2024 40 Under Forty Winner: Chelsea Perkins

Product Manager
Taylor Farms
Salinas, CA

Age: 33
Hometown: Salinas, CA
Hobbies: Hiking, Wine tasting, Traveling, Spending time with family
Family/Community: Married, 2 stepchildren
Motto in life: Hard work pays off in the end. Success follows those who are willing to put in the effort and dedication.

Perkins’ career in agriculture started with a category manager internship at Fresh Express in 2011 where she received exposure to the sales and merchandising side of the business. After graduating college in 2012, she took a category manager/marketing job at Growers Express, and worked on the category management/marketing team at Growers Express for three years, helping create brand marketing messaging, data-driven assets and sales resources. In 2016, she moved to D’Arrigo California as a marketing and product development assistant. Her job included working on a major broccoli rabe marketing campaign, managing graphics, developing social content and influencer programs, and coordinating company events and tours.

In 2019, she became a product manager at Taylor Farms, focusing on new product innovation across salad blends, salad kits, chopped salad kits, veg kits and salad bowls in North America. In her role, she works with both suppliers and customers to develop new products. She has been integral in overseeing all development for single serve bowls within the company, encompassing six regional manufacturing facilities. In the past five-plus years at Taylor Farms, she has been involved in countless new product launches. She is a graduate of IFPA’s Emerging Leaders Program.

Q: How did you begin working in the produce industry?

Growing up in the Salinas Valley, I’ve been around agriculture my entire life. My grandparents ran a small berry business, and I grew up on the farm picking berries (mostly eating them), and my mom works for a produce company as well. After college, I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but healthy living has always been a priority for me. Working in an industry that aligns with my values is important to me. It makes me happy to work in an industry that has a healthful impact to those who consume our products.

Q: What are some ways we can increase produce consumption at the point of sale?

Convenience, value, quality and taste will always be key themes, and we need to hit all four pillars. How can we get more produce vending machines? Airports have cupcake and makeup vending machines — why not salads or snack packs? How can we encourage consumers to add more healthful ingredients to their diets? Maybe promote a chopped salad to go with your Domino’s pizza. Or throw in a mini Pizza Ranch Chopped Kit for a one-stop shop.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?

I am proud to have been on the forefront of Chopped Mini Salad Kits. This line is the first of its kind; it’s been a challenge on many fronts, but this is the first of its kind to hit the market. This is our solution to increase produce consumption at the point of sale, bring more consumers to the category and increase share of stomach by introducing a new eating occasion. Why not snack on a delicious salad like you would a bag of chips?

Q: What advice would you give someone new to the produce industry?

The produce industry is full of opportunity and there truly is something for everyone — marketing, engineering, accounting, science, technology. If you are not interested in produce, I am confident there is an avenue in produce that will pique your interest.