U.S. presence at Fruit Logistica paying offWith more than 2,500 exhibitors at Fruit Logistica 2012 in Berlin, one might expect the 35 from the U.S. to be lost in the crowd. However, reports to the contrary began coming in from across the pond on the first day of the show.

Chris Christian, vice president of marketing for the California Strawberry Commission, said there was "excellent traffic and interaction with new and current buyers" at the USA Fruits area. Christian was also struck by the variety of international exhibitors.

"It is amazing the diversity of products grown around the world and in season right now," Christian reported. "The exhibit halls were busy throughout the day and into the evening."

U.S. presence at Fruit Logistica paying offKelly Koczak, vice president of the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association said she and the association collected "a number of solid leads" Feb. 8, the first day of the three-day event.

"Our booth fee has been paid for just today with the number of contacts we"ve made," Koczak said.

The strawberry commission and PMA are two of about 35 companies and organizations from the U.S. that are exhibiting at the 20th annual Fruit Logistica show. Celebrating their debut in the USA Pavilion this year are Lazo TPC Global, ElastiTag Bedford Industries, The New York Produce Show and Conference, and the National Pecan Growers Council.

According to a Feb. 10 update from show organizers, an even larger USA contingent is expected for the event in 2013. Similarly, China is expected to have a larger presence at the 2013 show.

Overall, the show has grown with a "supersonic trajectory" according to organizers. It began with only 100 exhibitors and a show floor about the size of "a village football pitch (field)," or about 43,000 square feet. This year the show floor is more than 1.2 million square feet and more than 55,000 attendees were predicted.

Exhibitors at Fruit Logistica 2012 traveled from 84 countries to participate in what officials with operator Messe Berlin GmbH describe as the world"s leading fresh produce trade fair.

The trade show is concurrent with FreshConex 2012, which provides numerous educational and analytical presentations. Among the presenters at FreshConex was the United Fresh Produce Association of Washington D.C.

United used the opportunity to kick off its 2012 Fresh Impact Tour. A panel discussion moderated by United"s president and chief executive officer, Tom Stenzel, included fresh-cut sector leaders Klaus Klische, Fresh Factory, Germany Paddy Callaghan, Nature"s Best Ltd., Ireland and Alessandro Turatti, Turatti Ltd., Italy.

The group talked about food safety, consumer trends, foodservice opportunities and the impact of last summer"s E. coli outbreak.