ROFDA Conference Starts With Retailer Focus
J. H. “Jay” Campbell Jr., president and CEO of Associated Grocers of Baton Rouge and ROFDA chairman, kicked off the Retailer Owned Food Distributors & Associates (ROFDA) Spring Conference earlier this month by reminding attendees what ROFDA is all about: “Our Independent Retail Grocers.”
Held May 18-21 at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort in Amelia, Fla., the conference, Campbell said, is “about business, but it’s also about the relationships we nurture due to our commonality of purpose; serving the independent retail grocer in the best way possible…together.
“To that end, I would like to introduce ROFDA’s new purpose statement and a mission statement, which were both approved at this particular conference during our board meeting. It better reflects what ROFDA’s all about,” Campbell told attendees.
• Purpose statement: A cooperative formed to facilitate and enhance the success of independent retail grocers.
• Mission statement: “Cooperatively united to utilize and leverage all available resources, industry best practices and business relationships to provide added value to our independent retail grocers.”
“Our mission is meant to connect our members in ways to better serve our independent retailers,” said Campbell, noting that ROFDA’s mission is crucial, since the marketplace remains tough for independents.
“The challenges for (independent retailer grocers) are not going to get any easier. Competition in the marketplace is not going to give anyone a pass. In fact, the competition is going to make us work every minute of every day,” warned Campbell, adding that ROFDA has renewed its commitment to those very retailers.
“We will commit hardily,” he said, “and we will fight valiantly for them.”
In the featured photo at top is Jay Campbell with Gary Millard and Francis Cameron. (Find more photos from the ROFDA Spring Conference here.)
Sweets & Snacks Expo ‘Unwraps Innovation’ With Record Attendance
NCA-sponsored show ends today in Chicago
The National Confectioners Association’s (NCA) 2013 Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago ends today. This year’s “Unwrap Innovation” show, which began Tuesday, drew record crowds, according to NCA President Larry Graham.
The Shelby Report’s Geoff Welch has been at Chicago’s McCormick Place all week covering the big event. Check out the photos here.
In the featured photo at top: Paula Kurman and Jim Bouton of Big League.
Paramount Citrus’ Krause Reflects On Time As United Fresh Chair
Paramount Citrus President David Krause, who has served as chair of the United Fresh Produce Association for the past year, reflected on his experience earlier this week when he sat down to chat with The Shelby Report’s Bob Reeves in San Diego during United Fresh’s annual convention.
While Krause said his time at the helm of the organization has been “fantastic,” he revealed it hasn’t been without its challenges. “…if you recall back to when I took the term, we were in the midst of merger discussions with PMA (Produce Marketing Association)…And I think the thing I’m sort of most happy with, or proud of, is the board coming together (after that merger didn’t work out) and setting the business of United first, so that we’re now really focused on United and you can see it in the show in the last couple of days here.”
Krause’s term as the chairman of United Fresh began at the group’s Dallas convention just more than a year ago. In that time, he says he gained a much better and broader understanding of the fresh produce industry.
“You sort of end up knowing the space that you work in, as in Paramount Citrus, but you don’t often get a breadth and understanding of the totality of the system—all the other crops, all the other producers, supply chain or even, and maybe more important, the public policy work that has to take place in order for us to all have successful businesses,” he said.
Though Krause pointed out he has no interest in entering the political arena, he does have “an interest in making sure our businesses and the fresh industry is sound, and therefore I have an interest in public policy.”
Now, following the 2013 convention, Krause takes on the role of immediate past chair and, while he will continue to be involved with United, he plans to get hard back to work at Delano, Calif.-based Paramount Citrus.
“We’ve got a very big business and one that’s growing very fast,” he said.
Paramount recently acquired two different companies in Texas—Healds Valley Farms and Rio Queen, which primarily deal in grapefruit.
“We’re making a big footprint down in South Texas,” Krause added.
Additionally, Krause reports that Paramount is acquiring and expanding its lime business in south Mexico.
As for United Fresh, Ron Midyett of Apio Inc. was elevated to the chairman’s role during the convention this week.
