NEWPORT, RI — The keynote breakfast Thursday morning, Sept. 11, was just one of the many highlights at the New England Produce Council's 2014 Produce & Floral Expo.
NEPC President Bob McGowan of Northeast Produce Sales welcomed everyone to the breakfast, beginning with a moment of silence in remembrance of the terrorist attacks on the United States back on Sept. 11, 2001.
He noted that 2014 represents "our 15th annual NEPC expo," adding,"We really appreciate the support of all our sponsors."
Krista Neher, author, social media pioneer and chief executive officer of Boot Camp Digital, delivered the keynote address, focusing on the role of social media and how businesses can utilize this expanding phenomenon.
Social media "is about the people you want to connect with," she said, and retailers "can use social media as well." There is an "inherent trust in brands [that] people have heard of," so "get in front of them," she said. "We like people and products the more we see them."
She said that a key to success is getting out a message that is really useful and creative, not simply a static one.
Following the keynote address, CeCe Krumrine was announced as the New England Person of the Year. Krumrine has been a merchandiser for a number of commodity boards during her career, and she co-founded the New England Produce Council back in 1995.
"I love this industry," said Krumrine, who was moved to tears by the award, especially as members of her family gathered around her. "You have all been mentors to me. Wow."
The trade show, set up outside under tents, followed the keynote breakfast.
The United Fresh Produce Association honored Paramount Citrus as the Produce Industry Advocate of the Year earlier this week at its Washington Conference. Paramount Citrus has been a long-time leader in the public policy arena, serving on several of United’s boards and councils, including United’s board of directors.
Additionally, Paramount Citrus executives have been major supporters of the United FreshPAC, and the company has consistently sponsored events at United’s annual Washington policy conference. Tom Stenzel, United Fresh Produce Association president and chief executive officer, presented the award to David Krause, president of Paramount Citrus.
“Paramount Citrus has been a leader in the public policy arena at United for many years,” Stenzel said in a press release. “Their consistent support of United’s public policy programs, including sponsorships at the Washington Conference and United’s annual conventions, demonstrates the commitment of Paramount Citrus and their partners in the Roll Corporation for advancing produce industry priorities here in Washington, DC.”
Paramount Citrus is a major supporter of United’s Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which, in support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program, donates salad bars to schools to improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables for the nation’s children. The salad bar initiative is just one part of United’s public policy agenda for improving child nutrition through increased consumption of fresh produce.
The United Fresh Produce Industry Advocate of the Year Award pays special recognition to one United Fresh member each year that serves as an advocate for the entire produce industry. Honorees are leading companies and associations that make an impact and drive the industry forward.
Past award winners include the following:
GloriAnn Farms announce the return of its “Corn for the Cause” campaign for the third consecutive year. In each of the past two years, the campaign has raised almost $20,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc. Taking place the entire month of October, for every case of corn sold to participating retailers, GloriAnn Farms will make a donation to NBCF. For campaign details, retailers can contact their sales representative and visit www.gloriannfarms.com for additional information.
“GloriAnn, along with Five Crowns Marketing, are honored to be partnering with such a worthy charitable foundation as the NBCF,” Mark Bacchetti, GloriAnn Farms principal, said in a press release. “We hope to not only raise a significant donation again this year, but believe our campaign and others like it raise awareness to the importance that early detection and general awareness can save lives.”
The GloriAnn tray packs for the month of October will include a sticker featuring the recognizable pink ribbon and highlighting the National Breast Cancer Foundation and some will also feature a pink tray.
"While helping to promote a worthy cause, the 'Corn for the Cause' campaign also provides a unique merchandising opportunity for retailers," Daren Van Dyke, director of sales and marketing for Five Crowns, said in the release.
Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. Inc. is hosting its third annual "Go Bananas! Halloween Costume Giveaway" in an effort to encourage healthy eating and living during the Halloween holiday and to promote Del Monte premium bananas as alternatives to traditional Halloween treats.
The sweepstakes will give consumers the chance to win a "Del Monte" branded banana costume to wear for their Halloween festivities.
