Adventurer Erik Weihenmayer delivers opening keynote address amid strong attendance and new enhanced Sunday content program; NGA members elect new board slate
Las Vegas, NV – With attendee registrations exceeding the pre-pandemic 2020 event, the 2023 NGA Show – the premier trade show for the independent supermarket industry – opened today, offering nearly 60 educational sessions and workshops, presented by more than 150 speakers discussing issues facing food retail during the three-day conference, Feb. 26-28, 2023, at the Caesars Forum Convention Center in Las Vegas.
“A huge thank you goes out to the members of our show planning committee, whose ideas and suggestions drove this year’s NGA Show,” said Ted Balistreri, NGA board chairman. “From the expanded Sunday content lineup and additional food opportunities to enhancements in the program flow, the show has a renewed energy that’s sure to boost the experience for all our attendees.”
In his opening keynote speech to attendees, NGA President and CEO Greg Ferrara said grocers must leverage the opportunities presented by rapidly emerging technology and the evolving tastes and behaviors of a new generation of consumers influenced by authentic experiences and social media.
“Today, Main Street is in and Wall Street is out. Being connected to the community can help you win over the big-box behemoths,” Ferrara said. “But you have to embrace the change and the technological advances, remain relevant, be curious and, maybe most importantly, tell your story in a way your customers can relate to.”
Ferrara also reported significant inroads made in Washington through NGA’s advocacy efforts. “We’ve seen real progress on critical issues like reducing credit card swipe fees by requiring the networks to actually compete like each of you do every single day,” he said. “Thanks to the unyielding, boots-on-the-ground efforts from our members and the NGA Government Relations staff, we are now seeing reports that for the first time in more than 20 years, the FTC will use the Robinson-Patman Act to rein in the abuses of dominant food retailers.”
Rounding out the opening keynote session, sponsored by The Kraft Heinz Co., was Erik Weihenmayer, a world-class adventurer who was the first blind person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. He shared a powerful message about commitment to one’s goals and harnessing the power of adversity as fuel for greatness.
Kicking off the day’s content lineup on Sunday morning was the new Technology Summit, sponsored by Placer.ai, offering grocery retailers a look at technology from multiple perspectives. More than a dozen speakers led discussion of topics spanning the full spectrum of technology, from AI and tech designed to improve the customer experience, to food-centric technologies, including store-level vertical farms that will change the way consumers shop, to retail media networks that can shape interactions between retailers and their customers.
Sunday’s agenda also included the FMS Financial Symposium, a three-hour session sponsored and curated by FMS Solutions that offered a deep dive into today’s most timely financial topics to help retailers understand what the financial health of their business looks like in 2023. The symposium focused on four key pillars: Valuing Your Business, Inflation and Your Business, Banking, and Employee Retention Credits.
Sunday afternoon’s “Snack and See” session honored winners of NGA’s annual Creative Choice Awards, presented by Kellogg’s and Unilever. The awards celebrate independent grocers’ most innovative and successful marketing campaigns and promotional events of 2022. A full list of winners can be found here.
Women Grocers of America, operating under the NGA Foundation, hosted a Sunday luncheon as well as an evening networking reception to kick off its activities at The NGA Show, which will include a Monday morning general session speaker, presentation of its Woman of the Year Award, a panel discussion on Gen Z shoppers, and a “relaxation and rejuvenation” lounge.
“The 2023 NGA Show captured the momentum coming out of 2022, a year of exciting movement for our members, at home and in Washington,” Ferrara said. “NGA continues to enhance, augment and explore opportunities for attendees to engage with industry experts and each other, and to head home after three days re-energized with a wealth of new ideas and actionable insights to drive their businesses over the coming year.”
Also on Sunday, NGA members voted to elect the following slate to their Board of Directors:
New board members: Leon Bergmann, Save-A-Lot, Commerce, CA; Matt Echols, UNFI, Providence, RI; Tim Jennings, Roth’s Family Markets, Willamette Valley, OR; Rob Marsh, Pyramid Foods, Rogersville, MO; Jon McCormick, Retail Grocers Association Missouri and Kansas, Westwood, KS; Kent Montgomery, PepsiCo Inc., West Harrison, NY; Hamdy Shalabi, El Rio Grande Latin Market, Dallas, TX; Jena Sowers, Alliance Retail Group, Raymore, MO; and Mike Violette, Associated Grocers of New England, Pembroke, NH.
Re-elected to a second full term: John Bole, Yoke’s Fresh Markets, Spokane Valley, WA; Emily Coborn-Wright, Coborn’s Inc., St. Cloud, MN; Paula Janssen, Janssen’s Market LLC, Greenville, DE; Bob Jaskolski, T.A. Solberg Co. Inc., Minocqua, WI; Jordan Kremm, Mondelez International, Chicago; Amy Niemetscheck, Certco Inc., Madison, WI; Lauren G.D. Redman, Rudy’s Markets Inc., Bend, OR; and Eric Winn, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Keene, NH.
“We are honored to have these esteemed industry leaders devoting their time and experience to help guide our association,” Ferrara said. “This broad cross-section of leadership truly represents the heart of the communities our industry serves.”
The 2022 NGA Show continues through Tuesday, Feb. 28.
The NGA Show has been where independent grocers gather for more than 30 years, connecting supermarket retailers and wholesalers, food manufacturers, and service providers worldwide to share innovative solutions and best practices that support and strengthen the independent supermarket channel. The NGA Show is produced and managed by Clarion Events as part of the Food & Beverage Group in partnership with the National Grocers Association (NGA). For more information and to register, visit www.theNGAshow.com.
Clarion Events operates over 180 events in 50 countries from 15 offices in the UK, the US, South Africa, Brazil, Germany, Singapore, UAE, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and the Netherlands. Clarion can trace its roots back to 1947 and takes great pride in being one of the oldest independent event organizers in the UK. The firm has recently developed an international portfolio of brands. It is interested in several global vertical industries, including energy, security, defense, hospitality, electronics, technology, fashion, retail, gaming, and marketing. The teams at Clarion create uniquely effective and stimulating environments that can serve as a platform to build businesses, enhance customer relationships and accelerate product awareness. us.clarionevents.com.
The National Grocers Association (NGA) is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale community grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. An independent retailer is a privately owned or controlled food retail company operating in a variety of formats. The independent grocery sector is accountable for about 1.2 percent of the nation’s overall economy and is responsible for generating more than $250 billion in sales, 1.1 million jobs, $39 billion in wages, and $36 billion in taxes. NGA members include retail and wholesale grocers located in every congressional district across the country, as well as state grocers’ associations, manufacturers, and service suppliers. For more information about NGA, visit www.nationalgrocers.org.