Texas Retailers Support Second Annual Viva Fresh Produce Expo
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
MISSION, TX - After selling out its premier produce show last year, the Texas International Produce Association’s (TIPA) Viva Fresh Produce Expo is setting up for round two.
“The tremendous response from this past year’s Expo shows the importance of the Texas, Southwest and Mexico growing regions,” H-E-B’s Group Vice President, Hugh Topper, said in a press release. “This is a true regional Expo with an international flair that brings value to both suppliers and customers.”
And he is not alone. According to TIPA, a number of the state’s retailers have praised the event’s key benefits after seeing last year’s success, including:
- Highlighting the rapidly growing Tex-Mex operation and its importance to trade
- The strong educational programs with Virtual Field tours
- The ability to connect with grower-shippers in a more personal setting
“As an ex-retailer, I know from first-hand experience how important the ‘Gateways to the Americas’ is to the produce industry, especially with the amount of products that pass through and are grown in Texas each year,” Tommy Wilkins, Director of Sales for Grow Farms Texas and member of the Expo Steering Committee, commented. “More importantly, I am proud to be a part of such an innovative regional Expo.”
While technology innovations and education are a staple, the inspiration for the show was born of the increasing changes in parts of the Mexican industry like transportation, labor, and the availability of water continue. Together, these factors have helped to boost the country as a resource for fresh produce. In fact, according to TIPA, fruit and vegetable imports from Mexico to Texas are forecast to grow as much as 70% by 2023 in comparison to 2015, equating to nearly 360,000 truckloads annually, according to the most recent analysis by the Texas A&M Center for North American Studies.
“The Viva Fresh Expo provides ample opportunity to develop new business relationships and strengthen already established relationships in a personal setting,” United Supermarkets’ Produce Business Director, Joseph Bunting, said. “We look forward to connecting with suppliers from the Southwest, Mexico, and of course Texas the fastest growing produce corridor of the country.”
Not only does the show offer innovative tours and insights, but it also serves as a more intimate and affordable platform to allow vendors and customers to create meaningful networking opportunities.
“The educational program is outstanding, especially the virtual field tours that bring the farm into the conference room,” said Keith Durham, Category Manager of Fresh Produce at Brookshire Grocery Company. “This is a must-attend event to network with best-in-class growers, meet other buyers and learn about the challenges and opportunities of the Gateway to the Americas region while enjoying all the hospitality the Lone Star State has to offer.”
With the industry still buzzing about last year’s success, and the tradition to uphold that everything is bigger in Texas, Viva Fresh Produce Expo 2016 promises to offer more flavor, more opportunities, and more fun.
Along with the educational component, TIPA added that the expo will continue to be focused on the health benefits, style, and taste of Southwestern U.S. and Mexico-grown produce. To showcase this, the show will host chef-inspired events and receptions centered on regional-specific foodie flair.
While exhibitor space is sold out for the second year in a row, you can still attend and TIPA continues to offer complimentary registration for retail and foodservice attendees. Hosted at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort and Space in San Antonio, Texas, mark your calendars from March 30-April 2.
Go to the expo website at www.VivaFreshExpo.com to learn more about the show.