On June 11 and 12, the United Fresh Show was held at McCormick Place in Chicago. The theme of this year’s show was ‘Change is Here’ and the organizing committee had made many changes compared to previous years, resulting in a higher level of engagement and intimacy. A Partner X-Change that paired up retailers with produce suppliers was very well received. The educational sessions were again of high value and trade show exhibitors were positive about traffic on the show floor. A healthy lunch option offered between 11 am and 2 pm was a big success and many attendees stayed for the Retail-Foodservice celebration with open bar that closed off the event.
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Exhibitors were positive about the trade show. “The first day was terrific for us,” said Karen Murphy with NatureSeal. “It resulted in a tremendous amount of leads, in particular for our retail pack.” Andrew Burdock with Aerobotics was very happy about the event as well. “We are first-time exhibitors and it’s great to get exposure in the Midwest,” he said.
Jessica Brady with Okanagan Specialty Fruits felt the event was re-energized. “There are more opportunities for outreach and engagement. We’ve walked the show in the past and this was our very first year of exhibiting at United Fresh. It’s a great year to get into it.”
Traditionally, exhibitors are able to enter their new products in the Innovation Showcase and show attendees voted for their favorite product life from the trade show floor. Winning products included an Avocado Ranch Chopped Salad, diced/sliced pears, a ripeness detection sensor and a tomato-harvesting robot. Other noticeable new products on the show floor were pre-cut jackfruit as well as the launch of premium black label packaging for top op the line produce items. Examples of produce in black label packaging included berries and cherry tomatoes on the vine.
This was the last year the United Fresh Show was held in Chicago. Next year, the event will be held in San Diego from June 16-18.