Face-to-Face: Meet David Brown May 2012

Ever wonder if anyone else is facing the same professional challenges as you? Or just looking to connect with some new people in your field? In IFT's Face-to-Face series, we will be introducing you to a different IFT member every month with a fun, insightful Q&A session.


This month meet...

David BrownDavid Brown, Senior Advisor, Dairy Group R.A. Chisholm Ltd.

  1. How did you get your start in the food industry?
    I got my first taste of the food industry when I joined a ‘chemical’ distributer in Montreal, Quebec, who represented some food preservative companies in the Netherlands and Japan. I moved on to another company and headed up their food ingredients distribution business in Canada, again primarily in food preservatives, but in the 1990’s, branching out in natural products. At that time, it looked like there would be a marriage between the food and nutraceutical industries, hoping that health beneficial natural products would be quickly approved by the FDA and Health Canada. Fifteen years later there are still many issues to overcome, particularly proving your health claims.

  2. What do you love about your job?
    For the last 10 years I have been in a dairy and meat trading company, headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. The company is global in scope, with offices in strategic regions around the world. I am on the dairy side, focused on trading milk proteins. The global dairy industry is very dynamic and this makes it exciting to work in. Today, more and more buyers and sellers are using dairy auctions and the dairy futures markets to 1) secure supply and 2) hedge prices to protect against future volatility in the dairy market.

  3. What is the biggest challenge that you face in your job?
    The biggest challenge in a trader’s job in our company is to buy low, sell high, and make a profit. Sounds simple, but as I said the dairy industry is dynamic. It is also cyclical; higher milk production will generally mean lower prices in the market, with the opposite also true. Emerging consumer markets in Asia and particularly China have created more demand for dairy products and ingredients than there is supply. More milk production is the answer, but factors such as climate change (floods, droughts, etc.) can affect animal feed costs and production levels.

  4. What have you learned or been exposed to in the past 12 months that has helped you in your job?
    In the past 12 months I’ve learned to expect the unexpected and make quick decisions. We have become Robo-people, slaves to technology, where everything is ‘instant’; breathing is optional.

  5. How do you see the food industry evolving over the coming year?
    The food industry is also a dynamic entity, transforming itself to deal with the growing obesity problem in the West, to finding ways to feed the exploding world population. The merging of health beneficial products with food will accelerate.

  6. Fun Fact: What’s your favorite food?
    The banana is my favorite food along with blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries. The whole family meet every morning in my cereal bowl, of course topped off with skim milk.

If you are an IFT member and wish to be profiled, please contact Kelly Hensel at khensel@ift.org or 312-604-0211.