PLMA’S Washington Conference Addresses Critical Issues

Washington Capitol Hill

PLMA’s Washington Conference in early October addressed key issues impacting retailers and manufacturers alike. Supply chain problems, an update on FDA labeling, and the SNAP program were some of the topics addressed at the event, which again was held virtually and moderated by Erik Winborn, founder of Winborn Solutions.

Dr. Claudine Kavanaugh, director of the FDA’s Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling, told how the agency is looking to improve healthier eating and awareness through labeling. Areas of focus include reducing sodium intake, labels on food allergies, foods derived from cultured animal cells and labels for plant-based milk alternatives.

The conference also examined the $85 billion SNAP program and how it could play a significant role for private brand sales. Laura Griffin, the Department of Agriculture’s senior policy advisor for SNAP, provided an overview. PLMA recently released a report on the potential for increased purchase of store brands given their popularity with SNAP participants. She said the department is doing more to educate shoppers about healthier eating and retailers could weigh in by highlighting eligible healthy store brand products in-store.

Jonathan Gold, VP of supply chain and customs policy, National Retail Foundation, discussed supply chain infrastructure requirements and how shortages of truck drivers and empty shipping containers have disrupted the flow of all types of products.

Other presenters were Ryan Lizza, White House reporter and editor at Politico; Ed Goeas, president and CEO of The Tarrance Group; Stevan Mitchell, director of the Office of Intellectual Property Rights, Department of Commerce International Trade Administration, and Anthony Quinn, chief of standards, Department of Commerce International Trade Administration.

PLMA’s next Washington Conference will be held in-person Sept. 19-21, 2022, at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill.