Produce Marketing Association welcomed guests, suppliers, and media to a public webinar on Thursday, August 13 to get a sneak peek at the Fresh Summit 2020 experience. The event, held each year in October, convenes over 20,000 industry members to share insights, showcase new and innovative products and solutions, and make connections for both individuals and organizations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the on-site event has shifted to a virtual experience that will take place October 13-15.
The webinar on Thursday was the first of many touchpoints between guests and event organizers and had two major sections addressing first the promise of a tailored and personalized experience for all guests and a second section focused on buyer and supplier connections. The event is being planned in partnership with the Fresh Summit committee, a volunteer group comprised of industry members including Co-chairs Shawn Peery, VP of produce and floral at Albertsons Companies and Angela Fraser, director of trade affairs at California Avocado Commission.
“Going virtual means we have an unlimited audience that we can connect with, market to and communicate with,” said Peery. “That means potential new partners in new parts of the world, but it also means we can reach out to people who don’t often get the opportunity to see this side of the work we do.”
While the content is always an important part of the Fresh Summit schedule, this year, the insights from PMA, CGT, industry peers and experts will address critical and relevant topics to help the industry reflect back on the year we’ve had and see where we’re headed in the coming months. More information will be provided about the specific sessions and speakers closer to the event, however, it was confirmed that there will be a lineup of live, on-demand, and interactive content on this year’s agenda.
“Every year, Fresh Summit has been the produce and floral industry’s family reunion,” said Fraser. “Though this year will be different, Produce Marketing Association will serve as the leader in guiding and directing our industry through this ever-changing world.”
Some people can measure their careers in the number of Fresh Summits they’ve attended. It is a tradition that is core to the spirit of the industry – lively, enthusiastic, and dedicated. While it will be the first time in over 70 years that the industry will not meet in person, it will still be Fresh Summit. It will still be a time to learn, to connect and reconnect, and to celebrate. The way we do these things may change, but the reason will remain the same. To come together to drive consumption of fresh produce and floral products and in turn, to grow a healthier world.
Most years, people would prepare for Fresh Summit by picking out their comfiest shoes, studying the Expo and Conference Hall map, and making a plan to cover as much ground as possible. This year, that may look a bit different, but guests’ goals are the same and the team has selected a virtual platform to prioritize connections. Guests can expect a personalized experience, tailored to their individual goals. The platform will prioritize connections between buyers and sellers and feature a number of ways to engage with and discover the latest products, services and solutions. For example, the presentation showcased ways for suppliers to connect by smart and simple “matching.” Using artificial intelligence, the platform will continuously provide recommendations of relevant people, products, services and content to engage with based on information provided at registration and how one explores the system. The experience will resemble a personalized shopping or entertaining platform like Amazon or Netflix.
The interactive platform will allow individuals to build their own schedule, setting aside time for content or meetings and will also allow for a variety of meeting types including one on one, small group, or large groups during General Sessions, mixers or receptions. The event will be global, with guests tuning in from all over the world, and providing a place for all guests to build the experience that will help them get the most out of their three days in October.
While the event itself will run from the 13-15 of October, guests will be invited to login well in advance with the goal to let guests build their schedule, make connections and set up meetings so that when the event begins, there is not a minute wasted.
PMA will continue to provide regular updates to prepare all guests and suppliers for the upcoming virtual event. All interested in receiving updates about Fresh Summit 2020 can sign up here.