Working and Growing with Whole Foods Market
In this video, recorded at NOSH Live Winter 2019, Whole Foods’ VP of Grocery, Dan Epley, speaks to how the retailer has changed its strategies around category management, pricing, promotions, planograms and merchandising.
Natural Food Industry All-Stars Have Spoken at NOSH Live
Vice President of Grocery, Whole Foods Market
Dan Epley is the Vice President for Whole Foods Market’s Grocery Team, based at the company’s headquarters in Austin, Texas. He leads the merchant teams for Dairy, Beverage, Frozen, Snacks, Candy, Meals, Baking, Essentials, and Breakfast. He’s a key leader for the merchandising evolution where Whole Foods Market has been moving from a decentralized, regionally based structure to a more centralized, hybrid model that is focused on customer-centric data-rich category management capabilities and improved execution. Previous to WFM he spent 26 years in Merchandising at Target Stores where he had leadership roles in Grocery, Domestics, Electronics, Home Improvement, and Sporting Goods. He’s known for brand development, innovative merchandising, strategic negotiations, marketing, process improvement, and sourcing. While not at work he enjoys going on adventures around the world, fishing remote Canadian lakes, and spending time with his family.
Co-founder and CMO, Brazi Bites
Junea Rocha is the Co-founder and CMO of Brazi Bites. She moved to the US in 2005 after graduating from college in Civil Engineering and took a job in construction management in Portland, Oregon. She rose through the ranks quickly and hit a career-high, yet she felt unfulfilled. It would have been easy for Junea to lean into the success she found in engineering, but when she imagined her future she knew she would rather take a risk on a career she was passionate about than look back with regret. Although she did not have experience in the food industry, Junea’s love and passion for her homeland ignited an idea. In 2010, she and her husband started Brazi Bites with the hopes that Americans would love Brazilian Cheese Bread (“Pão de queijo”) as much as they did. In a few short years, they grew into a nationally distributed brand with a cult-like following after appearing on ABC’s Shark Tank in 2015, and were then included twice in the Inc.5000 list of “America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies". She remains just as passionate and more excited than ever to continue Brazi Bites growth as a better-for-you Latin Foods platform, and making their products a staple in North America.
Founder & CEO, RightRice
Proven entrepreneur and innovator, Keith Belling is the founder and CEO of RightRice, the breakthrough vegetable rice grain that launched nationally in February 2019 with Whole Foods Markets and on Amazon and is now available in all Kroger banners nationwide and other leading retailers. Keith is also the founder and former CEO of popchips, the innovative popped-snack company that launched in 2007 and was named one of “America’s Hottest Brands” by Advertising Age. Keith is on the Board of Directors of Restoration Hardware and has launched and led a variety of businesses including AllBusiness.com and has been an advisor, providing strategic counsel and/or an investor in a variety of innovative consumer and technology companies ranging from AllBusiness.com, Olly and Modern Meadow to JUST Foods and Ripple. Like popchips, which Keith led to almost $100 million in revenues in just over five years, RightRice redefines another household favorite. RightRice is a complete, plant-based protein that’s made from vegetables and has more than double the protein, five times the fiber and almost 40% fewer net carbs than a bowl of white rice, and comes in Original and four already seasoned flavors (Lemon Pepper, Spanish, Garlic Herb and Thai Curry). RightRice is quickly gaining awards and acclaim, including being named “Best Plant-Based Food” by PEOPLE magazine in 2019. Keith, based in San Francisco, is a graduate of the University of California at Davis and holds a J.D.from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
T.J. McIntyre joined Beryl Stafford and Bobo’s as CEO in December 2015 with the mission of building the Bobo’s business and brand into a leading natural foods company that bakes simple, nourishing food. T.J. was previously the Executive Vice President over natural brands at Boulder Brands where he oversaw the acquisition and management of Udi’s, Glutino and Evol and grew the portfolio from $20M to over $400M in 6 years. Prior to Boulder Brands, he served as Brand Manager of Silk at White Wave Foods, leading up to its acquisition by Dean Foods. From 2005 through 2009, he pursued entrepreneurial endeavors in specialty tea and coffee, including co-founding Pekoe Sip House, a regional tea-coffee chain in Boulder, Colorado. Mr. McIntyre holds a BA degree from Michigan State University, and an MBA with a concentration in marketing and entrepreneurship from the University of Oregon.
Merchandising Client Lead for Natural Foods, 84.51° (Owned by Kroger)
Alex Trott, Senior Client Lead, is responsible for natural foods merchandising. Previously, Ms. Trott worked as Client Lead at 84.51°. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Miami University. 84.51° helps companies create sustainable growth by putting the customer at the center of everything. Using a sophisticated suite of tools and technology, 84.51° works with some of the world's leading CPG manufacturers and partners. With more than 700 talented and fearless associates, 84.51° is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Kroger Co.
Jeni Britton Bauer
Founder, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni Britton Bauer is an American ice cream maker and entrepreneur. A pioneer of the artisan ice cream movement, she introduced a modern, ingredient-driven style of ice cream making that has been widely emulated across the world but never duplicated. Jeni opened her first ice cream shop, Scream, in 1996, then founded Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in 2002. Her first cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller and won a coveted James Beard Award in 2012. It quickly became the de facto bible for anybody making their own ice cream or thinking about opening a new-style ice cream shop. Her second cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts (2014), took ice cream to the next level with an array of incredible plated, layered, and piled-high ice cream-centric desserts. Today, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is a Certified B Corporation with 34 scoop shops, an online shop at jenis.com, and distribution in top grocery stores across the country. As Founder, Jeni remains the beating heart of the company and is in charge of all creative output—from the ice cream itself to the supporting details that enhance the experience of eating it. Jeni is a 2017 Henry Crown Fellow and has been recognized by Fast Company as one of the most creative people in business today.
Vice President, Divisional Merchandise Manager, Frozen Foods, Walmart
Laura Rush currently serves as Vice President, Divisional Merchandise Manager of Frozen Foods for Walmart Stores, Inc. Laura has been with Walmart since 2010. She began her career as the Sr. Director of TV, Home Audio Video & iPod/iPad business. In 2013 she moved to the Fresh Services Bakery Department as the Sr. Director on that team. She stayed there four years, and was most recently promoted to VP/DMM of Frozen Foods in Feb. 2017. Prior coming to Walmart, Laura worked for Sears Holdings (2008-2010), CompUSA (1996 – 2008) and Game Stop. She was always in electronics merchandising for those companies.
Co-Founder & CEO, Siete Family Foods
Next Event: NOSH Live Summer 2020 in NYC
The next NOSH Live event takes place at the Metropolitan West in New York City on June 8 and 9. More than 300 natural food industry founder and executives will come together to discover what's next for the industry and move their businesses forward. Plan ahead and secure your seat at the two-day event for the natural food industry. Early registration savings of $200 per ticket ends May 1st.