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NGA Executive Conference’s Education Program Looks Ahead

Lineup includes sustainability, market trends and post-pandemic practices
NGA Executive Conference’s Education Program Looks Ahead
According to NGA President and CEO Greg Ferrara, “Our Executive Conference content is designed to equip c-level independent grocery leaders with the insights they need for success.” 

The education program offered at this year’s National Grocers Association’s (NGA) Executive Conference, taking place Sept. 18-19 at the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, will tackle such key issues as sustainability, market trends and operating amid a post-pandemic landscape. The conference overlaps with the 2021 NGA Show, which runs Sept. 19-21 at the same venue. 

“Anticipating where the market will go next is the biggest challenge for grocery retailers, but it’s where the biggest opportunities lie,” said Greg Ferrara, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based NGA, which represents the independent grocery sector. “Our Executive Conference content is designed to equip c-level independent grocery leaders with the insights they need for success.” 

The program’s sessions will include the following:

Future Forecast: Food Retail Consumer and Competitive Outlook for 2021-25

Retail expert Burt Flickinger, of New York-based Strategic Resource Group, will probe the consumer and competitive trends that offer the most profitable growth opportunities in the near term for NGA members. The session will cover shifts in consumer shopping behavior, more effective buying and merchandising to gain more share from the big chains, and how to market and advertise more efficiently and effectively to boost sales, among other topics.

5 Trends Everyone Will be Chasing Tomorrow

Chicago-based SPINS will help attendees spot emerging trends, including knowledge of up-and-coming products that customers are starting to look for. 

E-commerce After COVID: Where is Online Grocery Going Next?

Provo, Utah-based e-commerce solution provider ShopHero and Mount Sterling, Ill.-based distributor Dot Foods will explain how their partnership makes endless aisle easy and affordable for independents, illustrating the importance of offering a robust solution that bolsters the relationship between grocer and shopper, provides new revenue streams for retailers and wholesalers, and protects indies against big-box and chain competitors. Retailers will also offer their perspective at the session.

The State of Snacking in the 2020s

The session looks at the evolving role that snacking  a $1.2 trillion opportunity for retailers and manufacturers  plays in the future of food, from being a source of comfort during a pandemic to trends such as evolving at-home snacking, and buying habits now and in the future. An analysis of Deerfield, Ill.-based Mondelēz International’s second annual study on snacking examines snacking surges in the United States, at-home snacking habits and snack purchases transitioning to virtual platforms.

Counting Data Among Independents’ Strengths

Speakers from Melville, N.Y.-based BRdata Software Solutions and Chicago-based IGA discuss how aggregating data across various independent retailers makes those grocers larger than superstore competitors and creates new opportunities, including better price optimization and the early detection of shifting trends. By collaborating on how best to leverage data and insights, independents can improve both the shopper experience and the bottom line. The session will show how taking an experimental approach can arm teams with the tools and evidence they need to make better decisions.

Supermarket Sustainability: How to Resonate With Shoppers

The session will reveal findings of the most recent study from the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of North America: “Sustainability and Food Retailing,” with council members sharing shoppers’ sustainability priorities by generation, demographic and geography, along with initiatives that will resonate most with each group. Among the scheduled speakers are the council’s Michael Sansolo, IGA CEO John Ross and Sendik’s owner Ted Balistreri, owner of Milwaukee, Wis.-based Sendik’s.

Why Sustainability Must Be the Strongest Link in Your Supply Chain

Dennis Raffa, senior program manager of Zero Waste World at Orlando, Fla.-based CHEP North America, will talk about how some of the largest global manufacturers and retailers are moving toward a regenerative global supply chain by fundamentally modifying their operations and leveraging strategic partnerships. 

Follow the Science: Health and Safety Best Practices for Shopper and Employee Confidence

Mike Stigers, CEO of Stillwater, Minn.-based Cub Foods, a division of wholesaler United Natural Foods Inc., will discuss the enhanced hygiene and sanitation standards now expected of retail operators, demonstrating how the implementation of science-based best practices for food safety and public health programs not only aids top-line retention but also bottom-line health. Attendees will learn the advantages of committing to a higher level of cleanliness in their operations to ensure customer confidence and employee retention. 

Grocers, How Did COVID-19 Change You?

David Bishop, of Barrington, Ill.-based consultancy Brick Meets Click, explains the transformative ways that retailers, their teams and their organizations should be evolving in the wake of the pandemic.

Providence, R.I.-based UNFI delivers a wide variety of products to customer locations throughout North America, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, e-commerce retailers and foodservice customers. The largest publicly traded grocery distributor in America, the company is No. 47 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. 

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