FPC Careers Mentors

Have direct access to industry experts who can help you navigate your way into a fantastic career in fresh produce

Jacqui Green, Director, Viridis Associates

Jacqui has been involved in fresh food since she graduated in 1995. She studied Law, French and Spanish and found that, unexpectedly, languages and fresh produce seemed like a fit.

Jacqui has spoken previously on sustainable futures, talent development, responding to consumer preference, and supply chain efficiency. She is passionate about personal development and, as well as her Consulting and Non-Executive roles, she works as a Mentor and is a qualified Transformational Coach. She has also held many positions on Trade Boards, Retailer committees, a Charity Board and worked with Government working groups.

In 2019, she left Berry Gardens, a UK cooperative of soft and stone fruit growers where she was CEO. Before this she was General Manager of Wingland Foods (Bakkavor) - a prepared salads business, prior to that Commercial Director at Capespan and in the early 2000’s General Manager of IPL, a joint venture between Geest and Asda (Walmart).

Jacqui lives in the South East of England with her husband and two teenage sons. When time allows, she runs and has completed a number of half marathons for charity.

George Beach

1n 2008 George set up a retail business with two former Marks and Spencer Food Buyers in London. Although initially successful that concept was probably ahead of its time, so George cut his ties and returned to the family farm with the aim of developing the wholesale side of the family business. From humble beginnings of George driving a van of produce daily to many prestigious London restaurants, George saw that this could grow to something much bigger and over the past 10 years has developed the Mudwalls Farm brand and business to its current position, turning over close to £5m and growing both as a local supplier to small business, a key supplier and logistics provider to the Mid Counties Coop, a key supplier to Aldi and also a growing export business of British Produce to the Far East.

Tony Ganio

Tony founded Back To Roots an is currently Managing Director at Back to Roots where he organises and manages procurement from Spain and Morocco for a fresh produce importing client. He also advises a UK soft fruit grower on general management and investment. Tony has extensive experience in presenting and highlighting UK opportunities to exporters from Europe.

He was Commercial Director for Total Produce where he spent time managing retail grape and stone fruit as well as other no- retail desks. He then went on to manage the 4 non-retail divisions in the UK, as well as offices in Holland and Spain- sales in excess of £40 million, with a team of 12 sales/ procurement staff.

John Giles

John Giles is a Divisional Director of Promar International – the agri food value chain consulting subsidiary of Genus plc. He graduated from the University College of Swansea in 1981 with a BSc Econ degree.

John is also the President of the UK Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Food, Drink and Agriculture Group and a past Chair of the UK Institute of Agricultural Management. He still serves on the National Council. He is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Reading, one of the top 10 agri food academic institutes in the world

John has now worked extensively throughout the UK and on fresh and processed fruit and vegetable marketing based assignments in some 60 other countries, including all other Continental EU markets, the US, Russia, the FSU and Eastern Europe, Brazil, China, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Mexico, Canada and the Pacific Rim.

John has also spoken at a number of leading international fruit sector conferences in the UK, Germany, Spain, France, the US, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Poland, Mexico and Ireland. He writes on a regular basis for some of the leading agri food publications in the UK and has appeared on the BBC on a number of occasions.

His personal clients include the likes of USDA, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, AUSTRADE, PROCHILE, the Irish Food Board, Bayer Crop Science, Pink Lady® apples, HORTGRO of South Africa, the South African Table Grape Association, Rabobank, the International Finance Corporation, Agro Fresh, the UK Agricultural & Horticultural Development Board and the California Raisin Administrative Committee.

Sapphira Waterson

Sapphira Waterson is the COO of MDS where she utilises her skills in people development to help individuals find their best fit in the food and fresh produce industry. Sapphira has many years of experience working within people development as well as a career in welfare and social work, including the Probation Service and prior to that working for SSAFA with the RAF. Whilst employed by MDS these skills have been developed further with particular focus on recruitment, mentoring and coaching of Trainees whilst ensuring the development and implementation of the MDS strategy. Sapphira has a BSc in Criminal Justice studies and a BA in Social Science and Social Policy. She was attracted to MDS by its commitment to helping young people reach their potential

Christine Tacon

Christine Tacon started her professional career as an engineer but progressed into marketing, working at Mars, Vodafone, Redland Bricks and Anchor (now Fonterra). From 2000 to 2012, she ran the Co-operative Group’s farming business, at the time, the largest in the UK. She was awarded a CBE for services to agriculture in 2004.

Christine was the first Groceries Code Adjudicator from 2013-2020, a government regulator ensuring compliance with the Groceries Supply Code of Practice between large grocery retailers and their direct suppliers. In 2021 Christine was appointed Chair for Assured Food Standards (ASF), which operates the Red Tractor Assurance scheme. ASF is an independent body owned by the UK food chain which manages and promotes assurance on behalf of the food industry. The role builds on her experience in farming and the food chain as well as working with the government and consumers.

Christine is also a Non-Executive Director of the AF Group, a farmer purchasing co-operative. She chairs the BBC Rural Affairs Committee, ensuring BBC coverage is up to date on rural issues, and is a founder of the Women in Food and Farming network which has monthly virtual meet-ups for women in the food chain.

Christine is also Chair of the graduate development programme MDS. Within this role she demonstrates her passion for providing the future leaders of the food and fresh produce industry with the opportunities and experience they need to succeed.