Orlando, Florida, USA
October 19, 2010
Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition drew a record-breaking audience from the global supply chain when it convened Oct. 15-18, attracting 18,284 attendees from 58 countries to Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center. Begun 61 years ago primarily as a networking event, Fresh Summit has expanded to include industry-leading education and information today.
This year’s Fresh Summit broke the previous East Coast attendance record of 17,503 set in 2008, the last time Fresh Summit was held in Orlando. The 2010 Fresh Summit also attracted a record 3,938 buyers from retail, foodservice and wholesale/distribution. Fresh Summit’s all-time attendance record of 19,060 was set in 2009 in Anaheim, Calif.
"We measure success not by attendance numbers, but by the quality of the experience our participants tell us they had,” said John Oxford, president & CEO of L&M Companies, and vice-chair of the volunteer-led Fresh Summit Committee. “We are hearing that this year’s Fresh Summit delivered real business value on many levels, from the networking opportunities connecting buyers and sellers, to the educational sessions designed to help attendees to innovate and to build the new relationships they will need to grow their businesses for the future.”
PMA President & CEO Bryan Silbermann agreed, adding, “While we are always proud of the value our members see in Fresh Summit, it is but one of the many ways that PMA offers year-round value to our global supply chain – from the experts we have hired from industry, to our expanded volunteer leadership opportunities, to our many other educational and networking events and our expanding website content.”
“Fresh Summit is the best place for us to build relationships to help streamline our business planning for next year, “ said Matt Lucovich, director of sales and marketing for To-Jo Mushrooms, Inc., in Avondale, Pa. “The networking we’ve done in one weekend would take us months to do on our own.”
“We’ve been to several produce trade shows this year, and by far Fresh Summit has been the most successful for us,” said Robert Ferri, manager for New York Produce in Secaucus, N.J.
Highlights of this year’s convention and exposition included:
- Educational programming designed to assist industry in addressing critical business challenges and opportunities, featuring members sharing their experiences with other industry members, on topics including traceability, the ever-increasing incidence of water shortages, the pros and cons for sourcing locally-grown produce, and emerging market opportunities in China.
- A concentrated focus on delivering food safety solutions. This included a dedicated Food Safety Solutions Center featuring educational programming, expert Q&A, and demonstrations and exhibits from leading food safety solution providers; and unveiling of new produce-specific food safety research findings from the PMA-founded Center for Produce Safety.
- Silbermann’s annual State of the Industry address, which provided an overview on how to manage the challenges of today and business opportunities of tomorrow. His focus included emerging consumer trends and the need for industry to tell its story; he highlighted a new industry campaign to address unfounded attacks on industry, and new research to help address consumer misperceptions of the affordability of fresh produce.
- Attendance by nearly 50 college students exploring career opportunities in the fresh produce industry, made possible by scholarships from the PMA Foundation for Industry Talent’s Pack Family/PMA Career Pathways program.
- PMA’s annual Impact Award: Excellence in Packaging awards, recognizing six innovators in produce and floral packaging.
- Mickey’s Minis Flora Express Bill Byland received this year’s Floral Marketer of the Year award.
- Extensive use of social media to enhance participants’ experiences via a new mobile application, Twitter, Facebook and PMA’s brand new PMA TV posts on YouTube.
Next year’s Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition will be held Oct. 14-17, 2011, in Atlanta. The 2011 exposition is already more than 90 percent booked by the end of the 2010 event. For more information, visit www.pma.com/freshsummit.
Founded in 1949, Produce Marketing Association is the leading trade association representing nearly 3,000 companies from every segment of the global produce and floral supply chain. Members rely on PMA year round for the business solutions they need to increase sales and consumption, build strong professional relationships, and expand their business opportunities. For more information, visit www.pma.com.