The Go Bananas! promotion will randomly award a banana costume to 1,000 Del Monte social media fans who enter online at www.freshhalloween.com.
In addition, users who submit photos of past Halloween costumes and use the hashtag #IdRatherBeABanana, will gain an additional five entries.
"We have seen a tremendous amount of positive feedback from consumers and we are excited to bring the promotion back for another year," Dennis Christou, vice president of North American Marketing for Del Monte Fresh, said in a press release. "Consumers love dressing up as bananas and it is a great opportunity to reward our loyal fans while at the same time promoting healthy Halloween treats. We haven't seen anyone turn down a Del Monte banana costume yet, or the chance to pose in one! They'd all rather be a Del Monte banana."
The promotion will be supported throughout the United States and Canada with secondary banana stickers, point-of-sale material to liven up banana displays for Halloween, and through Del Monte's social media platforms.
The three-week promotion will begin Sept. 15 and end Oct. 5 in order to guarantee delivery in time for Halloween.
For more information about Del Monte's Go Bananas giveaway, contact your local Del Monte Fresh Produce representative or visit us at www.freshhalloween.com.
The Idaho Potato Commission's annual Potato Lovers' Month display contest has become so successful, with so many stores participating, that it has become necessary to expand the promotion to eight weeks, rather than just four weeks in February.
Last year, demand for Idaho potatoes during the February promotion was so great it essentially reached the limit of the capacity of Idaho potato packing facilities to meet the demand. Therefore, for the 2015 Potato Lovers' Month, the contest period will be extended to eight weeks. It will start mid-January and continue into mid-March.
Potato Lovers' Month, now in its 24th year, "has grown exponentially," said Seth Pemsler, vice president of retail for the Idaho Potato Commission. "It is now the largest display contest in all the U.S. in fruits and vegetables," and that success is expected to continue. For 2015, "we will hopefully add some new customers, which we are always trying to do."
According to Frank Muir, president of the commission, Prior to 2005, the average number of displays for the annual Potato Lovers' Month display contest was 600. From 2006 to 2012, there were an average of 2,000 displays. "The last two years, we have averaged 4,500. A big part of that is we now have Walmart as a major partner in that event."
The commission will continue to work with Hormel as a partner for the Potato Lovers' Month promotion, Pemsler told The Produce News.
As an adjunct to the national contest, "we do individual contests with retailers," Pemsler said. "We go to retailers and say, 'If you convince your chain to participate, we will give you an internal contest,' and the retailer can still participate in the national contest," he said. "That will continue to expand."
Elaborating on the reason for extending the time period for the Potato Lovers' Month contest to eight weeks, Pemsler said that the number of participating stores has increased so much in the past two years that "our shippers can't pack that fast. We actually missed some opportunities this year" because there was not enough volume available to meet the additional demand. By expanding the promotion to eight weeks, "the Idaho shipping community can meet the increasing demand" generated by the Potato Lovers' Month promotions.
The Potato Lovers' Month promotion — and many other commission programs — couldn't be executed without the field team, Pemsler said.
Among the commission's other retail programs is "our category management initiative, our new data initiative, which is very helpful to retailers. But the way we execute all these things requires our field team," he said.
The field team consists of people who "grew up doing exactly what the people they are calling on do," Pemsler continued. "All of our field people — retail and foodservice — come from the industry. " On the retail side they have been produce directors, "and they have been distributors on the foodservice side, so they have phenomenal knowledge and credibility. They act as consultants to their counterparts."
The commission is giving increased attention to the Hispanic marketplace in its retail programs. "We did extensive research to identify and understand the Hispanic consumer, and what we learned was the Hispanic consumers are very brand conscious," and when it comes to produce "they are extremely brand conscious because there are so few bands," Pemsler said. The Hispanic consumers "skew very heavily toward the perception that a brand is better and Idaho is the best brand."
To make retailers that have stores with Hispanic demographics aware of those facts, the commission "created a presentation that explains what Hispanic consumers are looking for and how the retailers are missing opportunities if they are not making sure Idaho potatoes are present and visible in those stores, he said.