Dear EPIA Member,
I trust that each of you got as much out of the past convention that was hoped. We made some very significant strides this year. One of the most significant agreements we made was that we as EPIA members agreed that we “Are the Packaged Ice Industry?” and we can make a difference by doing the following:
Promote the packaged ice industry in Europe
- By creating awareness and end-customer education to grow the demand for clean safe ice for human consumption; and
- By educating government agencies in order to influence regulations aimed at ensuring that consumable ice, whether produced on-premises or from factories, is safe to eat.
Provide a competitive advantage to our member companies
- By subscribing to high production and distribution health standards to set EPIA members at a higher level than other ice producers that merely provide ice with little concern for hygienic controls; and
- By developing a recognized label promoting “Ice You Can Trust.”
Nurture new EPIA members
- By acquiring new members who subscribe to the same high levels of concern for quality as our current HACCP certified members;
- By becoming more knowledgeable of government grants and incentive financing to help our current members expand and new members to complement our distribution range; and
- By growing our membership roles with only high quality companies to enhance the reputation of EPIA members providing only pure, safe packaged ice.
We also discussed how to overcome the current limitations to accomplishing what we have now agreed to implement. The limitations that are most evident are as follows:
Lack of HACCP certification documentation attesting to the ice quality standards and practices of our members.
- It was agreed upon by the membership in attendance that the HACCP certification be a requirement of membership. The agreed upon timing for certification is that every producer/distributor member must be HACCP certified by the time of the 2014 convention. Those not meeting the minimum mandatory requirement will have the opportunity to resign or stand before the membership and explain their actions and progress toward certification and request a short grace period from the assembled members in order to complete their work to attain full compliance and certification.
- It was discussed that of the 73 company members, only 13 participate in association management and initiatives by serving as directors and committee members. That translates to 60 member companies not actively involved or more than 80% of the membership not actively participating in making the EPIA what we all have agreed that it should represent.
- The result of this discussion was that virtually every company will now actively participate in one or more committees or serve as a director. The initial committee meetings showed much more activity and excitement than has been seen during prior committee formation planning.
- Only enough funds for limited organizational support and convention planning. Today we can only afford one part time staff member. This is a difficult issue.
- The discussions included imaginative solutions, such as crowdfunding, government grants, increased dues based upon various size and activity guidelines, and several other options that proved just as elusive.
- One important point was agreed upon after some full membership discussion. We need to have an additional paid position to attract outside funding and keep the association running productively throughout the year.
Now that we have formulated a plan, we must take advantage of the excitement of the convention and move out smartly to implement what the membership has directed the Board of Directors to do. We have formulated a plan to hire a consultant to petition the EU Commission and some individual country governments for grant money to promote the value of safe healthy ice for human consumption. This initial effort will be funded by increasing the membership dues which have remained at the initial low rate since our inception in 2008. Once our plan is productive we envision that this new position will be able to generate enough external funding to pay for the position and provide sufficient funds for EPIA marketing initiatives.
The Board of Directors and our members in general thank each of you for continuing to improve the association and making the EPIA something we can all benefit from and be proud to promote the public good throughout Europe
Your Board of Directors