“What’s made this show a success for the council is, first of all, the number of volunteers we have in this organization that serve on the committees like the conference committee,” Vorhees said. “They are very dedicated to making this work. That’s a big part of it because it does take a lot of work.”
New this year, the council plans to sponsor its Shed the Pounds contest to encourage people to eat healthy and lose weight.
Participants weigh in March 1-2 during the show and later record and e-mail monthly weight reports to the council.
After a final weigh-in during the council’s fall conference in late September, the biggest three weight-loss winners receive $1,000, $500 and $200 respective prizes.
“This will be really fun,” said show planner Heidi McIntyre, managing partner in the Orlando-based Full Tilt Marketing LLC. “It will be a great incentive. We all want to be healthier and lose weight working in the produce industry. The incentives to win an award will be a plus.”
Rick Murrah, vice president of sales and marketing for Flavor-Pic Tomato Co. Inc., Birmingham, Ala., originated the idea by asking why shouldn’t industry people who are supposed to be about eating healthy sponsor some type of weight-loss contest, Vorhees said.
Among retail and foodservice companies attending for the first time this year: Affiliated Foods Inc., Amarillo, Texas; Allegiance Retail Services LLC, Iselin, N.J.; Belle-Foods, Harahan, La.; Big M Supermarkets, Syracuse, N.Y.; Jewel Food Stores Inc., Melrose Park, Ill.; and Richmond, Va.-based Ukrop’s Super Markets Inc.’s Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods.