School Foodservice Forum to Take Place During United Fresh LIVE!
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
WASHINGTON, DC - If you’re not yet counting down to the United Fresh LIVE! event, let industry leaders like Lisa McNeece, Christina Ward, and Nichole Towell boost your anticipation for one of the upcoming virtual forums. The United Fresh Start Foundation’s annual School Foodservice Forum will feature engaging workshops and education sessions, as well as sneak peeks at kid-friendly products offered by United Fresh LIVE! exhibitors.
“I’m proud that the School Foodservice Forum has become an integral component of the foundation’s programming,” said Lisa McNeece, Vice President of Foodservice and Industrial Sales for Grimmway Farms and Chair of the United Fresh Start Foundation. “If we are going to grow produce consumption, we need to ensure children can access fresh produce where they spend most of their day, and this means connecting with school administrators who are deciding what’s on the menu.”
Though the industry as a whole is invited to attend the one-of-a-kind forum, school nutrition professionals are specifically encouraged to participate in order to explore new fruit and vegetable products and take part in education sessions addressing sourcing, serving, and promoting fresh produce to children and their families.
In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of K-12 school foodservice opportunities and what schools will need from supplier partners, given the new realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release.
“We’re looking forward to connecting with school nutrition leaders at United Fresh LIVE!, sharing information about our citrus varieties, the health benefits of our fruit, and seasonal availability, as well as learning how we can better connect with this audience that serves next generation produce consumers,” said Christina Ward, Director of Global Brand Marketing for Sunkist Growers.
Nichole Towell, Senior Director of Marketing for Duda Farm Fresh Foods, added, “Healthy snacking is an important part of our business, and we are committed to finding creative ways to introduce celery and other vegetables to kids. Schools are a unique customer, and as we continue to innovate our retail offerings and talk with schools about their needs, we’re learning more about how to successfully get our products in front of next generation consumers.”
The School Foodservice Forum schedule is as follows:
- Monday, June 15 from 4:00-5:00 pm (EDT) : School Meals 101 Meets COVID-19: Opportunities for Fresh Produce in K-12 School Nutrition Programs
- Tuesday, June 16 from 11:00 am-Noon (EDT) : Selling to Schools: Understanding Fruit and Vegetable Requirements in K-12 Foodservice
- Wednesday, June 17 from 11:00 am-Noon (EDT) : Continuing a Culinary Focus: Prioritizing Fruits and Veggies Before, During and After COVID-19
- Thursday, June 18 from 11:00 am-Noon (EDT) : School Meals During COVID-19: Creative Approaches to Ensuring Students Get Their Fresh Fruits and Veggies
- Friday, June 19 from 11:00 am-Noon (EDT) : The Future of Fresh Produce in Schools: A State Agency Perspective
“The opportunity to connect with leaders in the produce industry, see new products, pack sizes, and what’s trending with fresh fruits and vegetables in commercial channels is a unique experience and not something we typically experience at school nutrition events,” said Jessica Shelly, Food Service Director at the Cincinnati Public Schools. “By providing these interactions, I can consider how to incorporate a greater variety of fresh produce into my district’s meal and snack programs, while sharing the needs of K-12 operators with the produce industry.”
Grimmway Farms, Sunkist Growers, and Duda Farm Fresh Foods are all title sponsors of the School Foodservice Forum, with Del Monte Fresh Produce, DNO Produce, Mastronardi Produce, and Peterson Farms Fresh also sponsoring the event.
Registration is FREE for United Fresh LIVE! and participation in the School Foodservice Forum is available to all registered attendees. To register, click here.
United Fresh LIVE! is already touting a packed schedule of general sessions, workshops, roundtable discussions, social events, and a major online expo taking place June 15-19. ANUK will see you on the interwebs!