Multilingual, multi-cultural builder of international brands, Jorge Gotuzzo has digitally transformed Pace International—and offers his insights to avert the food crises in 2050.
A thought leader and innovator, our colleague, Jorge Gotuzzo embraces technology in an industry that’s been slow to digitize: produce. He’s traveled extensively, lived in multiple countries, and managed diverse food-related brands around the globe, always focused on sustainability and shared responsibility. Since 2014, he has been applying his skills as Global Marketing Director at Pace International, the world’s leader in post-harvest produce solutions, in order to do his part to help prevent a global food shortage.
Pace International is a subsidiary of Valent BioSciences Corporation (of Sumitomo Chemical Company) and the leading provider of postharvest solutions for produce, Pace International works to improve the quality of fruits and vegetables through innovative solutions and services.
I recently connected with Jorge to discuss food production in today’s world, and how we can avoid world hunger in 2050.
You’ve said that the world is in danger of running out of food, and I believe you, since you understand today’s food production systems better than anyone I know. I wanted to dive into root causes.
For example, we Americans have been conditioned to select fruits and vegetables that appear cosmetically perfect. How might that impact us in the decades to come?
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), when you measure all produce from harvest to consumer usage, more than 45% of all fruits and vegetables go unused. That is almost half our global production!
7 billion people are alive today. By 2050, that number is expected to reach 9 billion. The question isn’t just how we produce more food to feed the growing population, but how we reduce overall waste. The looming crisis requires both food production innovations and changes in consumer behavior.
We must do much better. Imagine if the discarded product can get distributed to food programs in poor communities, rather than going straight to landfill? Imagine replacing processed snacks at schools with healthy and nutritious food, made from fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be thrown out. Just these things alone would be game changing.
Earthquake devastation in Haiti. Alltech 2010
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. It was devastated by a 2010 earthquake, which killed more than 160,000 and displaced 1.6 million people.
At the time, you were with Alltech—and living in Port-au-Prince. For a decade, you managed marketing initiatives in dairy, beef, and aquaculture on behalf of this global biotech company working to boost the health of plants and animals using nature and science.
After the earthquake, you led the Sustainable Haiti Project, and Alltech adopted a small school. What can you tell us about your experience there? How did the widespread devastation affect your views on humanity, corporate philanthropy, and the need for sustainability?
Gotuzzo, speaking of his mission in founding the Sustainable Haiti Project.
While at Alltech, I was able to spend three months working with Haitian children and helped develop a sustainable coffee project. After the earthquake, Alltech adopted a small school to resume education—in spite of the widespread devastation. All of these experiences were life altering for me.
At that time, the company was the title sponsor of the World Equestrian Games (WEG2010) and our dream was to put together a children’s choir and to bring it to the U.S. for the opening ceremony performance. We wanted to show Haiti to the world through these beautiful little voices—and raise awareness about the recovery efforts.
Three months later, in time for start of the games, I found myself in Lexington, Kentucky with 26 children, two teachers, and one Catholic nun. That experience changed my life forever and helped me understand how lucky we are and how grateful we should be every day we’re alive.
That’s beautiful, and very inspiring.
Data allows us to listen, engage, communicate, and act faster—and with greater accuracy. But the food industry’s been slow to adopt it—and embrace the digital advances available today.
You recently led a holistic online rebranding effort—and introduced an innovative digital product catalog that stands out as a “first” among all Sumitomo Chemical companies. How did you help Pace International break the mold of slow adoption?
Culturally, Pace International is all about innovation and technology. We are always looking for new ways of supporting our customers, their consumers, and the industry overall.
But there was a disconnect between our digital efforts and the day-to-day business. The digital experience we offered the customer was falling behind—and causing the company as a whole to miss out on our best opportunity to engage. To stay current, we had to step up our game and create a digital face-lift. We committed to this—and elevated the entire brand experience.
I enjoy operating in an ever-increasing complex digital realm. I look forward to putting my energies toward innovations that sustain the world and meet people’s needs. It’s a win for me, a win for my company, and a win for society. I hope.
Feel free to connect with Mary Olson or Jorge Gotuzzo for further information.
The short list begins with Bruce Schneier, the world’s foremost security expert. Schneier’s blog is worth following. You will benefit from his new book, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect your Data and Control Your World.
Schneier defines the powers that do more than collect and control our personal and business data. In my opinion, we cannot manage our businesses today without this knowledge.
The Second Machine Age, Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies
My neighbor is a twenty-first century intellectual. She is an expert in the worlds of Zen, her business interests in China, and advanced technology. She recommended The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies.
I am grateful for my neighbor’s advice. This is one of my favorite books of the year.
Rise of the Robots, Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future
Lawrence Lessig’s book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress–and a Plan to Stop It examines how we have allowed our democracy to be co-opted by outside interests.
I began following Lessig in 2002 when he championed free software. I admired him because he studied philosophy and law and worked for two influential conservative judges while championing democracy and ethics.
You can read about Lawrence Lessig’s 2016 presidential run anywhere in the media and Wikipedia.
Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team, 4th Edition
A few books worth rereading time and again include Alina Wheeler’s Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team, 4th Edition; always top of mind. I define, design and market authentic brands and businesses in my professional life and Wheeler’s insightful toolkit showcases best practices. Since a company’s brand is its most valuable asset, excerpts on brand clarity are always worth sharing with clients.
Living on a Dollar a Day: The Lives and Faces of the World’s Poor
Thomas Nazario and Renée C. Byer’s searing stories and groundbreaking photojournalism in Living on a Dollar a Day, The Lives and Faces of The World’s Poor will resonate until poverty is eradicated.
Since adding Tom Nazario’s book to my list of Best Books of 2014, Nazario has won the 2015 International Book Award for non-fiction narrative writing. Byer has accumulated awards for her work on this book including the following:
1st Place Environmental Picture Story BOP NPPA
1st Place Documentary Book, IPA (International Photography Awards)
World Understanding Award Finalist (Pictures of the Year International)
Moscow Foto Awards, HM Picture Story
Scripps Howard Photojournalism Award Finalist
International Book Awards Winner for Nonfiction Narrative Writing
Look for Nazario’s documentary by the same title to be released this fall.
The Forgotten International’s Mission is to develop programs that will
alleviate poverty and the suffering associated with poverty both in the
The United States and worldwide, in particular, that experienced
by women and children. Please support The Forgotten International.
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Pricing Engine is the most innovative digital advertising solution for very small businesses.
Jeremy Kagan and Yagmur Coker, the co-founders of Pricing Engine, launched the first digital advertising solution in March of 2013 to help Very Small Businesses (VSB’s) compete against big companies.
Small businesses owners, who often lack time and money, use Pricing Engine’s one-stop-shop to easily buy, manage, and optimize digital advertising campaigns across multiple channels including Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, and Foursquare.
It’s the only platform, where VSB’s with small budgets can quickly create one campaign and push it to multiple ad channels.
Pricing Engine not only created the most comprehensive suite of ad channels for VSB’s, it also gives the most actionable and easy-to-understand results based on advanced peer benchmarking algorithms.
So, immediately after launching a campaign, small business owners receive a Report Card with simple letter grades that lets them know how their campaign is performing compared to other similar businesses.
The team launched a few ad channels with over a thousand customers last March, but has grown to eight ad channels and a reach of hundreds of thousands of customers with its multiple, major resellers. Based on their unique data, they are releasing ongoing reports about how small business use digital advertising.
Pricing Engine will spend 2014 further carving out its leadership in serving the Very Small Business (VSB) market of main street, local and startup businesses.
Kudo’s to Pricing Engine for simply improving digital advertising!