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Produce and floral industry members from across the globe recently gathered in Southern California for the Produce Marketing Association's first board meeting of 2015, during which discussion topics centered on key issues such as: global trade, future talent needs, omni-channel fulfillment, analysis of environmental issues that members face, efficient use of natural resources, and PMA's role in driving demand – all important pieces of PMA’s strategic plan.
A few key decisions were made as part of those discussions:
- PMA will charter a Global Task Force that will be responsible for evaluating the current global marketplace and PMA’s strategy.
- PMA will charter a Marketing Task Force responsible for developing demand creation opportunities that will drive fresh produce consumption and floral demand.
- The PMA Foundation Board gave enthusiastic support to an initiative being developed by graduates of its Emerging Leaders Program that models great eating behaviors at industry events.
“We’re seeing incredibly strong support in membership renewals which shows us that we’re doing our job to provide global, balanced, and differentiated value that our members are asking for,” says Kevin Fiori, Sunkist Growers VP of sales and marketing and PMA board chairwoman. “We also had a tremendous amount of energy in discussions centered on the environment members’ face as well as the association’s role in demand creation and marketing activities to boost fruit and vegetable consumption.”
Other discussions during the three days of meetings included eat brighter! and the four value areas of PMA’s strategic plan:
eat brighter! – The movement, a collaboration between PMA, the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) and Sesame Workshop, grants members of the fresh produce industry royalty-free use of the Sesame Street character images. The unprecedented initiative aims to change the game of marketing in the fresh produce industry and inspire children and their families to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. In less than one year, much progress has been made thanks to a group of industry marketers and champions:
- 48 industry leaders (a growing number) have been licensed to use the "eat brighter!" assets in their go-to-market strategies. They join a large list of retail companies who are eagerly accepting product.
- The breadth of the eat brighter! brand power includes 100+ licensed commodities and 29,000 retail stores.
Global Connections – Among discussions on PMA’s work to sustain consumer connections by linking industry to the people, new markets, trends and insights needed to build demand:
- The PMA board approved a new Global Task Force, responsible for evaluating the current global marketplace and PMA’s strategy to ensure members are connected to each other and the markets that will help their businesses grow. The task force will consist of members of the Global Development Committee and PMA country councils around the world.
- As part of PMA’s research practice, board members evaluated future consumer and industry trends and both the obstacles and opportunities for future member value offerings.
Science and Technology – Responding to the industry’s challenge of increasing food production with fewer resources while bolstering confidence in the safety of fresh fruits and vegetables:
- The PMA board discussed developing PMA’s technology resources as technology is playing an increasingly important role in making the industry’s businesses more efficient and focused. PMA Tech Talks and PMA Tech Knowledge, both held in the first half of the year, will connect members to new ideas, emerging technologies and investors looking to impact the agricultural production space.
- PMA, PMA Australia-New Zealand, and the Center for Produce Safety (CPS) are working together to further develop the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia by leveraging the volumes of work already accomplished through CPS.
Issues Leadership – Among discussions on PMA’s work to inform and influence the conversations around solutions to reduce barriers to consumption:
- Hunt Shipman, of Cornerstone Government Affairs, and PMA staff presented progress on the direction for issues impacting the industry. For example:
- With the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act now working toward implementation, PMA is working with alliances including the PMA Science and Technology Committee, allied trade organizations, commissions and commodity boards on education and outreach for industry. More details on training programs will be available in the spring.
- As the U.S. Administration puts more emphasis on global trade agreements, PMA’s Issues Leadership team has been working to provide information – educating government on the industry and providing information to members on these agreements and their potential impact on commerce.
Industry Talent - Strategies designed to attract, develop and retain were supported as was the concept that the industry needs to embrace strategic human resource practices in addition to compliance human resources activities:
- The PMA Foundation Board of Directors clarified the talent strategies required for the global produce and floral industries to flourish, including strategic human resource practices. It was noted that, with the improving economy, the "war for talent" will be accelerating, underscoring PMA Foundation’s value as a solution for the industry.
- The Talent Development Committee learned about the latest talent management trends from McKinsey consultant, Michael Burchell. The committee, and PMA Foundation Board, will use this information and the resulting conversations to frame the continued development of programs to help the industry attract, develop and retain talent.
- The PMA Foundation Fundraising Committee discussed ways that individuals and corporations can make a commitment to PMA Foundation and the importance of sharing with the industry how fundraising dollars are being used to support the talent mission. The committee, and PMA Foundation Board, reviewed and celebrated last year’s Industry Talent Fund success and carved out their personal plans to build awareness and raise funds.