The New Jersey Food & Beverage Summit Recap

The New Jersey Food & Beverage Summit Recap

Somerset, NJ — 10/16/2018 Each year NJBIZ, The Rutgers Food Innovation Center and the NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development host the New Jersey Food & Beverage Summit in Somerset, NJ. The event features exhibits, information sessions, panel discussions and speakers focused on the changing landscape of economic and workforce development within the Garden State’s food industry. By bringing together food manufacturers, importers, chefs, restaurants, brokers, consultants, retailers, distributors and more, the event opens opportunities to discuss trends, challenges and pathways for shaping the future. This year featured impressive roster of guests discussing a variety of critical topics:

The keynote speaker, Vice President of Innovation at Mars, presented on the possible future of food and nutrition throughout the world. Technological changes, shifting demographics, and the growing importance of health and well-being were all identified as the forces shaping our world. The presentation also touched on rising health care costs, population growth, meat substitutes, and the importance of fiber-rich foods and micro-nutrients.

The first panel, titled “Navigating the Challenges on the Path to Economic Growth” brought together four food entrepreneurs to discuss the endeavors of operating a food company. The topics ranged from generating consumer interest, retaining staffing, maintaining originality, and managing relationships with retailers.

The second panel, titled “Innovation and Incubation: Investing in Trends Shaping Food” featured three panelists from major retailers (Wakefern) and food brokers. The panel begin with a mock Shark Tank-like product pitch and provided the crowd with insight into the types of questions retailers and brokers might ask during a real product pitch. The panel continued with a Q & A session with many audience members looking for advice on breaking into the industry.

The third and final panel, titled “Educating the Future Workforce of New Jersey’s Food Industry,” focused on the need for talent throughout multiple levels of the food industry. Panelists from major food companies and State Universities shared the steps that are being taken to make the food industry more attractive to prospective employees. Among the avenues discussed were developing food-specific college programs, increasing brand awareness, and establishing training programs to enable promoting from within.

The value of this event is that it allows companies, such as Port Jersey Logistics, to gain insight into some of the major issues affecting our largest verticals. Not only are we able to gain perspective from our customers, but we also are able to better understand their customers, which is essential for us to continue providing quality service. If you attended the event and would speak with us to gain insight from third-party logistics provider’s viewpoint, contact us today. If you’d like to find out more about the event, click here.

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