s North America’s largest gathering of the fresh produce and
floral supply chain, the Produce
Marketing Association’s (PMA’s)
annual Fresh Summit Convention & Expo is the
place to experience the industry’s latest trends.
Held Oct. 18-20 in Orlando, Fla., this year’s
summit featured a remarkable array of fresh
opportunities and innovation in produce.
From plant-based snacks to convenient one-pot meal makers and philanthropic work to
stepped-up social media programs, the produce industry remains on the cutting edge,
delivering what today’s consumers want most.
Produce is hot. It’s the department that
drives shoppers to the store, but can the
industry continue to evolve and build on this
success story? “Our industry needs to sustain
this level of innovation to keep up,” says PMA
CMO Lauren Scott. “The world is rapidly
changing and evolving, and the fresh produce
and floral industries need to continue to inno-
vate and adapt.”
PMA sees produce pushing for a bigger
share of the plate and vying for additional eat-
ing occasions. Fresh-cut is still driving sales,
according to the organization, and the avail-
ability of easy-prep options with on-trend fla-
vors and preparations is on the rise.
Another growth area for produce is the
surge in fresh substitutes for carbohydrates,
including veggie rice, noodles and more. But
whether it’s a healthful plant-based snack,
microwavable dinner or side, “convenience
is still king,” said PMA CEO Cathy Burns.
Engaging young consumers is also a priority in fresh produce, and PMA highlighted
some of the latest products for this demographic and their families in the Just for Kids
section of its Fresh Ideas Showcase. Pure Flavor’s Mini Munchies Snack Sized Veggies and
Mucci Farms’ CuteCumber Poppers were
among the featured items.
WGB editors combed through the more
than 1,200 exhibits at the 2018 Fresh Sum-
mit looking for the hot-
test industry trends. What
follows are the top 12 that
made our list.
“The No. 1 trend is that brands are
really driving produce,” says Adam
Cooper, vice president of marketing for
The Wonderful Co., Los Angeles. Wonder-
ful Halos recently began an unprecedented
$30 million integrated marketing campaign
designed to accelerate category growth.
Halos showcased its in-store point-of-
sale (POS) Grove of Goodness display pro-
gram, which allows retailers to display Halos
throughout the store. Grocers merchandis-
ing Halos at checkout have experienced a
quadruple sales lift. “The produce depart-
ment has to evolve,” Copper says. “It’s still
merchandised with rows of color. While we
all eat differently, all of us snack. We have to
bring the healthy snacks together and make
shopping fun again. The one thing the store
has vs. online is offering a fun experience.”
The Wonderful Co. believes its Halos
Grove of Goodness and new Grinch holiday
displays of Wonderful Pistachios will have
shoppers associating its brands with fun and
health this holiday season and beyond.
Dole, Westlake Village, Calif., recently
refreshed its logo to better reflect its position
as a total wellness lifestyle brand. The company strives to be a resource, not only on the
latest culinary trends but also on education
that shows consumers how to live and eat
well. Its new Slawesome Kits that make flavored coleslaw convenient and delicious, as
well as it Spinach Miso Crunch salad kit that
plays to the popularity of fermented foods,
are both on trend.
“The produce industry has seen more
innovation in the last five years, than in the
past two decades,” says Bil Goldfield of Dole,
marveling at the elevated culinary experience
PMA offered, with professional chefs preparing inspired dishes at nearly every booth. A
growing number of produce brands are now
synonymous with this fresh eating experience.
The produce industry is clearly in
Reaching the Summit
Top trends at PMA’s Fresh Summit prove the produce industry’s
still got it, but where does it go from here? By Jennifer Strailey
More than 1,200
exhibits filled the
PMA expo floor.