See related content: From the show floor: FPFC Northern Calif. booth briefs
PLEASANTON, Calif. — Once again, the La Mirada, Calif.-based Fresh Produce & Floral Council’s Northern California Expo was a sellout.
Tom BurfieldHelen Krause, who is featured in Los Angeles-based The Giumarra Cos.’ Nature’s Partner Easy as Pie promotion, lets Larry Tucker, produce buyer for Sacramento-based Raley’s Supermarkets, try a sample of her plum pie during the La Mirada, Calif.-based Fresh Produce & Floral Council’s Northern California Expo at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton April 9. Norcalexpo14 burf 156The eighth-annual show at the Alameda County Fairgrounds April 9 featured 158 booths where representatives from more than 200 companies unveiled new products and touted existing ones for produce and floral representatives from grocery chains like Sacramento-based Raley’s Supermarkets and Pleasanton-based Safeway Inc., said Carissa Mace, council president.
About 600 representatives from retail produce and floral departments came out for this year’s show. About 60% were from the produce side, and 40% were from floral.
Retailers found the expo worthwhile.
“We’re always looking for new, innovative items and to reconnect with all our vendor partners,” said Larry Tucker, produce buyer for Raley’s.
Exhibitors also said they gained a lot from the expo.
“This is great exposure to be able to meet with the buyers in a one-on-one situation,” said Don Krekorain, Green Giant Fresh national accountmanager for Growers Express LLC and Growers Marketing LLC, Salinas, Calif.
“The office environment is nice, but when you get a chance to interface with (buyers) and show them a broad spectrum of products and get their feedback, it’s great,” he said.
“We also get feedback on our competition,” he added. “It’s a very competitive arena.”
Jennifer Pelayo, chairman of the council’s Northern California Committee and business development manager for Advantage Sales & Marketing in Pleasanton, cited “multiple networking opportunities” as one advantage of attending the expo, along with the opportunity to “see all the new products and old friends — and new friends.”
The Northern California Expo is patterned after the council’s long-running Southern California version, but there are some differences.
Because of the geography of the region and the way the event has evolved, the Southern California Expo, held at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim in July, attracts more store-level personnel, Mace said.
“It’s mainly management and buyers who come to the Northern California show,” she said, though some store-level personnel also show up.