Fresh Summit Informs, Unifies Global Science and Technology Community

Kelsey Fry Produce, Top Posts


Recognizing the increasing complexity facing the produce and floral industries today and in the future, science and technology will be a key focus of Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) 2016 Fresh Summit Convention & Expo when it convenes October 14-16, in Orlando, Florida, USA. And new this year, a pilot program will be held to help attract science and technology talent to careers in the fresh produce and floral industry.

Fresh Summit 2016 is a week earlier than usual; attendees are encouraged to register by the advance registration deadline of Sept. 30 to avoid registration lines in Orlando.

Interested in science and technology? Find your community

Attendees who are interested in science and technology and its impact on the industry should explore Fresh Summit’s Science & Technology Community, which organizes science- and technology-related education, networking and innovations throughout the weekend. Fresh Summit’s Communities of Interest are designed to help attendees find content and connections related to their priority business interests; in addition to Science & Technology, other 2016 Communities of Interest include Floral, Global Connections, Industry Talent and Issues Leadership.

“PMA’s Fresh Summit brings science and technology leaders together from all over the world to discuss the most pressing issues facing the global produce industry and share solutions,” says Dr. Elliott Grant, CEO of the personalized nutrition company ShopWell Labs Inc., and chairman of PMA’s Science & Technology Committee. “When I walk the floor of Fresh Summit and attend breakout sessions, I come away energized and inspired by the ingenuity, energy and commitment of this awesome community.”

Saturday’s Science & Technology Reception will offer Fresh Summit’s best networking opportunity for attendees who are interested in science and technology. This event is designed to help attendees make connections and engage with other like-minded professionals.

On Friday, four workshops will help the industry tackle important science- and technology-specific topics:

  • “Emerging Trends in Food Safety & Technology: Are You Prepared” will help attendees to explore emerging issues and to prepare for their business impacts
  • “Supply Chain Transparency: Consumers Care and So Should You” will showcase how to harness technology to meet consumer demand for supply chain transparency
  • “Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Import Requirements: What Do They Mean For You?” will cover what companies need to know about new food safety requirements for produce being imported into the United States
  • “Produce Safety Essentials: What Busy Executives Need to Know” will explore the basics of how to avoid a food safety crisis or to effectively deal with one if it occurs

Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Stephen Ostroff, M.D., has been invited to participate in the FSMA workshop as part of PMA’s ongoing strategy to connect regulators and industry.

Science and technology innovations will be on display at the Fresh Summit expo, beginning with its Innovation@work area. These showcases right outside of the expo floor will feature creative products and services that demonstrate the importance of science and technology. Science- and technology-focused innovations can also be found across the Fresh Summit exposition hall. This year, over 1,100 exhibitors will display their products and services, including showcasing solutions for pathogen detection, water quality testing, food waste and data management.

To promote leadership and innovation in packaging, Fresh Summit’s annual Impact Award: Excellence in Packaging will be announced at Friday’s brunch general session. The Impact Award program recognizes packaging innovations in five categories, including food safety and supply chain efficiency/functionality, as well as marketing, sustainability and consumer convenience. This year, 20 finalists are vying for the top honors.

Pilot program focuses on attracting new STEM talent

To help the industry to address its increasing need for science and technology professionals, this year’s Fresh Summit will include a pilot project with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) university professors. The pilot project is a collaborative effort between PMA’s Science & Technology team and Center for Growing Talent by PMA (CGTbyPMA).

CGTbyPMA’s mission is to attract, develop and retain talent for the fresh produce and floral industry. This pilot project will take CGTbyPMA’s mission to attract new industry talent one step further. University faculty from STEM disciplines have been invited to Fresh Summit to learn about our industry and its many and varied STEM career options. This pilot program will help inform creation of future CGTbyPMA programs to attract top science and technology university students to careers in the fresh produce and floral industries.

“Our goal is to help our industry meet its increasing science and technology talent needs, by attracting top students to careers with us,” said PMA Chief Science & Technology Officer Bob Whitaker, Ph.D., who also has considerable corporate leadership experience. “CGTbyPMA already has the student recruitment model to follow, in its very successful Career Pathways suite of student attraction programs.”

To learn about PMA’s Fresh Summit Convention & Expo and its science and technology offerings, and to register online, visit The deadline to register in advance is Sept. 30; on-site registration is available.

About Produce Marketing Association (PMA)

Produce Marketing Association is the leading trade association representing companies from every segment of the global produce and floral supply chain. PMA helps members grow by providing connections that expand business opportunities and increase sales and consumption. For more information, visit

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