WASHINGTON, D.C. ─ At the Monday Morning Business Session on April 22 during the 2013 ABA Convention, a panel of key baking industry customers will offer their ideas on how the industry can partner together to grow the category. The panel discussion, moderated by David Orgel, Editor-in-Chief of Supermarket News, will reflect on the insights gleaned from a panel of influencers immediately preceding the customer panel. The baking customer panelists include:
- John Elstrott – Chairman of the Board – Whole Foods, Inc.
Dr. John Elstrott is a Professor of Entrepreneurship and the Executive Director of the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship at Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business in New Orleans, La. As Executive Director at the Levy-Rosenblum Institute for Entrepreneurship, Elstrott manages entrepreneurship research projects and programs designed to train and inspire entrepreneurs. Prior to joining the Tulane University faculty, Elstrott was Chief Financial Officer for Celestial Seasonings Inc. He serves as the Chairman of Board and is past chair of the audit committee for Whole Foods Market, Inc., a Fortune 300 and S&P 500 company.
- Richard Junge – Menu Innovation – McDonald’s Corporation
For the past ten years, Richard Junge has led the innovation of new bakery products at McDonalds Corporation, Oak Brook, Ill. His main focus throughout his career has been bakery product innovation in the key markets for grocery products and food service. Junge was raised in a family wholesale baking business which manufactured bakery products for 109 years. Junge has spent the last 33 years directing applied research applications and leading industry product development groups. Past experiences include directing product development groups at Continental Baking, Pillsbury, Schwan’s and DuPont/Solae. The second quarter of 2013 is the beginning of a nation-wide introduction of two new products which will be highlighted during the ABA panel discussion.
- Mark Batenic – President & CEO – Independent Grocers Association (IGA)
Mark Batenic joined IGA as President and Chief Executive Officer in November 2006, and in that capacity was responsible for the domestic operations of 1,200 IGA USA stores. Prior to joining IGA, Batenic was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Clemens Markets, Kulpsville, Pa. Currently, Batenic serves on the boards of the Food Marketing Institute, the National Grocers Association, Food for All, the St. Joseph’s University Food Marketing Academy, and also serves on The Consumer Goods Forum.
The 2013 ABA Convention is the premier industry event of the year. This year’s theme of “Staying Ahead of the Curve When You Don’t Know What’s Around the Bend” is a nod to the constantly changing trends, shifting consumer tastes, new technology, government regulations and the almost impossible task of staying current and competitive in today’s marketplace. The ABA Convention brings together the top leaders from America’s baking businesses and their suppliers for networking, idea exchange, and working sessions. Registration information can be found at www.americanbakers.org.