By Bill Murray, NCA President & CEO
If a tree falls in the forest…?
One set of changes we’ve been making is intended to keep you informed – we’re evolving version 1.0 of a new NCA Communication Strategy.
We’re now issuing “Member Alerts” on breaking topics on an as-needed basis, which are complemented every Friday by the Coffee Reporter Weekly – a quick, easy-to-read recap of industry news and NCA happenings. Soon you’ll be seeing the launch of a quarterly Scientific Affairs bulletin.
We’re also re-launching our NCA blog – starting with this post. Our blog posts will be less formal, more conversational, and from a variety of authors. (Contact Kyra Auffermann if you want to guest-blog, at email@example.com.)
To start, we’re passing along some fantastic resources from last month’s NCA Convention. Of course, we’d like to see all of our members at Convention, but we know that budgets and workload don’t make that possible. Regardless of whether you were at Convention or not, you can still access many of the materials and expertise that were shared with us.
Our 104th Convention was preceded by a pre-meeting Symposium – “Coffee & Health: Turning Message into Mindset” – which explored the science behind coffee’s strong message on coffee and health, along with the strategies that made other foods icons of healthful eating in the minds of consumers. You can download the presentations from our website, which together contain a wealth of information on this topic.
The Symposium was followed by the NCA’s tradition of giving back to our host community, and we devoted this year’s NCA Day of Service to helping support honey bee populations, which are dwindling because of urban development. Learn more about the organization we supported from the Bee Cause website.
In a departure from common practice, the Convention’s educational program included speakers from outside the industry. Former NBC Chief Medical Editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman delivered a keynote address exploring how to get through to consumers with messages about health.
James Kane, considered the world’s foremost expert on what makes someone truly loyal to another person, organization or cause, gave an in-depth presentation on loyalty – and left us with a loyalty workbook you can use to examine loyalty in your own context.
Other educational sessions ranged from epidemiology to economics, meteorology to marketing, diversity to dispute resolution. Among them, members of the NCA Scientific Advisory Group traced the evolution of the scientific literature on coffee and health, and how the committee evolved from holding a defensive mission to a proactive one as the science moved organically toward positive associations between coffee and health.
Attendees also got the first look at the 2015 NCA National Coffee Drinking Trends, released in full at the Convention for the first time, along with the introduction of a new online platform that allows custom filtering of data.
Also explored at Convention sessions were the economic influences driving stock and commodities markets, the impact of climate change on coffee production in Brazil, the coffee genome and its implications for quality testing, the latest regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act that has recast the federal food safety system in the U.S., gender equality in coffee growing regions, and the import/export contract dispute resolution program conducted by the Green Coffee Association.
Rounding out the Convention were numerous networking events and opportunities, including the Table-Top Trade Exhibition, evening receptions, city tour, the annual Business Luncheon, the International Women in Coffee Foundation (IWCF) Luncheon, and coffee breaks in the exhibit area, as well as the Day of Service and educational sessions themselves.
We’re still analyzing the post-event survey feedback from attendees, but so far 98% of respondents said they’d rate the Convention as good, very good or excellent, and 98% said they’d be likely to recommend it to others.
This feedback is helping us plan for next year’s NCA Convention, which will be in San Diego from March 17-19 at the iconic Del Coronado Hotel.
We’re thinking about having a party on the beach for 700 of our friends…seriously!
I hope to see you next year – but in the meantime, it is important to remember that our Convention is made possible by our community – all of our members who contribute to the NCA, our sponsors, our volunteer presenters, our exhibitors and our volunteer leaders and committee members.
It is only through the work of our whole community that we can make these resources available to you – resources which are best appreciated over a cup of fresh coffee.