United Fresh Produce Association’s 2010 show in Las Vegas is all about one thing — customization.
The show at the Sands Expo & Convention Center from April 20-23 features a new show floor layout organized around different areas in the produce industry.
The floor this year is grouped into five areas:
* the Fresh Marketplace, the show’s traditional expo;
* FreshTech, focused on the fresh-cut and value-added markets;
* more Business Suites, which provide buyers and sellers with their own private “home bases” during the show;
* Food Safety Demo Center, devoted to food safety along the entire supply chain; and Traceability; and
* Logistics Demo Center, an expanded version of last year’s first-time effort.
The show floor also features new “learning centers” focused on different segments of the industry — grower-shipper, wholesale-distributor, fresh-cut processor, retail foodservice — with panels and information customized for those specific businesses.
Ray Gilmer, United Fresh vice president of communications, said the changes are part of the reorganization of United Fresh’s board along industry segments to better serve and recognize the individual needs of each business.
“It’s an extension of the way United Fresh volunteer leadership is structured,” Gilmer said.
The new learning centers will be open during the expo on the show floor. Each will have daily discussions by experts in each segment. Growth in demand for business suites are filling a need by companies and many retail buyers to have a private place to meet with employees and clients while the show is going on, said John Toner, vice president of convention and industry relations.
Another change to the show format is consolidating the location of panels, learning centers and other workshops to the show floor itself, Toner said. Following the model of produce shows in Europe, Toner said keeping all the action on the show floor keeps helps foster business and keeps exhibit booths busy with visitors without the breaks because of off-floor sessions.
“We’re trying to bring what happens in Europe on their show floor over to the U.S.,” Toner said.
The general session featuring keynote speaker Jeb Bush still is planned to take place separately from the show.
For the second year, United Fresh also will have an extra day looking at sustainability on April 23, which is fund by a grant made in 2009 by Bayer Crop Science.
Last year’s conference on food safety had more than 300 people in attendance, Gilmer said, and this year’s sustainability conference is expected to match that level.