Food & Agriculture Related

Food Processing Suppliers Association Growing a Thriving Alliance

31 Dec, 2012

By: Trade & Industry Development

The Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA) states it is the largest U.S. association of suppliers of equipment and services to the global food and beverage processing industries. In fact, it says that in 2012, to earn the distinction as the largest association in this industry sector, it took “meticulous, confident steps” so its growth would “transform from an obvious objective to an observable accomplishment.”

The real objective, however, was not to be just a really big association. It explains that when one looks at its accomplishments in 2012, “You won’t just see a growing association. You’ll see a thriving alliance of food and beverage professionals.”

To that end, the association offers a number of new services and member categories. In its year-end report, it outlines several major Association initiatives it has designed to help its members:
• Sponsoring and operating the largest face-to-face marketing event in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industry in the USA - PROCESS EXPO
• Providing a platform for executive-level networking with peers and customers to reinforce working relationships and build new connections. This is accentuated at the FPSA Annual Conference
• Addressing issues that affect members’ businesses through Industry Councils
• Leveraging the purchasing power of over 500 member companies to obtain the best rates possible for goods and services

To be most relevant to it varied membership within the food and beverage industry, FPSA offers specific Councils as follows:
• Bakery
The Bakery Council of FPSA represents suppliers to the baking industry.
• Beverage
The FPSA Beverage Council consists of suppliers, beverage manufacturers and other interested parties that have come together to find common ground on critical issues that face this dynamic industry.
• Dairy
The Dairy Council mission is to function as an effective dairy-industry- focused council in support of the goals and objectives of the FPSA with an emphasis on dairy-related initiatives designed to drive improvements in the association’s trade show, membership, conferences and overall value proposition.
• Prepared Foods
The Prepared Foods Council (PFC) of FPSA represents suppliers to the fresh and processed fruits and vegetable industry.

The PFC collaborates with key customer groups, both domestic and international, including, the Food Products Association, the California League of Food Processors, the Fresh Cut Produce Association, and the Mexican Food Processors Association (CANAINCA).

• Meat Industry Suppliers Alliance (MISA)
The meat council (MISA) offers its members an opportunity to project a common and uniform stance on important industry issues, particularly in equipment safety, food safety, hygienic standards and regulatory issues. Through MISA, members are kept up-to-date about important issues in the meat industry and how to prepare for changes and new opportunities. MISA does this by providing:
• Networking opportunities such as at the FPSA Annual Conference, where MISA decides the topics for several sessions.
• The MISA Operations Conference is directed toward member's personnel who need to be aware of issues that affect them, particularly in the areas of regulatory and machinery safety standards, inspection and machinery design.
• MISA sponsors one-day conferences, focused on specific topics of interest at the request of members.
• MISA manages compensation surveys that keep members up-to-date on current compensation practices.
• Sponsorship of the MISA Foundation, supporting tomorrow's leaders in the industry.
• The MISA Foundation provides scholarships for students pursuing degrees in the meat sciences.

An important part of the FPSA is the various events it sponsors that members can leverage to further their professional industry development. FPSA’s philosophy is that an association’s events are its chances to bring its members together, foster business relationships, encourage innovative solutions, provide compelling education and cultivate its community of like-minded professionals.

FPSA’s events are outlined in the FPSA year-end report as follows.

Domestic Tradeshows

PROCESS EXPO is the biennial tradeshow where qualified buyers representing every market of the food industry from more than 75 countries meet face to face with suppliers showcasing the newest developments in processing technology. Exhibitors are able to demonstrate state-of-the-art food processing equipment in baking, beverage, dairy, fruit and vegetable, and meat/poultry industries.

Annual Conference
FPSA's Annual Conference is where suppliers to the food and beverage industry connect and network. Attendees can connect with their customers through councils in the bakery, beverage, dairy, meat and prepared foods industry segments. Ample opportunity is given to network with peers as participants expand their industry knowledge through educational business sessions and research roundtables. Attendees also reinvigorate themselves while enjoying social events, sports and optional activities.

Sales Conference
This event is tailored to those most involved in a food and/or beverage company's business development process. Educational sessions are offered on effectively leveraging business strategies and tools to manage customer needs and foster mutually beneficial relationships with clients and partners.

June 2012 marked the launch of FPSA’s free quarterly webinar program. Its first two webinars addressed purchase contracts and food safety respectively and saw high attendance and positive feedback. FPSA will be holding quarterly webinars for members on a variety of topics determined by members that apply directly to daily issues they face in their business.

International Events
FPSA partners with various prominent customer associations in key international markets in order to create new networking opportunities for FPSA members and to promote attendance at PROCESS EXPO. FPSA staff and members are invited to attend partner events such as the CANAINCA and CANILEC Annual Conferences to hear the latest developments in the Mexican food industry, and meet with senior management at Mexico’s leading food processing companies.

New Membership Category:

Associate Members
FPSA has added a new “Associate Member” category of membership, which allows suppliers of FPSA members to join and participate in the same association alongside their customers.

Informational Website for Members
At the end of August 2012, FPSA launched its members-only portal on the website. This password-protected area gives members access to exclusive materials, including an archive of conference presentations, webinar slideshows and recordings, and member newsletters. FPSA says new content for the members-only area will be added and updated frequently.

Supporting the Growth of Future Industry Professionals
The FPSA Career Development Scholarship program includes 10 scholarships in the amount of $3,000 awarded to students who are full-time employees of FPSA member companies or their immediate family. Out of more than 270 applications received in 2012, the students awarded scholarships were family members of employees from Provisur Technologies, Murzan, Power Engineers, Marel Townsend, Tetra Pak, The Dennis Group, Rath Gibson, Semi Bulk Systems, and Marel Meat Packing.

The Concept of “Giving Back”
FPSA recognizes that a successful partnership between an association and its members must go beyond typical benefits and services and harness deep connections within the industry and beyond, into the public sphere. Toward this end, FPSA launched or began participating in several programs under the umbrella concept “Giving Back.”

For example, in addition to the FPSA Career Development Scholarship previously described, FPSA offers the Meat Industry Suppliers Alliance (MISA) Scholarship. FPSA also collaborates on the SAVE FOOD! Initiative, which fights global food loss. Not only that, but it partners with 3-A Sanitary Design to promote food safety. To round it all out, it supports the USDA Collegiate Dairy Contest.