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IFPA’s CEO on the State of Our Industry

state of industry 10-19-23

October 27, 2023 This time last week, I had just delivered the State of the Industry at Anaheim for our annual Global Produce & Floral Show.

The purpose of this presentation has always been to inform and build awareness around opportunities that can help our members grow their businesses that will, in turn, help grow produce and floral consumption as consumers worldwide experience the joy of fresh. 

What could be a more significant mission than to make the world healthier, brighter, and more vibrant? 

While our mission is clear, getting there is a bit more complex.  While we fight headwinds of lack of access, lack of appeal, and lack of awareness of our products and their benefits, we have the opportunity and the obligation to take on the fight for fresh. 

That fight requires all of us – not just those that were in the room with us in Anaheim – so we have chosen to share the final minutes of the State of the Industry presentation with the entire industry as a call for everyone to leverage their voices as part of our advocacy network

IFPA’s approach is a three-part strategy: government relations, public relations, and consumer relations.  Everyone in the industry has the skills, backgrounds, and opportunity to participate in at least one of those areas.  While IFPA has the infrastructure and the energy to pursue each of these areas, the fuel in each area is provided by our entire industry.

Powerful, global grassroots efforts are critical to helping us achieve the changes and solutions that we seek. During the presentation we made the following assertion:

It’s time for the most powerful decision makers in the world to clear a path for the healthiest products in the world because fresh fruits, vegetables and floral improve lives.

I called each member of the audience to put their names behind this statement and I mean it – literally.  IFPA has created an Advocacy Action Network, where you can add your name to this statement that fruits, vegetables, flowers, and plants improve lives. We call on world leaders to adopt policies that grow consumption of produce and floral and also enhance the sustainable futures of those who grow, distribute, and sell them.

This message was too important to stay in Anaheim, so in addition to releasing a few minutes of the SOI here,  I reach out to our entire industry now and I ask you to sign on.   

The Advocacy Action Network will allow us to effectively engage and activate our collective voice in those arenas where decisions and policies are being made.  It is our industry’s opportunity to take action and as we know, aspiration without action is just a dream. 

We have been waiting for a long time hoping for the needle to move on consumption.  We can’t keep waiting for someone else to fix that.  We are that someone.

We can grow consumption. We can change the health of the world, but to do so, we must act. 

Start right now.  

About the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) 

The International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) is the largest and most diverse international association serving the entire fresh produce and floral supply chain and the only to seamlessly integrate world-facing advocacy and industry-facing support. We exist to bring the industry together to create a vibrant future for all. We grow our member’s prosperity by conducting advocacy; connecting people and ideas; and offering guidance that allows us all to take action with purpose and confidence.

Contact: Ashley Sempowski, +1 (202) 303-3406


Cathy Burns is CEO of the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA)