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Search for value is theme of state-of-the-industry address at upcoming PMA convention

by | October 05, 2010
NEWARK, DE — To encourage the produce industry to think differently about the concept of value, Bryan Silbermann, Produce Marketing Association's president and chief executive officer, will charge the industry to look beyond price alone for ways to connect to consumers’ personal values when he presents his annual state of the industry address this year.

Mr. Silbermann will deliver the 2010 installment of his popular annual address Oct. 15 as the keynote speaker at the opening luncheon general session of PMA’s 2010 International Convention & Exposition, known as Fresh Summit, Oct. 15-18 in Orlando, FL.

"As consumers increasingly seek to connect with the faces behind their food, they have focused on locally grown, health and wellness — and so should we," Mr. Silbermann said in a Sept. 22 press release. “While some parts of our industry may need to adjust the way they go to market to better tell their story and establish their identity in consumers’ minds, overall this comprehensive shift in consumer thinking is a positive thing for our industry.”

During his state of the industry addresses over the past seven years, Mr. Silbermann has charged the industry to adjust to and lead on new trends, sometimes before they had even been widely realized. In this year’s address, he will engage the audience with how consumers are thinking vs. acting with their wallets, and what that means for the produce industry in the framework of the recovering economy.

For example, flavor, health and wellness are at the core of the Foodservice 2020 Initiative, a joint project to increase produce usage significantly on foodservice menus in the next 10 years. Mr. Silbermann will update attendees on the initiative being spearheaded by PMA, the National Restaurant Association and the International Foodservice Distributors Association, which encourages operators to focus on healthier menus and to put more produce on the plate. Similarly, he will charge retailers to maintain the market position they have recently gained in the prepared foods arena by also focusing on flavor, health and wellness.

Recognizing that supply chain-wide partnerships and cooperation will become increasingly important as the industry strives to respond to changing consumer values, Mr. Silbermann will highlight two key industry topics: food safety and traceability. He will encourage industry to support and implement the Produce Traceability Initiative and will highlight the successes to date of the innovative Center for Produce Safety and its global produce-specific food-safety research.

Mr. Silbermann will also take a look at how the globalization of the produce industry — and the consumers it serves — is affecting how companies do business. “With today’s global consumer and the reach of the Internet, the world is becoming a smaller place. What does that mean to our supply chain? I’ll discuss that,” Mr. Silbermann said in the release.