May 28, 2015

United Fresh bears down on Chicago

Chicago’s McCormick Place will again host the United Fresh show, with this year’s event running June 8-10. The show is in the second of its three years of co-locating with Food Marketing Institute’s annual convention, called FMI Connect and the International Floriculture Expo.

United Fresh 2014The trade show floor setup includes areas for specialized activities. Private business suites will accommodate networking with clients and guests. More networking will take place at an expert consultation center, where marketing, public relations, law firms, financial advisers and others will be available for consultation. United Fresh Tech highlights new technologies, equipment and services used along the entire supply chain, while United Fresh Marketplace showcases marketers and merchandise from around the world.

Breakfast keynote speakers have been drawn from two different arenas: the retail grocery world and the National Football League. Tuesday’s speaker is Bob Mariano, chairman, president and CEO of Roundy’s, who will discuss present and future trends in the retail supermarket world. The following day, “Da Coach,” Mike Ditka of hometown Chicago Bears fame, will share his insights on leadership and teamwork.

Education sessions are set for trade show floor learning centers and at five Wednesday-morning super sessions. These sessions will cover consumer trends and their impact on produce, disruptive technology and the farm of the future, social responsibility in global produce, strategic planning for family businesses and a floral industry presentation

Other Learning Center sessions will be spread out over two days. Topics include:

  • Local Food: Maximizing Local for Your Business
  • The Floral/Produce Partnership: Maximizing Gift Revenue
  • Developing Leadership in Your Family Business
  • Women In Produce: Inspiring the Next Generation
  • Role of the Registered Dietitian in the Retail Setting
  • New Product Trends
  • Building the Business Case for Produce Sales at Convenience Stores
  • Restaurant Flavors and Trends From the Best
  • The “Uber-ization” of Consumers
  • Retail Merchandising Strategies From the Best
  • Organic: Produce Category or Merchandising Strategy?
  • Disaster Strikes: Case-Studies in Being Prepared for the Worst

Other presentations will be held at the Fresh Tech Learning Center, including presentations on sanitary design, sanitation practices and environmental monitoring; warehouse optimization; maintaining cold chain integrity, what to do when the FDA inspector arrives, the annual science symposium and understanding consumer attitudes toward genetically modified organisms.

United is again using the show as the occasion to present awards and recognitions. The Fresh Retail Produce Manager Awards will honor 25 outstanding retail produce managers. Winners will be honored at the Retail-Foodservice Celebration Dinner June 10.

The annual Reception Honoring Women in Produce is June 9. This special reception recognizes all women working in the produce industry and recognizes one outstanding female industry leader.

Bill Pool, manager for produce safety at Wegmans Food Markets, will be honored as the 2015 Technical Award winner during the opening general session. The award is presented to an individual who has made significant technical contributions to the fresh produce industry.

For more information, visit the show’s website.