Expert Speakers Slated for AFFI Convention in San Diego

The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) has finalized the speaker program for the 2016 AFFI Frozen Food Convention scheduled for February 20-24 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, California. More than 1,400 industry professionals are expected to attend the annual gathering, which brings together processors, logistics providers, suppliers, retailers and foodservice distributors and operators from all sectors of the frozen food and beverage sector to conduct business meetings and learn about key industry issues.

convention logoBeginning at 10 AM on Sunday, February 21, AFFI’s International Processors Council will feature Dan Solis, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) director of import operations in the Los Angeles district, and Mark FeDuke, the director of operations at VLM Foods Inc., discussing the impact of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) on imported foods. The presentation will provide food importers – including retailers, brokers and companies sourcing finished goods from abroad – with information about the scope of FDA’s recently finalized Foreign Supplier Verification Program rule.  It will cover general requirements of the rule, compliance and enforcement. 

Next up on Sunday, at 1 PM, the AFFI Communications Council will share results of the Institute’s recently conducted frozen food consumer segmentation study.  Edelman Vice President Elisa Vitalo will identify macro trends in the frozen food category and help attendees gain a better understanding of the consumer mindset with respect to frozen foods.

Sunday’s sessions will conclude with the AFFI Logistics & Supply Chain Council’s meeting at 3:30 PM. It will feature executives from some of the USA’s premier intermodal and third party logistics providers discussing the future of rail transportation as a viable option for distribution of frozen food products.

Representatives from Wendy’s Supply Chain Co-Op, BNSF and Armada Supply Chain Solutions, among others, will review the new technologies currently being implemented as well as what’s on the horizon and what the future of intermodal could mean to the frozen food business.

On Monday, February 22, Dick Vitale will serve as the keynote speaker during the breakfast session, which begins at 7:30 AM. The college basketball analyst is a highly regarded ABC Sports and ESPN personality.

On Tuesday, February 23, at 9 AM, the AFFI Public Policy Council will host a session on rules and regulations for frozen food.  It will include a presentation on US and Codex Frozen Fruit and Vegetable Grades and Standards.  Richard Petersen, a standardization specialist with the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, will provide an update on current grades and standards for frozen fruits and vegetables.

US Grade Standards for vegetables and fruits developed by AMS are voluntary and provide the fruit and vegetable industry with a uniform language for describing the quality and condition of commodities in the marketplace.

The Public Policy Council session will also include an overview of FDA and USDA regulatory issues impacting the frozen food and beverage industry, and provide information about AFFI’s current regulatory priorities and activities.

A number of meetings open to members only will take place during the convention. The Frozen Potato Products Institute’s board of directors will convene on February 22, 2:30-4 PM, and the AFFI Executive Committee will meet on February 23, 3-5 PM.

The convention will also will also feature tabletop exhibits promoting products and services of suppliers to the industry. Among the exhibitors are Qingdao TPF Foodstuff Co., Jealous Fruits, South Mill Mushrooms, Octofrost Inc., TOMRA Sorting Food, Key Technology, Interstate Cold Storage, Lineage Logistics and Tippmann Group/Interstate Warehousing.

For more information, contact Kaitlyn Palatucci, the McLean, Virginia-based trade association’s vice president of conferences, via e-mail at kpalatucci@affi.com, or by telephone at +1 703-821-0770.