Column: Pandemic a chance to reimagine how we connect
Always willing to embrace change, United Fresh has evolved to meet the needs of the dynamic produce industry, since its inception more than a century ago.
Nowhere has this been more tangible than during the annual convention and expo, where United Fresh has consistently developed new opportunities for companies across the perishable supply chain to make valuable business connections and showcase their latest technologies, products and solutions.
This summer, with plans to host the expo in Los Angeles, California’s limitations on conventions and expos of this size have forced United Fresh to, once again, flex their creative muscle and develop another solution for connecting companies with buyers. Reimagine Connections, United Fresh’s summer programming, will bring the industry together in-person for smaller regional events, and continue online education and networking events which have seen much success over the past year.
“Once again, United Fresh is reinventing the member experience to connect and do business in new ways,” said United Fresh Chairman Michael Muzyk, President of Baldor Specialty Foods. “Combining a new portfolio of top education and networking sessions with a series of in-person regional events allows us to Reimagine Connections across our industry.”
Reimagine Connections will present multiple opportunities for attendees and companies to meet buyers and stay updated with insights on the latest industry trends.
An all-new offering, Reimagine Innovation: Spotlight Broadcasts are a creative way for companies to connect personally with buyers and audiences who are seeking new produce items, packaging solutions and future technologies to streamline operations, among other topics.
Bolstered by the success of their virtual events throughout the past year, United Fresh will host 25 new virtual sessions. Offered across five unique tracks, these sessions will deliver relevant content for professionals of all backgrounds and experiences. The tracks include:
- Produce 101 — Orientation to the Fresh Produce Supply Chain
- Key Issues in Produce Safety
- Marketing as Key to Increasing Sales
- Overcoming Supply Chain Challenges to Profitability
- Top-to-Top Retail-Foodservice Dialogues for Success
While there will not be a single in-person expo, Reimagine Connections will offer the opportunity to reconnect in-person at key destinations across the country. The industry will meet at these intimate, in-person gatherings for education, networking and business opportunities.
United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel is confident Reimagine Connections will bring more of the same valuable business opportunities the industry expects from United Fresh.
“While we’re disappointed that we can’t have thousands of people at our trade show this June, we can still connect our industry to learn together, to build relationships with our colleagues, and to grow our businesses through new products and innovations,” said Stenzel. “That’s an essential job of a trade association, and we’re excited to bring these new opportunities to our members.”
From family businesses to global corporations, the fresh produce industry thrives on vital connections. As companies continue to change the way they do business, United Fresh will continue to unite the produce supply chain to build strategic partnerships and create long-term initiatives to solve unique business challenges.