What a year! Even as PFMA and our members navigated changing pandemic regulations, we met demand, devised solutions, inspired change and got it done. With that in mind, we are sharing some of our PFMA successes from 2021:
Just as mask mandates eased across the state, PFMA returned to an in-person 2021 Annual Conference in Gettysburg, Pa. The association successfully hosted members, sponsors, vendors and presenters for two days of networking and educational sessions.
PFMA worked to ensure that grocery workers were part of the first few waves of Pennsylvania residents eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. These frontline workers faithfully provided basic needs to their communities throughout the pandemic.
In 2021, PFMA welcomed 17 new members to the association, representing food retail, energy services, facility solutions, gaming, beverage, convenience stores and more.
In July, PFMA launched Shelf Confidence, its first podcast, which focuses on trends and innovations in the food and beverage industries. Over the 10-episode season, PFMA members, sponsors and partners covered sustainability, better-for-you snacking, food waste, vaccination and more.
PFMA celebrated 25 years of awarding the Thomas R. and Laura Ridge Scholarship to PFMA members, their employees and their children. Since its inception in 1996, the scholarship has contributed nearly $1.2 million to 600 students.
In 2021, the Ridge Scholarship board increased the amount of each scholarship by $500, providing each recipient with $2,500 for the 2022-23 academic year.
The annual DECA Scholarship sponsored by the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association awarded $1,000 to Jessica Zajac, a senior at State College Area High School who has been involved in DECA for the past four years.
During the 2021 Annual Conference, PFMA presented its inaugural Food Industry Trailblazer Award to Nicholas Bertram, president of The GIANT Company. Well before the pandemic hit, Bertram consistently showed vision, innovation, passion and leadership.
In January, PFMA partnered with the Pennsylvania Farm Show to develop a virtual Butter Up! contest. The amateur butter sculpture contest invited Pennsylvania residents to submit a miniature version of the beloved PA Farm Show butter sculpture. The contest increased engagement for the virtual 2021 PA Farm Show and highlighted the work of the Pennsylvania dairy industry. Thanks to its success, a second contest launched in December ahead of the 2022 PA Farm Show.
PFMA was pleased to welcome Pennsylvania State Treasurer Stacy Garrity as the keynote speaker at its 2021 Fall Legislative Conference in Hershey, Pa. Treasurer Garrity delivered a memorable keynote speech, sharing her remarkable record of service with the U.S. Army, experience as a top businesswoman and her goals to remain transparent in her role as treasurer as she works to provide new financial opportunities for Pennsylvanians.
PFMA ran successful grassroots advocacy to hold back tobacco and other tax increases in the Build Back Better Act.
In March, PFMA unveiled a redesigned website and member portal that featured a clean, modern look and upgraded structure. The site features the latest legislative updates, member news, association priorities and membership benefits. Members can access exclusive content in the portal.
PFMA helped to secure passage of the federal infrastructure bill, which secured associated long-term benefits for Pennsylvanians.
In the fall, PFMA worked with a coalition of trade associations to shepherd the passage of ready-to-drink beverage (RTDs) legislation in the state Senate.
PFMA sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recommending making permanent the WIC physical presence waivers put in place due to COVID-19, and received a positive response from the secretary.
PFMA worked to secure unemployment compensation law reforms.
PFMA made progress on legislation that will allow the checkout of beer and wine at additional registers in food retail locations.
Four new members joined the PFMA Board of Directors in 2021: Mike Mammone, Senior Director of Customer Experience for the Robesonia division of C&S Wholesale Grocers; Bill Lipsky, Vice President of Merchandising with Shop n Save Pittsburgh for UNFI; Chuck Tullis, Senior Vice President at Utz Brands, Inc.; and Charles Irons, Market Director for McLane Company, Inc.
To recognize the dedication of grocery workers nationwide throughout the pandemic and beyond, PFMA worked with the Governor’s Office to acknowledge and thank supermarket employees during Supermarket Employee Day on Feb. 22.
PFMA joined a national coalition with law enforcement and other statewide leaders to tackle illicit economies and illegal trade.