Chris Veillon, the former marketing director at Mastronardi Produce in Leamington, ON, who left the company in August 2010, has returned to lead marketing at the company.
"After a two-year hiatus working in the educational toy and teaching resource industry as director of marketing for Scholar's Choice in London, Ontario, I returned to Mastronardi Produce/Sunset on May 28 as director of marketing," Mr. Veillon told The Produce News June 12. "It was an enlightening experience, but I've always felt a strong connection to the produce industry. I was deeply entrenched in it when I was with Mastronardi originally, and every time I went into a grocery store I found myself looking at products and brands in the produce departments with exceptional interest."
He said thathe feels Mastronardi is the best in the industry, and that he missed the enthusiasm that is continual in the company's research and development department.
"We test over 300 different varieties of peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes each year in our own research facility," said Mr. Veillon. "The pace is different than anything else, and I missed it.
"The gourmet produce category is very fast-paced because you're dealing with perishables," he continued. "A produce company is identified through its consumer experiences, such as the sweetness, acidity and overall flavor of a great tomato, for example."
Mr. Veillon said the biggest change he's seen in his return to the produce industry is how Mastronardi is growing "by leaps and bounds, and one both sides of the border," he said. "We are seeing double-digit growth every year."
He added that the company's brands have a high sense of value, noting that Mastronardi put the "Campari" tomato on the map in 1995.
"Now we have the 'Splendido,' the 'Delano,' Zima' and so many more tomatoes that we're putting on the map, along with always growing and evolving lines of cucumbers and peppers," he said. "These brands have become staples in many people's homes."
He also noted that with Mastronardi building new facilities, such as its latest one in Coldwater, MI, the company is able to service its customers while reducing food miles.
"Today it's all about health and fitness, the environment, sustainability and food safety," and Mastronardi is a leader in all of these arenas," said Mr. Veillon.
"I work with a very talented marketing team comprised of Ashley Sarros, creative marketing manager; Nancy Pickersgill, event and communication manager; Rachel Boucher, marketing coordinator; and Mark Figueiredo, marketing coordinator," he said. "I'm proud to be back with a company of this high caliber, and I look forward to its future evolvement and growth."