This past Friday and Saturday, PMA Fresh Summit was held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. The show, with a strong retail focus, attracted a record-breaking 24,000 attendees.
They were able to marvel at the many innovative ways in which North American growers put their product on the market, could visit the growing floral part of the show or catch up with a growing number of horticultural suppliers, looking to get in touch with the greenhouse / indoor growers at the show.
The team of NatureFresh Farms proudly shows a wide selection of products.
Although the first day traditionally is the busiest day, this year the second day drew many visitors to the convention center again. Many exhibitors shared that a Fresh Summit show on the West Coast just tends to draw a bigger crowd. In addition, this is the second year the show is being held on Friday and Saturday which seems to result in a more balanced attendance as opposed to a Saturday/Sunday show.
This year’s floor plan was a little different compared to previous years. Exhibitors were broken down by segments and booths were grouped by product and trade. The four different sections included Produce Marketplace, Complementary Items Marketplace, Solutions Marketplace, and Floral Marketplace.
John Pandol with Pandol Brothers said the breakdown really helped in terms of quality of people coming through. “Rather than walking through to get somewhere else, attendees purposely came by for a visit,” he said. On the flipside, one part of Solutions Marketplace seemed to be more isolated from the main exhibition hall, resulting in slower traffic and mixed feelings for exhibitors.
The team of Red Sun Farms proudly shows the latest addition to the family: Sweetpeaks. From left to right: Rob Jackson, Leona Neill, Mark Wehby and Ernesto Sanabria.
Shift towards compostable packaging
The biggest trend on the show floor seemed to be the shift towards environmentally friendly, home compostable packaging. It looks like it’s an industrywide trend as examples were seen for greenhouse grown vegetables, berries, citrus, apples and more. Although the shift offers opportunities for many, one exhibitor mentioned the challenges it brings. “Ten years ago, we had to get rid of paper because it killed too many trees. Now, we need to reduce the use of plastic as the pollution affects life in the ocean.”
Another trend visible at the show was the presentation of new software and artificial intelligence innovation that is happening in the produce industry.
Joseph Talbourdet from Westmoreland Topline Farms, showing of their Huge crunch snack-size cucumbers
Next year, PMA Fresh Summit will be held from October 15-17 in Dallas, Texas.