Tough call on merger

05/04/2012 09:38:00 AM
The Packer Editorial Board

The United Fresh 2012 event April 30 to May 3 in Dallas had a lot going for it.

It had been a long time since Dallas hosted a produce event of this size, and it did so capably. Attendance was up, co-locating with the Food Marketing Institute biannual show worked well, and many new products made news on the show floor.

There was a good buzz throughout the event.

But the topic that made the most noise was the potential merger between United Fresh and the Produce Marketing Association.

Both association boards have some details, but none were made public, which probably increased the speculation.

Both groups’ members will have a tough call in the next month or so on whether now is the time to merge the groups.

Among the top reasons to merge the associations would be to reduce the large industry events (and associated costs) from two to one, consolidate industry decision-making and reduce membership dues.

Along with consolidating these would be reducing association staffs and boards to eliminate redundancy and lower costs.

Full-time staffers would lose their jobs, despite meeting current members needs. Volunteer leaders would be told their time is no longer needed, at least not how it is now. The revenue generated from two shows would be reduced.

The merger would not be without consequences.

With that in mind, a merger that did not reduce costs and consolidate redundancy would seem pointless.

Did The Packer get it right? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.



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Doug    
Raleigh, NC  |  May, 04, 2012 at 03:32 PM

The real winners in an eventual merger of the two national groups might well be the up-and-coming regional conferences that can show greater value on a smaller scale, tighter geography, more target-rich environment at their shows.

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