Highlights: Canadian Produce Marketing Association Convention and Trade Show Recap

Highlights: Canadian Produce Marketing Association Convention and Trade Show Recap

MONTRÉAL, CANADA - “Everything is on the table” acts as both a produce pun and a call to arms, and it’s only one of the rousing takeaways from the Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s (CPMA) 2022 Convention and Trade Show. The phrase was uttered during a learning lounge session, but it rings true for the entirety of the event—the industry is making sure fresh produce gets to the plate, and over the past few years, innovation in the supply chain has become even more essential than ever.

Before I spin too far off course, we must look at the sheer size of the 2022 CPMA and its triumphant return to the show circuit. A sold-out show floor held over 270 exhibiting companies, 144 of which were Canadian. Sixty-nine companies participated in the New Product Showcase, a testimony to that innovation necessary to power the industry forward.

Ron Lemaire, President, Canadian Produce Marketing Association“We are thrilled to see our industry members again in person after a two-year hiatus,” Ron Lemaire, President of CPMA, told me. “CPMA 2022 was a resounding success, attracting a record number of attendees from different countries. It has been a week of education, networking, and solidifying business relations for our industry. We look forward to seeing everyone again April 25–27, 2023, in Toronto, Ontario.”

For the retailers in attendance, the show was a celebration of what Canada brings to both the wider market and to its home base.

Mingling the show floor was a feast for the eyes and nose, as exhibitors made sure that the return to in-person was a delight for the senses. Booths like EarthFresh Farms, Mucci Farms, and DelFrescoPure® had beautiful dishes that centered produce as the star of every dish.

Mastronardi Produce® was one such company, making sure that showgoers walked away satisfied both visually and gastronomically.

Paul Mastronardi, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mastronardi Produce®“The team at Mastronardi Produce is thrilled to be back in person at CPMA. It has been an inspiration to come together again with the common goal of driving the produce industry forward,” commented Paul Mastronardi, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mastronardi Produce.

With two full days of mingling on the docket, those in attendance were able to space out their time and attend learning lounge sessions on April 6–7, such as:

  • Culture – Future Growth - Changing Production in Produce
  • Innovation – Everything is on the Table
  • Sustainability in Packing – The Art of the Possible
  • Growing in Produce
  • Women in Produce – Their Produce Story
  • Supply Chain Disruptions – A Buyer’s Perspective

Great conversation occurred as attendees strolled through booths, as many of us couldn’t wait to reunite.

The theme of reconnection ran throughout, as Chris Veillon commented on in his thoughts regarding the show’s success.

Chris Veillon, Chief Marketing Officer, Pure Flavor®“Supporting the CPMA annually is important to help grow fresh produce consumption in Canada,” Pure Flavor®’s Chief Marketing Officer remarked. “It was great to be back in Montréal for this year’s show to reconnect with our retail and foodservice customers.”

Networking was heavily encouraged, with events targeting young professionals and women in produce.

A raucous after-party took place the night of April 6—but no secrets shall be spilled here.

Awards were numerous—as they were handed out on the show floor, I may have heard some celebratory screaming—and all were well-deserved.

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association's Convention and Trade Show returned with a sold-out show floor holding 270 exhibiting companies, 144 of which were Canadian, in addition to a successful New Product Showcase with 69 companies participating

During the Awards Brunch on April 7, the 2022 CPMA Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Alain Routhier, President of Courchesne Larose Ltd. Routhier has been working in the fresh produce industry since a young age, joining the family business after graduating from university. There, he would become the President of the company and expand Courchesne Larose Ltd to one of the largest players in the Canadian fresh fruits and vegetable market.

Awards and Accolades included:

  • Fresh Health Award – Gwillimdale Farms
  • Young Professionals Award – Stewart Lapage
  • Best Island Booth Award –Mucci Farms
  • Best Inline Booth Award – Ponderosa Mushrooms
  • Best First-Time Exhibitor Booth Award– ALLWays Local produce
  • Best New Product Award – Simple Sides by Highline Mushrooms
  • Best Snackable Product Award – Salted Hot Cocoa Nut Mix by Natursource
  • Packaging Innovation Award – ReadyCycle® sustainable packaging by Sambrailo Packaging
  • New Technology Award– Open Plastics Project by The Star Group
  • Organics Award – Natural Organics Grape Tomatoes by Mucci Farms

Quinton Woods, whose company walked away with the Fresh Health Award, commented on both the win and the show.

Quinton Woods, Senior Sales and Plant Operation Manager, Gwillimdale Farms“The CPMA show in Montréal was a great opportunity to get together with fellow industry members and discuss the latest in the world of fresh produce,” the Senior Sales and Plant Operation Manager said. “I was incredibly excited to be in attendance and have the chance to socialize with other event participants. I look forward to CPMA 2023!”

Mario Masellis, Catania’s Director of Sales and Marketing, also took the time to share with me the value of the show for both Catania and the industry as a whole.

Mario Masellis, Director of Sales and Marketing, Catania Worldwide“We’re so happy to be back in person after two years of virtual meetings. It’s so important to go back face-to-face, to be able to display our products and share with the world what we’ve been able to develop over the last two years, both with staffing and product. We’re excited to be able to rekindle relationships and make new ones here in Montréal,” he shared with me.

The show’s closing was heralded by the Annual Banquet, with plenty of fanfare and decadence to signal the finale of the 96th Annual Convention and Trade Show.

Montréal, you’ve been good to me! Until next year, CPMA—I’ll see all of you in Toronto.

Canadian Produce Marketing Association

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Based in Ottawa, Ontario, the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) is a not-for-profit organization that…