Highlights from the 2017 CPMA, John Corsaro, Mimmo Franzone, and Ron Lemaire Comment
TORONTO, ON - This week, the AndNowUKnow team and I were fortunate enough to attend the 92nd Annual Convention and Trade Show, which broke records for the largest show in the company’s history.
From May 9th through the 11th, my colleagues and I explored the sold out show floor and the buzzing city of Toronto, along with 4,000 of the industry's top growers, suppliers, foodservice members, and retailers. With over 300 exhibitors, and attendees from leading retailers such as Loblaw, Safeway, Costco Wholesale, Whole Foods Market, and more, the Canadian fresh produce industry showed up in droves, from 11 different countries, to share products and innovations centered around one shared goal: increasing fresh fruit and veggie consumption, while this year’s theme of "We Are Produce" echoed across all sectors of the produce industry.
"Toronto once again set the stage for an outstanding convention and trade show. The event brought together over 4,000 produce champions to grow the industry, from growers to retailers, it takes the entire supply chain to find success," Ron Lemaire, CPMA President, shared with me amidst the bustle of the show floor.
In true Canadian spirit, the event warmed up with the the Half Your Plate Hockey Game, followed by the Chair’s Welcome Reception at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Attendees kicked off day two with Dear Produce, Love Freshii: A conversation with Matthew Corrin, who is the Founder & CEO of Freshii. Matthew's fresh perspective as a young entrepreneur in the world of produce made this a not-to-be-missed session. He and Ashley Dalziel, Chief People Officer, offered up tips for how to survive and thrive in the high-risk restaurant industry, staying in touch with millennial culture, and the importance of fresh produce in the biz.
In the following concurrent business sessions, attendees could choose their own program. On one path lay A Journey to Engagement: How to attract, retain, and motivate a winning workforce, with expert and author on the subject, Eddie LeMoine. On the other was the riveting Alternate Retail Models Panel with Mimmo Franzone, Director, Produce and Floral at Longo Bros. Fruit Markets; Daniel Henderson, Director of Culinary & Sourcing at Chef’s Plate; and Devika Kumar, Category Merchant and Buyer-Produce at FreshDirect. The discussion covered in-depth the expanding horizon of retail with the advent of new technology and innovations, highlighting convenience and online solutions such as meal kits.
Regardless of wherever you ended up at this year's CPMA, the common thread of discussion was increasing consumption of fresh fruits and veggies. From the show’s Passion for Produce mentoring program for future leaders, to the four Learning Lounges, to hum on the show floor, increasing fresh produce sales could be overheard at the center of every conversation.
“We are proud to be a Passion for Produce sponsor and mentor the future leaders of the industry. Participating as a mentor is extremely rewarding. Every year, I get to meet a great group of individuals who have a passion for the industry. It's exciting to connect with the future leaders of our industry,” offered John Corsaro, CEO for Giumarra, in between appointments.
Among the commotion on the vibrant trade show floor, a slew of prestigious awards were presented at CPMA’s 92nd Annual Convention. From exciting new products to inspiring individuals, the lineup of awards included:
- Best New Product Award: Mann's Nourish Bowls
- Freggie-Approved Product Award: Mucci Farms Veggies To Go
- Mary FitzGerald Award: Metro's Houman Madani
- CPMA Lifetime Achievement Award: Don Mastronardi, accepted by Paul Mastronardi accepted on his behalf
- Packaging Innovation Award: Eat Smart Salad Shake-Ups
The event was truly a celebration of all things Canadian, culminating with me cheering for the legendary, Grammy-nominated, Toronto-native Barenaked Ladies with their light-hearted performance and immortal hits.
When it was all said and done, I think Longo’s Director of Produce and Floral, Mimmo Franzone captured my sentiments regarding the experience the best. "CPMA is one of those unique events that elevates everybody. I'm so proud to be a part of a team of outstanding people, and I look forward to Vancouver in 2018," shared Mimmo. I couldn't have said it better myself. Well done, CPMA, and cheers to next year!
For more on all the happenings at this year’s convention, including our CPMA yearbook, writers’ picks from the floor, and more, keep coming back to your friends at AndNowUKnow.