Survey results show economy's effect on industry - The Packer

Survey results show economy's effect on industry

10/02/2009 08:58:59 AM
Dan Galbraith

I love that Produce Pulse respondents are such an optimistic group.

Dan Galbraith
Sections Editor

I just wish the participants in our surveys had a crystal ball with a little less fog in it.

After referring back to some survey results from late last year regarding predictions for the timing of an economic recovery and seeing respondents somewhat optimistic it would take place this year, I dug a little deeper.

Comparing recent survey results to those from a year ago regarding the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit, it’s clear the dark economy is lowering expectations of new business generated at this year’s show.

Cutting convention costs

Results indicate Fresh Summit attendees place a higher importance on networking than signing business deals.

While 30% of 2008 survey respondents indicated they attended the 2007 Fresh Summit but were sitting out the 2008 show in Orlando, Fla., 40% of 2009 survey participants said they attended the 2008 show but will not attend the 2009 conference, with half of those stating the reason as “my company is trying to cut costs.”

For the second straight year, the economy is whacking away at the number of business deals done and new products launching at the show.

This mid-September’s poll indicates 77% are attending Fresh Summit mainly for purposes of networking with others in the industry and/or improving business contacts, while that number was 66% last year. What’s more, only 16% this year said their main reason for attending would be to pursue buying interests, while 26% of last year’s survey-takers listed that as their major aim.

For the second consecutive year, only 3% of survey respondents said their companies are rolling out new products or services.

Location preferences

Produce Pulse participants also weren’t shy about expressing their opinions about Anaheim as a show venue, and, in short, they don’t like it as well as they would like other potential show locations in California or the Midwest.

Only 32% of survey respondents feel “very positive” about Anaheim, with another 11% feeling “somewhat positive” about it (for a 43% postitive rating) . About 31% were neutral, 19% “somewhat negative” and 6% “very negative” about going to a show near Disneyland.

Comparatively, 51% of produce industry interests involved in last year’s survey said they feel either very positive or somewhat positive about Orlando as an industry convention site, 38% remained neutral and 11% said Orlando has a negative vibe.

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