The relationships she has formed through the fresh produce industry is what Vicky St. Geme, vice president of marketing at Taylor Farms, Salinas, Calif., says she loves most about her job.
“Over the years my relationships with our retail partners and peers have evolved beyond business associates to becoming valued friends,” she said.
St. Geme previously worked at Procter and Gamble and the Clorox Co. which prepared her to take on her role at Taylor Farms, a position that she has had for seven years. “My passion has always been to market healthy products to consumers so that made the produce industry a natural transition for me,” St. Geme said.
St. Geme manages short- and long-term goals by leveraging consumer insights and studying future trends. St. Geme builds relationships with retail partners and works with them to increase consumption of fresh foods, invests time in the development of technology in the packaging and processing sphere and works with product teams to create fresh value-added products. St. Geme also works with a team to develop new products and update existing products by offering new blends, new segments and classic favorites.
“I feel my work at Taylor Farms blends the responsibilities of both marketing and sales,” she said.
Oleen Smethurst, general merchandise manager at Costco Wholesale Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, has known St. Geme for more than eight years.
“She’s very creative and likes to keep ahead of the trend, Smethurst said. “Vicky is a clear and concise communicator which is so important in this industry and she’s simply just good at what she does.”
St. Geme has seen the produce industry change over the years and believes that communication to consumers has evolved.
“Consumers have more information today regarding health and nutrition facts so our marketing communication has evolved to include health and wellness messages on our packaging and we also must communicate these messages through social media outlets,” she said.
St. Geme expects change to keep coming and says that the challenge Taylor Farms faces in the produce industry is standing out in the crowd.
“It is a challenge to differentiate ourselves from the competition in a marketplace that features several companies competing for the eyes and palates of the same consumers,” she said. “The key is to stay on top of providing a variety of quality choices.”