So it’s no surprise the New York Produce Show and Conference, which ran Nov. 7-9, drew plenty of praise from attendees and exhibitors on the show floor Nov. 8.
In its second year, expo attendance built strongly on its inaugural turnout of around 2,000 a year ago, pulling in more than 3,000.
The exhibitor side mirrored that, growing from 212 in 2010 to more than 300 this year.
Of course size matters, but quality bests quantity, and in this respect the New York show delivered too.
Speaking to dozens of people during my seven hours on the expo floor, praise from attendees was unanimous.
In particular, exhibiting suppliers were pleased with the buyer presence.
“It’s the right customers for us,” Michael Muzyk, president of Baldor Specialty Foods Inc., said.
Maggie Bezart, marketing director with the Aptos, Calif.-based Chilean Avocado Importers Association, echoed his sentiments.
“Retailers are very committed,” she said regarding buyers at the show.
The only complaint I heard was that the expo was testing the limits of the Hilton New York venue.
The show’s growth required it to be split into three separate expo floors, and a number of attendees mentioned they preferred a single exhibition space where they could troll the show floor aisle by aisle.
Coming so soon on the heels of the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit expo in Atlanta Oct. 14-17, it was surprising how many companies were debuting products in New York.
Industry heavyweights including Sunkist, Tanimura & Antle and Mission Produce used the venue to roll out their latest.
Considering the size of the marketplace in the New York area (not to mention the greater Northeast market), it’s understandable why suppliers put so much effort into the show — and why so many buyers were in the house.
As Lucky Lee, vice president of sales for Lucky’s Real Tomatoes, said, it’s a little surprising a trade show for the region wasn’t started a long time ago.