At PMA Fresh Connections: Retail, attendees shared ideas, experiences and potential solutions with peers and partners throughout the produce world. Cathy Burns, chief executive officer of PMA, opened the event, which took place in Philadelphia, April 10-11, by discussing the growing popularity of the plant-based diet, emphasizing the fact the produce industry has a great opportunity to take advantage of the trend as, “we are the original plant-based diet.” Burns also discussed the emotional connection people have with their food and the potential use of social media to promote produce while making that connection.
Brent Schwartz of Kingdom Fresh Produce and Donald Grandmaison of LEF Farms.
Cathy Burns of PMA, Reade Sievert of Associated Wholesale Grocers, Lauren Scott and Joe Watson of PMA, and Jose Cartamil and Dan O’Gallagher of Carlson AirFlo Merchandising Systems.
Rebecca McCommons and Robert Backer of Giant Martins with Scott Ross of West Pak Avocado Inc.
Mike Blume of Keystone Fruit Marketing, Marianne Santo of Wakerfern Food Corp. and Jill Mazer of Earthbound Farm.
Bill Bauernfeind of Jamba Snacks and Tim Ross of Duda Farm Fresh Foods Inc.
Carley Stein and Hannah Caswell of AeroFarms.
Kevin Donovan of Phillips Mushroom Farms and Kelly Dietz of Seald Sweet International.
Bobby Browder of Battleboro Produce Inc. is flanked by Dan Stark and Doug Bohr of PMA.
Vic Savanello of The Fresh Market with Sam Burleson of F&S Produce.
Maryam Nikkhah of Pete’s, Donald Grandmaison of LEF Farms and Mary-Scott DeMarchis of Fresh2oGrowers Inc.
Anthony DeAngelis of Christopher Ranch and Leslie Simmons of Dave’s Specialty Imports.
Rob Ybarra of Coburn’s Inc. and Mark Hurtado of Harvest Dynamics.
Ken and Kim Corbett of Ken Corbett Farms Inc.
Denise Fischer and Mindy VanVleck of Peri & Sons Farms Inc.
Greg Sagan and Doug Stewart of Giorgio Fresh.
Allison Myers of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association and David Fausset of Del Monte Fresh Produce.
Bob Donio and David Arena of Frank Donio Inc. with Paul Massey of AGRO Merchants Group.
Tony Mitchell of Vision Import Group with Kevin Zirkle and Mike Downy of Military Produce.
Jeanette Hertzler of Okanagan Specialty Fruits, Michael Harwood of New York Apple Sales and Mike Blume of Keystone Fruit Marketing.
Bob Besix of CF Fresh with Elizabeth Yerecic and Joe Gibbons of Yerecic Label.
Following Burns’ opening remarks attendees broke out into concurrent educational blocks. In the first session attendees chose among Experiential Shopping – “Retailtainment,” Food Safety, Produce as the Competitive Advantage, Seasonal & Local and Retail Trends. Sessions in the second educational block were Experiential Shopping – “Retailtainment,” Conenience Isn’t Just an On-Line Order, Driving sales in Core Categories, Organics – What’s Next? and Retail Trends.
The event was attended by 180 members of the produce industry, including first-time participants from Coborn’s Inc., Longo Bros. Fruit Markets Inc., Sprouts Farmers Market, The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. and Whole Foods Market.