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History

Over 60 Years of Growth at PMA


Inspired leadership and a passion for excellence have defined PMA's lasting success from its humble origins in 1949 to the limitless potential of the 21st century. By providing business solutions that strengthen and lead the global produce community, PMA has set the standard for quality events with the annual Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition and continues to revolutionize one of the world's most vibrant industries. In the midst of 60 years of innovation, the association has demonstrated its unwavering dedication to the members of PMA and an enduring commitment to the people who comprise this remarkable industry. With more than half a century of experience, PMA is proud to offer marketplace solutions that cultivate success now and in the future.

Key highlights from PMA's 60 year-history include:

PMA history

1949
PMA is formed during the inaugural National Conference on Prepackaging on October 24 in New York. Led by its president, Paul B. Dickman, the new organization, then called the Produce Prepackaging Association, sets out to revolutionize the produce industry by delivering member networking and educational opportunities.

1954
The Packaging Plant Sanitation Program begins. Capitalizing on World War II production materials and the rise of self-service produce departments, the organization grows.

1955
The Traffic Service Program is initiated.

1958

PMA history


The official headquarters are moved from New York to Newark, Delaware with Robert Carey as Executive Secretary. This period of transition marks a turning point for the organization, further solidifying its mission to create a new level of involvement and cohesion among produce members.

1966
The association calls for increased professionalism and training throughout the industry. During the 1960's, the organization works for consumer acceptance of produce packaging and serves as a packaging information resource for members.

1970
After officially changing its name to Produce Marketing Association, PMA creates three operating divisions to address increasing member demand for services. The retailer, producer and distributor divisions solidify PMA's reputation as a marketplace-oriented association offering effective industry solutions.

1974

PMA history


PMA forms the Floral Marketing Division to represent mass-market floral members.

1978
By mobilizing its resources and industry clout, PMA succeeds in bringing together all levels of the distribution channel in vertically integrated operation divisions: Retail, Foodservice and Floral. The association embarks on long-term strategic planning.

1980
Responding to industry demand, PMA creates the Nutrition Task Force designed to address issues involving food and public health. This decade is marked by further refinement of the association's marketing efforts to foster increased produce consumption across the American consumer landscape.

1985

PMA history


PMA launches Computerized Information Center and harnesses emerging technology.

1987
The Produce Electronic Identification Board (PEIB) is created by PMA to administer standardized Price Look-Up (PLU) codes. Throughout the decade, the association contributes its resources to streamlining the produce operations industry.

1988
PMA joins with United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association to establish the Center for Produce Quality. The association continues to develop training manuals, seminars, posters, and tours to boost the industry's knowledge of produce handling and enhance sales.

1989

PMA history


Bob Carey becomes President of PMA after three decades of service to the association.

1991
Increased focus on increasing consumption led to PMA's creation of the Produce for Better Health Foundation. As an independent organization, the foundation partners with the National Cancer Institute to increase consumer awareness of the benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption.

1993
Two new milestones are reached: PMA's first Leadership Symposium and first Fresh Produce Academy. By offering educational and networking opportunities to members, the association ushers in a new decade of growth.

1994

PMA history


The International Advisory Council is formed to broaden PMA's global reach as membership around the world grows and the association's resources are enhanced in response to the trend toward globalization. First simultaneous language translation occurs at San Antonio, Texas convention.

1995
PMA.com is launched, establishing the association as an online destination for produce industry members. By taking advantage of new communications technologies to connect to members worldwide, the association could now provide 24-hour access to information and create a virtual trade show. The Produce Electronic Identification Board, managed by PMA, emerged as an essential technology standardization forum for the industry.

1996
Bryan Silbermann succeeds Bob Carey as President. PMA sponsors its first technology conference in Dallas.

2000
Furthering PMA's online reach, the association launches aboutproduce.com, a consumer-targeted Website. In the 21st century, PMA continues its focus to build and enhance a strong global produce and floral supply chain by expanding the services offered to members in the areas of government and public affairs, food safety and security, improving the application of technology, and increasing training and networking resources for industry professionals.

2004
PMA initiates the Pack Family/Career Pathways Program to attract young people into the industry.

2005
PMA establishes a country representative in Mexico.

2006
Responding to the large-scale spinach food safety crisis, PMA takes a leadership role by responding swiftly and effectively. Looking ahead, the association creates the PMA Foundation for Industry Talent (PMA FIT) to support future recruitment. Janet Erickson serves as the first female Chairwoman of the Board. PMA sets a new attendance record of over 18,000 at the Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition in San Diego, California.

2007
PMA provides $1 million contribution to help establish the Center for Produce Safety at the University of California, Davis. The organization creates the first country councils for Australia-New Zealand and Mexico. PMA organizes the first Fresh Connections Conference in Australia-New Zealand while establishing a representative in Chile. The association also partners with Scholastic magazine and the Produce for Better Health Foundation to develop a program for third graders promoting eating fruits and vegetables.

2008
The Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) is established in conjunction with United Fresh Produce Association (UFPA) and the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA).

2009
PMA celebrates 60 years of service to the industry while Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition marks its 60th anniversary. The association completes the industry's first U.S. economic study showing how the industry's $554 million impact is spread across all fifty states and all U.S. Congressional districts. PMA Australia-New Zealand is established as PMA's first affiliate.

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