10 Aug Takeaways from PMA’s Foodservice Conference & Expo
Produce Marketing Association’s 37th annual Foodservice Conference and Exposition took place July 28-29, 2018 at the Monterey Conference Center and Monterey Marriott in Monterey, California. More than 1,800 sellers and buyers including distributors, retailers, wholesalers, brokers, and end-use operators attended the two-day event, which was designed to provide opportunities for networking, learning, and connecting buyers and suppliers.
West Pak Avocado has been exhibiting at the Foodservice Conference and Exposition for over 20 years. For 2018, the company was there again in full force to bring new ideas and offerings to the foodservice industry.
“This event has always been a great time to connect with members of the foodservice industry, for them to share their opportunities and challenges, and for us to showcase new offerings and solutions to an ever-changing landscape,” said West Pak Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Doug Meyer.
“In addition to an increased demand for organic fruit, and steady growth for imperfect fruit, this year we experienced added interest in conditioned premium avocados. It’s no longer just an option, as heavy users of this popular green fruit expect fresh avocados in their favorite dishes. Foodservice operators continue to expand avocado offerings in not just lunch and dinner but breakfast as well. Consumers continue to drive this demand for innovation, and it’s exhilarating,” added West Pak Marketing Manager George Henderson.
The Foodservice Conference & Expo kicked off on Saturday, July 28th with a session on innovation featuring keynote speaker, Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and founder of Shake Shack. There was also concurrent experiential fruit and vegetable training and buyer roundtable sessions.
On Sunday, the expo included exhibitors throughout three exhibit spaces each with a lounge where attendees networked and shared ideas about trends and challenges in the foodservice industry. Themes included exploring bold, global flavors in dishes made with fresh produce; expanding palettes and produce-centric menu choices for Generation Z; and creative ideas for food waste reduction.
Participants of PMA’s Foodservice Conference & Expo were invited to meet and mingle with highly-accomplished chefs, get the inside look at how fresh produce makes the plate, and see how collaboration and innovations are changing the foodservice industry. The event focused around menu development and educating foodservice professionals about new offerings.