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PMA Fresh Connections: Retail attracts key buyers for final year in Philly

More than 35 produce buyers are scheduled to attend Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Connections: Retail event, March 25-26 in Philadelphia, PA, where PMA plans to bring back the best of retail at Philly, so to speak, plus some new attractions before the event goes on the road next year. 

Registration is limited to 200 for the networking and education event that connects produce suppliers and business solution providers with U.S. and Canadian supermarket retailers and wholesalers. Fresh Connections: Retail, which has been held in Philadelphia for eight consecutive years, typically sells out in advance. Prices increase after March 19. PMA members receive registration discounts. 

PMA NewFreshConnections RGB 300dpi First-time participants in 2020 include: Associated Grocers of New England; Allegiance Retail Services, LLC; Citarella Markets; and Stop & Shop Supermarket, Co. Additional buyers slated to attend include: Acme Markets, Inc.; Associated Wholesale Grocers Corporate; Food Lion; Giant Food Stores, LLC; HelloFresh; Longo Brothers Fruit Markets Inc.; Merchants Distributors, Inc.; Pyramid Foods; Sprouts Farmers Market; Wakefern Food Corporation; and Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.   

Oldies, but Goodies 

A consumer panel —an attendee favorite at past events — will make a return appearance at Fresh Connections: Retail in 2020. Author, consultant, and commentator Brian Numainville, principal of Retail Feedback Group, will moderate the “Up Close and Personal – Hear from the Consumer” session March 26. He’ll guide PMA’s group of consumer panelists as they discuss drivers behind their purchasing decisions and will help provide insights retailers can use to shape customer perception of the products we sell. 

Numainville is a leading expert on consumer-centered market research and coauthor of “Feedback Rules!: 52 ways to listen to your stakeholders.” With 20-plus years of experience managing B2B, B2C, geographic information system and site location research, one of Numainville’s self-described passions is translating complex data into meaningful stories. 

In addition, PMA will once again crowdsource education session topics for its afternoon Experience Exchange Breakouts on March 26. The breakout sessions will give retailers and suppliers an opportunity to converse, collaborate, and explore potential solutions to industry challenges. Each breakout will feature a retailer guiding the conversation but be prepared for open dialogue. 

What’s New at Fresh Connections: Retail 2020 

March 26 will begin with a networking breakfast and brief welcome before a panel of retailers discuss how suppliers and buyers can collaborate on “Improving Supply Chain Challenges – One Opportunity at a Time.” Anthony Totta, founder and chief executive officer of FreshXperts, is scheduled to moderate the retail panel discussion. FreshXperts is a consortium of specialists who consult to the fresh food industry. Totta is also founder, chief executive officer and a produce consultant for Grow My Profits, LLC. He has more than 35 years of experience in fresh produce procurement, supply chain management, retails sales, marketing, wholesale development and distribution. 

PMA is also excited to announce that Roxi Beck, consumer engagement director at The Center for Food Integrity, will also join at Fresh Connections: Retail on March 26. Beck’s work with the center focuses on directing strategy and activities for consumer-facing initiatives related to food. She’s also vice president, client services & creative support, for Look East PR, which provides research, communications and PR counsel focusing on consumers and the food industry. 

Beck will participate in the Networking Lunch and Research Pod Activity, which will feature an on-demand station with research related to retail trends focused on sustainability. Beck will also guide one of the afternoon Experience Exchange Breakout discussion groups on March 26. 

In addition, PMA will have information on hand at Fresh Connections: Retail about the eat brighter!™ Sesame Street character marketing program. Retailers, suppliers and promotional organizations can join the program for a small, one-time fee, and can then use Sesame Street character images on labels and marketing materials.  

Day One Special Events 

Day one of Fresh Connections: Retail on March 25 begins with an optional volunteer opportunity with Philabundance, a hunger-relief organization that serves 90,000 people weekly in nine counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Fresh Connections: Retail attendees can volunteer to work an afternoon shift with PMA at the Philabundance Hunger Relief Center at the Galloway Warehouse. Volunteers will help sort and pack food that can include produce, canned goods, or meat as well as helping with warehouse tasks. Sign up online at the conference registration link.  

Fresh Connections: Retail will also include a PMA thinkTANK with industry leaders from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on March 25. Discussions will focus on topics relevant to retail. The session is one of a series planned this year, where PMA thought partners will engage in vibrant dialogue around a variety of topics and pressing issues facing the fresh produce and floral industry. PMA thinkTANK participation is by invitation only; however, interested members are encouraged to contact PMA to be considered for future opportunities. 

Limited slots will be available for Members Helping Members from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on March 25. This program pairs members attending the conference who want a marketing consultation with member marketing experts. 

A welcome networking reception for all participants is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 7 pm. on March 25. 

Contact PMA’s Member Services at  or +1 (303) 738-7100 with questions about Fresh Connections: Retail or PMA membership.  

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