Please check back for 2019 details.



11:30 am – 6:00 pm
NFRA Fishing Tournament
Saguaro Lake

11:30 am – 6:00 pm
Greater Penguin Open Golf Tournament
ASU Karsten Golf Course

6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Welcome Reception


6:30 am – 7:45 am

8:00 am – 8:45 am
Retailer Keynote
Nick Carlino – Vice President of Sales and Retail, Merchants Distributors, Inc.

8:45 am – 9:30 am
The Future of Eating
David Portalatin – Vice President, Food Industry Advisor, The NPD Group

As it has for three decades, Eating Patterns in America provides a 360-degree view of the eating and drinking patterns of U.S. consumers. Generational change, “The New Convenience,” and evolving values about wellness are all shaping what Americans eat and drink today. David Portalatin, Vice President, Food Industry Advisor, with the NPD Group will provide insights from the 32nd edition of this comprehensive annual report.

9:30 am – 10:15 am
Understanding the Why Behind the Frozen & Refrigerated Food Buy
Colin Stewart – Senior Vice President, Business Intelligence, Acosta Sales & Marketing

Understanding the shopper is pivotal in unlocking growth in frozen and refrigerated foods. Shoppers’ attitudes, including their interest in health and wellness and prepared foods, has limited frozen food growth in recent years. Dairy categories have been impacted by deflation and shoppers’ need-states continue to evolve. CPG manufacturers have focused on innovation that has addressed many shopper barriers including cleaner labels, convenience and quality. This presentation will focus on how shoppers view frozen and refrigerated foods and provide examples of what manufacturers and retailers are doing to drive traffic and build baskets in the frozen and refrigerated aisles.

10:15 am – 10:45 am

10:45 am – 11:30 am
Promotion Optimization and The Consumer Connection
Jim Hertel – Senior Vice President, Analytics, Inmar

The importance of understanding your shopper and personalizing their shopping experience has never been greater than in today’s uber-competitive omnichannel marketplace. Today’s well-informed shopper has more purchasing options than ever before. In response, price and promotion have become the weapon of choice to gain slight, albeit temporary, competitive advantage. Unfortunately, this advantage has become neutralized as digital technologies have increased transparency. In this session, we will look at the elements needed to connect and fulfill your shoppers’ needs such as: implementation of Personal Known Value Items (PKVIs), the importance of Integrated Demand Optimization, creating Targeted Offers, executing Influencer Marketing and the cost of eCommerce Fulfillment.

11:30 am – 12:15 pm
Gen Z: Disrupting the Food Industry
Kristena Luckey – Executive Vice President, Brand Practice, Edelman

Generation Z is an increasingly influential group of shoppers that have the potential to reshape how manufacturers market their products and how retailers are going to sell them. Kristena will explore Gen Z trends, desires and the economy, as well as how diversity plays a role and what digital connectivity means from a consumer standpoint. Shoppers are working smarter, not harder, and crave convenience and transparency to satisfy their individual and specific needs.

12:15 pm – 1:00 pm

1:00 pm – 1:45 pm
The Digitally Engaged Food Shopper
Thom Blischok – Consultant, Nielsen and Chairman, The Dialogic Group

Last year Nielsen predicted that it would take 10-12 years for U.S. online food and beverage sales to reach $100 billion in dollar volume. Our research today suggests that the transition is accelerating faster than we had expected: we put the number today at five to seven years. The digital age in grocery is upon us. As food and beverage consumers increasingly transition to digital shopping, manufacturers and retailers need to keep pace with that transition. Through custom research with manufacturers and retailers six distinct obstacles were identified that stand between them and a powerful omnichannel offering.  Join this session to learn how to overcome these obstacles and achieve true digital transformation in your company.

1:45 pm– 2:30 pm
Surviving the Brave New World of Food Retailing
Michael Sansolo – Research Director, Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council

Michael will examine the fast-moving trends that are creating unprecedented levels of uncertainty and concern inside the retail food industry and provide a sense of the steps that retailers–and their supplier partners–will need to take to maintain shopper loyalty in a new era of competitive realities. Based on a study overseen by the retail members of the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council.

2:30 pm – 2:45 pm
NFRA Update

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
NFRA Committee Meetings: Frozen Promotions, Refrigerated Promotions, Ice Cream & Novelties, Supply Chain Forum

6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Conference Reception


7:00 am – 8:00 am

8:00 am – 8:45 am
Building an Agenda for Success
Michael Sansolo – Research Director, Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council

This session starts by assessing your own company’s readiness for this new world. This group exercise is aimed at helping participants identify key areas of action and concern that demand focus and resources to help any type of company succeed in this new climate. This is meant to encourage, not intimidate, and demonstrate the practical steps companies must take to maintain relevance to retail partners and the ultimate consumer.

9:00 am