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Bringing the industry closer amid social distancing

By
Ben Massoud, communications manager for United Fresh Produce Association

You don’t have to go searching through United Fresh’s more than 100 years of history to find perhaps the greatest impact of its role as conduit of the produce industry. It’s been on full display during the past turbulent year and continues each day as the industry curator connects the perishable supply chain in innovative ways during the pandemic.

With in-person sales calls, trade shows, advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill, and other key face-to-face interactions sidelined, United Fresh decided to change the game, bringing industry players together virtually for new opportunities to form strategic partnerships and work toward initiatives to solve unique business challenges. Bolstered most recently by the success of the new virtual United re-Fresh Experience in January, United Fresh is primed to deliver even more refreshing opportunities for individuals and businesses to cultivate a growing network.

The Power of Fresh
From growers and shippers to retailers and foodservice, and everyone in between, the produce industry is greatly impacted by the decisions made in the nation’s capital. Following a successful virtual March on Capitol Hill during the United Fresh Washington Conference last September, industry advocates are convening again for a series of virtual meetings, this time, with the 67 freshman members of the 117th Congress sworn in at the beginning of the year. United Fresh’s Fresh Faces of the 117th Congress Meet and Greet Series began in January and continues throughout March, providing dozens of opportunities to share the industry’s biggest priorities with Congress, regardless of geographic location.

A storm of marketing success is brewing
How can marketers encourage consumers to form strong connections with their brands? It’s a question that was top of mind before the pandemic and has only gained traction over the past year amidst monumental changes in consumer purchasing behavior. The fact is, many consumers likely are unreceptive to marketers’ relationship-strengthening tactics, according to a recent study in the Journal of Marketing.

During BrandStorm, United Fresh’s signature marketing event, marketers will meet to explore and discuss the latest consumer trends data, global insights and advancements in produce marketing, and to shed some light on their most pressing challenges. After brewing predominantly on the West Coast for half a decade, BrandStorm will surge through hundreds of desktops and laptops globally, March 9-11.

Overcoming the “she-cession”
One of the benefits of going virtual is the opportunity to develop relevant programs to address recent challenges. Job losses resulting from the pandemic have disproportionately affected women: In December, women accounted for all 140,000 jobless claims reported, while men gained 16,000 jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

To help address this “she-cession,” United Fresh is hosting an interactive networking event on March 30, where attendees will meet one-on-one in a series of 5-minute meetings designed to foster discussion to advance women in produce.

Start the clock
United Fresh’s Partner X-Change, which began as an in-person “speed-dating” event during the annual convention, has evolved into a high-profile online business-to-business matchmaking event.

United Fresh has hosted the event twice so far during the pandemic, most recently in February, where more than 20 buyers and suppliers met in a series of 20-minute business meetings.

Recognizing the perishable supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link, United Fresh will continue to blaze a path for collaboration — virtually and soon enough, in-person again — because being United makes all the difference.

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April 16, 2021

Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. Inc., one of North America’s leading marketers and distributors of high-quality… Read More

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