LONDON — Edelman has named Megan Van Someren as the new global chair and EMEA lead of its food and beverage offer.

Van Someren, who will lead the 500-strong global sector team from London, joins Edelman next month from J. Walter Thompson, where she served as global strategy director and led brand strategy for Special K and Nespresso.

Last year, Van Someren founded Canteen Consulting, a “food futures” consultancy inside JWT, to help food brands grow and innovate, where she led projects around insights and data, evolving food culture, innovation, consumer immersion, storytelling and content partnerships, as well a developing a start-up model to work with young brands, entrepreneurs and social enterprises.

Previously, Van Someren was EVP and global strategy director and SVP group planning director at Leo Burnett, where she launched Marinate, a think tank focused on monitoring insights and best practice of food brands. She also served as the global planning lead for Kellogg’s.

In her new role, she will report to Katie Burke, senior strategist and global head of practices, sectors and intellectual property, and Ed Williams, the new president and CEO of Edelman EMEA.

Burke said: “Brands in the food and beverage sector are facing rapidly evolving consumer trends and complex issues. Megan’s experience and track record of success working with leading companies in this space will bolster our food and beverage offering allowing Edelman to go even deeper on strategy with our existing and future clients.”

Van Someren added: "Now more than ever, brands have to earn a place in people's lives. This is especially true in the fast-changing world of food and beverage where brands aren’t just competing in a category but have an enormous opportunity and responsibility to positively contribute to food culture. I’m looking forward to helping push the boundaries of food and drink communications, born from an earned mindset to ensure brands can thrive.”

Over the past few years Edelman has strengthened its food and beverage team with senior hires including agriculture department veteran Darci Vetter joining as vice chair of agriculture, food and trade; Karmen Johnson joining from Boeing to become general manager of Edible, the specialist food, drink and spirits agency within Daniel J Edelman Holdings; and Jahna Lindsay-Jones being promoted to global client lead for Mars.

The agency has created award-winning campaigns for brands including Kellogg’s, Taco Bell, Sunkist, KFC, Mars Wrigley, Heineken and PepsiCo.