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PMA Fresh Summit sets attendance mark

ANAHEIM, CA — If you were standing in the 1000 aisle and glanced at your watch and realized your appointment in the 4200 aisle was starting in 15 minutes, you were cutting it close. Traffic on the show floor during peak times moved about as quickly as the nearby 405 freeway during rush hour, but without an HOV lane.

Nearly 24,000 attendees packed the trade show floor at the 2019 Fresh Summit, setting a new mark for attendance. The location on the West Coast coupled with the move to hold the expo on Friday and Saturday surely contributed to the large turnout, as attendees were able to spend quality time at the show for the first part of the weekend, and return home for quality time with the family.

pma244PMA President Cathy Burns delivers the State of the Industry address Oct. 17 to a capacity crowd during the PMA Fresh Summit Convention & Expo in Anaheim, CA.The expo did not disappoint, as 1,200 exhibitors featured an array of exciting new products and services. And for the exhibitors, the payoff was there, as major buyers from across the country browsed the aisles for new products to stock on their shelves.

"For us, this year's Fresh Summit was fantastic," said Rodrigo Lima, president of Crown International USA, the sales agent for Agricola Famosa, which was debuting a super-sweet melon from Brazil. "We had a lot of major retailers come to the booth and sample the melons, and the response was great."

"The event this year was the best I can remember," said Seth Pemsler, vice president of retail and international for the Idaho Potato Commission. "We appreciate PMA's efforts to separate equipment from produce and feel it helped the flow for attendees and visibility for produce exhibitors. We look forward to our continued partnership with PMA and our sponsorship of the Refresh Lounge."

"Bravo! As a first time exhibitor, Krissy Farms had the opportunity to spend quality time with the most incredible retailers in the country from coast to coast," said Kristyn Lawson, founder and CEO of Krissy Farms."It was a perfect way to kick off new our organic vegetable and fruit purees and our new Brand. We are thrilled that we participated and can't wait for Dallas in 2020!"

"PMA Fresh Summit in Anaheim was by far one of our best shows to date," said Chris Veillon, chief marketing officer for Pure Flavor. "Booth traffic was heavy on both days with key partners stopping by to learn about our new RedRoyals Red Cherry on the Vine as well as other new items we have been promoting."

"This year's PMA was one of the best yet," said Stacey Miller, director of trade marketing for Litehouse Inc. "We were thrilled with the attendance and engagement at our booth, along with the interest and excitement around new product innovation and continued success in focusing to grow more sales in the produce department."

“Anaheim proved to be a great venue for Fresh Summit, which is always an enjoyable event for IMG Citrus,” said Sydney Allison, director of sales for IMG Citrus. "Throughout the weekend we took the opportunity to build on current relationships as well as establish new relationships with customers and suppliers alike. PMA exhibitors bring leading-edge technology and innovative industry solutions; there is always something new to discover at the expo.”

"It was great to see our valued retail partners and receive rave reviews about our new fresh salad dressings,” said Danyel O’Connor, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Good Foods Group.

More than just an expo
But the Fresh Summit is more than the two-day expo. It also serves as an annual reunion of sorts, with industry colleagues reconnecting at various social functions, including the opening reception, which this year featured a global theme.

The programming also was a highlight and featured the annual state-of-the-industry address by PMA President Cathy Burns, who spoke during the Oct. 17 general session about the top industry trends and opportunities, many of which are being driven by the increasingly sophisticated technology being adapted across the globe. Later that day, Robert Herjavec of Shark Tank fame imparted his wisdom about entrepreneurship and solving industry issues. That session was followed by a Shark Tank-inspired forum, where four entrepreneurs pitched their ideas to a Herjavec and a panel of judges for the chance to win a $100,000 investment from SVG Ventures in the Thrive Fresh Summit Challenge. ProteoSense, an Ohio-based startup, emerged as the winner for its RapidScan pathogen detection system that increases efficiencies for on-site testing, reducing testing time to 90 minutes or fewer.

pma24Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, an NBA Hall of Famer turned businessman and entrepreneur, spoke during the Oct. 18 general session about the challenges he faced during his playing career and afterward.

The general session on Friday featured NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, who connected with the capacity crowd and spoke about how he overcame a poor childhood and multiple challenges throughout his career to become a successful entrepreneur and businessman who looks to better underserved minority communities.

The 2019 Fresh Summit also brought the installation of a new chairman of the association, Joe Don Zetzsche of H-E-B, who replaces outgoing Chairman David Marguleas of Sun World. Other new officers include Chair-Elect Dwight Ferguson of Naturipe Farms, Secretary-Treasurer Doug Grant of Oppy, Vice Chair Jacob Kremple of HelloFresh, Vice Chair Ruth McLennan of Dairy Farm and CGT Board Chair Marty Craner of B&C Fresh Sales.

A number of exhibitors received recognition for their booths:

  • Best Island Booth in the Produce Marketplace: Starr Ranch
  • Best Inline Booth in the Produce Marketplace: North Shore Living
  • Best First-Time Exhibitor: Joolies
  • Best Sustainable Packaging: Mucci Farms
  • Best Product Promo: Sunset Wow Berries
  • Best Island Booth in the Solutions Marketplace: Apeel Sciences
  • Best Inline Booth in the Solutions Marketplace: CN
  • Best Island Booth in the Floral Marketplace: Colour Republic
  • Best Inline Booth in the Floral Marketplace: van Hoekelen Greenhouses Inc.
  • Best Island Booth in the Complementary Items Marketplace: Fresh Cravings LLC
  • Best Inline Booth in the Complementary Items Marketplace: Lightlife Foods and Field Roast Grain Meat Co.
  • The 2020 PMA Fresh Summit will make a long-awaited return to the Lone Star State when the convention kicks off Oct. 15 in Dallas.