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PMA events bring floral supply chain together for networking and learning

The Produce Marketing Association hosted Fresh Connections: Floral Anaheim on June 8, the first of its two U.S. regional events this year designed to help professionals in the mass-market floral supply chain gain insights into trends and network to increase sales. Around 83 people attended the Anaheim, CA, event and PMA’s second event, Fresh Connections: Floral Miami, is scheduled for July 13.

Joe Bischoff, senior vice president at Cornerstone Government Affairs in Washington, DC, presented “The New U.S. Administration and Its Impact on the Floral Industry” in Anaheim. Bischoff discussed legislative and regulatory objectives of the Trump administration, including tax reform, trade agreements like NAFTA, and federal spending. He also encouraged attendees to think about risks and benefits potential changes could have on their business strategies in the coming years.

The second session in Anaheim included a panel discussion on how buyers and sellers can work better together to uncover new opportunities and expand existing markets.

ELENA-OZERITSKAYAAt Fresh Connections: Floral Anaheim June 8, Elena Ozeritskaya (standing), founder at Fresh Insight in the Netherlands, leads panelists on a discussion about what U.S. retailers expect from their suppliers today, especially when it comes to new consumer concepts.Elena Ozeritskaya, founder at Fresh Insight in the Netherlands, presented “Inside Scoop: U.S. Retailers and the Supplier Selection Process.” She provided insight on generational consumer trends, and how trends affect the relationship between today’s retailers and suppliers. She also shared ideas on successfully marketing to millennials, as well as ways to collaborate within the floral supply chain.

“Millennials will take on 34 percent of the global population by 2020 and therefore matter for your marketing and innovation strategies,” said Ozeritskaya.

Three floral industry executives participated in a panel discussion following Ozeritskaya’s presentation: Liane Mast, director of floral at Stater Bros. Markets in San Bernardino, CA; Courtney Young, floral category manager at Sprouts Farmers Markets in Phoenix; and Debbie Zoellick, senior sourcing manager global floral at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in Bentonville, AR. The panelists provided insight on what U.S. retailers expect from their suppliers today, especially when it comes to new consumer concepts.

Floral Buyer Roundtables were new to Fresh Connections: Floral Anaheim this year. Selected suppliers met with retail companies in 10-minute, one-on-one meetings akin to business speed dating. The purpose was for participants to make introductions and establish a dialogue for more in-depth, follow-up conversations. Floral Buyer Roundtables will also be held at Fresh Connections: Floral Miami on the day before the event.

Katie Dubow, creative director for Garden Media Group in Kennett Square, PA, will present “Consumer Trends: What Will Be Driving your Next Floral Sale?” at the Miami event. She’ll address the latest trends in home decorating, entertaining and indoor/outdoor living and how they drive consumer demand for floral products.

In addition, a panel of breeders will participate in a session titled “On the Horizon: New Varieties for Tomorrow’s Customers.” Participants will dig deeper into consumer trends to identify new varieties and products to spark sales.

Advance registration for Fresh Connections: Floral Miami ends July 7. Onsite registration will be available on July 13. Separate registration is required to participate in Floral Buyer Roundtables.

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Lisa McVey is the public relations manager at the Produce Marketing Association. She can be contacted at