Industry thanks Pierre van Heerden

 25 October 2016

The New Zealand Food and Grocery Council has paid tribute to Pierre van Heerden, who is stepping down as Executive General Manager of Sanitarium Health Food Company.

Chief Executive Katherine Rich says Mr van Heerden contributed a great deal to the industry, both as a member of FGC and its Chair for three years, and on other industry bodies.

“Pierre has played a big part in the advancement of the food and grocery industry for nearly 10 years.

“He led the FGC board through some testing times, and it’s impossible to calculate the number of hours he devoted to working on issues with me, the Board, and members personally or on their behalf. His advice and counsel were invaluable, especially to many of our smaller member food businesses.

“He will be remembered especially for his leadership during the Christchurch earthquakes, when he was FGC’s representative on the ground and personally helped distribute some of the 1000 pallets of food and supplies donated by member companies through the FGC office. He did that while dealing with issues at Sanitarium’s factory and making sure his own staff were safe.

“There are many other standouts from his time with FGC at the coalface of the industry: his work on the Health Star Rating group, the Front of Pack Labelling advisory group, the public/private partnership on food security, and other work on members’ behalf.

“He also worked on various other projects, with perhaps his biggest one being leading Sanitarium to establish with Fonterra and the Government the huge Kickstart club in schools that has now served more than 14 million breakfasts to kids in need.

“We wish him well in his next endeavours, which we hope will be elsewhere in the food and grocery industry.”