PMA Hosts Record Crowd At Fresh Summit

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The "eat brighter" campaign was a highlight at the PMA Fresh Summit over the weekend.

The annual Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Summit over the weekend in Anaheim, California, saw record attendance, with 1,090 exhibiting companies occupying 265,300 net s.f. of space. Highlights included the show returning to the Golden State, a focus on inspiring kids to eat healthier and featured a series of education sessions on topics like global trade, emerging floral trends, talent management and food safety. Attendees who took the conversation online with social media made history for the fresh produce and floral industry when #FreshSummit was marked as one of the most popular social media conversations around the world.

More than 22,400 members of the global fresh produce and floral industry’s supply chain convened Oct. 17-19 for Fresh Summit’s general sessions, expo featuring new products and trends, technologies and innovations, educational workshops that featured hot topics delivered by industry and business experts, and presentations and industry engagement with Let’s Move! Executive Director and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Sam Kass, U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Foods Mike Taylor and California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross.

“I love when Fresh Summit lands in Anaheim—it’s home to me and many of the exhibitors and attendees. Coming back after just two years gives us a great opportunity to reflect on the progress the industry and the association has made since 2012,” said Kevin Fiori, VP of sales and marketing for Sunkist Growers and chair of PMA’s board of directors. “PMA’s new strategic plan helps provide a focus on providing year round resources for our members, including marketing tools, research and global networking opportunities to include…Fresh Summit. It is satisfying to know that more than 20,000 people attended this year’s Fresh Summit in Anaheim to take advantage of those opportunities.

“There are so many things to take away from this year’s show,” he added. “I’m particularly proud to be part of an industry that can work together to help moms get their children to ‘eat brighter.’ The number of ‘eat brighter’ branded produce items and participating companies is impressive and continues to grow.”

Lisa Davis, director of business development for Edge Sales & Marketing and PMA Fresh Summit committee chair, said, “Fresh Summit proves itself as so much more than a trade show. With the variety of resources found here, like consumer research, market trends and technology innovations, it’s no surprise that each year industry leaders travel from more than 60 countries to attend the show. Individually and as an industry, this is how we prepare for tomorrow and this is how we succeed.”

Receptions reflect PMA strategic plan, communities of interest

PMA Fresh Summit’s vast size was countered by its intimate, personalized receptions Saturday evening. Four receptions reflective of the association’s strategic pillars took place simultaneously, offering attendees a selection of the most relevant networking possible. Global Connections, Science and Technology, Industry Talent, and Floral were the communities outlined not just via the reception but throughout the entire convention’s schedule to help create a more intimate feel for attendees with specific agendas.

Record breaking numbers

This year’s convention set a handful of records, including: exhibitors, 1,090; attendance, more than 22,400; and retailers, more than 1,150 (largest attendance since 2001).

Exhibitors earn ‘Best of Show’ titles

Four exhibitors were chosen by an anonymous panel of industry experts for “Best of Show,” a contest designed to generate attendee excitement and encourage exhibitors to enhance the effectiveness of their exhibition experience.

• Best of Show, in-line booth: Suja Juice, Booth 4639;

• Best of Show, island booth: Panera Bread Salad Dressings, Booth 1414;

• Best New Product Launch: Rhythm Superfoods, Booth 488; and

• Best First-Time Exhibitor: Delallo Salad Savors, Booth 676

Next year’s Fresh Summit will be held Oct. 23-25 in Atlanta.

Editor’s note: PMA President Cathy Burns recently spoke to The Shelby Report about PMA’s initiatives and goals; find the interview here.

About The Author

A former newspaper editor and publisher who has handled digital duties for The Shelby Report since 2011. She once enjoyed leisurely perusing the grocery store aisles but, since having a baby in 2016, is now an enthusiastic click-and-collect shopper.

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