Cargill has selected Chuck Gitkin, a veteran consumer packaged goods and meat industry marketer, to lead its North America protein business marketing efforts in a newly created role as chief marketing officer, effective Sept. 19, 2016. He will also be a member of the Cargill Protein Group’s leadership team.
Previously, Gitkin was senior vice president of brands and marketing for Smithfield Foods, a major international pork products company. His experience also includes positions with McCain Foods, Unilever, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Saks Fifth Avenue and Philip Morris. He will leverage more than 25 years of experience, knowledge and capabilities in business-to-business and consumer marketing, market research and consumer insight, innovation, and retailing.
“The protein marketplace is swiftly evolving, highly competitive and we’re seeing global demand continuing to increase,” said Brian Sikes, corporate vice president who leads Cargill’s protein group. “With strong professional credentials and a business background that makes him a great fit on our team, Chuck became the clear choice to lead our marketing transformation and implement our customer-centric and unified approach for promoting our protein portfolio. It’s critical to have the right person leading this go-to-market transformation, someone who has a laser-like focus on our customers’ channels and can ensure they are supported with a wealth of deep consumer insights and innovation to help them grow both their business and ours.”
“I look forward to joining a strong management team at Cargill and building on the work they have begun over the past year to transform the business and establish strong momentum and growth,” stated Gitkin. “I am excited by the entire organization’s high level of enthusiasm, creativity and energy. This business has strong capabilities and leadership positions in key protein categories, which we intend to leverage to win with customers, consumers, and the community. I believe that Cargill is uniquely positioned to support our customers in achieving superior growth and to delight consumers with products that exceed their expectations for taste, nutrition, and convenience. I look forward to working with a very talented group of people in achieving business excellence, innovating and growing, while continuously delighting all of our important stakeholders. We will redefine Cargill protein’s go-to-market capabilities for long-term growth, driving innovation, and establishing Cargill protein as the leading marketer in the industry.”
Gitkin earned his undergraduate degree from Tulane University, followed by a Master’s in Business Administration and International Business from New York University’s Stern School of Business.
Schumacher will replace Alan Jope, who announced his decision to retire last September, less than a year after a failed attempt by Unilever to buy GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer healthcare business and just months after activist investor Nelson Peltz joined the company’s board.
Globally, plant-based ice creams have doubled their share of the market over the last five years, according to Tetra Pack. Pea protein and coconut milk are leading the way, but Tetra Pak cites data showing that oat-based ice cream launches have doubled in the previous year.
A myriad of so-called eco-labels are being rolled out across various F&B products, but with no gold standard or strict rules governing precisely what the logos mean and what methodology is behind them, concerns are growing that they will confuse consumers and ultimately be counterproductive.