2023 Produce Business 40 Under Forty Award Winner: Lauren Anderes

Age: 33

Senior Sourcing Manager of Citrus
Bentonville, AR

Hometown: Visalia, California
Hobbies: Traveling, Skiing, Cooking, Bar Method workouts
Family/Community: Married, Expecting first child in August, Visalia Rescue Mission, Ambassador Program at the Ronald McDonald House, Tulare County Library Foundation Board (2017-2019), Visalia at Gateway church choir
Motto in life: Create your reality!

Anderes has worked in the California citrus industry for over 10 years, with many different retailers and growers/packers. She started her career in agriculture in 2011 when she interned as a co-op produce inspector for Kroger for the summer and completed the United Fresh Produce Association and USDA’s Fundamentals and Commodity Labs Course of Produce Inspection. Next, she started a congressional internship working under U.S. Rep Devin Nunes in his Visalia office. In 2013, she was hired by Wonderful Citrus as a customer service representative and worked with accounts such as Costco and Markon. In the three years she spent with the company, she was promoted to an account manager and managed the accounts of some smaller wholesalers.

After three years with Wonderful Citrus, she moved back to Kroger in 2015 as a buyer. She spent three years on the procurement desk at Kroger, procuring over 50 million cartons before she moved to Topco in 2018 under the role of citrus category manager. While at Topco she managed the citrus programs of several retailers, including Hy-vee, Giant Eagle and Stater Brothers.

In 2021, she assumed her current position of senior sourcing manger of citrus at Walmart, where she manages the sourcing of all citrus items coming out of the United States, Chile, Peru, South Africa, Mexico and Uruguay to all stores within the United States. In her time at Walmart, she has managed all of the company’s transitions domestically and with imports, while growing market share to 30% on mandarins and 25% on navels. Anderes recently won the Walmart Q1 Making a Difference Award for her work on surety of supply with mandarins.

Q: How did you begin working in the produce industry?
My family has been farming for over 100 years in the Central Valley of California and, despite earning a degree in broadcast journalism, I was encouraged by my father to embrace our family history and try an internship in agriculture. I then spent a summer as an intern for Kroger, as a produce inspector, and haven’t looked back.

Q: What do you know now you wish you knew when you first started your career?
Mistakes are guaranteed in this business, so be bold and make decisions, because almost all are fixable and most certainly an invaluable learning opportunity.

Q: What aspect of the business challenged you the most early on?
Earning the respect of my peers in the industry, being a young person as well as being a woman in an industry that has, historically, been predominately male.

Q: What would you like consumers to know about the industry?
I would love consumers to know how much effort goes into ensuring the consumer has the highest quality produce at the best possible price. Every decision made on my desk is made with the consumer in mind.

Q: What do you see as a critical issue facing the industry in the next decade and why?
I see the future of farming in California as the most critical issue we face in the industry, with labor constraints, industry consolidation, current water legislation, and growing fertilizer costs, we are driving farmers to leave the industry, and, at the very least, creating excess costs at the retail level, which will inevitably drive customers to leave produce all together.