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Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit 2020—It's a Wrap!

Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit 2020—It's a Wrap!

CYBERSPACE - The week of October in which produce mayhem, marketing, and innovations abound looked and felt a bit different this year, but it was far from canceled. In fact, while everyone might have been in workout or sleep clothes from the waist down, it looked as if all brought their A-game to the Fresh Summit floor. As for that floor being in cyberspace, that course is a strong one in terms of stats.

Hundreds of video meetings, thousands of page visits, and, by Day Three, 60 percent buyer initiation of meeting requests, helped to break records for the annual event across the board.

Cathy Burns, Chief Executive Officer, Produce Marketing Association“Based on feedback from our members and guests, we are beyond pleased with how the first three days of Fresh Summit have met their needs for compelling, differentiated educational content,” said Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Chief Executive Officer Cathy Burns. “While the pandemic prevented us from getting together in person, the Fresh Summit platform extends the event beyond the limits of traditional calendar days to a full month of community and connections. With a high number of retail buyers actively participating in the Marketplace, we will continue to help facilitate connections across the global supply chain in the weeks ahead. Thank you to everyone who trusted in us to bring a virtual Fresh Summit to life!”

PMA was able to track daily engagement throughout its new platform—numbers that will only increase as the show stays open up to November 13.

The first-ever virtual Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit saw records break across the board

As for the trio of days we all would normally close on...

Day One:

  • More than 12,000 messages exchanged
  • More than 17,000 visits made to Marketplace pages
  • More than 3,000 Marketplace pages bookmarked

Day Two:

  • More than 500 video meetings taken place
  • More than 30,000 visits to Marketplace pages
  • Almost 40,000 messages exchanged
  • More than 10,000 visits to the Fresh Ideas Showcase

Day Three:

  • More than 40,000 messages exchanged
  • More than 800 video meetings taken place
  • Marketplace pages have been visited more than 61,000 times
  • Buyers have initiated over 60 percnet of the meeting requests sent

Tim Riley, President, The Giumarra Companies“This year’s Fresh Summit was more inclusive and global than ever as PMA brought our industry together virtually. With the removal of travel barriers, our team was able to make many new connections with people we have not yet had the chance to meet at in-person events,” Tim Riley, President of the Giumarra Companies, observed.

Truly, with 64 countries represented, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Peru, Colombia, and more, this was a global fresh produce and floral event.

Nichole Towell, Director of Marketing, Duda Farm Fresh Foods“We are thankful to the buyers who attended the Fresh Summit preview and show over the past couple of weeks and days, by putting in the effort of making a plan, participating, and connecting with exhibitors that were eager to meet with them. Virtual conferences are new to everyone in our industry and while we all had to adapt to the new platform, we made the best out of the situation,” Nichole Towell, Director of Marketing for Duda Farm Fresh Foods, shared. “The PMA staff truly partnered with Duda Farm Fresh Foods as an exhibitor and worked diligently to ensure we got the most out of our Marketplace page and overall presence throughout the show.”

And while much of the show was a first, there were some tried and true moments that brought us all back to any past PMA Fresh Summit we’ve attended.

As attendees became more and more familiar with the virtual Fresh Summit platform, Day Three saw buyers initiate over 60 percent of the meeting requests sent


  • More than 360 exhibitors spread across four Marketplaces between Produce, Complementary Items, Floral, and Solutions
  • More than 150 products were represented in the Fresh Ideas Showcase
  • Buyers self-identified what areas they were there to buy from and could choose more than one marketplace. Overall, buyer attendance was at a historic high resulting in a buyer-to-booth ratio of:
    • Produce/Complementary: 9 buyers to every 1 booth
    • Floral: 10 buyers for every 1 booth
    • Solutions: 18 buyers to every 1 booth

Congratulations to Award Recipients:

  • Robert L. Carey Award – Excellence in Leadership: Jin Ju Wilder, Director of Marketing and Business Development, Vesta Foodservice
  • Bryan E. Silbermann Award – Excellence in Collaboration: Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, Executive Director, Center for Produce Safety
  • Floral Marketer of the Year Award: Debora Steier, Vice President of Floral, Albertsons Companies
  • Retail Merchant Innovation Award:
    • Scott Bennett, Produce Sales Manager at Jewel Osco
    • Mike Tipton, VP Produce & Floral, Schnucks Markets, Inc.
    • Bridget Bennett, Supervisory Category Manager (Produce) Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)
    • Jeff Cady, Director of Produce & Floral, Tops Friendly Markets

  • CGT’s Jay Pack Cultivating Our Future Award: Dan’l Mackey Almy, President and CEO, DMA Solutions, Inc.
  • CGT’s Frieda Rapoport Caplan Women’s Catalyst Award: Kristen Reid, Executive Vice President, MIXTEC Group

As always, produce is about more than just the product. This year’s Fresh Summit was no exception.

“While PMA provided the platform to bring us all together, it’s really up to the exhibitor to market their products and brands to achieve company goals, as we would for an in-person show,” Nichole observed. “This is a learning moment for everyone involved and whether you connected online or in person, the relationships built and the knowledge gained is what helps to determine the value of the conference overall. Following up with leads, staying in touch with new connections and putting newly gained knowledge to work within your organization—that’s where the true value of Fresh Summit lies.”

And, as Cathy shared on the final day of sessions, the momentum gained can continue to propel members forward. Registration numbers are still growing as the forum remains open, with Marketplaces and on-demand content available through November 13. I, for one, still have much to explore.

Whether it’s a green online indication, a video, or (deep breath) actually in person, I look forward to seeing you all soon.

Produce Marketing Association

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