The Disruptors: Food industry game changers.

 

At just 21, Wes Schroll is reinventing grocery shopping for Millennials; Blue Apron’s founders are cultivating a new generation of home chefs; and Whole Foods’ global grocery coordinator is attracting young consumers through product transparency.

They are among SN’s carefully curated list of 25 food industry Disruptors, who, for better or for worse, are bucking the status quo and shaking up the way food retailers do business.

In addition to responding to new consumer trends and in some cases pioneering them, SN’s Disruptors, which were selected by SN’s editors in consultation with industry experts, represent those who are innovating online, influencing store formats and competition, and shaking up the business world.

Check out our list of Disruptors below, and the linked profiles of these industry notables, authored by SN’s editors and our IdeaXchange partners.

INNOVATING ONLINE

• Apoorva Mehta, CEO and founder, Instacart, has developed and expanded Instacart to make it possible for supermarket operators of all sizes to offer home delivery.

• Matt Wadiak, Matt Salzberg and Illia Papas, co-founders of Blue Apron, are changing eating habits while cultivating a new generation of home chefs.

• Kieran Shanahan, who as VP of operations, Walmart.com, is at the forefront of Walmart’s multimillion-dollar e-commerce expansion, connecting stores to online grocery shoppers

• As VP of AmazonFresh Tom Weiland may set consumer expectations for online grocery before some traditional retailers even get in the game.


TARGETING NEW CONSUMER PREFERENCES

• Co-founders of the weekly Smorgasburg food festival, Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler tapped into the possibilities for food’s future by bringing together creative food makers and enthusiastic eaters.

Wendy Collie, CEO of New Seasons Market, a designated B Corp company, seeks to serve as a model for other companies.

• Chipotle’s chief creative and development officer, Mark Crumpacker, is molding the chain’s “Food with Integrity” messaging that is shaking up the food industry as a whole.

• Eataly founder Oscar Farinetti is making his mark with high-volume destination stores dedicated to quality products and immersive guest experiences that don’t follow the rules of any one format.

Paul Lightfoot, CEO of BrightFarms, makes sure there’s an established market for BrigthFarms’ greenhouse-grown produce before constructing a new project, allowing the company to scale faster than competitors.

• PRE Brands founder and CEO Lenny Lebovich is responsible for creative disruption in the meat section, which signals a new vision for the production and distribution of beef.

Suzy Monford, CEO of Andronico’s and a certified holistic health coach, is transforming the industry’s health and wellness approach by adding fitness to the equation.

Wes Schroll, the 21-year-old CEO of Fetch Rewards, is reinventing grocery shopping for Millennials with a mobile app that allows shoppers to scan items as they shop, and receive manufacturer discounts and additional savings.

• Whole Foods Market’s executive global grocery coordinator, Errol Schweizer, is pioneering trends such as GMO transparency and driving consumer and supplier buy-in.


INFLUENCING STORE FORMATS AND COMPETITION

Brian Cornell, CEO and chairman of Target Corp., is initiating changes in Target’s food assortment to appeal to Millennial tastes, with an emphasis on natural, healthy and good-for-you items.

Jodie Daubert, merchandising head of Ahold Fresh Formats, is crafting the assortment of a first-of-its-kind store.

• Aldi CEO Jason Hart is rolling out small-format, limited-assortment Aldi at a fast pace, and evolving the banner as quickly as he’s blanketing new markets.

• Sprouts Farmers Market CEO and former CFO Amin Maredia is investing in technology and human resources to keep the momentum of Sprouts Farmers Market, going.

Gil Phipps, VP of corporate brands for Kroger, is taking the “corporate” out of Kroger’s brands by giving them a strong dose of personality.

Brendan Proctor, CEO of Lidl US, is causing retailers to put their defensive plans in action, two years before any stores are due to open.


SHAKING UP THE BUSINESS WORLD

Alex Behring, Jorge Paulo Lemann, Carlos Alberto Sicupira, Marcel Telles and Roberto Thompson, founders of 3G Capital, are applying aggressive cost-cutting measures to the U.S. food and beverage companies they acquire.

• Cerberus Capital Management founder Stephen Feinberg’s “backing of Albertsons is the best example of distribution done right in the industry,” says Neil Stern, senior partner at McMillanDoolittle.

Food Safety Modernization Act brings far-reaching changes to the way every step of the supply chain defends and monitors food.

Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, pursues a fearless critique of the food industry.

The state of Vermont has mandated GMO labeling.

Margo Wootan, nutrition policy director for Center for Science in Public Interest, led the effort to require calorie labeling on menus.

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