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Eye on the Market

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For eaters who long to take control of their health, few products offer the perception of power quite like “superfoods.” These discussions usually start with kale but stretch far beyond, into an almost religious reverence for produce with a nutrient-rich reputation. Roughly three-fourths of consumers believe they can manage their health through nutrition, and, according to a Nielsen survey, nearly one-third believe food can replace medicine. (Bloomberg Businessweek)
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NIELSEN PERISHABLES GROUP LEADERSHIP

Bruce Axtman - President bruce.axtman@nielsen.com

Bruce Axtman is the president of Nielsen Perishables Group, a national consulting firm specializing in marketing strategies for perishable food items.  Bruce created the Perishables Group in 2000 by spinning off the perishables consulting practice he created while he was a partner at Willard Bishop Consulting, Ltd.  The company has since expanded its offerings to include consumer and trade research, syndicated data, category development software and programs as well as marketing communications services.  In 2012, the Perishables Group was acquired by Nielsen.

Bruce provides a fresh perspective for the industry, guiding Nielsen Perishables Group clients in the move away from the traditional "commodity" business model toward a new consumer-driven marketing model.  Bruce's strategic vision has reinforced the Nielsen Perishables Group's reputation as a leader in marketing innovation.  Bruce works with many of the top supermarket retailers in the country as well as the leading perishables industry suppliers.  He is often asked to share his integrated go-to-market approach at industry events such as Food Marketing Institute, Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh Produce Association, Florida Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association and the International Fresh Cut Produce Association.

Bruce holds a bachelor's degree in business from the University of Washington.


Sherry Frey - Vice President, Account Services sherry.frey@nielsen

Sherry Frey is vice president of the Nielsen Perishables Group, the industry expert in fresh food research and consulting. With primary responsibility for managing the perishables retail and supplier client service teams, Sherry guides clients in developing business strategies to best understand and meet the needs of key customers. During the past decade, Sherry has been leading perishables end-to-end business consulting efforts, from new product innovation efforts to development of industry best practices. In addition, Sherry frequently shares industry thought leadership at national and international industry events, including the Food Marketing Institute, the Annual Meat Conference and the AMI Food Expo.

Prior to joining the Perishables Group in 2002, Sherry served as vice president of Fleishman-Hillard, a marketing communications organization, working primarily with food and agriculture clients. Sherry has a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness from the University of Nebraska.

 

Jonna Parker - Director, Account Services  jonna.parker@nielsen.com

For nearly a decade, Jonna Parker has helped retailers and suppliers make smarter decisions by unlocking the power within research. As a director, her career highlights include improving the quality and use of performance tracking data within the in-store bakery and deli industries, consulting with international food manufacturer clients on how to capitalize on the growth within fresh, and developing new ways to analyze data to drive category and retail growth. Most recently, she’s expanding consumer and shopper insights within fresh – uncovering detailed knowledge on how people shop and what people buy with a full fresh perspective and in a way that’s relevant and useful for the retailers and suppliers. This new consumer-driven model and the consultative analytics provided by Jonna and the Nielsen Perishables Group team is translating into smarter decisions and stronger growth for our clients.

Jonna is also an accomplished spokesperson, sharing her fresh expertise as a featured speaker at industry events and publications including Supermarket News, The Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio.
Prior to Nielsen Perishables Group, Jonna worked in public relations and marketing to generate buzz and gain attention for consumer brands, technology companies, beverage/alcohol products and grocery retailers through media, contests and events. She graduated from Bradley University.

 

Sarah Schmansky – Director, Account Services  sarah.schmansky@nielsen.com

As Director of Account Services, Sarah’s responsibilities focus on continually driving value for Nielsen clients and building talent within the Nielsen Perishables Group. By developing strategic partnerships with leading grocery retailers and fresh manufacturers, Sarah elevates the industry to not only focus on the information and tools to make critical business decisions, but to implement consultative analytics to drive total department growth.

Sarah manages the Nielsen Perishables Group account services team, including productivity, budget and talent management. She also provides strategic leadership to ensure programs and projects deliver actionable insights to enable more confident and impactful client decisions.

Sarah has a thorough understanding of the retail industry. Prior to joining the Nielsen Perishables Group, she worked in store-level and operational management with The Kroger Company. In her most recent role as a Grocery/Drug GM Coordinator, Sarah dealt exclusively with executive staff in the implementation of effective merchandising and operational plans.

