Joe D’Alberto, Harris Teeter team director of dairy/frozen at Acosta Sales & Marketing, has been tapped to serve a second term as chairman of the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) in the United States. The election took place during the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-headquartered trade group’s annual board of directors meeting on October 16, which coincided with a virtual convention that hosted over 800 food industry registrants, including more than 100 retailers.
Addressing the association’s pivot to the virtual event due to the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, and recognizing the response of the overall food industry to the Covid-19 health emergency, D’Alberto stated:
“Our industry has stepped up and come together to address this crisis. We’ve helped consumers through this difficult time by keeping shelves stocked and supporting our employees and communities in so many ways. I’m proud to be part of an essential industry that has played such a pivotal role in keeping America healthy and strong.”
The creativity on display from the frozen and refrigerated foods industry was impressive – taking center stage not only in one-on-one business meetings, but in the convention virtual exhibit hall, which featured NFRA member companies and their latest innovations. A review of 60 new frozen and refrigerated product profiles may be accessed by visiting: www.mailchi.mp/6d0f4960a9a3/nfra-virtual-convention-new-product-showcase.
Colin Stewart, executive vice president for business intelligence at Acosta, provided insights on growth opportunities in a post-Covid world. He noted that the pandemic has affected shopper habits, supplier-retailer commerce, meals at home, online grocery pickup and delivery, trial of new products, more frozen plant-based alternatives, accelerated E-commerce and increased affinity to “Made in the USA” and local brands.
Larry Levin, executive vice president at Market & Shopper Intelligence, IRI, focused on trends that will shape the industry’s future. He reported that through early October 2020, sales in the frozen aisle were up 24%, while refrigerated sales rose 16%.
Noting that consumers are making fewer trips to supermarkets and grocery stores during the pandemic, and buying more during each trip, Levin said that shoppers continue to be in “stock-up mode,” buying products to last for at least two weeks. Working from home will become the norm for more Americans, he added, and behavioral shifts are taking place in how consumers are managing health requirements as it relates to food shopping.
NFRA’s virtual convention also spotlighted the Golden Penguin Top Marketer Awards for excellence in merchandising for March Frozen Food Month, June Dairy Month and Summer Favorites Ice Cream & Novelties promotions.
Installation of Other Officers and Directors
Other officers announced at the association’s board meeting were: Kevin Schwab, Pictsweet Company, chairman-elect; John Arnold, Sargento Foods, secretary; Mark Tarzwell, Ateeco, Inc./Mrs. T’s Pierogies, treasurer; Steve Mayle, General Mills, vice chairman – frozen; Bob Knodle, H.P. Hood, vice chairman – refrigerated.
Newly elected to the Board of Directors were: Bob Brown, Jewel Osco; Angie Christos, Tyson Foods; Susan Durfee, Tops Markets; Chris Groll, Florida’s Natural Growers; Brian Haley, Burris Logistics; Tom Robaczewski, Bays Bakery; Kellie Shetlar, ConAgra Brands; Greg Somerville, Land O’Lakes Foods.
Re-elected to the board of directors were: Tom DeTrempe, PepsiCo Beverages & Foods; Tom Finn, Rosina Food Products; Cathy Magistrelli, Wakefern Food Corp.; Ron Slominski, Schwan’s Consumer Brands.
NFRA’s 2021 Annual Convention will hopefully return to an in-person event and is set for October 16-19, 2021 at the Marriott Marquis in San Diego, California.