A Blast from the Past: Looking Back at Past NCA Conventions

By: Nora Johnson, Next Gen Council Member and Commodities Manager at Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA

For many in the coffee industry, the month of March has become synonymous with the National Coffee Association Annual Convention. It’s the time of year when highly anticipated economic and trade outlooks are shared, former colleagues are reunited, keynote speakers inspire, and new industry participants get their first taste of the special and unique world that is the coffee industry.

As you know, throughout the entire year, the NCA works tirelessly on behalf of our beloved industry and the Association’s membership. From crucial advocacy to in-depth research and toolkit preparation, from Member Alerts to educational webinars, the benefits of NCA membership are endless; the Annual Convention is another one of those cherished benefits that has become a hallmark event for the coffee industry.

Before we dive into the excitement for NCA 2022, let’s first look back a few years at past NCA Annual Conventions to see how we got here today!

Going “all the way” back to 2019, (author’s note: I think we can say “all the way” given how far we have come throughout the course of pandemic years!), we find ourselves in Atlanta, Georgia. The theme for NCA 2019 was “Crossroads,” and the conference featured three key-note sessions:

  • Shannon Huffman Polson, Author of, “The Grit Project,” and one of the first women to fly an Apache helicopter in the US Army
  • Joel Sartore, Nature Photographer and National Geographic Magazine Contributor
  • Steve Battista, Former Sr. Vice President, Brand, Under Armor, Inc.

For a comparison of the times, at the time of the NCA Annual Convention in 2019, the coffee market was trading around $0.9685.

Heading into March 5-7, 2020, in Austin, Texas, we now find ourselves at the 2020 Annual Convention. It is likely that you remember it well as it was quite possibly the last in-person event that you attended prior to the onset of the pandemic in the United States. Although we did not know at that time just how much our lives would change over the next year, the theme for the Convention was very fitting “The Challenge of Change.”

NCA 2020 featured sessions on a variety of topics, including two sessions that are highly anticipated each year:

  • 2020 Vision with Scott Clemons, Brown Brothers Harriman 
  • Preview to the National Coffee Data Trends 2020

At the time of the NCA Annual Convention in 2020, the coffee market was trading around $1.1135.

Enter: 2021. Given the impact of the pandemic, gathering in person for a large event was not an option, yet the “magic of March” for those of us looking forward to the NCA Annual Convention carried on through a new, virtual format. The theme for the 2021 Convention, “Together Toward Tomorrow,” was certainly one of hope, and this message resonated throughout different sessions, such as:

  • Ideation to Action: Sharing the Risks and Rewards of Sustainability in the Coffee Value Chain
  • Superhero Leadership During Uncertain Times, featuring Brett Culp, award-winning documentary filmmaker and founder of the non-profit, The Rising Heroes Project

At the time of the NCA Annual Convention in 2021, the coffee market was trading around $1.3280.

So what’s up next? That’s right – the NCA Virtual Annual Convention 2022, “A World of Possibilities,” is just around the corner on March 8-10, 2022. For more information, check out the details of the Virtual Convention here: https://www.ncausa.org/Industry-Resources/NCA-Annual-Convention

See you there!

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