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Kurt Zuhlke & Associates Inc. has been a fixture at CPMA

By
Keith Loria

When it comes to produce packaging, Kurt Zuhlke & Associates Inc., is a renowned leader in the field. That will make the company’s booth, No. 1212 a must-visit destination for attendees of the 2023 Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s Convention and Trade Show.

“We’re going to have our entire line of product,” said Kurt Zuhlke, president of the Easton, PA-based company. “We’re just demonstrating it to people who want to have a really good-looking package for their produce.”

He noted that some of the packaging products on display at his booth will have produce inside, and others will not, because of factors such as size.

“It usually works out really well because a lot of people like to see some of the items,” Zuhlke said of his company’s participation in the CPMA. “The majority of them are just basically looking for a package that’s going to fit their needs. We display them all, so that they can see them and touch them and feel them — then they go from there.”

Produce professionals who visit the booth vary in what they are looking for, based on history with the show, so the company has something for everyone.

“A lot of people go there looking for packaging and they know we’ve been there every year for the last 40 years, so they look for us,” Zuhlke said. “And other people are just showing up to see what’s on the market right now. They come into the booth, take a look, and they ask a lot of questions. Usually, they’ll leave a card and ask for samples.”

That, he said, often leads to new business, because people who are attending the show are looking for new ideas and something to change the marketplace or something that helps downsize a package that is costing more at retail.

Some of the advantages of the CPMA show that the company appreciates is that it takes place over two days, and that the schedule allows time for networking.

“It’s set later on in the morning or in the afternoon, which gives you a chance to go out with customers at night and do a little wining and dining,” Zuhlke said, adding that the next day, participants don’t have to be ready for events at 7 a.m. “You also have time for breakfast meetings, which are a good opportunity to discuss business.”

Zuhlke clearly likes the CPMA show because he’s been attending it for four decades, and noted a successful show means getting people interested in his company’s products.

“It’s always satisfying when you get orders at a show, but usually I get a lot of calls after the show for samples,” he said. “That, to me, is a successful show.”

The CPMA show often results in that kind of success because the produce professionals who are attending are engaged in the event and are interested in opportunities to develop partnerships that can improve business all around.

“It’s not like some shows you go to where it’s so big that everybody gets lost, and the people who you want to meet with are in somebody’s booth, or the floor is so big is hard to make time to see everybody,” Zuhlke said.

The company will have good news to share during the show, as Zuhlke said business has been promising in 2023, though weather in California has had an impact.

“It will start to pick it up now on the East Coast, as soon as the weather gets warm in Georgia. sales down in Florida were good,” he said. “I expect it to be like that until get up all the way up to Nova Scotia on the East Coast.”

Keith Loria

Keith Loria

About Keith Loria  |  email

A graduate of the University of Miami, Keith Loria is a D.C.-based award-winning journalist who has been writing for major publications for close to 20 years on topics as diverse as real estate, food and sports. He started his career with the Associated Press and has held high editorial positions at magazines aimed at healthcare, sports and technology. When not busy writing, he can be found enjoying time with his wife, Patricia, and two daughters, Jordan and Cassidy.

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