Issue link: http://magazine.progressivegrocer.com/i/723369
116 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | September 2016 Frozen & Refrigerated Foods NFRA Convention Preview 2016 National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention Schedule at a Glance Saturday, Oct. 22 7 a.m.-5 p.m.: Convention registration Sunday, Oct. 23 7 a.m.- 5 p.m.: Convention registration 8 a.m.-5 p.m.: Customer business meetings. Note: Attend- ees must be registered and wear a badge to participate in these meetings. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.: Café NFRA open Note: The NFRA Business Center, located near the café, will have laptops set up so attendees can check their email and print documents between meetings. 5-5:30 p.m.: Taste of Excellence Retailer Preview 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Taste of Excellence 7:30 p.m.: Evening open for business entertaining Monday, Oct. 24 7 a.m.-5 p.m.: Convention registration 7:30-8:55 a.m.: Breakfast speaker 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Customer business meetings; Café NFRA open Noon-1:30 p.m.: NFRA Annual Membership Luncheon honoring the Refrigerated Food Hall of Fame 5:30-7 p.m.: Networking reception; Golden Penguin Award winner recognition and announcement of Top Marketer Awards 7 p.m.: Evening open for business entertaining Tuesday, Oct. 25 7 a.m.-3 p.m.: Convention registration 7:30-8:55 a.m.: Breakfast speaker 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Café NFRA open 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Customer business meetings Noon-1 p.m.: Industry luncheon 1-5 p.m.: Customer business meetings 5 p.m.: Evening open for business entertaining chik says. "It's structured to help attendees make valuable connections with the people and companies that can make a real impact on their business. Nowhere else can attendees meet with as many diverse companies, individually and face-to-face, in such a short period of time." Such connections and collaborations are instrumental to the success of the refrigerated and frozen categories, which are physically, and often figuratively, set apart from other retail departments by the nature of the prod- ucts and the cold chain. Forward-facing products in retail freezers and refriger- ated cases compete against an increasingly competitive field, as new products and brands seek to meet consumer demand for foods and beverages that meet shopper interest in quality, flavor, convenience, health and price, among other purchase drivers. Just how competitive are these categories? According to a report from Portland, Ore.-based Allied Market Research, the global frozen food market will reach $306 billion in sales by 2020, with ready meals comprising the largest sector of that market. In its "2015 State of the Industry" report, NFR A also pegged frozen entrées as the largest category, with $10.7 billion in sales; the association's annual benchmark additionally found that overall frozen food discussion has grown nearly 250 percent, spurred by interest in convenience and nutrition. Such competition remains strong as frozen and some refrigerated food manufacturers contend with public per- ception — and misperception — of freshness. A late-2015 report from Rockville, Md.-based market research firm Packaged Facts found that consumer demand for fresh food has limited the potential and growth of some frozen foods, and that frozen items labeled as natural and/or organic have been received "more positively." Given the current climate of competition, then, product innovation and industry connections like those at the an- nual convention take on new importance. "Attendees to the convention will have the opportunity to hold customer appointments with dozens of top companies in just a few days," Rumachik notes, "making this event the most effective and efficient way to conduct business." To register for the 2016 NFRA Convention, visit the dedicated event website, www.NFRAConvention.org, or contact NFRA via email at [email protected], fax at 717-657-9862 or phone at (717) 657-8601. You can also download a smartphone app, "NFR A 2016," through Google Play or the Apple Store. e app enables users to manage schedules and business ap- pointments during the show and view the attendee list, among other features. About NFRA The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA), based in Harrisburg, Pa., represents the interests of every segment of the industry, including distributors, international, local associations, logistics providers, manufacturers, regional manufacturers, retailers/wholesalers, sales agents and suppliers. In addition to hosting the yearly National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention in October, NFRA sponsors March National Frozen Food Month, June Dairy Month, the June/July Ice Cream and Novel- ties promotion, and the October Cool Food for Kids educational outreach program.