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Grocery guru appointed to FAPC advisory board

Appointed by the Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Philip Payment, vice president of merchandising and marketing for Homeland Acquisition Corporation Inc. in Oklahoma City, joins the 16-member FAPC Industry Advisory Committee to help oversee the center’s mission and vision.

By Mandy Gross, FAPC Communications Services Manager

(Stillwater, Okla. – May 19, 2016) A retail food industry expert is the newest member of Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center advisory board.

Appointed by the Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Philip Payment, vice president of merchandising and marketing for Homeland Acquisition Corporation Inc. in Oklahoma City, joins the 16-member Industry Advisory Committee to help oversee the center’s mission and vision.

“I’m looking forward to helping facilitate the growth with entrepreneurs and promoting local within the state,” Payment said. “There is an opportunity to promote local foods, and I hope I can help market that potential.”

Payment grew up wanting to be a marine biologist but landed into the retail grocery business. He began his career with Winn-Dixie in Jackson, Mississippi, working in several departments as a grocery buyer, produce trainer, store set supervisor and area store manager. Payment’s work ethic and success led him to several promotions within the Winn-Dixie organization.

Payment left Winn-Dixie in 2003 and continued his career by working at Logix3, KHP Consulting and HAC Inc.

HAC Inc. owns and operates more than 80 supermarkets in Oklahoma and surrounding states, including Homeland, Country Mart, Food World, United Supermarkets, Super Save and Piggly Wiggly. The employee-owned business has 3,500 associates in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Georgia and Alabama.

Payment visited the center and met with FAPC Director Roy Escoubas, OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Vice President for Agricultural Programs Tom Coon, and center faculty and staff. The April 12 visit also included a tour of the FAPC facility.

“This is a new experience for me working with so many university faculty and staff,” Payment said. “I’m looking forward to it, especially with the impact FAPC has on helping to promote local products.”

During his visit, Payment discussed the importance of consumer education and trends in the retail food industry.

“There is a need to educate the consumer in the manufacturing process of national brands vs. generic brands,” he said. “Most national brands and generic brands are made in the same processing plants.”

Payment said many of the trends, such as natural, organic, energy drinks and plant-based beverages do not lend themselves to traditional manufacturing facilities.

“It’s important to listen to the consumer and change with the times,” he said. “There’s a big opportunity to change with the needs of the consumers, especially since the purchasing power of millennials has outgrown baby boomers. We are working hard to reach these millennials, but it’s a challenge.”

Payment will join the other advisory board members during their next biannual meeting June 2 at FAPC.

Roy Escoubas, FAPC director, said he is looking forward to having Payment on the Industry Advisory Committee and having him interact with the other committee members.

“Mr. Payment’s experience in the retail grocery business and his leadership with HAC Inc. makes him an excellent resource to the committee,” Escoubas said. “HAC Inc. is a significant asset to the state’s economy, particularly in rural areas, and this aligns well with the purpose of FAPC to add value to Oklahoma.

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Oklahoma State University is a modern land-grant university that prepares students for success. OSU has more than 36,000 students across its five-campus system and more than 25,000 on its combined Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, with students from all 50 states and around 120 nations. Established in 1890, Oklahoma State has graduated more than 260,000 students who have been serving Oklahoma and the world for 125 years.