Along with other members of the Texas International Produce Association, CEO and president Dante Galeazzi, cut the ribbon to open the 2019 Viva Fresh expo in San Antonio April 27. The event drew more than 2,300 people, up about 200 from 2018.
( The Packer )

Any way you measure it, attendees and exhibitors said the April 25-27 2019 Viva Fresh show was a success.

With 168 exhibitors, registered attendance was more than 2,300 at the 2019 Viva Fresh expo, up from about 2,100 who attended the show a year ago, said Dante Galeazzi, CEO and president of Texas International Produce Association.

“There’s a lot of foot traffic,” said Eddie Lund, president of the Allen Lund Co., La Canada, Calif. “We love being with this group.”

Viva Fresh began with a golf tournament on April 25 that raised $30,000 in scholarship funds, followed by a variety of education sessions on April 26 and a busy expo on April 27.

The show had a great increase in retail-foodservice attendees, growing from 330 in 2018 to 375 in 2019, Galeazzi said.
Mark Sato, sales manager for Fortune Growers, Elgin, Ill., said the show is getting bigger every year.

“I think there is the most foot traffic of any year,” he said.

Galeazzi said the show gave buyers and exhibitors a good chance to connect.

“We want people to be walking around smiling, having good conversations and being able to do business — we want (buyers) to actually stop and talk, get to know the folks get to know their products and get to know the region,” Galeazzi said.

“Traffic has been fantastic,” said Jeff Ritts, account manager for Domex Superfresh Growers, Yakima, Wash. “There’s a lot of positive energy in the show.”

“There are a lot of retailers at the show, and we don’t have a solid footprint in Texas, so that’s the goal in coming to Viva Fresh,” said Suhanra Conradie, CEO Summer Citrus from South Africa.

Dennis Holbrook, owner of South Texas Organics, Mission, Texas said the Viva Fresh was a great venue for suppliers from Texas and northern Mexico.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to get the buyers to come in to see what we can do here and what we can provide for them,” he said. “We’ve had a great show, we’ve been able to make contact with a lot of nice-sized retailers that we haven’t been doing business with, so I think the show is actually serving its purpose.”

Viva Fresh 2020 will be April 29-May 1 at the JW Marriot in San Antonio again.