Exclusive: Cathy Burns, David Marguleas, and Joe Don Zetzsche Talk Fresh Summit
- by Chandler James
ANAHEIM, CA - We’re already nearing the end of September, and the Produce Marketing Association's (PMA) Fresh Summit is inching closer day by day. Slotted for October 17-19, the 70th annual event will take place at the Anaheim Convention Center, where 22,000 produce and floral professionals will gather. This year’s speaker lineup is an especially exciting highlight, as it includes Magic Johnson, Robert Herjavec, Queen Latifah, and PMA CEO Cathy Burns.
“I will speak on new innovations and emerging trends across our strategic areas of focus, which include global connections, talent, sci-tech, demand creation, and sustainability,” said Cathy in a press meeting. “Probably more importantly, I'll be highlighting the impact of these innovations and trends, along with how PMA is finding solutions to some of the challenges in these spaces. Another trend I'll speak to is the technology's impact on food production. I'll be bringing key trends that we're seeing around the world to Fresh Summit. Sustainability across the supply chain is another topic that I'll be digging into. And last, but certainly not least, is talent needs and trends, both for today's work force and tomorrow’s.”
David Marguleas, PMA's Chair and CEO of Sun World International, joined in on the meeting to highlight some of his own plans for the conference.
“Areas that I'll be highlighting on stage this year are the creation of a new tangible research tool and the PMA market tracker, which was designed for our members to measure, benchmark, and better understand consumption data in key global markets for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry,” he said. “The second area that I'm going to be highlighting is the in-depth reports on floral and produce consumption. We've also been working hard to try and package a lot of our food safety expertise and leadership to help the industry move beyond a culture of compliance to one that's truly designed around food safety. We're going to be launching a new food safety certification called Essentials of Produce Safety later this month, which I will talk about at Fresh Summit as well.”
Joe Don Zetzsche, PMA's Chair Elect and the Director of Floral and Blooms Floral Shops at H-E-B also jumped in to explain his hopes for Fresh Summit.
“I'm really trying to dig in and learn more about our consumers, and I believe it's going to be a huge benefit to the floral industry and members of PMA. There's a lot of momentum around produce safety and technology right now, and we have a great opportunity to turn insight into action in these areas. With the changes we're seeing across the world, it's more important than ever to remember that our greatest asset as an industry is our people, so the Center for Growing Talent will be essential in the coming year,” he said.
At the close of our meeting, Cathy divulged a sentiment of Fresh Summit’s continued growth.
“We're committed to making our members’ challenges smaller and their opportunities larger. If you attend and you haven't heard something you haven't heard before or you can't walk out of that room without an insight and action that you can apply to our business, then I believe we've fallen short,” she said.
PMA’s mission is one we believe in wholeheartedly. Follow along with us at ANUK as we continue to cover the Fresh Summit conference.