Jun 21, 2024
Fireside chat session among changes to 2024 Organic Produce Summit

Organic Produce Summit announces changes
New elements mark this year’s Organic Produce Summit

The Organic Produce Summit (OPS) has made some changes to this year’s show, including the addition of a fireside chat.

Scheduled for July 10-11 in Monterey, California, OPS is the only event exclusively dedicated to connecting buyers and suppliers in the organic fresh produce industry, according to a news release.

At the eighth annual event, the final keynote, “Retail Fireside Chat,” will take place on July 11 following a morning keynote.

OPS Organic Produce Summit logo


In the fireside chat keynote, industry experts will tackle critical challenges in boosting retail sales. Panelists include Robby Cruz, vice president of produce at Target and Patrick Haines, vice president of produce at United Natural Foods.

Kevin Coupe, who writes at Morning News Beat.com and teaches at Portland State University’s Center for Retail Leadership in Oregon, is scheduled to moderate the panel. The panelists will explore industry topics including the organic program evolution, consumer preferences and the impact of technology on organic operations.

The panel will also tackle changing consumer behaviors and the role of artificial intelligence in growing both organic and overall produce sales.

Education: Labeling at retail

In addition, a new educational panel discussion has been set up. “Cracking the Code: Label Messaging at Retail” will delve into the many keywords consumers face when shopping for fresh produce, including organic, pesticide-free, locally grown and sustainable. The panel will also explore whether this type of messaging resonates or confuses customers.

The session will address whether the industry is successfully navigating the buzzwords and marketing strategies, examine how to better articulate the advantages of organic produce and communicate how the products are grown, according to the release.

Cracking the Code panelists include, from left, Mary Heslep, SVP at Ten Acre Marketing; Kim Chackal, co-owner and director of sales & marketing at Equifruit; Joe Merenda, CEO at Misionero; and Michael La Kier, VP brand development at IGA Brands.


Panelists include

  • Joe Merenda, CEO at Misionero
  • Kim Chackal, co-owner and director of sales & marketing at Equifruit
  • Mary Heslep, senior vice president at Ten Acre Marketing
  • Michael La Kier, vice president of brand development at IGA Brands.

OPS 2024 also includes a selection of field tours for qualified retailers and buyers, an opening night reception and a sold-out trade show floor featuring more than 175 producers and processors of organic fresh produce from across North America and the globe.

OPS 2024 is a two-day event specifically designed to bring together organic fresh produce growers, shippers and processors with retailers and buying organizations from across North America.

For more information, visit the Organic Produce Summit website.


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