Food In Canada

Who’s Who 2024: Sandro D’Ascanio, general manager-Canada, ACH Food Companies

By Mark Cardwell   

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Sandro D’Ascanio of ACH Food Companies strongly advocates for data-driven decision-making and a culture of autonomy

Photo © ACH Food Companies

If there’s one thing consumer products executive Sandro D’Ascanio has learned in his 30-year career, it’s that knowing the wants and needs of the end user is crucial to success.

“The advice I give colleagues in CPG is always listen to the consumer,” said D’Ascanio, general manager, Canada, for ACH Food Companies, makers of a portfolio of ingredient brands including Fleischmann’s and Mazola. “Don’t let the loudest voice in the board room dictate decisions.”

For D’Ascanio, 52, weaving the science of marketing and consumer behaviour with the interpersonal skills needed to develop innovative products has been both a calling and a hallmark in a successful professional career.

Born and raised in a tight-knit, Italian-Canadian family in Woodbridge, Ont., D’Ascanio said he was a “very conscientious” student in high school.


After graduating with a BBA and an MBA, D’Ascanio spent a year with Bausch & Lomb before landing his first job in CPG in 1999 with now-defunct Borden Foods.

“It was a great experience,” said D’Ascanio, who was assistant, then manager, of Borden’s Catelli pasta sauce brand. “I learned a lot about consumer research.”

When Heinz bought Borden’s pasta sauce business in 2001, D’Ascanio began a 12-year ascent up the corporate ladder with the North American food processing giant.

After serving as product and senior product manager of pasta sauce and frozen foods, D’Ascanio was named group marketing manager, then marketing director for various portfolios, including infant feeding, convenience meals, and frozen foods and innovation. High points included the launch in 2007 of an organic line of around 60 baby food products—everything from cereal and purees to toddler snack foods—and leading innovation, strategic planning, and management of the frozen foods brand portfolio.

“Management treated managers as business owners,” he said. “We were responsible for the total P&L statement from revenues and costs to marketing spend.”

D’Ascanio found a similar corporate culture at better-for-you food, personal care, and beverage maker Hain Celestial Canada, which he joined as senior director (marketing/R&D) in 2013, becoming vice president and general manager (personal care) two years later.

For D’Ascanio, a fit and active person who enjoys skiing, kayaking and many other outdoor, social and cultural activities, developing and leading marketing initiatives for Hain’s healthy food brands was both a good personal fit and a great career stop that helped deepen his management experience and hone his skills as a team leader and brand strategist.

“I like healthier foods,” said D’Ascanio, who has run three half-marathons to date. “Eating well is important to me and my family.”

As general manager of ACH Foods operations in Canada, a job he took up in Nov. 2020, D’Ascanio’s leadership duties now extend beyond marketing to include sales and business operating plans for the billion-dollar, Chicago-based ingredients maker’s Canadian operations.

For D’Ascanio, much of the success in his new role depends on the efforts and abilities of team members to understand the consumer by studying data from focus groups, surveys, and other scientific sources.

“I like to give people autonomy to work their own way, provided they meet goals,” said D’Ascanio. “I’ve learned that it’s okay to disagree and challenge senior leaders as long as you have the right data to support your direction and strategy.”

This article was originally published in the April/May 2024 issue of Food in Canada.

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