The Industry Weighs In on PMA Foodservice 2019
- by Jordan Okumura
MONTEREY, CA - It may have been the beautiful weather or the abundant access to fresh seafood or the calm and serene bay just steps away from the Monterey Conference Center, but I bet most of the excitement and enthusiasm in the air this past week was due to the PMA Foodservice Conference and Expo. As we previously shared with you, nearly 2,000 attendees roamed the floor with 600 buyers present. The ratio of buyers to exhibitors was three to one—a worthy ratio in any fresh produce dynamic. Of the 201 exhibitors on the sold-out show floor, there were 30 first-timers and a record 36 participants in the Fresh Ideas Showcase.
While it makes sense to let the numbers speak for themselves, I thought we would reach out to a few more of our industry friends to see what their thoughts were as they looked back on the annual event.
Tim York, President, Markon Cooperative
“PMA continues to put on a terrific conference every year, and this was no exception. The change to a Saturday expo made for better attendance, and our booth was busy all day. We were showing the cardboard strawberry clamshell we launched this spring. And walking the floor, it was great to see so many of our suppliers in one location, see products, and renew acquaintances. For me, PMA Foodservice is the most important, and most rewarding conference I attend all year.”
Kori Tuggle, Vice President Marketing/Product Development, Church Brothers Farms
"This year's PMA Foodservice was an amazing event, once again. The new schedule change was well received and PMA had a strong turnout from the foodservice industry. We appreciate the effort our customers who came to the tours of our fields, visited our salad plant, or joined us at our annual Ranch Party. See you all next year!"
Anthony Barbieri, Vice President of Sales, Events, and Programs, Produce Marketing Association
“PMA convenes and connects the exhibitor community with restaurant operators, their procurement teams, wholesalers and distributors, and culinary influencers who are blazing the path to incorporate more produce on plates and menus. That’s exciting work. We host the only industry event 100 percent devoted to the foodservice segment. Participants at PMA Foodservice are in a powerful position to support innovation, collaboration, and accelerate momentum in the plant-forward movement.”
Anthony added that work is already underway to continue to elevate the experience in 2020.
“Feedback so far from this year’s event has been very positive. With support and engagement from our Foodservice Committee, other influencers, and thought partners we’re already gathering takeaways and ideas for further enhancements.”
Lisa Hearne, General Manager, Taylor Farms California Foodservice
“We look forward to this event every year! Getting to spend a few days in our own backyard with our customers is a fabulous opportunity to tell our story and provide a firsthand experience of what it takes to get our products from farm to table. We had a record number of customer tours highlighting new product varieties, automated harvesting, innovative processes at our plant and food safety. These are all steps we are taking to combat the current labor challenges we are facing as an industry. We wrapped up the week with a great show highlighting delicious and creative recipes from a few of our new products – Baby Romaine leaves, Shred Savoy Cabbage Blend, Heritage Greens, and Cauli Pearls. The Foodservice PMA is always a great opportunity to spend time with customers and create long-lasting partnerships.”
Kim Andreason, Produce Program Coordinator, Jason's Deli
"If there is one place to be where you can see some of the industry's most innovative companies in foodservice, then that place is the Monterey event hosted by PMA. I have been attending PMA Foodservice for many years and learn something new every time. It is nice to escape the Texas heat for a few days, meet with our partners, and look for new menu ideas in 'The Salad Bowl of America.' I liked the new format with the show on Saturday and you can bet Jason's Deli will benefit from this show."
It was great to see all of our industry friends at the show and to build new relationships across the many fresh produce foodservice programs! See you all at the next event!