HARRISBURG, Pa. – The 2019 National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention set its highest participation record since 1994 with over 1,350 total attendees who held an estimated 3,000 business appointments with leading retailers. The event held on October 12-15, 2019, 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.
Ninety-eight retailers booked meeting rooms to hold customer business appointments. According to a survey of convention attendees, over 65% of retailer participants held more than 20 appointments lasting at least 30 minutes each throughout the event. In addition, some retailers participated in 6-minute speed meetings to accommodate new members and smaller manufacturers who may have difficulty getting regular appointments. Twenty-two retailers set aside time for speed meetings with 100 manufacturers creating an additional 500 meeting slots, a 12% increase over 2018.
From beginning to end, the convention was structured to help attendees make valuable connections. The opening Taste of Excellence Reception on Sunday, October 13, featured 51 manufacturers, including 10 new NFRA member companies, showcasing over 115 of the latest frozen and refrigerated food products.
Headlining the convention at the Monday, October 14 breakfast was Jon Dorenbos, former NFL Player and America’s Got Talent finalist telling his incredible life story through magic. At the Tuesday, October 15 breakfast session, NFRA unveiled its 2019 State of the Industry Report. Todd Hale, former Senior Vice President, Consumer & Shopper Insights with Nielsen presented highlights from the report and facilitated a panel discussion with industry leaders, Tony Hatok, Sr. Director Meat Merchandising, Giant Eagle, Greg Somerville, VP Sales, Land O’Lakes and Matt Lindsay, General Manager Frozen Breakfast, Kellogg’s.
The convention also served as a platform for recognizing NFRA leaders and award recipients. The Annual Membership Luncheon on October 14 included the induction of NFRA’s new officers and directors. Joe D’Alberto, Director Dairy/Frozen, Harris Teeter Team, Acosta Sales & Marketing, was elected as Chairman of the Board. In addition, two new Refrigerated Food Hall of Fame inductees were John Larsen, Albertsons Companies and Jeff Thomas, Crystal Farms (retired).
An Awards Luncheon on October 15 recognized the 2019 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 luncheon. Seven companies were named Top Marketers for March Frozen Food Month including: Frozen & Refrigerated Food Council of Northern California, B&G Foods/Green Giant, Mrs. T’s Pierogies, Harris Teeter, Weis Markets, IMPACT Group Southwest and C&S Wholesale Grocers. Five companies were named Top Marketers for June Dairy Month including: Frozen & Refrigerated Food Council of Northern California, Land O’Lakes, Albertsons Safeway Southwest, IMPACT Group Southwest and C&S Wholesale Grocers. Three companies were named Top Marketers for the Ice Cream & Novelties promotion including: Graeter’s Ice Cream, Chris’ Food Center and IMPACT Group Southwest.
The 2020 NFRA Convention is set for October 17-20 at the Gaylord National, National Harbor, Md. Registration for the event opens March 1, 2020. For more information, visit NFRAConvention.org.
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 Cool Food for Kids educational outreach program.