Combined show delivers, Stenzel says

CHICAGO — With more than 7,500 attendees and 317 exhibitors — including 45 new exhibitors — the co-located shows of United Fresh Produce Association’s FreshTEC and FreshMKT expos, the International Floriculture Expo and the Global Cold Chain Expo worked well together in 2017, said Tom Stenzel of United Fresh.“We’re really pleased with the partnership with the other shows, with the floral show and the second year of the Global Cold Chain Expo,” Stenzel, president and CEO of United Fresh, said June 14.Each of the groups had its own education programs almost all day on June 13, the first day of the June 13-15 event, he said.“What we are hearing from exhibitors across all three shows is that I think we have had a really good event.”Stenzel said the move to separate exhibitors into FreshTEC and FreshMKT spaces in the exhibit hall was well received.“We made a big move this year in splitting the FreshMKT Expo from the FreshTEC Expo and that seems to be working,” he said. “That’s really helping people understand if you are going to look at technology, go to this part of the show, and if you are looking to do produce marketing, look at the other part of the show.”Next year, the combined show, scheduled for June, will add another element when it brings in a new venture called the Smart Food Expo — an event by United Fresh, EnsembleIQ and Progressive Grocer. The expo is designed to focus on the entire category of healthy foods and foods marketed as better for you, Stenzel said.Most exhibitors said they were pleased with traffic the first day of the show this year.Marji Morrow, president of Rockwell Morrow, Los Angeles, which handles the public relations and marketing for the California Avocado Commission, said she enjoyed the education sessions that took place concurrently with the expo.“It was nice to have those integrated right into the show,” she said.  “There was lots of good participation by attendees.”