Oct 16, 2020
PMA Fresh Summit shines a positive light on organic produce
Stephen Kloosterman

PMA Fresh Summit, a virtual trade show that ran October 13-15, was upbeat on the state of the organic produce market.

Organic Produce Network President and CEO Matt Seeley spoke in a panel discussion entitled “Resiliency and Rebound” about how the produce industry was weathering the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Those first two months, March and April, were very, very tough for everybody, and I think that was the beginning of a re-alignment of what was going on,” he said. “Obviously, food service started going in a very downward trend. From the retail perspective, we saw more people eating at home, which I think did bode well for organic products, as we saw a huge growth in organic sales. So, again: out of the gate, very fractured in terms of what was going on, and then I think our industry, to its credit, all aspects of of our industry found a way to get through this with the supply chain consistency of product. And things started to move in a more positive, and I think fluid, direction, because the supply chain did work for all aspects of the industry.”

When asked about where the industry was headed, he was also positive about the future.

“Eating at home – I think that that trend will continue, obviously, until the food industry gets back on its feet,” Seeley said. “And that provides some great opportunities for those of us who are in organic produce to try new items. There have been some items that have skyrocketed in sales. Organic ginger, for example, blends in very nicely with the cooking at home concept. So we see more of that growth continuing. The direct-to-consumer channel has experienced tremendous growth during this time period, upwards of 20% at one point – I think that’s gone back down, but we don’t see that going away. We think that’s going to be part of the landscape for consumers going forward. I think we’re going to perfect that even more, but, again, a great opportunity for us going forward.”

A variety of organic produce products were also featured in a series of pitch videos from organic produce suppliers attending PMA Fresh Summit Marketplace. Among the suppliers featured were Progressive Produce, DLJ Produce Inc., LGS Specialty Sales, Ltd., Live Oak Farms, Oppy, Ocean Mist Farms, Wholesum and Gold Coast Packing, Inc.

Above, Gold Coast Packing, Inc. was among the companies presenting at PMA Fresh Summit, an virtual trade show event.

Stephen Kloosterman is the managing editor of Organic Grower
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