October 29, 2020

4 Takeaways from PMA #FreshSummit, #ShopTalk Meetup and #FoodEdge 2020 That Impact The Local Food Economy

Food industry conference learnings round up - October 2020.

By Joe Blunda and Annie Finstein

Within a two week timeframe, Forager participated in three food industry events: PMA Fresh Summit, ShopTalk Meetup, and FoodEdge 2020.  All three virtual events provided important networking opportunities linking retailers with new products, new partners, and most importantly - new ideas.

Some key themes emerged related to Forager’s work expanding the local food economy throughout the U.S.:

  1. Consumers want more fresh, healthy, local food: Retailers have gotten the message that consumers want more local products, understand that past approaches are inefficient, and are looking for new partners to help drive sales.
  1. Vendor vetting, onboarding, and food safety: Retailers want more help - not just with meeting new vendors- but with fixing the slow, time consuming process of nurturing relationships with vendors who meet their supplier requirements.
  1. Seamless solutions: Retailers are willing to implement new technologies, but look for systems integrations to make it easier for staff, and improve productivity.
  1. Decentralization: In order to expand more regional and local food to shoppers, retailers’ increasing direction in direct store delivery (DSD) models demonstrate that there is genuine interest in providing freshness while reducing carbon footprints.

Overall, we came away from these online virtual events with expanded excitement from grocers who understand that now is the time to build more regional and local supply chains.  While this would normally mean a lot of expense and time, with partners like Forager, it is faster and easier than ever to support these trends in consumer demand and sustainability and deliver what consumers want more than anything else.

Check out more consumer trends, like the fact that 85% of consumers would change grocers to find more local food.