Salty Snacks Category, US
"Brands are STILL Relevant and Marketing is NOT Dead"
Yuvraj Arora is the General Manager for the Salty Snacks Category at the Kellogg Company. Yuvraj has headed up the category since January of 2019.
Mr. Arora joined the company in India in 2002 as category manager before being promoted to marketing director in 2004.
In 2005, he relocated to the US and served in a number of roles in the US Morning Foods business and in Global Marketing. He was Senior Brand Manager for Frosted Mini Wheats and in 2006 for Frosted Flakes; in 2007, he was promoted to associate director, all family RTEC; in 2009 to director, global marketing and in 2010, to senior director, marketing, adult RTEC, Morning Foods Division, Kellogg North America.
In 2012, Mr. Arora was promoted to vice president Marketing and Innovation for Kellogg Asia Pacific. While there he was a member of the Asia Pacific Leadership Team and the Global Marketing Leadership Team. In January 2016, Mr. Arora was promoted to Vice President, Strategy and Innovation, US Snacks. In 2017, he was then promoted to the role of Senior Vice President Marketing and Innovation for all Snacks categories for the US.
Mr. Arora received an MBA with specialization in marketing from Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi, India in 1994 and an engineering degree in electronics engineering from National Institute of Technology, Calicut, India.
Senior Vice President Eastern Division
Sprouts Farmers Market
"Positioning Business within the Food Industry"
Dan Croce oversees operations for Sprouts’ new group of stores that are in the pipeline along the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic, as well as approximately 100 of the Phoenix-based fresh-focused retailer’s existing stores in Texas, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Maryland.
Prior to joining Sprouts, Croce was with Acme Markets since 2005 and served as division president from 2015 to 2017. Dan also worked with Super Fresh/A&P Food Markets where he started his grocery career in 1985.
Dan is a graduate of the University of Delaware where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural business in 1991.
Executive Director of Food and Beverage
The NPD Group
"Gen Z and the Future of Food--Are You Prepared?"
Susan brings 22 years of insights experience to her position of Executive Director of the NPD Group. She has worked across a variety of North American CPG clients and categories translating insights about how Americans eat into action for marketing, sales, culinary, and corporate strategy professionals. She recently co-authored The Future of Morning, The Future of Dinner, The Future of Snacking and Inside America's Kitchens studies which illuminates how each generation approaches food and cooking. As the Gen X mother of a young Gen Z, she speaks passionately about how this generation will change food and beverage. Susan is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has a love of all things food and beverage.
Senior Vice President of Retail Operations
GIANT Food Stores
"How Grocery is Changing & Changing the World"
John Ponnett is senior vice president of retail operations of GIANT Food Stores, an Ahold Delhaize USA company and leading grocery retailer with more than 180 neighborhood stores in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia that offer home delivery, online/mobile ordering with pick up, fuel centers, and pharmacies.
At GIANT, John leads a best-in-class retail operations team of more than 30,000 associates who believe in bringing families together around the table to enjoy a meal and to celebrate what matters most. His areas of responsibility include sales, profitability, strategic store development, e-commerce growth, supply chain, productivity, direct sales distribution, accounting, and team training.
John’s career with GIANT began in 1987, progressing quickly to the role of Store Manager in Central Pennsylvania. He has held various roles including Field Specialist, Market Manager, District Director, Director of Fresh Sales and Merchandising, Vice President of the Genuardi’s acquisition as well as Regional Vice President.
John has also worked as Vice President of Asset Protection for the Ahold USA Support organization.
John earned his MBA degree from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and received his Bachelor of Arts, Government/Political Science degree from Shippensburg University. John sits on the board of governors for the Academy of Food Marketing at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. He also serves on the School Board of Directors for the Middletown Area School District in Middletown, Pa. as well as the board of directors for the American Red Cross in Harrisburg, Pa.
VP of Content and Thought Leadership
"The Budding Opportunity of CPG Cannabis"
Joan attributes curiosity as key to her 30-plus year career as a results-driven market researcher, CPG trade journalist and thought leader. Her goal has always been to empower CPGs, retailers and industry suppliers with information needed to make smart decisions that support shoppers and consumers. Her motto: Make the shopper the hero.
Joan’s thought leadership work regularly serves as a foundation from which IRI teams develop innovative, holistic solutions for clients, and is regularly showcased during top-to-top client meetings, industry conferences and webinars, media, academic and custom studies.
Joan has shared her expertise by leading dialogues on timely and compelling CPG issues. She is frequently quoted in leading industry media. She supports industry organizations such as Network of Executive Women; and she’s on the Executive Board of Western Michigan University’s Food Marketing Conference as well as Les Dames d’Escoffier’s Chicago Chapter.
SVP and General Manager, Consumer Industries
"Gaining Insight and Confidence within the Changing Food Industry"
Matt Laukaitis is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of SAP’s Consumer Industries practice in North America. He is responsible for the division’s strategy, partner ecosystem, and revenue performance throughout the region.
Since joining SAP in 2004, Matt has been a leader within SAP’s U.S. consumer industries organization, and a hands-on strategic partner for customers, helping them solve their most critical business challenges. He has also led SAP’s corporate citizenship program in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, connecting SAP volunteers with local community organizations, placing an emphasis on K-12 education and family support organizations.
Prior to SAP, Matt worked at IONA Technologies, Netfish, RR Donnelley, and Apple, where he served in sales and sales leadership positions. Matt holds a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, in Phoenix, Arizona.