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First off, it is hard to not call this PMA. This past year there was a merger of the two produce associations, Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh to form the International Fresh Produce Association. We aren’t the only ones re-learning our beloved conference’s name, but sounds like IFPA is the new moniker — so repeat after me, it’s IFPA Foodservice, not PMA!

IFPA Foodservice week is always a marathon for our team.  Our sales team arrives early in the week to host customers from morning to evening.  Mid-week our marketing team arrives to set up the show and events. Back home, our team members are keeping the day-to-day work moving all the while supporting the teammates at IFPA with ordering samples. It really is an all-hands-on-deck event with the satisfaction that when we get back home, we accomplished one of the most important aspects of Fresh Avenue’s business – connection. 

Industry Connecting to Education

For this year’s IFPA Foodservice conference, industry leaders invited educators in foodservice to tour the fields and learn more about produce. Early childhood is a critical age in establishing healthy habits, and so educators are always looking for ways to help families grow and develop in these healthy ways. Our industry recognizes the effort and is here to help!  So looking on, it was great to see IFPA reach out to new sectors in foodservice and see educators walking the show, so that we are all pushing towards more consumption of healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Strengthened our Connection to Suppliers

One of the foundations of Fresh Avenue’s success is our partners in growing and sourcing. If we don’t have a strong supply, then we don’t have a strong offering for customers. That is why we value our connection to growers just like we value our connection to customers. Our goal is to have a network of providers that we know and trust to ensure the products are customers receive are of the best quality, safety, and freshness. This past week we met with growers supported them however they needed. 

Continued Connection to Customers

It is critically important to keep strong connections to customers, especially with the programs Fresh Avenue offers involving sourcing, freight, and development. However, this is not a set-it-and-forget-it deal. Keeping our connection strong with customers allows us to refine the programs.  The past week at IFPA Foodservice gave us opportunity to have customers out in the field, show them product in person and answer their questions. Taking them to the facilities of our grower / shippers allowed further refinement of development of their products.  And for customers that are consolidating, we show them first-hand their product mix in the cooler and see the effectiveness of the team that is making sure their product goes from the grower to their stores.

Increasing our Connection to the Industry

We believe that in the produce business, it takes the entire industry to make sure quality, fresh, and safe produce lands on the tables of families across the nation. Not one business, grower, or shipper can do this alone. With worries of inflation on everyone’s mind, working with each other to bring innovation and efficiency to the industry will keep businesses in the produce and foodservice economies going strong. For our group, we want to continue expanding our connection to each of you in the industry, helping where we can so that we get through the bumpy economy stronger.

IFPA isn’t the only time we connect!  Next month we will be at Southern Innovations, our team is regularly in the major foodservice markets, and we are continually in the growing regions. We are always available so give us a call or email. We’d love to connect!