The Produce Marketing Association isn’t resting on its laurels, says David Marguleas.

Marguleas, outgoing chairman of the board for the Produce Marketing Association and CEO of Sun World International, said the organization continues to meet the needs of its increasing global membership in new and evolving ways.

“Growth in the membership, particularly internationally — with membership in 53 countries now and exceeding 3,000 member companies — enables us to really represent the full extent of the supply chain,” he said. 

That allows PMA to serve not only North American members, but also industry companies in South America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, he said.

“We’re (also) seeing terrific growth in places like Brazil, and we have had a strong presence in Chile, Mexico and Peru for many years,” he said. 

The international flavor of PMA’s membership is reflected at Fresh Summit and on the PMA board of directors, Marguleas said.

“Almost a third of our board now resides outside of the U.S. borders, and that’s reflection of not only the membership, but also the global nature of (the) produce trade, and brings an entirely different perspective to the offerings that PMA makes to its members globally,” he said.

One of the new tools that PMA members have access to now is the association’s Global Market Tracker, bit.ly/PMA-market-tracker, which allows members to research consumption and production trends across the globe.

“I think for most of the last 20-plus years, PMA members, and certainly the board of directors, have wrestled with the role of PMA from a marketing perspective,” Marguleas said. 

And consumption is always often at the heart of those discussions, he said.

“How do we measure progress, either on a per commodity basis, or in total by market, either imports or exports and trade in general?”

Marguleas said PMA’s Global Market Tracker tool represents a great new resource that most produce firms would not have access to any place else.

“It is a tool that will enable people to measure the value of their own individual marketing plans, as well as their efforts for importing and exporting,” he said.

Another resource for members is a new food safety certification program called Essentials of Produce Safety, Marguleas said. More will be revealed about that program at Fresh Summit, he said.

Throughout the past year, he said he has enjoyed traveling and talking to produce industry professionals about their concerns, ideas and suggestions.

“I think to just have the opportunity to rub elbows and connect — whether it’s a retailer in the Far East, or a grower-shipper in Peru or Chile, or a foodservice operator in the U.S. — those are experiences that are hard to replicate in all of our normal day to day business lives,” he said. 

“That for me has been a really rewarding part of serving as board chair for the last year.” 

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