The charms of travel to another country can be overrated.

Did you enjoy the German food? Yes, the hot dog on the expo floor was not to be missed!

And this: standing on the hotel bathroom toilet at 2 a.m. in the morning, I reached up to feel for hot air I hoped was coming out of a vent.

It had taken me the better part of two days in my Berlin hotel room to puzzle out where the thermostat control in the room was. It was hidden in plain sight in the bathroom, a couple of silver-handled knobs, one color-coded red to turn up the heat and the other color-coded for cooling the room.

I had just cranked the knob for heat clockwise and was waiting for the rush of hot air from the vent above the valves.
Just then, disaster struck... ...

If you haven’t been to Fruit Logistica, you should definitely take it in. Being spread over 25 buildings, it is a daunting experience to try to cover all the ground amidst about 78,000 attendees from 135 countries and 3,200 thousand exhibitors from 90 countries. Produce from Macedonia? I never knew!

Check out the “trends paper” put out by Fruit Logistica here . Called “Surprises in Store,” the lengthy report offers this conclusion:

“It is clear that customers are asking for distinctive products that are authentic in terms of their origin, as well as complete reliability from repeat purchases. They want to have their conscience appeased and yet demand increasing convenience. This Fruit Logistica Trend Report shows how these apparent contradictions can all be met, and indeed how they are already being met by innovative producers and retailers. 
Those at the leading edge have understood that success is not just about improved product ranges but also about developing relationships with those customers. Being completely reliable on quality is no longer enough to set retailers apart and enable them to win market share. Repeat custom comes from drawing people back into store for the experience of shopping for food, especially fruit and vegetables, and increasingly to enjoy the theatre of retail. These are lessons the industry is learning from the top brands.
Though root vegetables and bananas will continue to play a prominent and vital role in the fresh produce basket, there are going to be many surprises in store beyond the basket basics. The emergence of those first easy-healthy convenience products is a sign of things to come. With all this in mind, these are certainly exciting times for the fresh fruit and vegetable business.”

At Fruit Logistica, I attended the premiere of the Global Women’s Network, a notable gathering that no doubt will become a fixture at future events. More on that in another story.

With the hassle of bringing so many people together, one wonders if such an event as Fruit Logistica could be put in the “cloud." Could attendees visit virtual exhibits instead of real ones? Yes, and someday it just might be a virtual reality experience.

However, the “hive” effect of thousands of people coming together was compelling. Plus, one could never bring back tales  - and scars - from Berlin if the show was only in a VR headset.