The secretariat coordinates all the activities of our organization on global and regional level and implements the communication strategies of the Choices International Programme. The team is composed of experts in nutrition, communication and partnerships.
Dr. Herbert Smorenburg succeeded Rutger Schilpzand as Choices' Managing Director in January 2021. Herbert has worked directly or indirectly with Choices since the early days of Choices. Herbert started his career at Unilever where he worked for 17 years in product development and nutrition & health. His last positions were Nutrition and Health Director Europe and Director Unilever Health Institute Africa, for which he was based in Ghana and South Africa. He joined The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition as Senior Manager of the Netherlands office in 2014. In the past 23 years, he has been building bridges between private and public organizations in developing and developed markets, all partnerships with a focus to improve the food system for healthier diets.
Herbert holds an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and a Ph.D. in physics (Delft University of Technology).
Rutger Schilpzand is a nutritionist by training and founder of Food-note, an independent consultancy on fair nutrition. After working with Choices as its executive secretary of the Choices International Foundation from 2012 until 2020, he now serves the organization as a strategic advisor.
Rutger has studied Human Nutrition at Wageningen University and has worked as a freelance science writer and a policy advisor for societal organizations. As such, he was the initiator of the Clean Clothes Foundation and member of the board of the Max Havelaar Foundation. Rutger was the co-founder of the Ghana Home Grown School Feeding Program, that now serves 1,5 million meals daily to Ghanaian school kids. He has been a strategic consultant for 20 years. In this period he also started the Future of Food seminars initiative, a series of international high-level seminars about future developments in the global food system. Rutger is co-author of “De Strategische Stakeholderdialoog”, the first study into experiences and expectations from business and NGOs with stakeholder dialogue in the Netherlands
Gianluca Tognon is an associate professor in public health at the University of Skövde (Sweden) and the founder of the consulting company “The Food Scientist”. He is an expert in public health, nutrition, and food science. As a trained biologist with a PhD in nutrition, Gianluca spent 15 years researching public health and nutritional epidemiology to understanding the problems connected to unhealthy diets.
Gianluca has worked with private companies, schools, organizations, and hundreds of private individuals who needed help with diet and health. He has presented at several conferences and events in Europe and the USA. In 2021 Gianluca has been appointed as science manager by the Choices International Secretariat and he will take care of publications on the Choices’ multi-level criteria. More information about Gianluca is available on his website.
Bobbie Garratt is the Executive Assistant at Choices International. She coordinates the website, the Newsletters and takes care of the team.