Key issues ranging from holiday trends to inflation challenges to the potential impact of upcoming elections were addressed as industry leaders and government insiders met recently with members of the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association (PFMA) recently.
The Fall Legislative Conference began Wednesday, Oct. 26, and spanned two days in Hershey. Sessions included discussions and panels focused on challenges and opportunities food retailers anticipate for 2023, including the tobacco sector. Topics facing the food industry include transportation issues, supply chain, and the possibility of a recession.
The conference concluded the following day with Alan Novak and T.J. Rooney of Rooney Novak Isenhour Group discussing potential outcomes and impacts of upcoming elections. PFMA also shared milestones from its 70 years in food retail. Rep. Sheryl Delozier, R-Cumberland County, recognized PFMA’s 70 years serving and supporting the food retail industry and presented the association with an anniversary citation.
“It’s always a pleasure to connect with our members and hear from industry experts on trends and challenges facing the industry,” Alex Bogna, president and CEO of PFMA, said. “This is a particularly special year for PFMA as we celebrate 70 years as an association.
“We are able to accomplish what we do because we have an in credibly supportive and active membership. The conference provides an opportunity to prepare for future challenges we’ll face together as an industry.”
Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of The Food Industry Association (FMI), served as keynote speaker and thanked the PFMA for its “faithful service to the food industry.” The PFMA’s unified voice, Sarasin added, is “critical when meeting with federal legislators on complex issues.”
Sarasin spoke at length on holiday trends, online shopping, out-of-stocks, the public perception of the business sector, and shifting shopper concerns.
“We’re still feeling our way along as we move from pandemic to endemic, still trying to figure out work styles, deal with the economic aftereffects of COVID-19 exacerbated by the war in Ukraine,” said Sarasin. She added the FMI is working to “figure out which consumer shopping behaviors that shifted during the pandemic are going to stick and require further investment and development from the food industry.”
Sarasin spoke to the need to make things better for shoppers, citing it as “a way of helping heal our world and improving the public’s image of itself.”
The next PFMA Annual Conference is scheduled for May 9-10, 2023 and will be hosted by the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square.l