NAME:
David Nolen

CURRENT POSITION:
Vice President Category Management & Shopper Insights

COMPANY:
Hershey

TENURE WITH CURRENT COMPANY:
22 years

YEARS OF INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE:
25+

GIVE US A BRIEF HISTORY OF YOUR CAREER.
I started my career as an intern for Walmart in 1991 in their management training program, where I learned the foundations of retail at the store level. Then I spent some time at Warner Lambert, which included some of the biggest personal care brands in the world, on their supply chain team. I moved back to PA in 1998 to take a job with Hershey and the rest is history. I’ve held numerous cross-functional positions at the company since then in Supply Chain, Category Management, Customer Service and Customer Marketing, complete with 2 stints down in Bentonville.

WHAT ROLE DO YOU SEE THE CMA PLAYING IN THE CPG AND OVERALL RETAIL INDUSTRY?
I think leveraging disparate data streams and insights in order to recommend solutions to retail partners that drive total commerce growth is the most important challenge we face today. Category Management is evolving. It’s not necessarily about category anymore but about the total store. ‘Retail Shopper Solutions’ is really what it should be called. Hopefully, the work we are doing at the CMA can bring us closer to that.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED IN THE CATMAN DISCIPLINE GOING FORWARD?
I see Category Management as being just as important as ever for driving overall growth and capitalizing on some of the consumer behaviors that are benefitting retail right now. It would be helpful to have a unified point of view on 2021. How does the shopper insights piece feed an understanding of economic recovery, or the k-curve of high vs. low-income consumers that will be really important for all of us in the industry to understand and plan against?

WHAT DEVELOPING THEME ACROSS RETAIL TODAY ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT?
What does the future look like? We know that more food occasions were shifting to away from home, and now more have shifted back to at-home during the pandemic. Restaurant traffic is down across the US, so when does it shift back, if it does? The other big question mark is whether people may stock up again if they get nervous about the safety of their environment. These are just some of the things we are working on modelling out and scenario planning for.