Snikiddy To Preview New Individual-Size Bags At Snacks & Sweets Expo
Snikiddy will introduce 1.5-oz. bags of Snikiddy All-Natural Baked Fries and Eat Your Vegetables at the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago next week, May 21-23. The new smaller, portion-controlled bags will be available in Snikiddy’s most popular flavors, including All-Natural Baked Fries Cheddar Cheese, Sea Salt and Hot & Spicy, and Eat Your Vegetables Sea Salt and Sour Cream & Onion, the company says. The company will offer samples of the new bags at its booth, No. 2373, and will be featured in the new product showcase during the expo.
“We’re thrilled to be able to offer more accessible packaging options for the most popular flavors of our All-Natural Baked Fries and Eat Your Vegetables snacks,” says Mary Schulman, founder and EVP of marketing for Snikiddy. “As a family brand, we’re devoted to making wholesome better-for-you snacks easy and delicious. Our new 1.5-oz. bags make it easier than ever before for the whole family to enjoy healthy snacking anywhere, any time.”
Snikiddy All-Natural Baked Fries contain 50 percent less fat than regular potato chips and 35 percent less fat than regular veggie sticks and straws, the company says. Eat Your Vegetables is a flavorful line of crisps made with a blend of vegetables—offering a good source of vitamin A and fiber and containing 3g of protein per serving.
The 1.5-oz. bags currently are available at select retailers nationwide—including Safeway, select Target stores, Sprouts Farmers Market, The Fresh Market, Whole Foods Market, Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us as well as online at Snikiddy.com.
United Fresh 2013 Attendees Recognize Best New Products
Attendees of the United Fresh Produce Association’s annual convention and expo in San Diego cast their votes Wednesday and recognized this year’s New Product Awards in five categories. More than 30 fresh fruit and vegetable innovations competed in the categories of Best New Food Safety Solution, Best New Fruit Product, Best New Packaging, Best New Packing/Processing Equipment and Best New Vegetable Product.
The 2013 New Product Award winners are:
• Best New Food Safety Solution: FoodLink Item, Food Link.
• Best New Fruit Product: Lil Snappers, Sunkist Growers Inc.
• Best New Packaging Product: Sunset Display Ready Box, Mastronardi Produce.
• Best New Packing/Processing Equipment: RayFly Optical Sorter, Raytec Vision, SPA.
• Best New Vegetable Product: Pumpkin Pie Baking Kit, AMF Farms/Bay Baby Produce.
“These winning products have been selected by United attendees as outstanding representations of the new approaches, ideas and processes that are driving the fresh fruit and vegetable industry forward, and we applaud them for their product development,” said John Toner, United Fresh’s VP of convention and industry relations. “From its very beginnings, the United show has been the undisputed home of innovation for the produce industry, and these awards continue to showcase the best and brightest minds in the produce business.”
The finalists in each category were on display in the United Fresh membership booth on the trade show floor, and the winners were selected from votes cast by show attendees.
United Fresh launches Recall Ready Program
United Fresh this week launched the Recall Ready Program to help produce industry companies prepare for recalls as well as provide professional assistance for managing recall events. Ron Midyett, CEO of Apio and incoming chairman of United Fresh, announced the new program at United Fresh 2013 in San Diego.
“The Recall Ready Program is all about meeting the needs of our members in regards to one of our industry’s most critical priorities—food safety. If any of you don’t have an up-to-date recall plan, or haven’t been through recall training, I strongly urge you to consider this program,” said Midyett.
Recall Ready is designed to give companies peace of mind, and the confidence that they are prepared in advance and have the resources to respond to any recall situation. The program is a partnership between United Fresh and the legal and communications experts at OFW Law and Watson Green, who are counted among the food industry’s leading crisis counseling firms, according to a United Fresh news release.
Companies can choose program service options that include a recall plan review, creation of a custom recall plan and mock recall training. These program plans, with fees ranging from $5,000 to $15,000, help produce companies prepare for recalls and to learn how to deal with the surprises that can arise during recalls.
Additionally, once companies have completed one of these services to be prepared for a recall, they can engage United’s Rapid Recall Response Team to provide assistance from United and outside experts from the first moments of a recall crisis. The plan offers a 24/7 recall hotline and eight hours total consultation from United and Watson Green. The plan includes discounts on legal and communications services, if needed, beyond the initial consultation period.
“For minimizing the impact of a recall on your business, there’s nothing more important than having a plan and making sure your team is prepared to execute that recall plan,” said Dr. David Gombas, SVP of food safety and technology at United Fresh.
