The feedback the Produce Marketing Association receives after each Fresh Summit indicates that retailers and other buyers arrive at the massive expo with one overarching objective — identify new products, new services and new opportunities.
Charles Olins, vice president of sales and marketing for Concord Foods and co-chair of the Fresh Summit planning committee, said the Fresh Ideas Showcase outside the expo and the First-Time Exhibitors Pavilion on the show floor are among the most visited areas of the exhibit hall for exactly that reason.
Given the interest in new items, exhibitors should take care to make it clear from their booths and the material in them that they have offerings that visitors will not have seen before, and the people representing the company at the booth should have clear and concise talking points about the new products available or coming up, Olins said.
Leah Halverson, director of new business development for Black Gold Farms and co-chair of the planning committee with Olins, also encouraged exhibitors to do as much pre-work as possible, reaching out to people they want to connect with at the show and planning ahead for any meetings or other activities.
She also noted that exhibitors can use Fresh Summit, which is expected to draw more than 19,000 people this year, as more than an opportunity to connect with customers.
“Obviously the buyers are primary, but everybody else who’s walking around, other exhibitors that are walking around, other industry professionals that are walking around, I think it’s important that we remember that they are also our consumers, and so as an exhibitor, maybe providing samples or talking to those who stop by, that’s also really great kind of market research that you can do while you’re already there since there are so many people that walk the show,” Halverson said.
“There’s a lot of opportunity to really take advantage of the scope of the show and the amount of people there.”