NGA Executive Conference and The NGA Show Conclude Successful Events in Las Vegas

More than 2,300 grocery leaders and professionals attended the four-day NGA Show and NGA Executive Conference, which for the first time took place in the same venue at the Paris Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Attendees at the two events had the opportunity to network, source products, and train at educational workshops, reported The National Grocers Association and Clarion Events, the organizers of the expo and conference, in a press release. 

The NGA Executive Conference, designed for CEOs and their leadership teams to increase profitability and enhance business opportunities, took place Sept. 18-19 at the Paris Hotel & Casino.

The two-day conference program featured networking events, enhanced educational sessions, and expanded opportunities for trading partners to connect.

Education sessions included topics such as Five Trends Everyone Will Be Chasing Tomorrow; Counting Data Among Independents’ Strengths; Supermarket Sustainability: How to Resonate with Shoppers; How Grocers Can Be Cyber-Secure; Future Forecast: Competitive Outlook for 2021-25; Follow the Science: Health and Safety Best Practices for Shopper and Employee Confidence; The State of Snacking in the 2020s; E-Commerce After COVID: Where Online Grocery Is Going Next; and Grocers, How Did COVID-19 Change You?

Related Article: NGA Launches SNAP Online Purchasing Toolkit to Help Independent Grocers

“These key issues are crucial to understanding how to stay ahead of a rapidly changing dynamic marketplace where innovation will make or break a business. These learnings are the keys to success,” said Jonathan Downey, NGA senior vice president of industry relations.

Details about individual sessions can be found on the NGA Executive Conference website.

Meanwhile, the 38th NGA Show edition brought together independent retailers, wholesalers, food industry executives, food retail industry executives, food/CPG manufacturers, and service providers from nearly all 50 states for the three-day event, Sept. 19-21.  

“We thank our exhibitors, sponsors, speakers, attendees, media partners, supporting organizations, and partners who helped to make the 2021 NGA Show a huge success. You could feel the excitement as the industry came together in person again, and we’ve already received such positive feedback on providing the platform where grocers can learn to grow their business and service their communities,” said Courtney Muller, chief corporate development and strategy officer for Clarion Events. 

“The combined experience of the Executive Conference and NGA Show delivered actionable insights to help their businesses embrace the opportunities available to the most aggressive innovators,” said Greg Ferrara, CEO of NGA. “We’re excited about what our attendees will be taking home with them, and we’ll continue to build on this as we return for the 2022 NGA Show in just a few months.”

Highlights of the Show

  • The exhibit hall, which was sold out this year, offered new products and innovations from nearly 300 exhibiting companies, providing the opportunity to network and build relationships. Specialty areas made product sourcing easy, with pavilions featuring the North American Meat Institute (NAMI), The World of Latino Cuisine, The Technology Pavilion, and Equipment, Design & Safety Pavilion as the Thought Leadership Theater.
  • The opening keynote address was presented by Jeff Henderson, also known as Chef Jeff, an award-winning American chef, critically acclaimed New York Times best-selling author, philanthropist, and television personality. Henderson illuminated the audience with high-impact strategies to empower change and inspire fulfillment. 
  • Attendees mixed and mingled at several networking events, including the kickoff Opening Reception, the Best Bagger Championship and After Party, Creative Choice Awards breakfast, and the Closing Celebration. 

The education program expanded to offer 50-plus sessions with more than 100 subject matter experts who spoke on a variety of important topics, including people development, finances, focus on fresh, sustainable strategies, tech trends, operating for excellence, family business succession planning, e-commerce, omnichannel marketing, food service and merchandising.

A dynamic panel participated in the Super Breakfast Session titled “The Independent’s Guide To Navigating Growth During Complex and Volatile Times – Wargaming 2022.” This high-level look at the challenges facing independent retailers in 2022 focused on the forces of change destined to reshape the retail environment in the future.

Several Awards Were Presented At the NGA Show

  • The Peter J. Larkin Community Service Award to the NGA member grocery retailer and wholesaler community, for their combined efforts to serve communities during the pandemic.
  • WGA Woman of the Year Award to Pam Coy, owner of Viking Village Foods in Wisconsin.
  • NGA Industry Service Award to Dennis Belcastro, vice president of industry affairs and customer development at Kimberly-Clark North America.
  • Thomas F. Wenning Pinnacle PAC Award to Gerry Kettler, director of consumer affairs at Niemann Foods.
  • Best Bagger Champion, with a grand prize of $10,000, was awarded to Hy-Vee’s Ben Miller.
  • Creative Choice Awards winners are listed on the NGA Creative Choice Awards website

Three Square, the Las Vegas Food Bank, picked up thousands of pounds of donated food products from exhibitors and sponsors at the end of the NGA Show .  

The education, networking, and product sourcing will continue with two upcoming in-person events: 

The NGA Show Southeast Summit, Dec. 1-3, 2021, at the Hyatt Regency Orlando. This event is a small group of hosted retail buyers providing the opportunity to participate in education and one-on-one vendor meetings. 

The 2022 NGA Show will take place February 27–March 1, 2022, at the new Las Vegas Caesars Forum Convention Center. With a theme of “Fueling Growth and Looking to the Future,” the 2022 show will be co-located with the IGA Rally and Indoor AgCon.