PMA Foodservice Conference has new look

June 22, 2015

This year’s Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Foodservice Conference and Expo has plenty of new items on its plate for the anticipated crowd of 1,800 attendees.

PMA FoodserviceThe 34th annual event returns to Monterey, California, July 24-26 and has made changes aimed at giving attendees more opportunities for hands-on experiences.

One change is the return and updating of a “fresh produce academy.” The session will give 75 attendees who signed up an in-depth look at four to six products, offering insights on how each product is grown, transported, stored and merchandised.

“When the participants leave, they will know each product inside and out. It will be an intimate kind of intensive session on products that are being used a lot in foodservice,” said Ashley Boucher, PMA’s public relations manager.

At previous conferences, educational sessions were spread throughout the weekend. This year, the sessions will all be held on a single day, Saturday, July 25. Sessions will be a blend of smaller and less lengthy presentations by speakers from both inside and outside the industry.

The chef demonstration lunch was a single event, but this year is a strolling lunch where attendees will have more time to interact with each chef. As in years past, each chef will be sponsored in a contest format, but the new format allows for more networking, Boucher said.

Other parts of the event will not change, including a trade show that this year is expected to attract more than 160 exhibitors. Also returning is a new products showcase with the latest produce offerings for the foodservice market. This year’s reception will feature offerings from San Jose’s Roaming Hunger food trucks in an outdoor networking event.

“In a show like this that is only a couple of days and that has 1,800 people, we always need to offer networking. We’ve been told that’s a large reason of why they come here — probably the number one reason why they’re coming,” Boucher said.

For more information on the show, visit http://www.pma.com/events/foodservice/.

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