Executive Update

GMA’s Chairman’s Advisory Committee Convenes in Florida

Earlier this month, GMA’s Chairman’s Advisory Committee (CAC) met in Jacksonville, FL to discuss the industry’s latest outlook and priorities.

Below highlights the topics addressed by the CAC during this meeting:

  • Catalina’s John Caron, Vice President of Marketing, and Theo Wilson, Senior Director of Business Development, presented of the future of digital media and the impacts and implications it will have on the CPG industry.  They explained that an emphasis on personalization and location of products will be paramount as in-store mobile commerce becomes more and more prevalent.
  • Greg Cannon, Senior Vice President, and Mike Ryno, Vice President, both of U.S. Bank Food Industries, provided a summary on the state of commodities and global demands with regard to population growth, GDP growth, and income vs. food quality. They also provided market updates on corn, soybeans, wheat, protein, sugar, fruits and vegetables.
  • Representatives of BI-LO/Winn-Dixie hosted members of the CAC at two Jacksonville-area retail stores. 
    Jerry Reardon, President and CEO, Signature Brands; Rob Mould, Vice President, Produce and Floral, BI-LO/Winn-Dixie Stores; Tom Ferriter, President and CEO, Bush Brothers & Company attend a store tour.

    The hosts provided an overview of Winn Dixie’s newly launched “Real Fresh, Real Local, Real Deals” retail strategy, and showcased the enhancements to Winn-Dixie’s customer engagement platform.
  • GMA Executive Vice President of Communications and Membership, Sean McBride, provided updates on GMA’s strategic priorities. He addressed key projects that fall under the Health and Wellbeing pillar of GMA’s strategic areas of focus, including: Facts Up Front, sodium regulation, nutrition labeling and anti-obesity efforts.  Updates on ingredient safety and environmental sustainability initiatives were also provided, along with industry affairs and retailer collaboration initiatives, including the October 2013 Collaborating for Growth Conference. 
  • Elise Fennig, Vice President of Industry Affairs at GMA, presented highlights of the “Innovation, Growth Analytics & Big Data” project sponsored by the GMA Information Systems Committee and spearheaded by project partner Deloitte Consulting.  She indicated the research would provide a holistic perspective of the benefits of Big Data and growth analytics for CPG companies and noted the final deliverable, a web-based application, which is now available on the GMA website. Elise also presented an update on the current standing of Rapid Recall Exchange, specifically the adoption rates and barriers to adoption for both manufacturers and retailers.
  • Randall Onstead, President and CEO, and Larry Stabelin, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of BI-LO/Winn-Dixie, hosted members of the CAC at two Jacksonville-area retail storesspoke about the growth of their stores and the top three issues facing the company, which include:  1) culture change and empowerment of employees 2) focus on their customer base and 3) working on continued growth and expansion.
  • GMA’s Executive Vice President of Government Affairs, Louis Finkel provided a recap of the California GMO labeling ballot initiative (Prop 37) and discussed the path forward for managing similar proposed legislation in states across the U.S., noting that GMO labeling legislation continues to remain a top priority for GMA.  He also provided an update on GMA’s priorities with respect to implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and addressed questions relating to corn ethanol mandates. 
  • George Dunaif, Vice President of Food Safety and Technical Services at GMA, presented the CAC with a progress report on FSMA implementation, addressing the main messages to the FDA as well as the current comment submission timeline.
  • Robert Budway, President of the Can Manufacturers Institute, provided a recap of the current landscape regarding Bisphenol A in food containers, noting that every regulatory body globally continues to find BPA to be safe.  He spoke about gearing messages to consumers and discussed the core reassurance messages to allay fears or skepticism about BPA in cans. 
  • The next CAC meeting will take place October 28-29, 2013, at the Sheraton Houston Brookhollow, in Houston, TX.