NEW YORK — The inaugural Nov. 9-11 New York Produce Show and Conference’s focus was on buyers.
And you couldn’t miss them.
Expo committee chairman Paul Kneeland, vice president of produce and floral for Kings Super Markets Inc., Parsippany, N.J., said most of the market share of the New York metro area was represented among the nearly 2,000 attendees.
A retail panel of 10 gave their perspectives on the region at the Nov. 10 breakfast session before the one-day expo, where buyers were abundant.
“This is where our customers are,” said Jason Hollinger, director of procurement for Four Seasons Produce Inc., Ephrata, Pa. “There were high-quality (buyers) for a regional player like us.”
“We were pleasantly surprised, because this is bigger than we thought,” said Phil Gruszka, vice president of marketing for Grimmway Farms, Bakersfield, Calif. “We’ve seen a lot of buyers. The Northeast is the largest carrot market in the U.S.”
The Eastern Produce Council’s goal for a regional trade show a year ago was to be similar in size to the New England Produce Show, which takes place in Boston every April.
Kneeland said Nov. 11 that attendance was about 1,850, but the final numbers were not yet available, and 212 companies exhibited.
For comparison, the New England conference had about 750 attendees and 230 booths this year.
Next year, Kneeland said the council plans to expand the number of booths by 50% to more than 300, and hold it about the same time of year in the New York Hilton, same as this year.