Meet the new Chair of the APAL Board of Directors, Reg WeineBoard information
Reg Weine joined the APAL Board as a non-executive director in March 2020, bringing decades of experience in the food sector, and he was appointed Chair of the Board in July 2022. He shares some insights on what drives success and the opportunities he sees in building per capita consumption, price and market growth.
You’ve worked with some of Australia’s best-known brands including Bulla Dairy Foods, Blackmores, SPC, Maggie Beer Holdings and Otway Pork, with a focus on marketing, sales and innovation. Can you tell us a little about your background and your path to APAL?
I have been extremely fortunate during my executive career to work with some of Australia’s oldest, most trusted and iconic food and vitamin brands. All of these brands are market leaders in their respective markets and they all understand the importance of marketing and innovation to drive sustainable growth.
I started my career working with Pizza Hut as a trainee manager and then worked in various sales and marketing roles for global food and beverage companies. I later moved into general management and spent several years developing export markets and building brands in Asia and I was privileged to lead Bulla Dairy Foods and then SPC as CEO in the latter part of my executive career.
More recently, I have taken on a number of board chair roles in the food and beverage industry and, after spending 5 years at SPC, the opportunity to join the APAL board seemed highly relevant, rewarding and interesting, and a role where I felt I could give back and add value.
What do you see being the biggest challenges for the apple and pear industry in the immediate future?
Like almost all sectors and industries, we are facing some significant headwinds, including a slowing economy, a falling housing market, rising interest rates, inflation that is likely to peak at 8 per cent and an incredibly tight labour market. Supply chain disruptions, whilst moderating, will remain for some time and the price of chemicals and fertiliser is likely to remain very high in the medium term. We also face the usual weather, pest and disease challenges, so it’s not easy.
Where do the biggest opportunities lie?
We need to grow per capita consumption and we need to get the price up and improve farmgate returns. Better alignment between supply and demand is critical, as is developing key export markets. There are significant opportunities via our Future Orchards® projects and the adoption of world class R&D, harnessing technology and automation, improved genetics, and improvements in trellis and orchard architecture.
What change would you like to see in the industry in the coming years?
I’d like to see more focus on market growth and industry sustainability. I’d also hope to see our growers achieve a higher unit value for their wonderful produce. It would be great if we could encourage younger growers into our industry and build out our capability and capacity for decades to come.
What will you be focusing on as Chair of the APAL Board of Directors?
I’ll be working closely with APAL’s board and management to create a better and more sustainable future for Australian apple and pear growers through advocacy, leadership and commercialisation.
What can growers expect to see in the coming months/years?
You can expect to see APAL continue to be the most effective peak industry body in horticulture and continue to deliver programs and initiatives and advocate strongly for its members.
Read more in the forthcoming Spring 2022 edition of AFG.