With attendee registrations exceeding the pre-pandemic 2020 event, the 2023 NGA Show opened Feb. 26, offering about 60 educational sessions and workshops presented by more than 150 speakers during the three-day conference at the Caesars Forum Convention Center in Las Vegas.
“A huge thank you goes out to the members of our show planning committee, whose ideas and suggestions drove this year’s NGA Show,” said Ted Balistreri, NGA board chairman. “From the expanded Sunday content lineup and additional food opportunities to enhancements in the program flow, the show has a renewed energy that’s sure to boost the experience for all our attendees.”
In his opening keynote speech to attendees, NGA President and CEO Greg Ferrara said grocers must leverage the opportunities presented by emerging technology and the evolving tastes and behaviors of a new generation of consumers influenced by authentic experiences and social media.
“Today, Main Street is in and Wall Street is out. Being connected to the community can help you win over the big-box behemoths,” Ferrara said. “But you have to embrace the change and the technological advances, remain relevant, be curious and, maybe most importantly, tell your story in a way your customers can relate to.”
Ferrara also reported significant inroads made in Washington through NGA’s advocacy efforts.
“We’ve seen real progress on critical issues like reducing credit card swipe fees by requiring the networks to actually compete like each of you do every single day,” Ferrara said. “Thanks to the unyielding, boots-on-the-ground efforts from our members and the NGA Government Relations staff, we are now seeing reports that for the first time in more than 20 years, the FTC will use the Robinson-Patman Act to rein in the abuses of dominant food retailers.”
Rounding out the opening keynote session, sponsored by The Kraft Heinz Co., was Erik Weihenmayer, an adventurer who was the first blind person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. He shared a message about commitment to one’s goals and harnessing the power of adversity as fuel for greatness.
Kicking off the day’s content lineup on Feb. 26 was the Technology Summit, sponsored by Placer.ai, offering grocery retailers a look at technology from multiple perspectives. More than a dozen speakers led discussion of topics, from AI and tech designed to improve the customer experience, to food-centric technologies, including store-level vertical farms that will change the way consumers shop, to retail media networks that can shape interactions between retailers and their customers.
Sunday’s agenda also included the FMS Financial Symposium, a three-hour session sponsored and curated by FMS Solutions that offered a deep dive into financial topics to help retailers understand what the financial health of their business looks like in 2023. The symposium focused on four key pillars: Valuing Your Business, Inflation and Your Business, Banking, and Employee Retention Credits.
Sunday afternoon’s “Snack and See” session honored winners of NGA’s annual Creative Choice Awards, presented by Kellogg’s and Unilever. The awards celebrate independent grocers’ most innovative and successful marketing campaigns and promotional events of 2022. A full list of winners can be found here.
Women Grocers of America, operating under the NGA Foundation, hosted a luncheon Feb. 26, as well as an evening networking reception to kick off its activities at The NGA Show, which included a Feb. 27 morning general session speaker, presentation of its Woman of the Year Award, a panel discussion on Gen Z shoppers and a “relaxation and rejuvenation” lounge.
To read about WGA’s luncheon on Feb. 26 by The Shelby Report, click here.
“The 2023 NGA Show captured the momentum coming out of 2022, a year of exciting movement for our members, at home and in Washington,” Ferrara said. “NGA continues to enhance, augment and explore opportunities for attendees to engage with industry experts and each other, and to head home after three days re-energized with a wealth of new ideas and actionable insights to drive their businesses over the coming year.”
NGA members voted Feb. 26 to elect the following slate to its board of directors:
- New members: Leon Bergmann, Save-A-Lot; Matt Echols, UNFI; Tim Jennings, Roth’s Family Markets; Rob Marsh, Pyramid Foods; Jon McCormick, Retail Grocers Association Missouri and Kansas; Kent Montgomery, PepsiCo Inc.; Hamdy Shalabi, El Rio Grande Latin Market; Jena Sowers, Alliance Retail Group; and Mike Violette, Associated Grocers of New England.
- Re-elected to a second full term: John Bole, Yoke’s Fresh Markets; Emily Coborn-Wright, Coborn’s Inc.; Paula Janssen, Janssen’s Market; Bob Jaskolski, T.A. Solberg Co. Inc.; Jordan Kremm, Mondelez International; Amy Niemetscheck, Certco Inc.; Lauren G.D. Redman, Rudy’s Markets Inc.; and Eric Winn, C&S Wholesale Grocers.
“We are honored to have these esteemed industry leaders devoting their time and experience to help guide our association,” Ferrara said. “This broad cross-section of leadership truly represents the heart of the communities our industry serves.”
For more information, visit theNGAshow.com.