Steve Lutz ( File photo )

Steve Lutz has joined Category Partners LLC, Idaho Falls, Idaho, as vice president of Insights and Innovation.

Lutz most recently was the vice president of member engagement at the Produce Marketing Association, a position he left in early August. Before that, he was chief strategist and vice president of marketing for CMI Orchards.

“Steve is a pro and we’re absolutely delighted to have him join our team,” Tom Barnes, Category Partners CEO, said in a news release. “Steve’s ability to dissect complex business challenges, dig into the numbers, zero in on the heart of the matter and offer realistic and tangible solutions to clients is second to none.  He is a proven leader in the fresh foods, retail grocery space.” 

Category Partners uses a “broad spectrum” of data sources and proprietary reporting tools and consumer research to help clients “drive top line and bottom line growth in the retail channel,” according to the release.

“I’m honored to join the Category Partners team,” Lutz said in the release. “As I spoke with Tom and his team about collaboration opportunities, the more we talked the more it seemed that joining Category Partners simply made the most sense for me, for Category Partners and especially for our clients.”

Lutz was at the Washington Apple Commission from 1992-2000, becoming president and CEO in 1996. He then was at Chicago-based Perishables Group, as executive vice president, where he was for 13 years before it sold to Nielsen to form Nielsen Perishables Group.

In 2000, he was named The Packer's Apple Person of the Year, and in 2015, The Packer profiled Lutz in its annual list of 25 leaders in the industry.

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