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April 11-12

Key buyers to attend PMA Fresh Connections: Retail

More than 20 major produce buyers are scheduled to attend the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Connections: Retail event April 11-12, 2018, at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott in Philadelphia, Pa., USA.

PMA Fresh Connections: Retail will connect produce suppliers and business solution providers with U.S. retailers and wholesalers, including Affiliated Foods, Inc., Alpha 1 Marketing, AWG, C&S Wholesale, Fiesta Mart, HelloFresh, Meijer, Moms Organic Markets, and Wakefern.

The event will feature a keynote by PMA CEO Cathy Burns on industry insights into fresh food at retail, and a return of the popular UnConference format with a few new twists.

Registration is limited to 180, and this event typically sells out in advance each year.

Wholesale market tour & produce gleaning service project
New to the Fresh Connections: Retail event this year is the opportunity to participate in a community service project through Philabundance and the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market. A limited number of conference participants will have the opportunity to form a shift of volunteers who will glean produce that otherwise would be thrown out because it’s not cosmetically pleasing. The rescued produce is redirected to food-insecure neighbors in the Philadelphia area.

PMA’s participation in the Philabundance Produce Market Rescue service project is scheduled from 1-3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11 at the wholesale market. Because of the nature of the work, participation is limited to 20 conference attendees. Those interested should register early for Fresh Connections: Retail and select the Rescue Glean with Philabundance event on the registration form to maximize chances to participate.

“Many PMA members throughout the fresh produce supply chain are adopting programs to reduce food waste in a variety of ways. In a similar manner, by participating in the Rescue Glean event you too can make a difference in the local community and bring to life PMA’s vision of bringing together the global produce and floral community to grow a healthier world,” said Joe Watson, PMA vice president of membership Eastern US & Canada. “We are honored to have the opportunity to participate with our retail conference attendees.”

The Fresh Connections: Retail Opening Reception is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 11.

Prior to the networking and education event on Thursday, April 12, PMA will host a retail tour of the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market from 6:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Tour attendees will visit the world’s largest fully enclosed, fully refrigerated wholesale produce terminal. Participation is limited. Those interested should select the check box for the tour option online or on the registration form to register.

Participants to discuss industry challenges, opportunities
This year’s UnConference program builds on last year’s success, and some changes have been made to add more value. The event will provide a forum for attendees to openly discuss challenges and opportunities in the industry, as well as leave with actionable ideas.

Facilitator Bill Aal, managing partner of, will be back to guide participants through interactive sessions on crowd-sourced discussion topics. This is the second time this format will be used at Fresh Connections: Retail. Everyone will play a role, as discussion leader and/or participant.

Participants in the 2017 PMA Fresh Connections: Retail event said the UnConference format allowed for interactive and thought-provoking conversations about key topics in the industry, including Todd Bragg of Four Seasons Produce who said he “learned a lot and everyone added value to the experience.”

Attendees at the 2018 event will have the opportunity to discuss both retail and consumer trends. Discussion groups will form on-site; however, registrants will be given instructions in advance to inspire topic ideas and guide conversations. Interactive discussion groups will take place in three 50-minute blocks, with 15-minute networking breaks in between. The event will close with a culminating activity designed to help participants digest, reflect and plan possible next steps.

“This is a great way to learn alongside other smart industry leaders, and to network with them as we embrace the challenges of the future together,” said Joe Don Zetzsche, Director of Floral and Blooms Floral Shops at H-E-B, and member of both PMA’s Board of Directors and Floral Council.

In addition to growers, processors, retailers, wholesalers and distributors, Fresh Connections: Retail participants typically include business solution providers offering services such as packaging, labeling, transportation, machinery, financing, accounting and more.

The PMA Fresh Connections: Retail event is open to PMA members and prospective members. PMA members receive a registration discount. Register before April 2 for the best price.

For more information:
Cassidy Taylor
Produce Marketing Association
+1 (302) 781-5852

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