Home » NGA Focuses On Fresh For Independent Grocers At Ops Summit
Association News National

NGA Focuses On Fresh For Independent Grocers At Ops Summit

photo collage from NGA Operations Summit

Fresh departments in supermarkets were in the spotlight for nearly 100 operations-focused grocery leaders attending the National Grocers Association’s 2024 Store Operations Summit: Focus on Fresh, held June 17-19 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

  Attendees found the summit to be a worthwhile experience.

“Fresh is a priority for independent grocers, and the content presented during NGA’s Store Operations Summit showed just how many opportunities exist for retailers looking to push their perimeters to the next level,” said Price Mabry, VP of sales and marketing at the Roberts Co., owner of Corner Market. “Hearing these experts and sharing ideas with peers working toward common goals was time well spent.”

Summit content, delivered by industry experts including retailers, analysts and trading partners, encompassed all aspects of the supermarket fresh perimeter.

Melissa Rodriguez, team lead for client insights at Circana, explored strategies for independent grocers to leverage trends and innovations and moderated a panel of New Orleans-area retailers discussing innovative ways to unlock deli sales and loyalty by creating a culinary destination.

From a food-centric perspective, sessions delved into topics such as driving sales with value-added meats, strategies for a successful seafood department and innovations for the in-store bakery. Operations sessions explored harnessing technology to drive efficiency and reduce shrink and saving expenses in the deli.

People-focused sessions included “Cultivating Talent: Strategies to Recruit and Retain for Fresh Departments,” which advised grocers how to attract, develop and retain skilled staff for sustained growth and exceptional customer experiences, presented by Cori Albers from Associated Wholesale Grocers and Carol Loy of Harps Food Stores.

“Tapping Into Opportunity: Reaching Hispanic Consumers” discussed how to align with Hispanic consumers’ culinary preferences for market success, presented by Michael DaVita from Wakefern Food Corp. and Art Perez with Leevers Supermarkets.

Additional sessions demonstrated ways to drive produce sales among SNAP recipients as well as how to connect with customers through SNAP Online, with discussions guided by members of the NGA Foundation SEMTAC team, as well as independent grocer Jimmy Wright of Wright’s Market and Brian Framson from Citrus America.

Store tours were an additional highlight of this year’s summit. Attendees visited five stores in the greater New Orleans area, including two Rouses Markets locations, Robert Fresh Market and Lakeview Grocery, as well as Zuppardo’s Family Market in nearby Metairie.

Series provides actionable insights

NGA’s series of store operations events is designed to provide independent grocers – owners, managers and directors of operations, merchandising and purchasing – with actionable insights through a deep dive into operations with industry leaders. The interactive educational experiences include in-store experiences, industry guest speakers and networking.

“Fresh departments are sparking customer interest and boosting sales for independent grocers. Retailers can generate even more excitement and success by leveraging the insights delivered by the experts at Focus on Fresh,” said Greg Ferrara, NGA president and CEO. “We look forward to the next opportunity to build upon these learnings to help our attendees enhance all of their operations.”

The summit was sponsored by AperionCitrus AmericaRSA America and the NGA Foundation Technical Assistance Center.

[RELATED: NGA Engage Series Store Operations Summit Impresses Attendees]

About the author

Treva Bennett

Senior Content Creator

After 32 years in the newspaper industry, she is enjoying her new career exploring the world of groceries at The Shelby Report.

Featured Photos

Featured Photo IDDBA Annual Convention
George R. Brown Convention Center
Houston, TX