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All you need to know about the CPMA show

It was back 94 years ago when a gaggle of fruit and vegetable wholesalers came together in the Montreal Fruit Auction with the idea of organizing themselves as an industry — one that would act in harmony. That meeting resulted in the formation of the Eastern Canada Fruit and Vegetable Jobbers, which would become known as the Canadian Produce Marketing Association and set in motion the CPMA trade show.CPMA Wednesday Batch2 026 Web

“Clearly, the convention and trade show has grown exponentially since our humble beginnings in 1925,” Les Mallard, the 2018-19 chair of the CPMA Board of Directors, said. “The CPMA Convention and Trade Show is Canada’s largest show for the fresh produce sector. This year, we’ll have over 300 unique exhibiting companies and we’re expecting to welcome over 4,000 attendees walking the show floor, representing over 1,300 unique companies.”

The CPMA is important to the Canadian produce industry as it provides a platform within the country to allow for Canadian and international companies to showcase their products and services, creating business opportunities, both within Canada and internationally.

“As CPMA members represent 90 percent of fresh fruit and vegetable sales in Canada, and with the CPMA being the biggest show of its type in Canada, it is a staple for anyone looking to do business in Canada’s produce industry,” Mallard said.

The produce Retail Tour, taking place on Tuesday, April 2, is one of the first big events of the week. This year’s tour will travel to three places: Marché Adonis, Provigo and Metro Plus Dorion, to observe their unique produce departments.

That evening, Mallard will host the chair’s welcome reception at the Le Parquet atrium at the Édifice Jacques-Parizeau, highlighting the distinctive tastes of Canada’s Eastern provinces.

On Wednesday, keynote speaker Justin Kingsley, marketing guru and New York Times bestselling author, will take the stage at the delegate and companion breakfast, with the show officially opening early that afternoon. That will be followed in the evening by networking events for young professionals and women in the produce industry. Wednesday night culminates with CPMA’s after party, an opportunity for people to connect with colleagues and business associates.

“Thursday begins with our awards brunch, and continues with day two of the trade show,” Mallard said. “The week wraps up with our annual banquet, where four-time platinum artists and YouTube sensations with over one billion views, Walk Off The Earth, will headline the show.”

New to the show this year will be presentations of industry innovations at the delegate lunch.

“With innovation being the central theme of our convention this year, we will be showcasing advancements in our sector, as well as detailing what CPMA is doing to support our members and progress the industry,” Mallard said. “CPMA will discuss the launch of our new produce innovation hub and present our plan to help support our members in decreasing food loss and waste, while cutting costs for their business.”

On Thursday, the board will be announcing the first winner of the CPMA Corporate Culture Award at the awards bruch. This is another new CPMA initiative, launched in the fall of 2018, which will be running year-round.

“CPMA has partnered with Waterstone Human Capital, a leader in assessment and development of corporate culture, to give our members the opportunity to assess their corporate culture at a heavily discounted rate,” Mallard said. “Waterstone offers a plethora of cultural advisory services which members can also take advantage of. Every member organization that participates in the corporate culture exercise with Waterstone will be automatically entered to win the CPMA Corporate Culture Award.”

CPMA will host Booth No. 122, and will be profiling emerging innovations from across the produce supply chain, featuring advanced technologies that members have created, or are implementing into their business.

“In addition, we will be featuring a preview of our new produce innovation hub, giving show-goers the opportunity to see and experience this new platform for the first time,” Mallard said.

“There are many learning opportunities available, including business sessions focusing on analytics, innovation and digital, learning lounges running throughout both days of the trade show, and our dieticians’ session.”

Additionally, the New Product Showcase will celebrate four award winners in the showcase: the Best New Product, the Freggie Approved Product (children friendly), the Packaging Innovation and the Organic Products award.

“CPMA continues to actively advocate for increased trade with our international trade partners, and we are welcoming new members, both domestically and internationally who wish to make trade connections in Canada and across the world,” Mallard said.

“We look forward to continue to grow our member benefits for the remainder of 2019 with expanding initiatives. This is a great place to start for anyone interested in growing their profile within the produce industry.”