Director of Category Development
Category Partners: Idaho Falls, ID
Years in Produce:
Hobbies: Skiing; camping; hiking; yoga; running; college football and basketball; teaching families in need about healthy eating and urban farming
Motto in life: Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. — John Wooden
Work History: Hanson started as a journalist for The Packer in 2005, leading her to explore various internal and external roles with multiple companies, across nearly 20 commodities and throughout the United States. Her skill set cuts across the B2B and B2C channels. A few highlights, resulting from her go-to-market strategies, have produced up to 50 percent increases in average monthly sales, among key B2B/retail clients ($20 million customer base). She has achieved/sustained 100 percent client retention in her business development and account management roles. In 2008, she began working as marketing/PR manager for Christopher Ranch, where the company underwent a rebrand and marketing revamp and launched a foodservice/culinary sales and education program. In 2010, she took a position as communications/industry affairs manager for the California Avocado Commission, where she and her team developed a GAP program specific to the growers and overhauled the communications department. In year 2013, she moved to business development/marketing manager for Oppy and in 2014 for Organicgirl, where she worked to help increase existing sales/market share, among such retailers as Meijer, Hy-Vee, Fresh Thyme and Buehler’s. In 2017, she took the role as director of category development for Category Partners working from Denver, where she works daily to increase Walmart’s potato, sweet potato, onion and garlic sales, support the company’s principals — Wada Farms and Farm Fresh Direct — and collaborate with various industry clients to strengthen their sales/marketing programs.
Questions & Answers:
Q: What industry improvements would you like to see?
Stronger collaboration toward innovation and greater consumer and need-based focus, when it comes to research and development. Those on the forefront of consumer trends — culinary leaders/chefs, retailers, research experts, sales/marketing leaders — working with growers and suppliers during breeding and production to ensure we’re providing consumers and shoppers what they want and need. As consumers’ behaviors and preferences shift – as they become more experiential, seek more premium and flavorful products and simultaneously look for convenience — we need to collectively put our heads together to ensure we’re responsive and targeted; today and one year from now.
Q: What do you think the industry can do to promote more produce consumption?
I think we can increase our omnipresence, personalization and relevancy. Fresh produce drives retail business and is a leading variable bringing shoppers in store, so we can work harder across all retail departments to feature produce. Also, produce sales will eventually accelerate online, so ensure we’re tailoring produce offerings and strengthening the cold chain for optimal home delivery. Most shoppers know produce is good for them, but we need to better understand and respond to the needs/behaviors of various demographics (however defined) through assortment. Lastly, we need to find cost effective ways to market to our shoppers where they are — on mobile devices, via social media, commuting, working, child raising, exercising, at events, etc. We shouldn’t always expect our consumers to come to us, we need to go to them.