What’s real and what’s hype with Controlled Environment Agriculture
The flourishing development of Controlled Environment Agriculture and how retailers and consumers view this emerging segment of fresh produce production will be the topic of an educational session at Organic Produce Summit 2021. The Growth of CEA—What’s Real and What’s Hype from a Retail and Consumer Perspective will feature leadership from a pair of recognized retailers and one of the fresh produce industry’s most progressive grower-shippers, offering their insight on how indoor-grown fresh produce items come to market, pricing and marketing challenges, and how consumers are reacting to them.
Moderated by Walter Robb, former CEO of Whole Foods, the session is the second of a two-part educational series at OPS offering a retailer and consumer perspective on the growth of indoor growing. Among the topics to be discussed in the session are the impact of indoor-grown products on the supply chain, the messaging and labeling of these various items, and the ramifications of what CEA production means for the organic fresh produce industry.
Panelists for the session include Frances Dillard, vice president of brand and product marketing at Driscoll’s; Victor Savanello, vice president produce and floral at Spartan Nash; and Shawn Peery, vice president produce and floral at Albertsons.
Production of fresh produce in CEA has become a $100 billion-plus industry, showcasing how growing indoors uses less water and no pesticides, while incorporating innovative and efficient technologies to provide fresher produce to consumers. “CEA is changing the landscape of food production and providing consumers a variety of new items that will continue to evolve in the years ahead,” said Susan Canales, president of Organic Produce Summit. “OPS attendees will have the chance to hear from retail leadership on how these products are marketed and learn about the challenges and opportunities these new items offer consumers.”
This second educational workshop follows a session exploring the growth of CEA from leaders actively involved in the production of indoor growing. The panelists for the first session include Philip Karp, president of Shenandoah Growers; Marc Oshima, co-founder of AeroFarms; and Caitlin Tierney, director of business development for Mastronardi Produce.
“Indoor agriculture is increasingly playing a more meaningful role in our fresh produce supply, in terms of volume, variety, and geographical footprint,” said Robb. “The ability of indoor ag to provide predictability and resiliency for supply, coupled with its lower impact on both the environment and resource use, is drawing substantial interest from both investors and consumers. Clearly, the future will be a hybrid one and our panels will explore how quickly and responsibly this will happen.”
Organic Produce Summit 2021 is a live and in-person two-day event specifically designed to bring together organic fresh produce growers, shippers, and processors with retailer and buying organizations from across North America. Over 1,000 attendees will meet Sept. 15-16 in Monterey, CA, to exchange ideas, information and insights into the organic fresh produce industry.
In addition to the educational sessions focused on CEA, a session looking at the organic industry in a post-COVID-19 environment and a keynote presentation by Jim Donald, co-chairman of Albertsons, have also been announced. OPS 2021 also includes a selection of field tours for retailers and buyers, a gala opening night reception, and a sold-out trade show floor featuring over 150 producers and processors of organic fresh produce from across North America and the globe.