Still in Chicago as I look forward to the U.S. Apple Association’s annual outlook and marketing conference this afternoon.

Most people I’ve visited with don’t think that the new leader of the group (Nancy Foster is leaving U.S. Apple at the end of the month) will be unveiled at the Aug. 22-23 event. But we could be surprised.

The Packer’s Midwest Produce Expo was a well-received event by the exhibitors I spoke with. Many were happy with the one-day expo. Perhaps some of the popularity of regional shows like the Midwest Produce Expo is that there is no second or third day on the expo floor when traffic slows down and time stands still.

With lunch provided on the floor and happy hour at the end of the day, folks had no reason to wander off.

One interesting part of the presentation on social media by Bradley Fitzhenry in his keynote address spoke to the need to have a viable social media following in order to partner with larger retailers such as Wal-Mart on joint social media promotions.

Among other points, Fitzhenry said that without a viable presence on social media platforms, a produce marketing company’s value as a vendor will be compromised.

Old timers may cling to the belief that the industry is still all about relationships, customer service and quality of product. But is this concept of a “viable social media presence” and other newfangled ways of buying and selling produce really beginning to steal away the importance of “relationships” in the industry? Or is the deed already done?

Weigh in on the questions at The Packer Market.

Do you think having a "viable" social media presence is necessary to work hand in hand with supermarkets like Wal-Mart in joint social media/Facebook promotions?

Do you think having such a capability is in your favor when it comes to purchasing decisions of supermarket chains?