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More than 22,400 members of the global fresh produce and floral industry are settling back to their home bases after four productive days in Anaheim, Calif., for the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) 2014 Fresh Summit. In addition to record attendance, this year’s annual global produce pageant also topped the charts on the show floor, which was packed with visitors making their way through two days of a swarmed expo floor that featured an impressive 1,090 exhibiting companies occupying 265,300 net square feet.
Focusing heavily on inspiring consumers – particularly kids – to elevate consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, a series of education sessions reinforced the message with topics revolving around global trade, talent management and food safety. Attendees who took the conversation online with social media made history for the fresh produce and floral industry when #FreshSummit was marked as one of the most popular social media conversations around the world all day.
While the expo floor brimmed with new products, packaging trends, technologies and innovations, educational workshops featured a series of topics delivered by industry and business experts, including Let’s Move! Executive Director and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Sam Kass, U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Foods Mike Taylor and California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross.
Additional highlights of PMA's 2014 Fresh Summit appear below.
Spezzano Honored With 2014 Robert L. Carey Leadership Award
Veteran produce industry leader Dick Spezzano, president of Spezzano Consulting, received the 2014 Robert L. Carey Leadership Award, in recognition of his outstanding leadership and an uncommon commitment to PMA and the produce industry.
“This is a man who epitomizes what it means to give back to the industry in which he’s worked for over 50 years,” said last year’s winner Jay Pack, while presenting the award to Spezzano. “He believes in reaching out to youth – to build healthy eating habits early and to attract the best and the brightest young talent. Together with his wife Carole, he’s also set the bar by making a legacy gift to the PMA Foundation for Industry Talent. Talk about the power of commitment.”
For his part, Spezzano said: "This award is very special to me as I was on the PMA board of directors for ten years while Bob was the association leader. Under Bob's leadership, I learned many things and especially the art of giving back to an industry that has been good to me."
Five Companies Honored for Packaging Excellence
More than 75 submissions from 56 companies vied for five 2014 PMA Impact Awards: Excellence in Packaging. A panel of judges, among which included Progressive Grocer's Meg Major, looked for products that lead as examples in produce and floral packaging, demonstrating originality with emphasis on connecting with consumers, safeguarding the product inside, sustaining the environment and improving supply chain efficiencies. Judges scored each entry in five areas: marketing, food safety, supply chain efficiency, sustainability excellence and consumer convenience excellence.
Winners of PMA's 2014 Impact Awards include:
- CMI Columbia Marketing International: “GO GO” Fresh Cherry Package
- Earthbound Farm: PowerMeal Bowls
- Fresh Solutions Network: Side Delights Gourmet Petites
- Mucci Farms: The New Pint
- Wholly Guacamole: Wholly Guacamole Grab N Guac Box