If you attended the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) Summit in Washington in March, you would’ve found one thousand food and beverage executives and health crusaders in suits doing synchronized kick-boxing calisthenics. It was an awkward site to behold, but also a sign tensions are thawing between two groups who are often at odds.

The First Lady Michelle Obama has modeled in headlines and households what Americans must do to get healthier as part of her Let’s Move! initiative. But it is at PHA where the message becomes matter.

Under Obama’s stewardship, PHA has become the premiere forum for public health experts to stand alongside private sector corporations, including Del Monte, Dannon, and Nestlé. As a result, industry rhetoric is increasingly becoming action.

For product companies, PHA is becoming a launch pad. More of them are flocking here to announce commitments to consumer wellbeing, and they receive real-time feedback. (read more…)

Like most grocery stores, Sprouts Farmers Market offers discounts and promotions to its customers through several channels including e-mails and online coupons. But thanks to new data Sprouts is acquiring through a partnership with analytics provider Manthan Systems, the grocer is launching a new loyalty program based on customer analytics, which provides the company with specific data about its shoppers and their behaviors, Sprouts Chief Information and Marketing Officer Steve Black said during a Big !deas session at NRF‘s BIG Show in New York City on Monday. The new program will transition from one that is based on data about items to one that integrates both customer analytics and item data, giving Sprouts a better picture of who its best customers are and how to best engage with those who fall into its target market, he said.

“Every single experience of every single customer is important every single day,” which is why Sprouts hopes to improve the customer experience through the new program, Black said. (read more…)

This year’s PMA Fresh Summit in New Orleans spoke of change in the industry and innovation to propel a community of produce growers, shippers and marketers into the future. Sessions ran the gamut, from emerging technology and creating passion for fruits and vegetables through powerful marketing techniques to PMA President Bryan Silbermann’s State of the Industry session, which inspired and motivated the some-18,000 attendees at this year’s show.

Here’s a look at Silbermann’s general session, the innovative Innovation @ work display area, which showcased this year’s Impact Award winners, as well as a few shots of the bustling show floor, where colorful produce and floral arrangements spanned the Ernst N. Morial Convention Center and people of the produce industry exuded enthusiasm and passion for the world of produce.

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We spoke with Jeff Dunn, CEO of Bolthouse Farms and former senior executive at Coca-Cola, in a one-on-one interview after his inspiring session “Creating Fruits & Veggies Passion!” at this year’s PMA Fresh Summit in New Orleans. From the acquisition of Bolthouse Farms by Campbell and industry issues and trends to marketing to kids in the future and a brand new partnership with PMA to begin a marketing community, we get the scoop from straight from the source.

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SB: The natural foods and premium juice industry is exploding and more and more large companies are acquiring smaller health-oriented companies. What has changed for Bolthouse Farms since Campbell acquired it 15 months ago? Has it changed the direction of the brand at all?

Not at all, and the reason is that because when they bought us, Denise Morrison, the CEO, part of the deal in buying us was that she really wanted to leave us as a sustainable company, she recognized our mission was slightly different than theirs, but mostly, our business system was different. (read more…)

Jeff Dunn, CEO of Bolthouse Farms and one of the newest members of the Produce Marketing Association Board of Directors, announced on Friday at Fresh Summit in New Orleans a new partnership in which Bolthouse Farms’ Chief Marketing Officer Tom Putman will lead a team of volunteers from PMA to build a marketing community within PMA.

Dunn encouraged attendees to share thoughts, case studies, experiences in things that have worked and haven’t worked, and most importantly, their stories, which can then be turned into powerful marketing vehicles to boost the produce industry.

“If we can start to distill down what we all know in our heads into a community of storytelling, we’ll find associations, we’ll find technology to bring those stories to life,” Dunn said.

Produce growers, shippers and businesses can go to www.xchange.pma.com and log in with their username password, then look for Dunn’s discussion titled “Creating Fruit and Veggie Passion!”

“I have never seen a bigger marketing opportunity than what exists today,” Dunn said. (read more…)