Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Chat - Don Goodwin

Don Goodwin is president of Golden Sun Marketing, Minnetrista, Minn., and is chief operating officer and partner in Imagination Farms, the licensee for Disney's Garden Fresh label. Don on Feb. 10 took time for a chat with The Packer’s National Editor Tom Karst.

9:58 AM me: Don. Thanks for making time for another Fresh Talk chat. I understand you just returned from Fruit Logistica. What did you hope to accomplish there and were you pleased with the show?
10:00 AM Don: I was very pleased with the show. My goals for this show are much different than the goals I have for PMA. My focus at Logistica is to spot trends; products, packaging, and themes. I look for these on behalf of our clients at Golden Sun Marketing which include seed distributors, grower/shippers, distributors and retailers.
10:02 AM me: Don. did you get a feel on how is the economy impacting the produce trade in Europe? Do you think the challenges are the same, for the most part?
10:04 AM Don: Many people mentioned the economy in our meetings. I suspect that the impact is similar in Europe as it is here in the US. People mentioned a shift in demand to lower priced items. Despite the economic issues, I did spot a fair amount of new or re-emerging ideas.
10:06 AM me: There is a sentiment about consumers trading down. In your discussions with your clients and others, how do you think that will influence both retailers and consumers when it comes to produce brands like Disney and other labels that carry value in the market place?
10:08 AM Don: While I suspect we have been impacted with the Disney program, it has been hard to spot as we continue on a strong growth track. Many retailers are looking for ways to spike sales. Branded programs can do this if deployed correctly.
10:10 AM me: Yes, branded programs can grab attention... just this week HyVee is running Disney oranges at 69 cents/lb in the KC market. Don, how long have you operated Golden Sun Marketing. What's a typical week like for you, and how do you contrast it to the days you were at Target and working for others in the industry?
10:16 AM Don: Golden Sun Marketing(GSM) was formed in November, 2003. We focus on strategy and marketing for the fresh produce supply chain from seed to retail. A typical week usually includes air travel, conference calls and client meetings. It is much different than my days at Target as focus much of my time on strategy while moving from project to project. We are always looking for ways to bring our clients insight. Attending Fruit Logistica is about gaining insight.
10:18 AM me: Where did you grow up? When did the fresh produce/business bug bite you?
10:20 AM Don: I grew up 30 minutes south of Chicago. I started working for Jewel Food Stores at 16 years of age when Jewel was an independent company. After a few months bagging groceries, they moved me to produce. I loved it from the first moment I built a display
10:22 AM me: What's the equivalent challenge for you today - what keeps you motivated and energetic?
10:25 AM Don: I feel I have always had a strong inner desire to achieve and learn. The industry is fast paced and provides many opportunities to learn. I am intrigued by how we can learn something new and implement it with one of our clients to achieve results. How can GSM help their clients implement some of the trends we spotted at Fruit Logistica? It is a fun challenge.
10:28 AM me: Great insights. One last question and I should let you go. As you look ahead to 2009 and beyond, are you optimistic our country can weather this recession? Do you think it will profoundly change the industry?
10:33 AM Don: I am optimistic but cautious. I think this may be the longest and deepest recession that I will ever experience in my lifetime. It will and should change our industry. We need to adapt more quickly to the consumer's needs. They are screaming for value while still expressing an interest in healthy eating. We, as an industry, are capable of leveraging the recession if we can reinforce that healthy eating and value can be synonymous.
Thanks for the opportunity!
10:34 AM me: Don. Thanks again. I appreciate your time.

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