The industry is filled with terrific organizations that do the unheralded work that makes this industry hum. Among the best and most important of these smaller organizations is the Refrigerated Foods Association.
This is the association that represents manufacturers of wet salads, which include staples such as potato salad, macaroni salad and cole slaw, popular favorites such as carrot-raisin salad on to gourmet and organic salads made with chick peas, couscous, artichokes, mushrooms and all manner of proteins.
The membership also typically manufactures refrigerated entrees and side dishes as well as dips, desserts, ethnic foods and soups.
And there are many associate members who represent suppliers to the trade.
One of RFA’s most important tasks is to provide among the very best education available on the technical aspects of the manufacture and distribution of all these prepared refrigerated foods.
I’ve had the pleasure of being a speaker at their annual conference and can tell you from personal experience that anyone’s operations, R&D, food safety and technical departments would benefit by being in attendance at the RFA’s event. I can’t imagine how retailers even know the right questions to ask of their suppliers in this area if they don’t have eyes and ears here.
RFA just announced the date and the place for its conference, February 26-27th of 2007, in the Houston area. The theme is “Mission: Possible — Targeting Operational Excellence”. Attendee registration isn’t open yet, but you can save the date and keep updated on the conference program and registration at the conference web page. Prospective exhibitors can get info there right now.