Hungry for Knowledge at Food Day 2019
NJBIZ and NJMEP Host Event Specially Designed for New Jersey Food & Beverage Manufacturers
Food Day offers a snapshot of the food and beverage manufacturing industry in New Jersey. From the companies that produce and manufacture ingredients to the businesses that help make sure the industry can thrive, all are represented. Each can have a voice. These businesses employers over 30,000 individuals in the state with payroll well over $1 billion. Food manufacturing has a massive economic impact.
NJBIZ and NJMEP hosted Food Day on November 4, 2019, to give this often overlooked industry a chance to share what they do with others in the business.
Food Day for Networking and Industry-Relevant Education
Food Day comprised of multiple networking opportunities, giving food and beverage manufacturers the chance to meet with likeminded individuals and entities. Breakout sessions that provided essential educational opportunities took place throughout the day as well. These breakout sessions included presentations from the FDA on FSMA and Preventive Controls, giving business first-hand knowledge about critical rules and regulations that impact their business. The morning sessions included a discussion on the marketing and business strategies New Jersey food manufacturers can use to help them thrive here in the Garden State.
Breakout sessions continued throughout the morning. After the first round of educational sessions concluded, the second round of sessions began. These were focused on two extremely important topics in the food and beverage space, cybersecurity and workforce development. NJMEP’s very own Patricia Moran, director of Apprenticeships addresses the packed room in the breakout session centered around workforce development. She began by discussing the value of creating a talent pipeline and NJMEP’s strategy to cultivate a pool of new manufacturing workers.
Ray Martinelli, Cybersecurity and Supply Chain Specialist, took to the second room of suasion attendees. Cybersecurity is essential in the food and beverage industry. These businesses are responsible for the health of millions of individuals in the state of New Jersey, nationwide, and around the world. Ray spoke about the importance of keeping a manufacturing facility secure and how Blockchain technology comes into play.
As lunchtime rolled around, it was time for the manufacturers and exhibitors to take a quick break. Manufacturers and exhibitors both were able to enjoy the spread made available by NJBIZ and NJMEP. Attendees had the option of staying on the showroom floor or participating in the “Branding & Advertising for Disruptive Food Trends”, led by Norris McLaughlin. Participants were able to enjoy their lunch while learning about the branding and advertising strategies they can utilize to drive their business forward in a complex and highly competitive 21st-century food and beverage manufacturing market.
Impressions from Attendees and Hosts
“Connecting the manufacturers with other manufacturers and helping find new ways to improve their business,” Robert Salamone, NJMEP Vertical Engagements Manager stated when asked what value manufacturers gain from participating in Food Day.
The same question was presented to businesses associated with food manufacturing, food manufacturers themselves, as well as industry influencers.
“[Food Day] brings together businesses, corporations, small businesses in the food space to learn and grow mutually,“ Janet Davis from JADE Consulting said.
Nicole Shaw-Provilloon, Founder/Co-Owner of Kurly Kurtosh added, “There’s always room to learn more. The branding and advertising breakout session was massively informative, and learning about the apprenticeships available was incredibly interesting. It was exciting to hear the stories on how the exhibitors built their business and brands.“
Ph.D. John W. Kennedy, NJMEP CEO included his take on what makes Food Day a valuable part of the New Jersey food manufacturing industry. “Food Day provides an opportunity for New Jersey’s Food Manufacturers to come together and collaborate on industry commonalities, potential synergies, and best practices.”
John continued, “It also serves as a destination for companies and individuals who work in accordance with the Food Industry to enjoy productive conversations and potential collaborations with Food Manufacturers. Lastly, Food Day can inform manufacturers on hot button issues such as Cybersecurity, Workforce Development, Business Growth, and Food Safety compliance.”
Food Day 19 Comes to a Close
The afternoon offered attendees another round of breakout sessions where they could attend one of the presentations they may have missed in the morning. Educational sessions focused heavily on critical themes that are impacting food and beverage manufacturers today. Cybersecurity, blockchain, workforce development, business strategies, and marketing trends were massive hits. Representatives from the FDA even hosted a second breakout session on FSMA rules and regulations and Preventive Controls. Manufacturers that took part received vital information from the governing body that develops the regulations themselves.
Food Day 19 was an incredible opportunity for those in the New Jersey food and beverage industry. Over 100 people and over 20 exhibitors from throughout the food space participated. Attendees had access to invaluable educational breakout sessions with plenty of time to network with their peers. Food manufacturing in the Garden State has a long and rich history. NJBIZ, NJMEP, and the over 1,300 New Jersey food manufacturers are ensuring this industry continues to have a strong presence in the state.