Produce Giants PMA and United Fresh Agree to Merge, Effective in 2022

March 31, 2021
Produce Giants PMA and United Fresh Agree to Merge, Effective in 2022

The Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Produce Association have agreed in principle to pool resources to form one mammoth global trade association. The organizations will finish the year working independently before joining forces on Jan. 1, 2022.

Among the implications of the move is that the association’s vast annual conventions and expos will fall under one roof.

PMA’s Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition in Anaheim, Calif., drew 15,648 attendees in 2019 and went virtual in 2020 when it could not meet in Dallas. It is scheduled to return in-person Oct. 28-30 in New Orleans.

United Fresh’s 2019 Convention at McCormick Place in Chicago featured 5,000 attendees across the produce industry and 350 retail and foodservice buyers. Its 2020 event, slated for San Diego, also went virtual and brought together 7,500 attendees and 210 exhibitors last June. It was part of the organization’s move to a 365-digital platform. The group is scheduled to proceed face-to-face as scheduled in Los Angeles June 24-26. The event will also include a virtual component.

On a frequently asked question website, the groups acknowledged COVID-19 played a role in the partnership, noting a combined effort will benefit customers and members going forward. Financial concerns were not a factor, the groups added. There were no details about how the trade shows will proceed, with a promise of specific plans to be laid out later this year. A full business plan is expected to be laid out in the fall.

“This agreement reflects the ongoing commitment of both associations to deliver the highest level of value to members,” said Board Chairs Michael Muzyk of United Fresh and Dwight Ferguson of PMA. “Looking ahead, we believe we can accomplish that goal better together building on the synergies and experience of our expert staffs, complementary education programs and member services, and a stronger voice in advocating for our industries.”

The new association, which has yet to be named, will be led jointly by Burns and Stenzel as co-CEOs in the new organization’s inaugural year. In 2023, Burns will become the sole CEO.

“We, along with our talented teams, look forward to leveraging our strengths to serve our diverse and complex supply chain. I am so proud and honored to serve the produce and floral community at such a pivotal time in our history,” said Burns.


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