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30 November, 2020 Industry News

A Successful INC Online Conference Brings Together Over 1350 Participants from 85 Countries in the Nut and Dried Fruit Industry

This year, the INC organized the first Online Conference for the nut and dried fruit industry. With over 1350 attendees from 85 countries, the conference was a great reminder of what we can accomplish together as an industry.

From November 17-19, the INC hosted an online conference to unite the industry during this difficult global pandemic. The conference featured discussions on crop estimates, nutrition, scientific, and marketing topics, as well as three internationally respected keynote speakers.

Nut & Dried Fruit Working Groups Highlight Trends and Crop Estimates

The regional Working Groups for Americas; Europe, Middle East and Africa; Asia and Oceania discussed current nut and dried fruit supply and demand, and shifting consumption patterns within the context of COVID-19.

Backed up by increasing plantings, tree nut production continues to trend positively and 2020/2021 crops are no exception: world production is estimated at 5.3 million metric tons (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts and walnuts in kernel basis; pistachios in-shell basis), up by 15% from 2019/20. Hence the need to keep innovating and opening up new markets. Forecasted at 47.3 million MT (in-shell basis), global peanut production is also anticipated to increase by 13%. Although total dried fruit production is estimated slightly below last season, at 3 million MT, along with 2019/20 carry-over, supply should be adequate.

Overall, pandemic-related demand for nuts and dried fruits has favored online, pantry-stocking, and big retailers’ sales while reinforcing the already growing demand for immunity-boosting and plant-based foods.

Riveting Keynote Speeches from Renowned Speakers

The keynote speakers for the conference gave attendees fascinating and expert opinions on geopolitics, the economy, and the transforming world, each of course in the context of COVID-19.

In Javier Solana's speech, "Geopolitics in the Post-COVID-19 World" we got a look into what the geopolitics of the US, China, and Europe might look like once the pandemic slows down and we return to a "new normal". Alan Oster discussed "Global Overview & Australia – Impact of COVID-19 in near and medium term" giving attendees an idea of how the global economy and specifically Australia's economy has reacted to the pandemic and what the coming years might look like. Haim Israel was the final keynote speaker and, in his speech, "Transforming World! The World After COVID", he discussed the digitalization of the world and emphasized how rapidly everything is changing and transforming. 

Knowledge Sessions for In-depth Insights into Scientific, Nutrition, & Marketing Topics

In the Scientific & Regulatory Webinar, we learned about sustainability through the Farm to Fork Strategy of the European Commission, and how it aims to build a sustainable agricultural supply chain. Continuing with sustainability, we also heard about the most recent developments in agro-sustainability. Lastly, the session presented insightful looks into food quality and the role of technology.

The Nutrition & Research webinar first focused on the role of nuts and dried fruits on diabetes. Recent research was presented to analyze the positive health effects of consuming nuts and dried fruits. Next, we heard a presentation on plant-based diets and the importance of incorporating plant-based foods. Lastly, the webinar session discussed how aging can be positively affected by eating nuts and dried fruits.

The Industry Marketing Programs Update highlighted various marketing strategies that associations in the industry have implemented in efforts to increase consumption of nuts and dried fruits worldwide. We saw social media plans and strategic product and country efforts, and much more from the associations!

More INC Online Conference Highlights

Apart from the great sessions, the conference also hosted sponsor sessions, which allowed sponsors to present their company, products, and services through a webinar dedicated solely to them. Additionally, there was a virtual Exhibition Hall which allowed participants to go from booth to booth discovering materials and reaching out to those companies who had booths. Along with the Exhibition Hall, the Networking Area further gave attendees the opportunity to connect with new and existing customers.

Last but not least, there were daily quizzes that participants could take part in which gave them the chance to enter a raffle for prizes if there were in the top 10 at the end of the event.

Top 10 for Daily Challenges
Raf Peeters, QCIFY
Ahmet Kocyigit, TOMRA
Aidan Wright, MINTEC
After the drawing, the INC is excited to announce that the winner of the challenge raffle is Paul Ritsma of Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc!

The INC thanks each and every single person who made this event the success that it was. Also, thank you to the sponsors for continuously supporting the nut and dried fruit industry.

All of the conference's sessions can be rewatched on the INC TV Channel.
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