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Largest-Ever Fresh Summit Expo Kicks Off This Week in Florida

October 09, 2016

This week heralds the start of the 2016 Fresh Summit Convention and Expo, which will be held on October 14–16 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. This year’s event will be the largest Fresh Summit expo ever, covering over 300,000 square feet and with over 20,000 attendees expected from across the fresh produce and floral supply chains in over 60 countries, including special group delegations from China, Brazil, and Malaysia. Over 1,100 exhibitors from the industry will also be present at the event to showcase their latest innovations and developments.

Organized annually by the Produce Marketing Association, Fresh Summit is one of the premier events in the fresh produce calendar, ranking at number 74 in Trade Show Executive magazine’s Gold 100 and at number 81 in Trade Show News Network’s Top 250 U.S. Shows. Last year’s event attracted 60% of the top 25 global produce retailers, with one in three attendees being management personnel from General Manager to CEO, making this event an excellent opportunity for those working in the produce industry. In the words of Scot Olson, Fresh Summit Committee Chair and Vice President of Produce and Floral for Grocery Outlet, Inc., “Fresh Summit attracts today’s top global retailers, produce and floral suppliers, and all of the companies around and in between them.” He added, “many of our own relationships with Grocery Outlet suppliers have come from attending PMA’s Fresh Summit over the years. This will be our company’s 15th straight year attending the event!”

“Communities of Interest”​

To promote business education, innovation, and networking, Fresh Summit 2016 will feature a diverse range of workshops, sessions, and awards. These events are structured into five “communities of interest”, namely, Global Connections, Science & Technology, Industry Talent, Issues Leadership, and Floral, in order to assist attendees in finding content and connections best aligned with their key business interests.

The Global Connections community is targeted at attendees interested in the fresh produce and floral industry on a global scale. Through six educational workshops such as “How to Reach the World’s 900 Million Online Shoppers” and “How International Retailers Source Produce”, participants will have the opportunity to learn how to grow their business across international boundaries. According to Oleen Smethurst, Chair of PMA’s Global Development Committee and President/GMM for Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd., “Fresh Summit provides three important tools to help growing global businesses in today’s fresh produce and floral industry. It offers knowledge, innovation, and networking to help sellers and buyers from across the supply chain and globe explore new business opportunities.”

Meanwhile, the Science & Technology community recognizes the increasing complexity facing today’s produce industry and is intended to attract those interested in the newest developments in this field and their impacts on the industry. The four workshops will deal with pressing issues in the produce sector, including how to avoid and deal with food safety crises, comply with food safety requirements for exporting to the U.S. under the Food Safety Modernization Act, and meet increasing consumer demand for supply chain transparency. According to Dr. Elliott Grant, Chairman of the Science & Technology Committee and CEO of the personalized nutrition company ShopWell Labs Inc., “when I walk the floor of Fresh Summit and attend breakout sessions, I come away energized and inspired by the ingenuity, energy, and commitment of this awesome community.” On the expo floor, interested participants will be able to learn about the newest solutions for pathogen detection, water quality testing, and data management. Furthermore, Fresh Summit’s annual Impact Award will be announced to recognize innovation in packaging in five categories including food safety and sustainability.

The 2016 Fresh Summit event is expected to be especially attractive for those in the floral industry, with the largest ever Floral Pavilion covering 23,000 square feet, a Floral Networking Reception, New Buyer Roundtables to help floral buyers and suppliers connect, and presentation of the 2016 Floral Marketer of the Year Award.

Networking and Innovation @ work

Attendees will also have the chance to participate in a variety of networking events, giving them the opportunity to foster new connections and discuss and exchange ideas. These are also organized to suit a range of interests, including the Young Professionals Reception, the Global Connections Reception, the Science & Technology Reception, and the Industry Talent Reception.

In the Innovation @ work area, event participants will be able to discover the latest innovations in technology, packing, and merchandising. The Fresh Ideas Showcase will present the newest products and services in categories including On-The-Go, products making it easier to eat healthily while on the move, and Just 4 Kids, products targeted at encouraging healthy eating in the youngest consumers.

More Information and Registration

To avoid missing out on this event, interested parties are encouraged to check out the Fresh Summit website, which contains full details of the schedule and activities. On-site registration will be available at the start of the convention.

Image source: MZMC

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