United will begin providing service under the Recall Ready Program in June. Members attending United Fresh 2013 in San Diego were able to register onsite for the program and receive a 10 percent discount.
NACS Show Again Ranked Among Country’s Top Buying Shows
The NACS Show was rated in the top 10 among U.S. trade shows in three of the four key categories used by exhibitors to measure audience quality, according to a national survey of the country’s biggest trade shows conducted by Exhibit Surveys Inc. The 2012 survey results were tabulated from more than 30 of the top annual U.S. trade shows and released in April.
Retailer registration and housing is now open for the 2013 NACS Show, a comprehensive event for convenience and fuel retailing professionals. This year’s NACS Show will be held Oct. 12-15 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
The 2012 NACS Show ranked fourth in the country in terms of total buying plans—the percentage of attendees who anticipate buying within 12 months of a show. NACS’ score of 63 percent was higher than the all-show average of 49 percent.
The NACS Show ranked sixth in the country for net buying influence, also known as “buying power,” which calculates the percentage of attendees who have the power to make or recommend final purchasing decisions. The NACS Show’s score of 92 percent was higher than the all-show average of 84 percent.
In addition, the NACS Show ranked eighth for the amount of hours each attendee spends visiting exhibitions. NACS Show attendees averaged 10.4 hours per person on the expo floor, a 0.5-hour increase over 2011, and higher than the all-show average of 9.1 hours.
Exhibit Surveys defines net buying influence as “the ability to recommend, specify or purchase products or services; it defines total buying plans as “the percentage of visitors planning to buy one or more products or services seen at a show within the following 12 months,” calling it “a strong indicator of what people purchase.”
“The NACS Show’s top-tier ranking over the past decade confirms what our industry has long known: The NACS Show is where retailers and suppliers get together to do business,” said NACS Vice Chairman of Convention Pat Lewis, a partner at Twin Falls, Idaho-based Oasis Stop ’N Go. “Savvy retailers know that the new ideas and products that they find at the NACS Show help them continually thrive and stay ahead of the competition, and the 2013 NACS Show will be no exception.”
At the 2012 NACS Show, a record number of buyers fueled a 7.2 percent surge in attendance, which hit 24,056—the second-highest total ever. The number of buyers (retailers, wholesalers and distributors) was up 17.1 percent to reach 9,764. There were a record 8,057 NACS buyer registrants at the 2012 NACS Show—nearly 3 percent more than the previous record set in 2004. PEI buyer registration was 1,707, the third-highest total ever. Attendees came from a record 65 countries and international attendance was a record 2,482 delegates.
The excitement from the 2012 NACS Show has carried over to 2013, organizers report. Exhibition space for the NACS Show is nearly sold out, which is unprecedented so far in advance of the event.
The 2013 NACS Show will feature a 392,000-net-s.f. exposition with 1,050 exhibiting companies—of which 150-plus are new to the NACS Show. In addition, the show will feature three days of general sessions and 53 educational sessions. The educational sessions in 2012 drew a cumulative 9,889 attendees, averaging nearly 190 attendees per session, the most ever recorded. Reflecting the growing international scope of the NACS Show, the general sessions will be once again translated into Portuguese, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, and select educational sessions will be translated into Portuguese and Spanish.
NACS has a variety of marketing products and programs for exhibitors that are designed to help exhibitors target the buying power of top retailers, intensify market penetration, launch a new product, strengthen and differentiate their brands and generate traffic to their booths.
Full registration, which includes admission to the general sessions, educational sessions, expo and the welcome reception, is $295 for NACS retailer members and $495 for other retailer attendees. One-day registration also is available ($195 per day for NACS retailer members and $295 per day for other retailers). These “super-saver” rates are available until July 31. Other rates apply for non-exhibiting manufacturers, service providers, brokers and consultants. Exhibitor registration also is now now open. NACS Show attendees can register for the event and secure housing here.
In addition to online registration, the NACS Show website features the latest information about exhibitors, speakers, workshops and networking events.
2014 Retail Merch & Marketing Conference To Be Held In San Antonio
The 2014 Retail Merchandising & Marketing Conference is scheduled for April 26-28 at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio, Texas. The 2014 conference chair is Paul Russell, retail marketing field manager for Williamson-Dickies Manufacturing Co. He reports exhibit space is pre-booked at 30 percent and that committees already are “actively involved in making San Antonio another great success.”
