Today, the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) took the necessary but disappointing step many of us in the industry had expected and, for the second year in a row, cancelled the Fresh Summit event scheduled for New Orleans at the end of October.
Procurant had been planning on exhibiting at the event, and the team here was excited to meet with customers and to share details about our products for fresh produce retailers and suppliers. Destructive weather events and a still-virulent global pandemic were just too much to overcome for an event of this size and complexity. Now our attention turns to next year, and renewed hopes for gathering under better circumstances.
The cancellation is a reminder that the fresh food industry operates in a volatile, unpredictable world. In addition to COVID there have been disruptions in supply, wild swings in demand, catastrophic weather, shifting trade policies and labor shortages creating nonstop challenges for farms, distributors and retailers over the past few years. It is hard enough to just keep the business afloat, let alone growing and thriving!
As a technology provider in this space we see these challenges through the eyes of our customers. This summer we have added over 800 new companies to the Procurant One platform and network, and we hear first hand the stories and the frustrations with the daily challenges they face. And while we firmly believe that the solutions we provide help growers and shippers build more resilient and secure supply chains, that can be a tough message to hear when the sky is falling.
All of us at Procurant will miss the opportunity this year to connect in person with the incredible people in this industry that regularly attend the PMA Fresh Summit. We applaud the organizers for making a tough but necessary call, and we look forward to helping do our small part to support a strong and thriving community that will be very ready to trade stories, a few tears and more than a few drinks when we next get together.
We'll see you all in 2022!