Judging by the numerous new products on display at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit 2011 in Atlanta, marketers are feeling confident in themselves, their products and the marketplace.
And with the outlook for increased sales — and improved public health — thanks to fresh produce’s expanded presence in government feeding efforts and consumers’ awareness of the link between diet and health, that optimism is justified.
From the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate urging citizens to fill half their plate with fruits and vegeables with each meal to the salad bars in schools program, the industry is getting more support than ever.
“Fruits and vegetables — they’re the main event,” Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan said during her address to the opening lunch crowd.
As evidenced on the expo floor, marketers are doing their part by coming out with ever more creative and convenient ways to enjoy their products.
Keynote speaker at a general session, Jim Donald, former CEO of Starbucks and executive in a couple of retail grocery chains said, “Don’t ask customers what they want. Tell them what they need.”
It seems produce companies are embracing this.
With attendance flirting with the 18,000 mark, Fresh Summit 2011 was close to 2010’s eastern U.S. record set in Orlando, Fla., which broke the previous record set in 2008 in Orlando.
Next year brings the summit back to Anaheim, Calif., where it’s a consistently strong draw.
Though it remains a year off, the momentum from 2011 has the trade on the right track.
Did The Packer get it right? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.