(UPDATED COVERAGE, April 18) Celebrating their home team’s appearance in the Super Bowl, the New England Produce Council is hosting “The Produce Bowl” during this year’s Produce and Floral Expo.
Scheduled for April 25, the show moves to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., home of the New England Patriots, which lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.
The show is seeing high conference preregistration, said Laura Sullivan, executive director of the Burlington, Mass.-based council.
This year’s exhibition is sold-out with a waiting list for interested exhibitors, she said.
A record 240 exhibitors plan to participate in the expo while conference registration remains similar to last year’s 750, Sullivan said in early April.
“This is our first show to sell out,” she said. “I think this is a positive indication of maybe the economy is getting a little better. It may be changing things up a bit by going to a new venue. This new venue should create a lot of excitement for us.”
Buyers from Foodtown, Brooklyn, N.Y., and Shop-Rite Supermarkets, Edison, N.J., are scheduled to make their first appearances at this year’s expo.
According to Sullivan retailers at past shows include:
- Ahold USA Inc.’s Giant Food Stores, Martin's Super Food Store, Giant Food LLC and Stop & Shop Supermarkets;
- Big Y Foods Inc., Springfield, Mass.;
- Roche Bros. Supermarkets Inc., Wellesley, Mass.;
- Wakefern Food Corp., Elizabeth, N.J.;
- Wegmans Food Markets Inc., Rochester, N.Y.; and
- Brussels-based Delhaize Group’s Hannaford Bros. Co., Scarborough, Maine
As a treat for football fans, Sullivan said the council is planning a tour of the stadium as well as a surprise event on the playing field.
New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker is scheduled to be the featured speaker during the convention’s keynote breakfast. Welker will also sign autographs at a trade show appearance.