Brand Manager, Food Service
Litehouse, Inc.: Sandpoint, ID
Years in Produce:
Married; One son
Hobbies: Reading; boating; CrossFit; Leadership Sandpoint
Motto in life: Work hard and be nice to people.
Work History: During the past six years with Litehouse, Kellogg has managed multiple product lines and been instrumental in company growth. She started her career at Litehouse in 2012 as an assistant brand manager, managing the company’s fruit and veggie dip lines and assisting with dressings. She assisted with the launch of the company’s OPA by Litehouse Greek Yogurt Salad Dressings. She then became a brand manager, and over the past 5 1/2 years, has managed nearly all of the company’s various product lines. As Canada key account manager, she helped Litehouse increase its Canadian retail sales by more than 45 percent. She successfully has launched a number of products over the past several years. She is currently transitioning into the company’s foodservice channel.
Questions & Answers:
Q: How did you begin working in produce?
I grew up with a small apple orchard, spending hours working or playing in the summer, and I think that may have piqued my interest in produce. I had heard great things about Litehouse, so when a friend informed me of an opening, I was excited to jump into an industry I was so intrigued by.
Q: What do you know now you wish you knew when you first started your career?
As a consumer, it’s hard to understand all of the logistics involved with getting a product from its point of origin to your shopping cart. Dealing with shorter shelf lives in produce, that adds further challenges. Having an understanding of that and a vision of the distribution model would have been helpful.
Q: What advice would you give someone new to the produce industry?
Do what you say you’ll do. This industry is very focused on relationships, so building trust with business partners is key. The best way to do that is by having good communication and following through on what you promise.
Q: What do you think the industry can do to promote more produce consumption?
More and more, consumers are looking for convenience. I think the growth of bagged salads over the past few years illustrates that well. By providing healthy, delicious options that consumers can enjoy on the go or that make preparation quick and easy, the produce industry can meet a growing consumer need that will help escalate produce consumption.
Q: What was the “aha” moment when you knew produce was the industry for you?
When I heard one of the Litehouse founders, Edward Hawkins, tell the origin story of Litehouse, I knew this was the place for me. It’s incredible to hear how two brothers in their family’s restaurant kitchen came up with an idea of selling refrigerated salad dressing, and through their faith, hard work and ability to build relationships, were able to grow the company to where it is today.
Q: What is the most critical “hot button” issue facing the industry in the next decade?
I think consumers will continue asking for more transparency into the ingredients and treatment of their food. Interest in organic, non-GMO, and foods “free from” certain ingredients will see growth, but I think the underlying driver is the desire for transparency from growers and producers.
Q: How has the industry changed in your tenure?
It’s been fun to see how consumers have gotten more excited about the produce department over the past few years. Until recently, it seemed people were only eating produce because they felt like they were supposed to. Now people are trying new things and finding delicious options for themselves and their families. I think some of this is due to consumers having access to more convenient ways to enjoy the variety of options available.