Connecting with consumers in an era of inflation, the rise of omnichannel marketing and the future of supply chain sustainability were among the hot button issues explored at the sixth annual Organic Produce Summit last week in Monterey, CA.
With a record 1,700 attendees, the event’s largest turnout ever, organic fresh produce growers, shippers and producers met with over 300 retailers from across North America to discuss the growth of organic fresh produce and the opportunities that lie ahead to further bolster sales and consumption in line with evolving consumer lifestyles.
“Based on feedback from attendees, OPS 2022 was a tremendous success, meeting the goals and objectives in discussing the growth, opportunities and challenges of the organic fresh produce industry in the post-pandemic landscape,” said Susan Canales, president of OPS.
Among the standout activities at the show were the keynote presentations.
Among the standout activities of the OPS were a trio of keynote presentations. John Ruane, senior vice-president omnichannel merchandising and chief merchandising officer for The GIANT company, discussed how the grocery landscape has evolved over the years, and the importance of retailers developing a consistent shopping experience across all consumer touch points to create a seamless brand experience. “The customer wants to save time and money and they want solutions,” said Ruane. “They also want unlimited assortment, the best prices and great quality.”
“The Future of Grocery Retailing” led by Walter Robb, former co-CEO of Whole Foods and current principal of Stonewall Robb Advisors, featured retailers Michael Schutt, director of produce for Raley’s, Jeff Cady, director of produce for Tops Markets and Edmund LaMacchia, former global vice president of procurement for Whole Foods, discussed how the industry can maintain growth in the face of supply chain issues, the role of technology and e-commerce, the evolving consumer and new innovations in retail.
With a record 1,700 attendees, the event’s largest turnout ever, organic fresh produce growers, shippers and producers met with over 300 retailers from across North America.
“At the onset of the pandemic, we witnessed a shift from foodservice to the grocery store with the retailer as hero and food as the key element to wellness and health. It was a golden opportunity to change the paradigm,” said LaMacchia.
Tops’ Cady said that while he sees a slight decline in units, overall sales are up, and customers see food as medicine, but they want it as easy and affordable as possible. Schutt, in turn, said retailers must deliver on value proposition with a focus on quality and transparency.
In the third Keynote, Plastic Bank founder David Katz engaged OPS attendees on the challenges of ridding the world’s ocean of plastic, and how he developed an ecosystem that provides consumers living in impoverished areas an opportunity to collect and trade plastic waste for currency.
FreshPlaza made a photo report from the trade show. Click here to see the report.