A record 1,700 people attended the sixth annual Organic Produce Summit held in Monterey at the end of July. Producers and shippers met with over 300 retailers from across North America to discuss the growth of organic fresh produce and the opportunities that lie ahead to further bolster sales and consumption in line with evolving consumer lifestyles.
Susan Canales, president of OPS, said: “Based on feedback from attendees, OPS 2022 was a tremendous success, meeting the goals and objectives in discussing the growth, opportunities and challenges of the organic fresh produce industry in the post-pandemic landscape.”
John Ruane, senior vice-president omnichannel merchandising and chief merchandising officer for The GIANT company, discussed how the grocery landscape has evolved over the years, and the importance of retailers developing a consistent shopping experience across all consumer touch points to create a seamless brand experience.
“The customer wants to save time and money and they want solutions,” said Ruane. “They also want unlimited assortment, the best prices and great quality.”
Elsewhere, Walter Robb, former co-CEO of Whole Foods and current principal of Stonewall Robb Advisors, spoke with Michael Schutt, director of produce for Raley’s, Jeff Cady, director of produce for Tops Markets and Edmund LaMacchia, former global vice president of procurement for Whole Foods, to explore how the industry can maintain growth in the face of supply chain issues, the role of technology and e-commerce, the evolving consumer and new innovations in retail.
LaMacchia said: “At the onset of the pandemic, we witnessed a shift from foodservice to the grocery store with the retailer as hero and food as the key element to wellness and health. It was a golden opportunity to change the paradigm.”