Apeel, a food system innovation company has hired Jim Smits as vice president of retail advisory, a new role designed to align Apeel’s solutions with the needs of retail grocery executives in operations, merchandising, marketing and fresh produce. In addition, Apeel CEO James Rogers has been appointed technology council chair for the newly formed International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA). These new roles enable Apeel to collaborate with executive and thought-leaders in the fresh food system who are focused on the urgent need to reduce waste while serving the needs of fresh produce consumers.
Smits will lead Apeel’s effort to help retailers capture consumer demand for fresher, longer-lasting and more sustainable fruits and vegetables. Jim brings 40 years of retail experience — including more than 20 years in executive level leadership roles at nationally-recognized grocers including H-E-B, Albertsons, Ahold and Dollar General. His retail experience in produce and fresh merchandising will be put to use building partnerships across the entire fresh food supply chain. Jim will also lead Apeel’s Retail Advisory Council.
Left to right: Jim Smits, James Rogers. (James Rogers photo: Rozette Rago)
“The shopping habits of consumers are rapidly changing. They desire more convenience, better value and innovative products, especially in fresh. These changes are making the retail landscape more competitive than ever before,” said Smits. “I’m proud to join Apeel as our innovations align with the needs of today’s consumer, while reducing waste. Together with our retail partners, we’ll deliver an exceptional fresh produce experience online and in-store and develop consumer programs that highlight a differentiation in quality, shelf life, freshness and environmental sustainability.”
Apeel’s experience working with the world’s leading fresh produce suppliers will be leveraged to identify opportunities for technology to further strengthen relationships with retailers through Apeel CEO James Rogers’ appointment as Chair of the newly-formed IFPA.
“The retail sector is looking for partners to help meet today’s complex needs, while securing their operations against disruptions,” said Rogers. “Based on years of working with retailers and suppliers, we have a deep understanding of the needs of the food system and have seen how technology can make the food ecosystem better. One of the needs Apeel has addressed through technology is to put time back on the industry’s side and provide insights that help our partners optimize distribution. The evolving food landscape requires ongoing adoption and integration of new technologies in the coming years and I’m honored to support the International Fresh Produce Association in its mission to put technology to work for the food industry.”