2017 NFRA Convention Breaks Participation Records and Hosts Nearly 2,000 Retailer Business Appointments

Date: Tuesday, November 14, 2017

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The 2017 National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention set multiple participation records with over 1,250 total attendees who held an estimated 2,000 business appointments with leading retailers. The event held on October 7-10, 2017, at the World Center Marriott, Orlando, Fla., and hosted by the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA), was designed to bring together leading companies from every segment of the industry in one venue to efficiently and effectively conduct the maximum amount of business in the least amount of time.

A record-setting 101 meeting rooms were booked by retailers to hold customer business appointments. According to a survey of convention attendees, more than half the retailer participants held more than 20 appointments lasting at least 30 minutes each throughout the event. In addition, NFRA introduced a new Speed Meeting concept at this year’s event to accommodate new members and smaller manufacturers who may have difficulty getting appointments. Eight retailers set aside time for 6-minute speed meetings with 50 manufacturers, more than half new NFRA members, creating an additional 178 meeting slots.

From beginning to end, the convention was structured to help attendees make valuable connections. The opening Taste of Excellence Reception on Sunday, October 8, included 52 manufacturers, including 12 new NFRA member companies, showcasing over 100 of the latest frozen and refrigerated food products.

Headlining the convention were two renowned speakers offering their unique insights. At the Monday, October 9 breakfast, retired Chief Warrant Officer Four Michael J. Durant, who was the inspiration for the movie Black Hawk Down as the helicopter pilot that was fired upon and brought down during a combat operation in Somalia, recounted his story to attendees. During the Tuesday, October 10 breakfast session, Jason Dorsey co-founder and Millennial and Gen Z researcher at The Center for Generational Kinetics shared the latest research on how to market, engage and sell to the younger generation of shoppers.

At the General Session on October 9, NFRA unveiled its new State of the Industry Report created in partnership with Nielsen. Todd Hale, former senior vice president, consumer & shopper insights with Nielsen, provided highlights of the report and led a panel discussion with Noel Geoffroy, president, frozen foods for Kellogg Company and Bob Knodle, VP of sales for H.P. Hood.

The convention also served as a platform for recognizing NFRA leaders and award recipients. The Annual Membership Luncheon on October 9 included the induction of NFRA’s new officers and directors. John Farmer, sales director, Dairy Farmers of America, was elected as Chairman of the Board.  

A Networking Reception on October 9 recognized the 2017 Golden Penguin winners for the March Frozen Food Month, June Dairy Month and June/July Ice Cream & Novelties promotions. Award winners with the highest scoring entries were revealed as Top Marketers during the reception. Five companies were named Top Marketers for March Frozen Food Month including: Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Council of Northern California, Cape Cod Select Premium Cranberries, Safeway Eastern Division, C&S Wholesale Grocers and Co-Sales Company. Four companies were named Top Marketers for June Dairy Month including: Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Council of Northern California, Land O’Lakes, Safeway Eastern Division and C&S Wholesale Grocers. Three companies were named Top Marketers for the Ice Cream & Novelties promotion including: Graeter’s Ice Cream, Kroger and Associated Wholesale Grocers.

The convention closed with a luncheon hosted by NFRA’s new chairman that included the presentation of Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer magazine’s Retail Patriot Awards honoring those companies that have gone above and beyond in support of our active and retired military and their families. Three companies were named Retail Patriots including: Bernatello’s Foods, Brookshire Grocery Company and C&S Wholesale Grocers.

The 2018 NFRA Convention is set for October 20-23 at the Marriott Marquis in San Diego. Registration for the event opens March 1, 2018. For more information, visit NFRAConvention.org

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NFRA is a non-profit trade association representing all segments of the frozen and refrigerated foods industry. Headquartered in Harrisburg, PA, NFRA is the sponsor of March Frozen Food Month, June Dairy Month, June/July Ice Cream & Novelties and the October Cool Food for Kids educational outreach program.