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NGA Executive Conference, The NGA Show Conclude Successful Runs

2021 NGA show safety special events education sessions

The National Grocers Association and Clarion Events announced the successful conclusion of two in-person events, the NGA Executive Conference and The NGA Show. Held in the same location for the first time, the events brought more than 2,300 grocery retail industry professionals to Las Vegas for networking, product sourcing and education.  

The NGA Executive Conference, designed for CEOs and their leadership teams to increase profitability and enhance business opportunities, took place Sept. 18-19 at the Paris Hotel & Casino. It is an invitation-only gathering of top grocery leaders designed to deliver actionable insights. 

The two-day conference program featured networking events, enhanced educational sessions and expanded opportunities for trading partners to connect. Education sessions include topics such as: Five Trends Everyone Will Be Chasing Tomorrow; Counting Data Among Independents’ Strengths; Supermarket Sustainability: How to Resonate with Shoppers; How Grocers Can Be Cyber-Secure; Future Forecast: Competitive Outlook for 2021-25; Follow the Science: Health and Safety Best Practices for Shopper and Employee Confidence; The State of Snacking in the 2020s; E-Commerce After COVID: Where Online Grocery Is Going Next; and Grocers, How Did COVID-19 Change You? 

“These key issues are crucial to understanding how to stay ahead of a rapidly changing dynamic marketplace where innovation will make or break a business. These learnings are the keys to success,” said Jonathan Downey, NGA SVP of industry relations.

Details about individual sessions can be found at https://info.urban-expo.com/e/338151/executive-conference-/42gjjn/929042883?h=FUwiQbHOOXASgzpasHuCphr8hKRqumis86n3RTalsNI

The NGA Show brought together independent retailers, wholesalers, food retail industry executives, food/CPG manufacturers and service providers from nearly all 50 states for the three-day event, Sept. 19-21. The 38th edition of the annual trade show and conference is produced by the National Grocers Association and Clarion Events.   

“We thank our exhibitors, sponsors, speakers, attendees, media partners, supporting organizations and partners who helped to make the 2021 NGA Show a huge success. You could feel the excitement as the industry came together in person again, and we’ve already received such positive feedback on providing the platform where grocers can learn to grow their business and service their communities,” said Courtney Muller, chief corporate development and strategy officer for Clarion Events.  

“The combined experience of the Executive Conference and NGA Show delivered actionable insights to help their businesses embrace the opportunities available to the most aggressive innovators,” said Greg Ferrara, NGA president and CEO. “We’re excited about what our attendees will be taking home with them, and we’ll continue to build on this as we return for the 2022 NGA Show in just a few months.”


Show highlights

  • The exhibit hall, which was sold out this year, offered new products and innovations from nearly 300 exhibiting companies, providing the opportunity to network and build relationships. Specialty areas made product sourcing easy, with pavilions featuring the North American Meat Institute, The World of Latino Cuisine, The Technology Pavilion and Equipment, Design & Safety Pavilion, as well as the Thought Leadership Theater.
  • The opening keynote address was presented by Jeff Henderson, also known as Chef Jeff, an award-winning American chef, critically acclaimed New York Times best-selling author, philanthropist and television personality. Henderson shared high-impact strategies to empower change and inspire fulfillment.  
  • Attendees mixed and mingled at several networking events including the kickoff Opening Reception, the Best Bagger Championship and After Party, Creative Choice Awards breakfast and the Closing Celebration.  
  • The education program expanded to offer 50-plus sessions with more than 100 subject matter experts who spoke on a variety of topics, including people development, finances, focus on fresh, sustainable strategies, tech trends, operating for excellence, family business succession planning, e-commerce, omnichannel marketing, foodservice and merchandising.
  • A dynamic panel participated in the Super Breakfast Session titled “The Independent’s Guide To Navigating Growth During Complex and Volatile Times – Wargaming 2022.” This high-level look at the challenges facing independent retailers in 2022 focused on the forces of change destined to reshape the retail environment going forward.  



  • The Peter J. Larkin Community Service Award was presented to the NGA member grocery retailers and wholesalers for their combined efforts to serve communities during the pandemic.
  • WGA Woman of the Year Award went to Pam Coy, owner of Viking Village Foods in Wisconsin.
  • The NGA Industry Service Award was given to Dennis Belcastro, VP of industry affairs and customer development at Kimberly-Clark North America.
  • The Thomas F. Wenning Pinnacle PAC Award was presented to Gerry Kettler, director of consumer affairs at Niemann Foods.
  • Best Bagger Champion, with a grand prize of $10,000, was awarded to Hy-Vee’s Ben Miller.
  • Creative Choice Awards, winners listed here: https://info.urban-expo.com/e/338151/creative-choice-winners-/42gjjq/929042883?h=FUwiQbHOOXASgzpasHuCphr8hKRqumis86n3RTalsNI

At the end of the show, Three Square, the Las Vegas food bank, picked up thousands of pounds of donated food products from exhibitors and sponsors.   

The education, networking and product sourcing will continue with two upcoming in-person events:  

  • The NGA Show Southeast Summit, Dec. 1-3, at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. This event is a small group of hosted retail buyers providing the opportunity to participate in education and one-on-one vendor meetings.  
  • The 2022 NGA Show will take place Feb. 27–March 1, at the new Caesars Forum Convention Center. With a theme of “Fueling Growth and Looking to the Future,” the 2022 show will be co-located with the IGA Rally and Indoor AgCon (https://info.urban-expo.com/e/338151/2021-09-21/42gjjs/929042883?h=FUwiQbHOOXASgzpasHuCphr8hKRqumis86n3RTalsNI).   

For information and details, visit thengashow.com.

The NGA Show has been the place where independent grocers gather for more than 30 years, connecting supermarket retailers and wholesalers, food manufacturers and service providers from around the world to share innovative solutions and best practices that support and strengthen the independent supermarket channel.

NGA is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. An independent retailer is a privately owned or controlled food retail company operating a variety of formats. The independent community grocery sector is accountable for about 1.2 percent of the nation’s overall economy and is responsible for generating more than $250 billion in sales, 1.1 million jobs, $39 billion in wages and $36 billion in taxes.

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