“We will play a role, but the subject matter will determine if we play a lead role or supportive role,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said PMA has the luxury of cash flow that allows it to provide unique services to its members.
Lazopoulos said each association offers its members value.
“Both associations are serving the industry in different ways,” he said.
Government relations, food safety and technical affairs represent United Fresh’s strength, while the PMA focus is marketing and networking.
“We thought the complementary services of each other’s association could potentially create a bigger, stronger association, but, obviously not at this time,” Lazopoulos said. “Maybe sometime in the future, but not at this time.”
Both associations went into discussions last spring and indicated they didn’t want to talk forever, said Tom Stenzel, president of the United Fresh.
“Neither association felt it made sense to go on and on and on,” he said. “It creates too much uncertainty for the industry.”
Collaboration between the two associations will depend on the topic, Stenzel said.
Some work will be high profile joint efforts like traceability while other issues like country of origin labeling will be lower profile, day-to-day consultation.
Stenzel said United Fresh is on solid financial footing, including bookings for its upcoming show in Las Vegas. The association’s show for 2009 has not been set, but United Fresh’s board meeting in late January could announce the venue for 2009.