Incoming PMA chairman: Cooperation key to consumption - The Packer

Incoming PMA chairman: Cooperation key to consumption

09/27/2011 11:29:00 AM
Chris Koger

DachmanThe way incoming Produce Marketing Association chairman Rich Dachman sees it, the produce industry remains poised for increasing gains in consumption.

That is, if its members can work together and take advantage of all the people and organizations promoting increased healthy eating with more produce.

As PMA chairman for the next year, Dachman, vice president of produce for Sysco Corp., Houston, said he plans to remain focused on expanding consumption.

“It solves a lot of problems when people eat more produce,” Dachman said.

“It helps our industry fulfill its sales goals, and, more importantly, in conjunction with others, it gets our country healthier. I am obsessed with trying to preach health to anyone who will listen to me.”

Serving as committee chairman of PMA’s Foodservice 2020, which aims to double produce offerings on restaurant menus by 2020, Dachman said he sees “the stars perfectly aligned” for the produce industry.

“As an industry, we need to act more as a team,” Dachman said.

“We have different advisory boards fighting each other with different products competing against each other. Some have done a great job, and I’m a huge fan of Produce for Better Health. We all need to get behind something like that and provide it the right funds so we can get that Super Bowl commercial or whatever we need to compete against Domino’s. I really want to push that as much as I possibly can.”

Although he works for a company that sells all kinds of food, Dachman said it’s important that produce people view their true competition not as cherries versus nectarines, but the snack aisle.

“We all need to get together as a single organization and figure out a way to promote our product instead of the fragmented manner in which we do it today. When we talk about increasing consumption, it hits all the hot spots. We have to make sure food is safe and traceable when a problem happens. This ties ultimately into getting people to eat more products and gain their confidence. Consumption is a result of us doing everything else right.”

When it comes to promoting produce, outgoing chairman Mike O’Brien, vice president of produce and floral for Schnuck Markets Inc., St. Louis, says Dachman is the real deal.

“He really believes in the produce industry and has a passion for growing consumption,” O’Brien said.

“That’s one thing he’s always been pushing all of us in our board meetings. That will be his mantra, to walk the walk. We can be out saying we want to grow consumption, but let’s live it.”

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