Loblaw's Frank Pagliaro and Walmart's Gary Campisi Weigh in on Viva Fresh Produce Expo 2017 Education Program
MISSION, TX - Viva Fresh Produce Expo has the buy-side community singing its praises for its full scope of interactive educational sessions this year. With a focus on providing attendees with proactive ways to grow their business and capitalize on 2017 produce trends, the upcoming sessions touch on current affairs, uncertainty around trade policy, labor supply, and more. One session even features our own Vice President of Sales, Whit Grebitus!
“The continued demands on agriculture from supply-side economics to consumer perception continue to raise the stakes not only for producers, but for all of us as retail and foodservice buyers,” Gary Campisi, Senior Director of Quality Control, Fresh Grocery Division at Walmart, shared about the importance of educational sessions. “The need to stay on top of current issues and educate ourselves has never been more important.”
According to a press release, 2017’s agenda was guided by the Retail and Foodservice Advisory Board, which was established earlier this year to provide strategic guidance, as well as give attendees a “behind the curtain” look at what retailers and foodservice companies are looking for from their produce partners.
“I commend the Viva Fresh Education Committee for bringing us so many good ideas and relevant content to choose from and select for the Viva Fresh Expo audience,” Frank Pagliaro, VP National Produce/Floral Procurement at Loblaw Companies, added. “As a buyer, I know first-hand the responsibility I have, to not only understand the mind of the consumer, but the challenges of the producers to bring high-quality, affordable produce to the market in an ever-changing and dynamic marketplace and my continued education is critical to my success as a valuable partner.”
Melinda Goodman of Full Tilt Marketing and Chair for the Viva Fresh Produce Expo Educational Committee, touched on the importance of the expo’s providing quality educational sessions to its attendees.
“Looking through the broad lens of current challenges and opportunities in our industry—a range of topics was on the table for consideration including trade policy, consumer issues, food trends, and farming technology,” she commented. “We have a responsibility to deliver actionable content that helps attendees improve themselves and their businesses, and our retail and foodservice advisory committee has played a critical role in aiding the decision making process.”
Beginning on Friday, April 21, at the Hilton Austin Hotel in Austin, Texas, the following interactive sessions are available for attendees:
- Our own Vice President of Sales, Whit Grebitus, will be providing his insights during, “How Technology and Marketing Drive Growth,” touching on making attendees’ marketing strategy more effective through the use of technology.
- “Fresh Produce Rx,” will feature Chef and sustainable food leader Michel Nischan discussing the critical role that produce plays in combating health issues, offering attendees tips on leveraging this trend to support the well-being of their customers and their bottom line.
- Professional agrologist, Rob Saik, will be discussing both the perception and reality of GMOs, in an effort to help attendees make an informed decision about using genetically engineered crops on their own farms or incorporating those products into their item mix.
- This year’s virtual tour will follow Red Sun Farms, which will use video footage to share the latest innovations in controlled atmosphere agriculture, as well as showcasing its hi-tech greenhouses that produce sustainable, high-yield crops with a smaller footprint.
- National Mango Board’s Wendy McManus, and Dennis Kihlstadius, Principal of Produce Technical Service, will provide hands-on advice, explaining the value of ripening programs, as well as touching on the growing consumption and category sales in emerging produce categories.
- Last but not least, experts on trade policy in the agricultural sector will examine how potential changes to the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) could impact the produce industry at large. This will include panelists Robert Guenther, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the United Fresh Produce Association, Luis Ribera, Ph.D; Associate Professor and Extension Economist at Texas A&M University, Ron Lemaire, President of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association and Raul Urteaga, General Coordinator of International Affairs at SAGARPA in Mexico, who focus on issues including pricing, supply, and demand.
To learn more about these sessions and the expo in its entirety, visit the VivaFreshExpo.com.