United Fresh cancels trade show, changes focus to series of smaller regional events
With California’s continued limitation on larger conventions and expos, United Fresh is launching Reimagine Connections, a new program bringing members together in-person at smaller regional events, and online for education, networking and innovation events.
Reimagine Connections will deliver:
- A series of smaller in-person regional events where members can gather and build those relationships we all so value.
- An online education and networking portfolio that truly serves the business needs of our industry.
- A new opportunity for companies to host their own Innovation Spotlight Broadcasts to connect with clients and colleagues about new products, business solutions and services.
The 2021 United Fresh Convention & Expo had been scheduled for June 24-26 in Los Angeles.
“We’re very disappointed California requirements will not allow us to host our trade show in Los Angeles this June. We had looked forward to partnering this year with the Fresh Produce and Floral Council, and appreciate their collaboration and hard work in building what might have been our largest show ever,” said United Fresh Chairman Michael Muzyk, president of Baldor Specialty Foods. “But once again United Fresh is re-inventing the member experience to connect in new ways. Combining a new portfolio of top education, networking and innovation sessions with a series of in-person regional events allows us to Reimagine Connections across our industry.”
In-person regional events
As local conditions permit, United Fresh will host education and networking events in several cities this summer. “We know that members are anxious to see each other, so we’re bringing that opportunity to them,” said United Fresh President & CEO Tom Stenzel. A schedule of dates and locations for United Fresh regional events will be forthcoming, together with information about how to register and/or sponsor these events.
Registration will open May 1 for a series of online education and networking sessions that complement the in-person events. Online education and networking will take a deep dive into five unique tracks throughout the spring and summer, including:
- Produce 101 — Orientation to the Fresh Produce Supply Chain
- Key Issues in Produce Safety
- BrandStorm Continued — Marketing as Key to Increasing Sales
- Overcoming Supply Chain Challenges to Profitability
- Top-to-Top Retail-Foodservice Dialogues for Success
Each track will have a minimum of five individual one-hour sessions, for a total of 25 sessions. Registration will be available for each track for $400. Access to all five tracks is $1,500, a $500 savings. Companies can receive three full packages for members of their team for $4,000, an additional $500 savings. And for those companies who want to make this a total team event, a $10,000 package enables a company to have unlimited staff access to these programs.
United Fresh kept associates just starting out in the industry in mind specifically for its “Orientation” track, which teaches about each stage of the supply chain and getting to know their peers. Staff working in food safety, marketing or supply chain will gain advanced knowledge and skills in those disciplines. And, C-Suite executives will enjoy exclusive access in top-to-top retail and foodservice strategy sessions on what lies ahead for our industry.
Innovation spotlight broadcasts
“We know that everyone is tired of virtual expos, where “exhibitors” have to wait patiently for someone to visit their “booth,” said John Toner, United Fresh’s Vice President of Convention & Industry Collaboration. “But we also know that new product development and innovation are the lifeline to the future — and buyers want to see what’s new! So, we’re offering companies the opportunity to host their own live, interactive presentations online.”
The Innovation Spotlight Broadcasts are a more creative way for companies to connect personally with buyers who want to see new produce items, what’s new in packaging, or even future technologies to streamline operations. A limited number of Innovation Spotlight Broadcasts will be available at a cost of $4,000 for a 45-minute session.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a nightmare to individuals and families around the world. And, it has disrupted businesses and challenged employees throughout the produce industry,” Stenzel said. “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. That’s an essential job of a trade association, and we’re excited to bring these new opportunities to our members.”