Santa Paula, California-based Calavo Growers has named Helen Kurtz as SVP and general manager of Calavo Prepared, the company’s prepared foods segment.
Kurtz is a veteran of the food industry with more than 25 years of experience, primarily with General Mills and, most recently, serving as SVP, chief marketing officer of Foster Farms. In that role, she led the poultry business and orchestrated its sale to private equity.
At General Mills, Kurtz led a number of brands, including Betty Crocker, Chex Mix and Fruit Snacks and served as VP of Yoplait.
In April, Calavo announced it would reorganize its business into two segments, grown and prepared, with a SVP and general manager responsible for each. The dual segment structure aligns product fulfillment responsibilities with P&L management.
Starting Aug. 16, Kurtz will lead Calavo’s Prepared segment, which consists of fresh cut fruits and vegetables, ready-to-eat sandwiches, wraps, salads and snacks, guacamole and salsa sold at retail and food service in addition to avocado pulp sold to food service. Ron Araiza, who is retiring from a long career in the produce industry in October, will assist in onboarding and transitioning.
“Helen is a results-driven leader with a wealth of experience in the packaged foods industry, and we are excited for her to lead and grow our Prepared segment,” said Brian W. Kocher, president and CEO of Calavo Growers. “Her operational and marketing expertise will help drive Calavo forward under our new segment structure.”
“I’m excited to join the Calavo team at this stage of the company’s transformation, and I look forward to working with our team and customers to drive long-term growth in the Prepared segment.” Kurtz said.
Founded in 1924, Calavo has a culture of innovation, sustainable practices and market growth. The company serves retail grocery, foodservice, club stores, mass merchandisers, food distributors and wholesalers worldwide.