Impressive figures for the 2018 National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention were released on November 14. Participation was record-breaking, as over 1,260 total delegates attended the October 20-23 event in San Diego, California, and an estimated 2,200 business appointments with leading retailers took place.
Hosted by the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA-headquartered National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA), the annual gathering is designed to bring together leading companies from every segment of the temperature-controlled food industry in North America at one venue to conduct the maximum amount of business in the least amount of time.
Eighty-six retailers booked meeting rooms to conduct customer business appointments. According to a survey of convention attendees, over half of the retailer participants held more than 20 appointments lasting at least 30 minutes each throughout the four-day gathering of buyers and sellers. In addition, some retailers participated in six-minute speed meetings to accommodate new members and smaller manufacturers who may have had difficulty firming up appointments. Sixteen retailers set aside time for speed meetings with 74 manufacturers, creating an additional 443 meeting slots which was double the number of speed meetings in 2017.
From beginning to end, the convention was structured to help attendees make valuable connections. The opening Taste of Excellence Reception on Sunday, October 20, included 53 manufacturers, including 10 new NFRA member companies, showcasing over 170 of the latest frozen and refrigerated food products.
Headlining the convention were two popular speakers offering unique insights. At the October 21 breakfast, Brian Solis, principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, discussed disruptive technology and its impact on business. During the October 22 breakfast session, Todd Buchholz, former White House economic policy director, shared thoughts on economics, finance and business strategy.
The convention also served as a platform for recognizing NFRA leaders and award recipients. The Annual Membership Luncheon on October 21 included the induction of NFRA’s new officers and directors. Dave Jones, vice president for industry Initiatives at Kellogg Company, was elected as chairman of the Board. He also led a panel discussion with students from the food marketing program at St. Joseph’s University who discussed shopping habits related to the frozen and refrigerated categories.
A Networking Reception on October 21 recognized the 2018 Golden Penguin winners for the March Frozen Food Month, June Dairy Month and June/July Ice Cream & Novelties promotions. Award winners with the highest scoring entries were revealed as Top Marketers during the reception.
Five companies were named Top Marketers for March Frozen Food Month including as follows: Frozen & Refrigerated Food Council of Northern California, The Pictsweet Company, Albertsons Southwest Division, IMPACT Group and W. Lee Flowers and Company.
Named as Top Marketers for June Dairy Month were: Frozen & Refrigerated Food Council of Northern California, Land O’Lakes, Safeway Eastern Division and C&S Wholesale Grocers.
Top Marketers recognized for in the Ice Cream & Novelties promotion were: Graeter’s Ice Cream, Chris’ Food Center and IMPACT Group.
The convention closed with a luncheon that included the presentation of Retail Patriot Awards honoring companies that have gone above and beyond in support of United States active and retired military personnel and their families. Kroger and SpartanNash were both saluted as Retail Patriots.
The 2019 NFRA Convention is set for October 12-15 at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida. Registration for the event opens March 1, 2019. For more information, visit NFRAConvention.org.