(March 27, 1:08 p.m.) To respond to the organic industry’s growth and transition to the mainstream market, the Organic Trade Association has revamped its annual All Things Organic conference and trade show, establishing a more comprehensive convention for all members, including those involved in the produce supply chain.

The conference, April 26-29 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, continues to be aligned with the Spring Fancy Food Show and the U.S. Food Export Showcase. However, annual conferences for the United Fresh Produce Association and Food Marketing Institute will be in Las Vegas.

Formerly known as “The Power of Five” because the five organizations co-located their events together, the Chicago show is now known as “The Global Food & Style Expo,” said Barbara Haumann, press secretary for the Greenfield, Mass.-based OTA.

As a result, All Things Organic has moved from the first to the second floor of McCormick Place, where additional space should accommodate 600 exhibitors, including more than 40 produce exhibitors and 7,500 attendees, a spike from 2007, Haumann said March 25.

“Because there is so much excitement about organics, we’re very optimistic that the show’s going to be very successful,” she said. “It’s a chance to network with colleagues and for buyers and sources to link up. We have key buyers already signed up that are very exciting for our members.”

Representatives of more than 165 buyers are expected to attend, including:

  • Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market Inc.;


  • St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets Inc.;


  • Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway Inc.;


  • Cincinnati-based Kroger Co.; and


  • Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix Super Markets Inc.
  • Foodservice companies include:

  • Dublin, Ohio.-based Wendy’s International Inc.;


  • Columbus, Ohio-based Bravo! Development Inc., which operates Bravo! Cucina Italiana restaurants; and


  • Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Wolfgang Puck Worldwide Inc., Haumann said.
  • Also new this year is a private label showcase, she said.

    FOODSERVICE FOCUS

    Renewed organic interest from the foodservice sector has prompted a significant culinary emphasis at this year’s show, including chef demonstrations and culinary-focused seminars all three days, Haumann said.

    “Every day you read about another foodservice program getting involved in organics, whether it be one of the big providers to various institutions or more chefs getting excited about organics,” Haumann said.

    Bobby Flay — a celebrity chef who has appeared on several Food Network shows, owns four restaurants in Las Vegas, New York, the Bahamas and Atlantic City, N.J., and has written six cookbooks — is scheduled to be one of three keynote speakers.

    Flay is scheduled to discuss new trends in foodservice, consumer influence and the future of foodservice, Haumann said.

    Other notable chefs on the show floor, Haumann said, include:

  • Rick Bayless, who has helped fuel the popularity of Mexican food in the U.S. through his introduction of several domestic Mexican restaurants, his T.V. show on PBS, “Mexico: One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless” and as a staff member at the Culinary Institute of America;


  • Myra Goodman, founder of San Juan Bautista, Calif.-based Natural Selection Foods LLC, which markets under the Earthbound Farm label;


  • Earthbound’s executive chef, Sarah LaCasse; and


  • Patty James Facendini, founder of Patty James Organic Cooking School, the first certified organic cooking school in the U.S.
  • Seminars include sessions on how to source organics for foodservice operations, menu trends and understanding the organic consumer.

    John Moore, known as the person responsible for branding Whole Foods Market Inc. and Starbucks, and Kevin Coupe, founder and content supplier for MorningNewsBeat.com, a retail-focused Web site that offers daily news and analysis, also are scheduled.

    Coupe is planned to moderate a forum featuring retailers from around the world, and Moore is expected to discuss his experience and give attendees useful brand and marketing tips.

    For a schedule and registration information, visit www.organicexpo.com.