From Target to Instacart: Five highlights from GMA Forum.

George Deese

The consumer packaged goods industry has a lot on its plate, all of which was evident at the GMA Leadership Forum in Colorado Springs this past weekend.

Executives at this annual gathering of top leaders are grappling with issues such as digital disruption, changing demographics and new consumer behaviors.

Forum speakers offered insights on these issues and updates on industry initiatives, and GMA also took the time to recognize achievements.

Here are five key highlights:

Carolyn Sakstrup

Carolyn Sakstrup

1-Consumer Shifts: Target Corp. is succeeding by responding to shifting consumer trends in areas such as health and wellness, said Carolyn Sakstrup, vice president, Guest Center of Excellence, during an educational session.

“Sales of natural and organic items are growing about 10% in the industry, and we’re outpacing at more like 15% the last several years,” she said. “This is a pervasive consumer trend, and it’s going to be enduring.”

For Target, however, consumer shifts are about far more than food. “There’s a move to nontraditional for many other categories at Target,” she explained. “Consumers want things like quality and an understanding of where things come from. They are willing to pay more for it, and they’re making tradeoffs in how they purchase.”

Target has evolved its brand partnerships in the wellness segment by putting a big emphasis starting last year on working with smaller, innovative brands.

“These brands may not have marketing budgets, but Target puts its marketing weight behind it.”

Dan Bourgault

Dan Bourgault

2-Digital Disruption: The words disruption and digital were synonymous at this event, and anchored many of the educational sessions and hallway conversations. In a session about online shopping,  Instacart’s Dan Bourgault outlined how the high-profile company is progressing in the grocery space. Bourgault, who runs business development brand partnerships, said the company is now involved with more than 63 retail brands. He is building partnerships with CPG organizations, and encouraged manufacturers to get involved early in the game. “Many CPGs have innovation teams and are developing promotions with us,” he said. One advantage for CPGs is access to data, he added.

Meanwhile, an A.T. Kearney online grocery survey found “increased usage and penetration across all consumer demographics,” said Randy Burt, partner. About 34% of respondents had tried it by mid-2015, “which is a good indication of a tipping point,” he said. “We think online grocery will be an attractive growth area for CPGs.”

The digital talk at the event extended to what digitally-driven physical stores of the future will look like.

Likely elements include iBeacons, digital coupons, digitally-trained associates, and after-hours pickup, said Meena Surti Patel, assistant vice president for Consumer Goods and Retail Business Consulting, Cognizant. “Retail-CPG collaboration will become far more important than it has ever been, this time aided by powerful technology,” she said.

Jim Flannery

Jim Flannery

3-Transparency for Consumers: GMA outlined development of a Consumer Information Transparency Initiative that will put more details about products in the hands of shoppers. Over the past 18 months, more than 90 companies have been involved in the project, said Pam Bailey, president and CEO of GMA.

The program will be rolled out to consumers once it achieves critical mass. Consumers who scan bar codes or search online will be taken to landing pages with detailed information about attributes such as ingredients, allergens, nutrition, and sustainability. Brand owners will maintain the landing pages, explained Jim Flannery, senior executive vice president, Operations and Industry Collaboration, GMA.

“This is truly a game-changing initiative,” Bailey said.

Daniel Burrus

Daniel Burrus

4-Future Shock: Forecaster and futurist Daniel Burrus, founder and CEO, Burrus Research Associates, urged executives to do a better job of understanding where trends are headed, including “anticipating disruptions before they disrupt.”

He said the best days of brick and mortar stores aren’t in the past, but that “retail in-store isn’t what it used to be. We’re recreating it, it’s about the experience.”

He urged companies to give more thought to the brain drain that will result from baby boomer retirements. “I know you have a database, but do you have a wisdom base?” he asked. “Capture the wisdom of people who will be retiring.”

He also forecast “the future will be about relationships, and trust is key.” Whether the topic is health and wellness, safety or something else, “if a move reduces the amount of trust, then change how you implement it.”

George Deese

George Deese

5-Recognizing Achievement: GMA presented the Hall of Achievement Award, its highest honor, to Greg Wasson, retired Walgreens president and CEO, and George Deese, chairman of the board of Flowers Foods. Deese was honored for growing Flowers Foods into the second-largest baking company in the United States and for his leadership in the development of the Grain Foods Foundation. Wasson was recognized for achievements including a major rebranding campaign, acquisitions and new product offerings.

GMA also honored Coca-Cola and E. & J. Gallo Winery with the 2015 CPG Awards for Innovation and Creativity. Gallo won for its “innovative initiative to create a next generation sales system,” while Coca-Cola was recognized for “it’s highly successful ‘Share a Coke’ campaign.”

Invitation: Understanding Latin American Economy and International Financing.


ANUNCIO SUD english-05

                                                                                                                                         Dear friends and colleagues,

 On behalf of South America Business Association and Exporters Association of USA are pleased to invite you to attend the Conference “Engineering the Latin American Economy and International Financing: The Peruvian economy in the continent”, to be held in Lima, Peru, between August 26 and August 27, 2015,

We are at the forefront, promoting an event where new data from the current economic reality and the economy that has been in exhibited outstanding regional political leaders, seeking to generate debate and new positions to help manage ahead will be exhibited business and political leaders in Latin America.

We will be pleased to welcome you under the sun of this beautiful city “of the Kings”, Lima, to all companies, members of associations, public / private cameras, speakers, general sponsors, students, professionals committed to the current and future reality.

 Since 2002, when we launched our first conference for international business, our goal has been to provide access to finance and market update with new resources to provide tools to improve their business strategy and provided the opportunity to meet leaders high level professionals and entrepreneurs who are willing to do business with you.

 The program will include a presentation by government officials of the countries of the region to address comprehensively the main topics of the Latin American economy and work in committees to address specific issues. Including our keynote speaker, Current Mayor of Buenos Aires Argentina and number one candidate for 2015 presidential elections in Argentina Governor Daniel Scioli and Current Mayor of Lima, Peru Mayor Luis Castaneda Lossio.

During this important conference, you will have access to meet decision makers of South America, explore the major issues and challenges involved in obtaining business with emerging markets and addressing the concerns of those doing international trade.

The social exchange during the conference is a crucial aspect for the event, offering access to industry leaders and ensuring that delegates are able to get new contacts and relationships for future business in the region.

 We invite you to be present as active participants and / or sponsors committed to the current economic reality.

“When strong winds, some seeking refuge, trying to save themselves and others build windmills and get rich.” – Claus Möller.


Julio Ibanez