciting industry doing the innovative things that I’m doing today.