Last updated on October 31st, 2023 at 11:20 am
The International Fresh Produce Association’s Global Produce & Floral Show ended Oct. 21 in Anaheim, California, with the general opinion that it was “the best show ever.”
“Coming back to Anaheim for the first time as IFPA, I could not be more impressed and inspired by the support the global produce and industry gave us this week. From our incredible exhibitors displaying their latest innovations to our generous sponsors who see the value in raising their visibility, the Global Produce & Floral Show truly is THE force for connections and creativity for anyone involved in fruits, vegetables, flowers and plants,” said IFPA CEO Cathy Burns. “On behalf of the IFPA Board and staff team, a heartfelt thank you to all who joined us, and I look forward to seeing so many of our guests again next year in Atlanta.”
The Global Produce & Floral Show brought together members from the entire supply chain from more than 60 countries, making it the greatest guest list in produce and floral. With a buyer for every six attendees, the show not only delivered in energy but in quality connections for businesses making new and transformative partnerships.
“As the show grows and gets busier, the goal remains the same – we want to make sure that our members have the opportunity to make connections with the people that can transform their business,” said IFPA VP Joe Watson. “We’re thrilled that the show has been the trusted place for connections for both our buyers and exhibitors as they make their business plans each year.”
The expo floor opened on Oct. 20, after the keynote from Steve Wozniak. The expo featured more than 1,160 companies exhibiting, including 157 first timers. There was a special focus this year on the technology solutions on the floor, including the Innovation Hub. The hub included the Future Tech Pavilion and the Fresh Field Catalyst Accelerator program participants who are concluding their year-long program exhibiting at the show.
Frieda Rapoport Caplan Women’s Catalyst Award
Also at the show, Raina Nelson, president of Westfalia Produce, was named the winner of the 2023 Frieda Rapoport Caplan Women’s Catalyst Award.
Named after the produce industry legend in 2020, the award is given to someone who serves as a catalyst for women’s success in the industry. Carrie Mack of Walmart, 2022 winner, welcomed Nelson into the cohort of Catalyst honorees during the Women’s Fresh Perspectives Breakfast held on Oct. 21.
“In her approach to mentoring and leadership, a nominator said that she ‘has enriched the lives of countless women in the produce industry through providing guidance for women trying to navigate a male-dominated industry; engaging speakers and thought leaders who inspire and empower women to think outside the box on their own path to leadership; and shared her own insecurities and vulnerabilities, and how she overcame them, to help women in the industry realize their leadership dreams,’” Mack said.
Nelson was recognized on stage with a standing ovation right before the breakfast speaker’s address. In her remarks, she reflected on the honor of receiving the award and being associated with the award’s namesake.
“It is an incredible honor to be recognized as the 2023 recipient for the Frieda Rapoport Caplan Women’s Catalyst Award,” she said. “Frieda’s legacy is a vibrant light that still radiates throughout this industry and beyond. She was a pioneer that created significant change through purpose-driven action. I am truly humbled to be considered someone that carries her light forward.”
Other awards presented at the Global Produce & Floral Show included:
- Best First-Time Exhibitor: Molly’s Grape & Citrus Company, booth 2559
- Best Island Booth in Business Solutions: International Paper, booth 4133
- Best Inline Booth in Business Solutions: Kwik Lok Corporation, booth 3331
- Best Island Booth in Produce: Windset Farms, booth 659
- Best Inline Booth in Produce: Frieda’s Branded Produce, booth 2339
- Best Island Booth in Complementary Items: Fresh Gourmet Company, booth 1831
- Best Inline Booth in Complementary Items: Offshoot Brands, booth 2218
- Best Island Booth in Floral: Gems, booth 825
- Best Inline Booth in Floral: Penang Nursery, Inc., booth 1305
From the 245 Fresh Ideas Showcase Participants:
- Best Sustainable Packaging: Alpine Fresh Hippie Organics, booth 559, for their Fully Home Compostable Bags
- Best Product Promo: Mastronardi Produce, booth 1281, for their Sunset Summer Dream Raspberries
In addition to networking events and the show floor, the GPFS also featured four keynotes and more than 30 speakers over 12 Education Festival sessions. The keynotes included Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak; Olympian and advocate Allyson Felix; CEO Panel participants, Patrick Vizzone, Dr. Elliott Grant, Andrea Albright and Johnny C. Taylor Jr.; and IFPA’s Cathy Burns.
Burns delivered her state of the industry presentation and challenged the industry to take action.
“No matter the size, nature, source or timing of any challenge, action is THE answer,” Burns said.
The International Fresh Produce Association is the largest and most diverse international association serving the entire fresh produce and floral supply chain and the only to seamlessly integrate world-facing advocacy and industry-facing support. It exists to bring the industry together to create a vibrant future for all.