2014 CGA Strategic Conference
Date(s) - Sep 21, 2014 - Sep 23, 2014
Palm Springs Convention Center
The California grocery industry gathered in Palm Springs in late September for three days of education, business meetings and networking at the 2014 CGA Strategic Conference.
This year’s theme – Authentic Grocery – focused on today’s fragmented shopping reality and omni-connected consumers seeking brands and retailers that express and demonstrate their values.
“Today’s shoppers, particularly Millennials, want truthfulness, integrity, sincerity, individuality and openness from grocery retailers and suppliers,” said CGA President Ron Fong. “That’s the message attendees heard at this year’s show.”
During Tuesday’s keynote luncheon, two non-grocery retail executives that have built successful cause-based businesses discussed the concepts of participatory commerce, sustainability and supply chain transparencies as a means to establish authentic connections with today’s shoppers.
In addition, experts from leading industry research companies moderated share group discussions on authentic-related topics including the rise of the local food movement, the rapid growth of online shopping and home delivery, the shift away from big box to small store formats, how technology is impacting the grocery industry, and grocery with a conscience.
The conference also addressed the growth of private equity investments. Leading the discussion was a highly successful private equity leader and CEOs from two upscale Southern California grocery retailers.
“Our speakers really knocked it out of the park,” Fong said. “They presented concepts and ideas that are ahead of the curve and really challenged our attendees to think outside the box.”
As with years past, the conference’s face-to-face pre-scheduled business meetings dominated most of the conference schedule. More than 1,000 meetings, over 150 more than the previous year, were scheduled over Monday and Tuesday.
New in 2014, was the focus on California grown. More than 20 grocery produce buyers participated in meetings throughout the event. A record number of California growers and producers of fresh and perishable products participated this year.
“This expansion to include produce was a huge plus for the conference,” Fong said. “The overwhelming response by both produce buyer and producer was phenomenal and will become a staple in the years to come.”
Complimenting the conference were daily networking opportunities, allowing additional opportunities to develop business relationships and strengthen friendships.
“CGA especially wishes to thank our Illuminator partners who once again went above and beyond to provide fantastic meal events and enjoyable activities,” Fong added.
CGA also recognizes the many sponsoring companies that contributed to the success of the conference.
“Without their incredible sponsorship support, we would not have been able to create such a meaningful and valuable event,” Fong said. “I also want to recognize and thank CGA’s Conference Committee for its valuable input and enthusiasm.”