The annual conference is hosted by the World Alliance for Retail Excellence & Standards, formerly known as the National Association for Retail Marketing Services (NARMS).
The 2013 Retail Merchandising & Marketing Conference, held in Scottsdale, Ariz., last month, presented attendees with general and breakout sessions relevant to the theme: “Learn. Change. Grow.” The Saturday evening events set the tone for the conference with open networking. On Sunday, attendees enjoyed music and a state-of-the- association update. Robin Lewis’ keynote presentation on constantly evolving technology, globalization and a saturated marketplace followed. Video, pertinent data and audience interaction laid the foundation for the days to follow, as general session speakers Gerry O’Brion of What Big Brands Know, Lily Lev-Glick of Shopper Sense, Dee Warmath of the NPD Group and Matt Herlevic of Sam’s Club continued to deliver insights.
Two-hundred and fifty attendees representing 146 different companies attended. They represented manufacturing, merchandising, event/demonstration, professional installation, marketing, technology, education, staffing, human resources, transportation, workforce lodging and the advertising industries and hailed from nine countries—Brazil, Venezuela, Australia, Canada, Puerto Rico, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the U.S.
Additionally, the event boasted a sold-out exhibit hall featuring companies with the latest technologies and services. Also, breakout sessions on Monday and Tuesday focused on four tracks—sales and marketing, human resources, performance and the changing world. A total of 12 breakouts were offered with focused learning on topics such as PR and social media, labor force demographics, healthcare and the Affordable Care Act, RFPs, the omni channel, marketing to millennials, valuing your business, today’s complex retail landscape and the business blueprint 12-step process.
Tuesday closed with a retail marketing panel discussion that was driven by audience Q&A and highlighted topics from showroom to catalog to online.
“We came together to learn from each other, collaborate with experts in different fields and gain insight into how we could be ready for whatever comes our way,” said Ron Apel, chair of the 2013 conference. “I can confidently say we did all that and more. People really enjoyed the opportunities to connect, especially with two new events, the International Reception and the Women in Retail Reception.”
Coca-Cola Happiness Lounge Showcases POP Materials To Capture Trends
The Coca-Cola Co. brought an extra dose of happiness to the 2013 FMI Future Connect conference in Orlando earlier this week—in the form of the “Happiness Lounge.” Ben Middleton, director of industry communications for Atlanta-based Coca-Cola, told The Shelby Report that the setup allowed the company’s sales personnel to “reinforce some of the major initiatives that we have in the market today—to take advantage of the major trends in the grocery channel.”
Making meal solutions easier
“These are things that are representing great opportunities for retailers to improve their business results through the use of beverages and the other products that they are selling in the store,” Middleton said. “So the idea of combining and bundling ready-to-go meals or meal ingredients is so important because, as you can see here, (over) 50 percent of dinner decisions are made one hour before the meal. Make those meal solutions easy for those moms who are coming in trying to make those things happen.”
Social and mobile
“We’re trying to draw attention to the (Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council’s) work, which is a recent study on the use of social media,” Middleton said. “It’s free to download for the industry and very relevant to how people are using social media in their businesses. It’s no surprise that people are using, in particular mobile devices, in the stores as well so we want to be able to generate conversations around how those trends work and what we can do to help you take advantage of them.”
Above the Basket Display
This piece of equipment “helps put cold drinks right there at the point of purchase,” Middleton said. “So they’re over contributing in terms of profitability for the amount of volume that’s being sold. It’s a pretty attractive proposition through a small footprint; you’re able to deliver a very profitable item at the checkout counter.”
Variety and choice
“…People want lots of choice…because where you’re able to offer people more choices they are happier and they come back more often, they shop more often,” Middleton said. “So for our brands, we have over 650 products…most people know three or four, the handful of brands as a consumer that The Coca-Cola Co. makes, but we have so many in many categories including coffee, tea, juices, bottled water and ways to enhance your bottled water to make those things more attractive. Many of them are low or no calorie, or if your favorite beverage is, like mine, Coca-Cola Classic, you can get that in small can. We have different package sizes available, too.
“That’s really the key insight here,” Middleton added, “being able to provide people lots of choices is a winning formula.” (See the choices and variety display showcased in the Happiness Lounge in the featured photo at top.)
Find more 2013 FMI Future Connect photos here.