New York Produce Show Industry Insights Stage: Merchandising Success Stories

The New York Produce Show’s onsite educational sessions, held December 6th, at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City, will have a blockbuster cast of industry thought-leaders diving deeply into ways to increase produce consumption.

One of the key panels, held from 1:15 pm – 2:00 pm, will focus on Merchandising Effectiveness and will provide attendees insights in to the best practices in Merchandising.

Make plans now to see the following heavyweights:

MODERATOR: Vic Savanello

Vic Savanello, an industry veteran of more than 35 years, is Vice President of Merchandising, Sales and Business Development at West Caldwell, NJ-based FreshPro Food Distributors.

Most recently awarded the 2022 IFPA Retail Innovation Award, as well as being named one of the 2022 Packer 25 honorees, Vic has held national produce retail and distribution positions in top leadership at Wakefern Foods, Allegiance Retail Services, The Fresh Market and most recently SpartanNash, based out of Grand Rapids, MI.


Meg Buchsbaum

Meg Buchsbaum is a veteran of the food industry with more than 30 years of experience in both retail and wholesale buying, as well as product development. She will be starting her sixth year with the National Mango Board. Buchsbaum’s extensive knowledge in supply chain, temperature management, sourcing, merchandising, and marketing helps her create unique programs for her clients. She works with retailers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to set strategic programs and helps retailers grow their mango category and increase year-round mango sales. She draws on her prior positions at C&S Wholesale and Whole Foods Market to bring well-rounded program insights to her grocers. Additionally, she owns and operates Tapestry Hill Farm in Colchester, CT. “Produce has been such a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. From the days on the farm during my childhood, to the endless mornings I spend now contemplating food, flowers and bees while hearing the morning birds chirping.”

Cynthia Haskins

Cynthia Haskins is the president and chief executive of the New York Apple Association (NYAA), and her career spans over 35 years in the fruit and vegetable industry. Under her management, NYAA has produced two award-winning commercials, and an award-winning series of apple grower videos. She was the recipient of the Marketing Excellence award presented by Produce Business, named Business of the Year by the New York Ag Society and was a recipient of the RBJ Women of Excellence Award. Haskins serves on the USA Apple Export Council Board of Directors, Government Affairs Committee for USApple and the New York Specialty Crop Block Grant Advisory Board. She has a Bachelor of Arts in management from the University of Phoenix.

Ross Johnson

Ross Johnson started his career in grocery working as a DSD rep for Nabisco slinging Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers into shoppers’ carts. Eight years ago, he found his calling in the produce industry and has loved every minute. He is currently the vice president of retail at the Idaho Potato Commission. He loves his wife of 17 years and their five children. He is a fan of Ultimate Fighting (he has four boys) and baseball but will not admit which team for personal safety.

Allison Myers

Allison Myers is the regional merchandising director for the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, working with retailers and wholesale grocers east of the Rockies on promotions to increase awareness and grow sales of Chilean fruits year-round. She also covers the South-Central Region as a merchandiser for the Northwest Cherry Growers. Whether it’s Chilean fruits or Northwest cherries, Myers is committed to partnering with the organization to offer a quality marketing approach in merchandising, advertising, sales and marketing. Before her merchandising role, Myers worked at The Packer in a variety of sales positions for almost 30 years. A Kansas City native and journalism graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, Myers has two married children and lives with her husband in Overland Park, KS.