Sarah earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from Michigan State University. Sarah resides in Chicago with her husband and daughter
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Kari Volyn - Vice President, Marketing Services  kari.volyn@nielsen.com

Kari provides recommendations and execution support for clients in the fresh food industry on marketing communications activities including brand development, media relations, product introductions and influencer outreach programs. Prior to working for the Nielsen Perishables Group, Kari was at Fleishman-Hillard, Inc., a global public relations agency where she managed similar activities for clients such as the Kellogg Company and Gatorade.

Kari also has experience directing communications programs for the fresh foods industry having worked for the California Strawberry Commission and the Washington Apple Commission where she directed national public relations programs that included retail, foodservice and consumer-focused initiatives.

Kari holds bachelor's and master's degrees in communications from Washington State University.

 

Kelli Beckel - Senior Marketing Manager kelli.beckel@nielsen.com

As Senior Marketing Manager, Kelli manages the Nielsen Perishables Group brand. She directs and executes the writing, editing and publishing of organizational publications and promotional materials including capabilities collateral, press releases, feature news articles and a bi-monthly industry newsletter.

Kelli also manages Nielsen Perishables Group thought leadership development, and she contributes her fresh food insights to the broader thought leadership efforts throughout the Nielsen organization. Kelli shares her fresh food industry expertise as a featured speaker at industry events and is quoted frequently in trade media outlets.

In addition to Nielsen Perishables Group marketing communications, Kelli works with clients to create a strong image in the marketplace. Kelli’s support of client marketing efforts include media relations, website content development, promotional materials, industry presentations, social media and industry newsletters. She leverages long-standing relationships with the media to execute consumer and trade public relations programs on behalf of clients.

Kelli collaborates extensively across the Nielsen Perishables Group account management, consumer research and analytics teams to develop their skills around impactful communications, business development and consultative client management.

Prior to joining the Nielsen Perishables Group, Kelli managed marketing and media relations for Orchard Village, a not-for-profit organization supporting individuals with disabilities. 

Kelli graduated from Central College in Pella, Iowa.

 

Tim Tanguay - Senior Vice President, Technology  tim.tanguay@nielsen.com

As a senior vice president for the Nielsen Perishables Group, Tim develops leading edge technology solutions for the retail industry. His technology expertise combined with an in-depth knowledge of the retail industry has led to the creation of several successful software implementations for the perishables and dry grocery industries. Tim leads the design and development of the FreshFacts® category management software, the leading tool for category data and planning in the perishables industry.

Prior to joining the Nielsen Perishables Group, Tim was president and co-founder of Knowledge Management Resources, Inc., a technology solutions provider where he was chief architect and developer in the retail industry solutions program. Tim has also worked for the Center for Retail Management at Northwestern University where he specialized in statistical modeling and software development.

Tim holds a master's degree in business/finance from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in economics and mathematics/computer science from Colby College.

 

Beth Padera - Director, Analytical Services beth.padera@nielsen.com

As director of analytical services, Beth Padera leads the Nielsen Perishables Group Analytics and Insights team in using a variety of data sets to glean answers to clients' most pressing business questions related to the fresh food industry. She has expertise in leveraging shopper card data and demographic profiles to develop consumer insights.  Beth conducts and analyzes custom research such as in-store tests, benchmarking and best practice development. She also creates and customizes data tools for clients, with expertise in the areas of activity-based costing, pricing and promotion.

Prior to joining the Nielsen Perishables Group, Beth worked as a consulting engineer, specializing in water quality modeling. Her combined interests in data analytics, numerical modeling, and the fresh food industry led Beth to join the Perishables Group in 2001.

Beth holds a master's degree in environmental engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and a bachelor's degree in engineering from the University of Notre Dame. She earned a certificate in integrated marketing from the University of Chicago.

 

Cara Ammon - Director, Research Services cara.ammon@nielsen.com

Cara is responsible for the development and execution of all consumer and trade research and in-store tests. She is the liaison with external research providers as well as clients and internal account management.

Cara manages various types of consumer research projects including consumer Internet surveys, in-store surveys, focus groups and live consumer panels. She is responsible for all aspects of these studies including research design, survey and discussion guide development, project execution, analysis, and creation of results reports that meet clients’ goals and contribute to their strategic vision.

In addition to consumer research, Cara conducts trade research and manages the execution of in-store tests. Trade research involves interviewing retail and supplier executives to help clients understand the trade’s perspective, often around product innovation, and build strategies accordingly.

Cara joined the Perishables Group in 2000, bringing a skill set including project planning and execution in design development, data collection, market research and analysis. She also has extensive experience coordinating marketing activities from graphic design to brochure and newsletter writing and editing.

Cara holds a bachelor's degree in marketing from Indiana University.

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