'New Consumers' to be Explored at PMA's Retail Produce Solutions Conference

NEWARK, Del. -- The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) here is readying to help provide a diverse learning and networking program examining the produce consumption and buying habits of four high-growth "new consumer" markets at the upcoming Retail Produce Solutions Conference (RPSC) March 9-11, 2006, in Houston.

The three-day program will also examine business-to-business relationships, customer attraction and retention, and competing in multiple distribution channels.

The event's discussion leader, Hugh Topper, v.p., produce procurement/product development for HEB Grocery Co. said, retailers that have already signed up to attend include Albertsons/Acme Markets, BJ's Wholesale Club, Hannaford Bros., HEB, Marsh Supermarkets, Rice Epicurean Market, Safeway, Save Mart, Schnucks; Stop N Shop, Kroger, Wal-Mart, Wegmans, and Wild Oats.

Among the highlights of the RPSC program on March 10 are two consecutive consumer expert sessions. The first will explore the produce consumption and buying habits of Asians and children, while the second will focus on Gen Xers and Hispanics.

Also on March 10, "What Can We Learn from Alternative Distribution Channels?" will be presented by Greg Fatigati, associate dean for the Culinary Institute of America, and Meg Major, fresh food editor, Progressive Grocer. Presenters will examine how the produce industry can be more competitive in multiple channels of distribution including conventional supermarkets, club stores, convenience stores, and food service outlets.

On March 11, a general session led by Joe Pine, Strategic Horizons LLP, "Building Business Relationships that Pay off with the Consumer," will showcase innovative business-to-business relationships in order to keep good customers and attract new ones.

All sessions will be followed by the opportunity for participants to analyze and discuss topics in small supply chain groups.

The wrap-up session on Saturday, March 11, by Harold Lloyd of Harold Lloyd Presents, will discuss how his leadership model, Getting A.R.M.E.D. for Battle, connects the business and networking components of the three-day conference.
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