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Lisa Cork joins PMA's board of directors

With a career spanning more than 30 years in fresh produce, former Californian and now New Zealander Lisa Cork of Fresh Produce Marketing Ltd. accepted a nomination to join this year’s Produce Marketing Association board of directors. Most recently a member of both the PMA’s global development committee and demand creation strategic planning task force, her global experience, ability to think strategically and ask questions that challenge the status quo resulted in the opportunity to make a larger impact on the board, which is exactly what she intends to do.Lisa-Cork-Head-Shot-PMALisa Cork

An industry thought leader and innovator, Cork provides significant value and insight to brands looking for fresh, strategic and consumer-centric ideas that sell. One of her most noteworthy contributions to the industry was during her tenure at Apio Inc. when she created the Eat Smart brand — a forward-thinking concept that continues to live up to its potential 25 years later.

“I’m highly motivated by the opportunity to increase fresh produce demand by offering unique ideas and strategic direction to brands and plan to continue to do so while supporting PMA in this new role,” said Cork. “I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve on the board of directors and excited to explore new ideas that contribute to our industry and make the biggest impact possible.”

In 2013, Cork won PMA Australia-New Zealand/Produce Plus Produce Marketer of the Year award for her work with Delta Produce Growers and its fresh sweet potatoes (called Kumara in New Zealand). After a survey showed consumers would pay more for sweet potatoes that were smaller and smoother, she created Love Kumara! Easy Peels and Love Kumara! Little Gourmets branded packs — leading to grower returns increasing over 200 percent.

Additionally, she led the branding of Winter Sweetz grapefruit by Lone Star Citrus and Naturalls grapes by Borderland Organics. Her dedication to learning what consumers want and expect from their produce led to the revitalization of the grapefruit category with Winter Sweetz — creating a brand that addressed the concern grapefruit was “sour and hard to eat.” Her work with Naturalls grapes allowed the company to take advantage of the new “free-from” trend, moving their grapes out of the small organics section and into the conventional grapes display area, giving consumers more choice and Naturalls more sales opportunities.

“Lisa is an insightful produce professional, and her many years of experience assisting produce companies around the world to develop impactful strategies and build unique brands will help in bringing PMA’s new strategic plan to life,” said Richard Owen, vice president of global business development with PMA. “One of PMA’s new focus areas is demand creation and this is also a passion and focus area for Lisa’s work. We look forward to tapping into her thought leadership and unique expertise for the benefit of the industry.”

Cork continues to offer strategic consultation and workshops to fresh produce companies looking to innovate and think differently through Fresh Produce Marketing Ltd.