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30+ Years of Value Driven Results

From small to large grocery chains, multi-national retailers and food service providers, Craig has experience across the board in delivering value and building high performance products and services within fresh produce and perishable supply chains. For the past seven years, Craig has transferred that experience into Carlson Produce Consulting, LLC. With a strong network in the produce industry and experience across all aspects of the supply chain, Craig has built CPC, LLC with the intention of Driving Produce Forward and delivering value for his clients.


Senior Director Produce



  • Supervised all aspects of procurement and category management for the Orchard Category which consists of Apples, Pears, Citrus and Stone Fruit, including vendor management, product assortment, pricing, promotions, space management, and inventory flow. Portfolio Team consists of 9 Sourcing Managers, 13 Replenishment Managers, 2 Order Specialists, 2 Pricing Managers a Senior Planner and Assistant.

  • Responsible for increasing produce sales, market share and profitability, meeting /exceeding budgeted goals, and effectively controlling costs through negotiating contracts and direct buying relationships. Develops employee training programs, workshops, and seminars, coordinates budgets, collaborates on warehouse / transportation activities, and developed new store plans and concepts to improve sales and profitability. 



  • Successfully developed and implemented freshness initiatives which saved two days out of the entire supply chain.

  • Developed global sourcing initiatives which leveraged scale when sourcing produce and transportation resources.

  • Won multiple merchandising awards for theme events on “peak seasonal” offerings that drove double digit sales growth.

  • Collaborated in the development of alternate formats such as Supermercado de Walmart and Neighborhood Markets.

U.S. Foods

Senior Vice President / Senior Director Category Management & Sourcing, Produce


  • Developed and effectively implemented a strategic Produce plan that provided U.S. Foods, Inc. with a powerful Produce category that was a major component in growing sales and profitability.

  • Established operational processes and practices to ensure that the performance KPI’s met and exceeded budget/strategic targets without compromising quality (freshness), brand or customer service.

  • Developed and maintained an effective working relationship with key stakeholders.


  • Successfully developed and implemented produce sourcing initiatives, which drove significant cost-savings.

  • Integrated 60 de-centralized divisions into one central merchandising department, resulting lower overhead cost savings, as well as increased sales and profits.

Pathmark Stores, Inc.

Vice President Produce & Floral Merchandising


  • Directed the overall Produce and Floral sales and profitability for 140 stores in four states.

  • Direct accountability for the produce and floral procurement and category management functions which include assortment, retail pricing, weekly sales programs, promotions, space management, service levels, inventory levels, inventory turns, inventory replenishment, achievement of market share plans, gross profit/net profit and miscellaneous income to achieve budgeted goals. This procurement staff included a Floral Director, 2 Senior Category Managers, Floral Trainer, 4 Buyers Clerks, Inspector and Secretary.

  • Dotted line accountability for the Produce/Floral Field Staff functions which include training and direction of store associates for the execution of sales and merchandising programs. This field staff consisted of 9 Perishable Assistant District Managers.

  • Conducting training programs, workshops and seminars to develop associates to achieve desired results.



  • Successfully developed the “Pete’s Produce Pro” program in 2001, spearheading Pathmark’s transition into the area’s market leader in produce.

  • Hired an experienced spokesperson, developed a widespread media campaign, certified all key associates as “Produce Pros,” and implemented several in-store sales programs, propelling the company to profitability.

Penn Traffic

Vice President, Produce Operations & Merchandising



  • Managed produce, salad bar kiosk, and floral operations for 143 corporate stores, 65 franchise stores and 65 wholesale accounts, oversaw $225+ million in produce sales, and coordinated all aspects of merchandising and procurement.

  • Supervised a Head Buyer, 2 Produce Buyers, a Director of Plants & Floral, 4 Inspectors / Banana Ripening Specialists, 2 Buyers, and a Secretary. Additionally managed all field staff members, including a Director of Corporate Produce Operations, 9 Corporate Produce Supervisors, 2 Floral Supervisors, and 3 Franchise Supervisors.

  • Implemented weekly sales programs and promotions, maintained service levels, coordinated inventory, oversaw space management, and directed all aspects of budget management. Conducted employee training programs, established and maintained positive vendor relationships, developed / updated store plans, and coordinated procurement activities from 3 distribution facilities.


  • Recruited as Director of Corporate Produce Operations (1987), and promoted to positions of increasing responsibility, including Director of Produce Operations & Merchandising (1988) and V.P. of Produce Operations & Merchandising (1992) due to outstanding leadership capabilities and superior performance.

  • Successfully integrated 3 companies into 1 merchandising department, resulting in lowered overhead cost savings, as well as increased sales and profits. Consistently recognized for meeting and exceeding sales goals and profit margins.

Cub Foods

Produce & Bakery Merchandiser



  • Procurement duties included minimizing shrinkage, improving delivery systems, and maximizing sales and profitability. Established and maintained vendor relationships and networks, negotiated competitive contracts / pricing, and maintained product quality and compliance with company standards and specifications.

  • Merchandising duties included development of marketing programs and materials, maintaining key vendor relations, implementing design concepts, designing sales presentations, pricing, and overseeing category management. Additionally responsible for improving bakery operations to positive annual operating profits, supervising all aspects of category management, and managing logistics and quality assurance.

  • Franchise Produce Training & Development Specialist; 1983 to 1985 Produce Manager; 1978 to 1983

Notable Organizations

Eastern Produce Counsel

Past VP & President, 2001 to 2008 

Produce Marketing Association

Retail Board & Main Board Member, 2002-2009

Produce for Better Health Foundation "Five a Day" Program

Board Member, 1995-1997

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