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Day 1 of CPMA Vancouver:

Trade show floor saw busy first day

CPMA's Annual Convention and Trade Show in Vancouver kicked off yesterday, April 24. The location of the event is hard to beat: the Vancouver Convention Centre overlooks the harbour and mountains north of Vancouver. Most attendees arrived on Monday and Tuesday and enjoyed walks along a sunny harbourfront. As the rain kicked in on Wednesday, it was a good time to spend the day indoors, enjoying lots of networking and soaking up all CPMA had to offer.

Duck-dom versus eagle-ism
The program started with a Delegate Breakfast. Cassie Campbell – Pascall, former Captain of the Canadian Women's Hockey Team was the keynote speaker and talked about leadership and the importance of being a consistent leader. "Consistent leaders embrace challenges and overcome them," she said. "They make people feel valued, make people feel they contribute." She compared eagles – that soar high and are protective - to ducks that tend to complain a lot. "Who would you rather be," she asked. "It's human nature to be ducks, but we need eagles. We need to turn negative duck-dom into positive eagle-ism," she said.

State of the Industry
The breakfast session was followed by a Delegate Lunch with CPMA President, Ron Lemaire, delivering his State of the Industry Address. Lemaire highlighted the resilience of the fresh produce sector amid global challenges. He discussed how sustainability, political upheaval and changing consumer behaviour are influencing the ongoing challenges within the industry.

Lemaire's presentation was followed by a discussion with a panel of U.S. retailers, including Sprouts Market, Grocery Outlet, and Costco. Each panelist discussed how their retail concept differentiates in the market, what sustainability means to them and how they would like to innovate in produce.

Trade show and New Product Showcase
After these sessions, the trade show floor opened at 1:30 pm. Over 300 companies showed their latest product introductions and were trying to get as much time with retailers as possible. It was a busy afternoon on the show floor and exhibitors were content with the turnout as it is CPMA biggest Vancouver event to date. About 60 products of 36 companies were featured in the New Product Showcase program and showed produce in four categories. For each category, a winner was selected:

Mucci Farms won the Packaging Innovation Award with their new paper/bamboo mesh bag.

Windset Farms' Eco Paper won the award for Best Organic Product.

EarthFresh Farms' steamed fresh vegetables won the Best New Product Award.

The Award for Best Snackable Product went to Taylor Farms for their Snack Packs.

Today, the program will start with an Awards Brunch in the morning, followed by an afternoon trade show.