It was a record-breaking year at Produce Marketing Association’s 33rd annual Foodservice Conference. The event kicked off this past weekend with networking, educational programming, a 5K run, golf tournament and the only expo dedicated to fresh produce and foodservice.
The conference by the numbers, all of which, except for the number of distributors, set a new record, according to organization officials.
- 1,821 attendees from North and South America
- 203 operators
- 466 distributors
- 164 exhibit booths
- 389 5K run
- 60 Field and Plant tour
“It’s great to see so many foodservice and produce professionals here rallying behind the common goal of putting more fresh, delicious, healthy fruits and vegetables on foodservice plates,” says Jill Overdorf, director of business and culinary development for Coosemans Shipping of L.A. and PMA Foodservice Conference Committee co-chair. “Global flavors, the socially conscious consumer, and food safety and technology all took center stage this year – working together to drive consumption.”
A record-breaking show like this highlights the value of the ongoing collaboration between the fresh produce and foodservice industry, said Cathy Burns, PMA president. “The energy and networking that occurred throughout the weekend was palpable. “Bringing to life our ‘Innovate the Plate’ theme, the innovations came in many forms and represented consumer trends across the foodservice industry – ultimately validating the drive to put more fruits and vegetables in the center of the plate. The dedication of those industry members who served on PMA’s Foodservice Conference Committee under the leadership of Jill Overdorf and Fritz Stelter was pivotal in this year’s success.”
Several exhibitors were awarded for their innovative products and showmanship, including:
Best of Show: Ruby Fresh
2nd Place, Best of Show: Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers
Best New Product Launch: Misionero Vegetables for their EarthGreens Lemony Organic Blends
Sensory Experience Contest: Chilean Fresh Fruit Association for their Chilean grape, bacon and brie melt with Chilean fruit medley gazpacho
The PMA Foundation for Industry Talent hosted a 5K run for a record 389 runners.
Top male finisher: Philip Higgins, Markon Cooperative – 18:51
Top female finisher: Stephanie Cancellieri, Veg Fresh – 20:10
Team spirit and largest team to register with 53 runners: Robinson Fresh
Best team attire: Tanimura & Antle
And, the PMA Foundation hosted the Joe Nucci Memorial Golf Tournament:
First place: Anthony D’Amico, Kevin Delaney, Anthony Valdez, Rick Jordan
Second place: Brian Jenny, Dwight Ferguson, Jason Fischer, Dave Adams
Third place: Mitch DiMarco, Louis Hymel, Bill Munger, Erik Winge
Longest drive contest: Anthony Valdez and Sylvie Savoy Run
Closest to the pin contest: Brian Jenny
Check out this year’s photos and video highlights on PMAtv. Next year’s conference is scheduled for July 24-26, 2015, in Monterey, California.