Marketing a Priority for PMA

Taylor Hillman General

produce counter in supermarketLast week during the first Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Board of Directors meeting of 2016, the association’s Marketing Task Force recommended that PMA establish marketing as a strategic priority during the next two years. The goal is to drive the concept of “marketing as a discipline” throughout the industry.

This would include hiring a chief marketing officer, who would be responsible for developing and executing the association’s activities to drive fresh produce consumption and floral demand. In addition to these two recommendations, PMA would also:

– Develop and maintain a portfolio of tools/programs and training that members regularly access and implement as they work to drive consumption through more-sophisticated marketing.

– Proactively disseminate industrywide marketing intelligence for both the produce and floral industries, becoming a primary and credible source.

“The creation of a chief marketing officer position is a clear indication that the demand creation work already undertaken by PMA is valuable to our members and a sign that more can – and needs to – be done to drive consumer interest in our industry’s great products,” said PMA Chair Russ Mounce, Sam’s Club vice president of produce and floral. “The energy, passion, and thought leadership the PMA board has around this issue and others are inspiring,” he added.

The board also received a FNV initiative progress report from the Partnership for a Healthier America and discussed options to scale FNV nationally in the U.S. beyond the two pilot markets in which it is currently operating. Other discussions during the meeting included:

– Current and future consumer technology trends as identified in the annual PMA environmental scan, as well as member value offerings about obstacles and opportunities in those areas.
– Opportunities and challenges for protected/vertical agriculture technologies in produce and floral production. Here, several board directors with expertise in protected agriculture were joined by representatives from AeroFarms, a vertical farm operating in Newark, New Jersey, for a panel discussion on the topic.
– The role of fresh produce and floral in omni-channel retail. For this, the board was joined by guests Kevin Coupe, retail observer and publisher of, and Tom Furphy, CEO/Managing Partner of Consumer Equity Partners (formerly of and AmazonFresh).

Also in Phoenix, the PMA Foundation for Industry Talent Board of Directors approved an “invest to grow” budget to implement its interim strategic plan. The new efforts will include capitalizing on the organization’s 10th anniversary during 2016 as well as executing on initiatives to build the current strategies to attract and retain produce and floral employees.