Social responsibility shines at PMA conference

Social responsibility shines at PMA conference

Members share their insights on social responsibility and its impact on business.

Member success stories are a highlight at this weekend’s PMA Foodservice Conference as Steve Gill of Gills Onions and Dan Hermstad of Jacobs Farm will share their insights on social responsibility and its impact on business. They’ll be joined by Corinne Asturias from CEB Iconoculture, a research organization and Jane Frank of SCS Global Services, a third-party environmental and sustainability certifier, to address who the socially conscious consumer is and how to best market to them.

“Consumers today want more information about how their products are made to make sure the practices of producers and brands align with their own values,” says Asturias. “Mentally they have moved from shareholder in a brand to stakeholder.”

Steve Gill will share the story of one of the nation’s largest family-owned onion grower who began using its waste to generate electricity at its processing plant in 2009. In a quote on their website, Gill explained the importance of their part in sustainability. “Gills Onions is committed to continuous process improvement in all areas of sustainability as we enter the second decade of the century. Achieving zero waste, improving water conservation, and even developing effective nutraceuticals from onion waste are all achievable goals in the near term. We’re excited about our future.”

Dan Hermstad will join the panel to talk about Jacobs Farm's 30-year practices. “Fair trade certification, direct trade and all things related to social responsibility are the latest buzz and we think it’s important to share our story,” says Hermstad. “We’ve created 3 different farmer cooperatives in Baja California and multiple other farmer businesses to produce high quality, organic food that is safe for consumers as well as the people who grow it.”

The group will address social responsibility on Saturday, July 26. Several other education topics will be presented at the 33rd annual PMA Foodservice Conference, including global flavor trends, food safety and big data. For more information about the conference and expo, visit

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