Category Partners LLC CEO Tom Barnes announced that fresh foods industry veteran, Steve Lutz, has joined their executive team as Senior Vice President of Insights and Innovation.

“Steve is a pro and we’re absolutely delighted to have him join our team”, said Barnes. 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.”

Barnes added he sees Lutz aligning perfectly with Category Partners’ mission to utilize a broad spectrum of data sources and proprietary reporting tools along with primary consumer research to help their clients efficiently and effectively drive top line and bottom line growth in the retail channel.

“I’m honored to join the Category Partners team,” said Lutz. “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 says he is excited to join CP’s team of data analysts, researchers and programmers. “I’ve always enjoyed looking deeply inside the data as well as emerging consumer trends to identify new business opportunities. It’s been central in my professional journey and is what I love to do.”

Prior to joining Category Partners, Lutz most recently served as vice president of member engagement with the Produce Marketing Association. Before that, Steve was chief strategist and vice president of marketing for CMI Orchards, a Washington state tree fruit grower, packer, and shipper. Prior to joining CMI Orchards, Steve was one of the three founding partners of the Chicago-based market research firm, Perishables Group, serving as executive vice president. He co-led the firm for 13 years including successfully selling the firm to Nielsen to form the new entity, Nielsen Perishables Group. Before that, Steve served as president and CEO of the Washington Apple Commission, at the time, the largest fresh fruit commodity organization in the United States.

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