Following the news that Kroger veteran Jeff Burt has joined Target Corp. as SVP, grocery, fresh food and beverage, where he will be instrumental in advancing and execute the retailer's food and beverage strategy, the Minneapolis-based company profiled its incoming grocery exec on its website, excerpts of which appear below:
You’ve been working in the food and beverage business for 30 years. How’d you get your start and what keeps you going?
The food industry’s always been part of my life – and a family legacy, of sorts. My father worked for Kroger for 48 years, and some of my earliest memories are tagging along to store openings around age 7, sneaking a chance to break down boxes and feed the cardboard baler! As a teen I worked as an order clerk in a Detroit warehouse – and from there, I’ve spent my entire career focused on food. At every step along the way, I’ve met amazing people. Those people, and my love of food and sales, continue to keep me energized.
Your first day is fast approaching. What’s your top priority once you get settled?
I can’t wait to meet the team and get out into stores to learn how Target ticks. This company has an amazing heritage and great people, so I’ll listen and learn everything I can – that’s what will help me become most effective in my role.
What do you think is the biggest challenge retailers are facing in the food and beverage industry?
Consumers’ rapidly changing tastes – from what they buy to how they want to shop – means retailers must move quickly to anticipate their needs and evolve. For example, really fresh food is important – and will still be important 100 years from now. There’s years and years worth of opportunity, so retailers have to get it right. And with consumers ‘dashboard dining’ or eating meals all over the place, we need to have fresh, ready-made meals and the right assortment in place.
Target's full interview with Burt appears here.