The convergence of consumer and cultural trends put organic produce squarely in the spotlight at the 2018 Crosset Company Produce & Floral Conference. Suppliers and buyers had the opportunity to hear fresh insights, ask challenging questions, showcase and promote their products, and network while enjoying iconic Cincinnati landmarks.
Greg Kurkjian, newly appointed Vice President & General Manager of the Crosset Company, welcomed a packed house to the Handlebar Club at Great American Ballpark on August 22. The morning educational forum included “Driving Demand in a Digital Culture,” presented by Lauren Scott, Chief Marketing Officer for the Produce Marketing Association; a panel of industry experts addressing hot topics facing the organic produce industry today; and a talk by baseball legend Ken Griffey, Sr. a member of the Cincinnati Reds famed Big Red Machine.
“The organic consumer is everyone with lips.” Lauren Scott kicked things off sharing research and trends creating new opportunities for produce. She noted that for the first time in history, organic produce is being sought out by five generations at the same time. Lauren highlighted five “uber trends” that are driving this growth in demand:
- Healthy living: not just healthy eating, but a focus on wellness that leads to a vibrant, active lifestyle
- Ethical living: sustainability, transparency, and business practices are impacting buying decisions
- Premiumization: demonstrated willingness to pay more for high quality products that support healthy, ethical living
- Globalization: new flavor profiles, taste experimentation, and the fusion of ethnic cuisines as consumers live and travel around the world
- Shopping Reinvented: consumers want convenience, customization, and instantaneous access
The challenge is to get and keep produce items relevant in today’s food culture, so that they become part of the food (not just produce) consideration set.
Following Lauren’s presentation, Todd Linksy of TLC, Anais Beddard of Lady Moon Farms, and Sherrie Terry of Sherrie Terry Consulting responded to questions facing the organic produce industry today, including the importance of maintaining organic certification integrity, the impact of technology on how produce is grown and sold, the difference between “all natural” and “organic”, consumer expectations, the need for greater education on what organic means, and the supply chain complexity and challenges, associated with “getting organics right”. Learn more about what the panel had to say in this coverage by AndNowUKnow.
“When you step between the lines, there’s no one better than you.” Ken Griffey, Sr. shared the impact these words had in shaping his life. Spoken by his mother, they gave him the confidence and focus he needed to succeed in sports and beyond. Griffey closed out the morning session with humorous, candid, and touching highlights of his baseball career, including the series of events that led to the moment when he and his son played major league baseball together for the first time. “In order to get through the powerful emotions of our first pregame warm-up, I had to tell myself he was 12 years old again and we were just playing catch in the yard.” He also stressed the importance of mastering the fundamentals in order to consistently deliver high levels of performance.
Following the educational forum, attendees had an opportunity to network while enjoying on-field batting practice, a tour of the stadium, and a Cincinnati-inspired lunch in the Diamond Club. The buying show then opened, giving attendees the opportunity to see the broad range of products and services offered by Crosset Company and its suppliers, build relationships, and take advantage of special promotions available only at the show. A scenic Ohio River dinner cruise on board the Belle of Cincinnati closed out the day.
Our thanks to the speakers, sponsors, vendors, retailers, attendees, and staff who made this show such a success. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year!