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Budding Growth


Giving new meaning to the term “growing power,” the produce industry is expanding because of innovation in products, packaging, merchandising and promotions. Even if plants ranging from tomatoes to peppers to kale are invariably grown in soil, tended to and harvested, that doesn’t mean that produce providers and retailers can’t deliver produce in fresh new ways to today’s shoppers.

Many of those innovations, from the seeds of new ideas to the bounty of new items and formats, will be on display June 20–22 at United Fresh 2016, co-located with FMI Connect, the International Floriculture Expo and the new Global Chain Expo at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Sponsored by the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association, the event is a leading convention and expo for the fresh produce industry.

Set to be the largest yet, this year’s event, with the theme “Produce Innovation Starts Here,” will reflect the state of the category at retail. Industry leaders and professionals from a variety of backgrounds and interests will converge in Chicago to learn about innovations in product development, get advice from experts and network with others in the industry and, through the one-badge co-located event format, other related industries as well.

According to United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel, this year’s focus on innovation is top of mind among produce companies, retailers and others in the farm-to-table chain. “Fresh produce innovations in retail are hot, continuing to permeate departments throughout the store,” he asserts.

Exemplifying the notion of thinking outside the box, United Fresh 2016 includes new programs and activities. One addition is a special session, “Fresh Foods: The Retail Revolution,” on Monday, June 20, during which speakers will explore the trends, innovations and visions for how fresh produce and fresh food are dramatically changing retail channels. After the educational session, guests will take part in a tasting reception featuring samples of a host of new products.

Further highlights of United Fresh 2016 include the United Fresh Marketplace, United FreshTech expo, produce awards recognition, and education sessions presented by a variety of experts in the field.


Produce Innovation starts at United Fresh 2016! You’ll be joining thousands of fresh produce leaders who are coming together to explore creative business strategies, showcase innovative products and celebrate those retail, foodservice and produce superstars who are advancing the fresh produce industry daily.

No matter which segment of the supply chain you represent, you’ll find the education and business connections you need to drive success for your company. Visit the destination areas at our trade show floor to meet with exhibitors showcasing new products and download the latest on produce marketing, business management, leadership development, supply chain logistics and food safety in our FreshTech and Fresh Marketplace learning centers.

Kick off the week with Monday night’s opening party at the Museum of Contemporary Art. And be sure to stick around for Wednesday night as we recognize the stars of our industry — the outstanding retail produce managers, chefs and foodservice operators who work tirelessly to introduce consumers to the hottest fresh produce both in their retail outlets and on the menus they plan.

Also, be sure to visit with our co-located partner shows — one United Fresh ticket gets access to all four shows, including FMI Connect, the International Floriculture Expo and the brand-new Global Cold Chain Expo. Together, we bring solutions and innovation to all aspects of the food industry. The opportunities are endless, so bring your energy and enthusiasm for growing business, making connections and taking your company to the next level!

We look forward to welcoming you to Chicago!

Tom Stenzel
President and CEO United Fresh Produce Association

Speaking Up: Presenters to Focus on Positive Produce Changes

United Fresh 2016 features fresh insights into the state of the produce industry and the pace of innovations at a time when shoppers are looking for healthy, different and convenient foods that fit their tastes and lifestyles. This year’s speakers represent a range of viewpoints and experiences, with a common goal of exploring new opportunities in fresh produce.

Keynoters include:

Craig Boyan

President and COO, H-E-B

As head of one of the nation’s largest independent food retailers, Boyan understands the challenges and potential faced by today’s supermarkets. He’ll share his thoughts on the future of food retailing and the role that fresh produce will play. Boyan is also a member of the H-E-B and Food Marketing Institute boards.

Kevin Brown

President and CEO, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc. (LEYE)

As president of LEYE, Brown oversees more than 100 restaurants with 51 separate concepts spanning fast-casual to fine dining. His restaurateur background allows him to zero in on innovation and the development of new concepts while maintaining a high level of hospitality for patrons. In his presentation, he will motivate and inspire attendees to grow the produce footprint in the restaurant industry by developing strategies that truly engage consumers.

Tips and Tricks of the Trade: Fresh Marketplace and FreshTech

New products and concepts will be on display throughout United Fresh’s 2016 Fresh Marketplace, which is designed to provide attendees with ideas ripe for the picking.

Another highlight of United Fresh 2016 is United FreshTech, a display highlighting the tools, technologies, equipment and services available in today’s produce supply chain, along with new packing and packaging equipment, unique seed varieties, refrigerated transportation solutions, food safety, innovations, and more. Senior executives can visit United FreshTech to garner new information as they make decisions on operations, food safety, quality control, warehouses and packing houses, and more.

More focused networking will take place in business suites on the floor of the marketplace, which are available for companies to use for private meetings with guests, planning sessions or their own team meetings.

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