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Lutz leaving PMA to get back to his roots

Industry veteran Steve Lutz announced that he will be resigning from his position as regional vice president with the Produce Marketing Association to open Steve Lutz & Associates, a new marketing and strategic communications venture.lutz-mug-shot-003

“I truly appreciate the opportunity I had to serve the industry in my position at PMA,” said Lutz. “PMA is a great organization with a first-class staff. However, I felt a strong pull to return to the areas of marketing, research and category analytics where I excelled throughout my entire career.

“The explosion of new brands, proprietary varieties and fragmentation of retail outlets has completely changed the game for the produce industry,” said Lutz. “As consumers shift purchases from commodity products to proprietary brands and organics, the interest and opportunities — as well as the challenges — for growers have never been higher.”

As competition continues to grow in all produce categories, it is more important than ever for both retailers and producers to fully understand the consumer decision process. “It’s critical that marketers invest the time to document the best retail practices to ensure consumers are choosing their products at the point of sale,” said Lutz, who’s spent most of his career honing these skills at A-list organizations and for high-profile clients.

Lutz intends to utilize this professional experience in marketing, research and data analysis in the new venture. In addition, he will leverage professional connections in data, design, social media and communications as needed to support his clients. “Over the course of my career I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the most creative minds in the business. There is a real opportunity to harness the skills of these individuals to support the produce industry,” he said.

Lutz was previously chief strategist and vice president of marketing for CMI Orchards. Prior to that he was an executive vice president for Nielsen Perishables Group and served as president and chief executive officer of the Washington Apple Commission. Lutz will officially leave PMA Aug. 2.