What Blew Us Away (#WBUA): Fresh Summit 2020 Day 3 Highlights

We’re picking up on strong vibes from PMA as key themes have surfaced throughout this year’s virtual Fresh Summit. As this year’s event comes to a close, we would like to encourage marketers to embrace and put into practice these themes as the end of the year draws closer.  Here are the themes and take-aways we’re walking away with from this year’s show:

Purpose is the new strategy 

Cathy Burns said it during the State of the Industry on Tuesday, and we saw it woven throughout the educational sessions that followed:


In Thursday morning’s keynote, speaker Sally Dominguez spoke about not just goal setting, but “purpose setting.” She motivated the audience to consider identifying “a big transformational intent” and being comfortable failing forward while trying to reach and fulfill that purpose.


So, do you have a purpose outlined for your company? Do your employees all know your purpose by heart, and are they motivated each day to actively work towards achieving that purpose?

Risk-taking is essential 

Across many sessions, the topic of risk-taking was a consistent theme. Whether it is chasing seemingly impossible dreams, going against the naysayers, or stepping outside a business norm, risk-taking is a necessary function for thriving.  We’ve seen so many of our industry peers thrust into a mode of risk-taking as we’ve all navigated the impacts of COVID-19.  It has sometimes been painful, but always rewarding. We remind ourselves and encourage our friends in fresh produce and floral to continue seeking risky ideas as our businesses and our industry settle into a newfound level of comfort.

Trust and authenticity is mandatory

The fresh produce industry is no stranger to trust concerns.  We have overcome food safety recalls time and again, growing more adept each time with new technologies and processes that help us grow and deliver safe, nutritious foods.  So many of you have implemented preventative measures in your operations, installed temperature monitoring systems, revamped your facilities, invested in expensive traceback programs and hired experts in the field of food safety.  You know a thing or two about building trust. 

But a new spin on this idea of trust is in knowing and communicating our purpose. Humans naturally connect with and feel comfortable with others who share their core values. How we choose what companies to do business with is no different.  We put trust in and give our money to companies who are in alignment with who we perceive ourselves to be. So we encourage you to build trust with your shoppers through authenticity and transparency. Give your shoppers a peak behind the curtain…what motivates your team, WHO is on your team, local initiatives you are involved in.  Do you just exist to sell a box of produce or do you exist to grow delicious, nutritious food that nourishes families and supports your community? There’s a big difference, and it’s up to you to tell a brand story that reflects the very heart of who your company is.


Women making a difference

Those of you that have been in the fresh produce industry for more than 10 years have seen the significant increase in women joining our effort to grow, sell and ship fresh fruits and vegetables to consumers. It is likely that this year was the first ever to celebrate an all-female cast of award recipients and we are in a constant state of standing ovation in support of these women and their contributions to the fresh produce industry. Congratulations to the women recognized during this show:


  • 2020 Bryan E. Silbermann Collaboration Award
    Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, Executive Director Center for Produce Safety
  • 2020 Center for Growing Talent Frieda Rapoport Caplan Women’s Catalyst Award
    Kristen Reid, Executive Vice President, Mixtec Group
  • 2020 Robert L. Carey Leadership Award
    Jin Ju Wilder, Director of Marketing & Business Development, Vesta Foodservice
  • 2020 Center for Growing Talent: Jay Pack Cultivating Our Future Award
    Dan’l Mackey Almy, President & CEO, DMA Solutions

Inclusion is good for business

When the topic of “inclusion” elevates at Fresh Summit, it is typically in terms of PMA’s messaging in support of a global community working to achieve the mission of providing more access to fruits and vegetables to people – everywhere.  During today’s Women’s Fresh Perspective Networking event, the discussion of inclusion was on the agenda, but in a way that is culturally relevant in the U.S. in terms of recruitment and providing opportunities for people from various backgrounds and cultures into the fresh produce industry.  From a marketing perspective, this has also been a hot topic for our team at DMA Solutions for many years, but this year in particular.  People, all people in the world, consume fresh produce.  Because of this known fact, our marketing efforts, like our recruitment efforts, can follow the lead from PMA’s global movement to be more inclusive of other cultures and backgrounds.  As marketers, we measure analytics on a monthly basis that show us where people are interested in more culturally diverse foods and flavors.  Now has never been a more important time to adapt our marketing efforts accordingly.

There’s no doubt that this year has been a difficult one for many in our industry and certainly beyond. While we wish we could’ve seen each of your faces in person, we are leaving this year’s virtual Fresh Summit feeling inspired, motivated, and optimistic about the future of our industry and our impact on the world. We hope you were able to take something away from this year’s educational lineup and we encourage everyone, no matter your role in the produce industry, to reflect on ways you can put these takeaways into action to close out 2020 and start 2021 with purpose!

If you haven’t already, we invite you to read our recaps and takeaways from the State of the Industry and day two educational sessions:

We also invite you to register for our next Marketing Matters Webinar where we’ll be discussing “What Your CEO Needs to Know about Marketing.”