ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Big changes are in store for FreshWorld, the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association's annual convention, which is slated for Feb. 5 to 7 in Anaheim, Calif.
FreshWorld '95, as it is called, is being billed by United officials as the only international show to encompass the entire fresh fruit and vegetable industry from seed to table.
Caren Schumacher, vice president of communications and marketing for United here, said the convention changes reflect United's reorganization earlier this year.
As part of that reorganization, United appointed a task force to look at the convention and to see what could be done to improve it, Schumacher said.
The convention has changed its marketing approach, focused more on international attendees, added specialized industry tours with a focus on learning and has integrated several programs that used to be held separately from the main convention.
"This is Year One of a vision, to really build this show and appeal to all segments of the industry," Schumacher said.
Rather than provide motivational speakers to highlight the event, United is focusing on industry professionals who can share information. "We wanted to make a departure from Tommy Lasorda," she said, referring to the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, who was a general session speaker at last year's convention in San Diego.
This year, the show is being marketed differently, she said. About 50,000 notices for the convention were sent out to people in all aspects of the produce industry, as opposed to the 2,000 notices sent out in years past.
In another new move, the Retail Trade Forum and International Trade Forum have both been integrated into the convention, said Sarah Delea, director of public affairs for United here. In past years, the two forums were one-day, stand-alone events that were held just prior to the convention. By integrating the two forums, United hopes to involve both retailers and international attendees in the entire show, not just one day of it, Delea said. In another first, an opening breakfast will be held on Sunday morning. The breakfast theme is "A World of Opportunity," and keynote speakers from Europe and the Pacific will discuss the evolving global market. As another service to international attendees, the general sessions and several seminars will be simultaneously translated into Spanish, Schumacher said. Another new aspect of FreshWorld will be mobile classroom tours, which will take participants on guided tours to processing plants, growing areas, research facilities, food service operations and other sites in the area.
Since this will be the third year the United show has been held in southern California, the mobile classroom tours are one way to lure people to the same general area, Schumacher said.
The "classrooms" include the retail distribution centers of Arcadia, Calif.-based Vons Cos. and Irwindale, Calif.-based Hughes Family Markets; the Port of Long Beach, which is the largest loaded container port in the United States; the University of California-Irvine's South Coast Research and Extension Center and growing fields, and a state-of-the-art processing plant, among others.
Lunch will be available on the show floor, which is another change from years past, Schumacher said. Instead of a sit-down luncheon with a speaker, an international food court will be set up on the show floor.
For the first time, exhibitors will have a business lounge, complete with concierge and an exhibitors-only meeting area. And an international business center and lounge will be available to foreign attendees. Nine different workshops are being offered during the show, and those have been tailored to be more segment-specific than in years past, Schumacher said.
The closing general session will focus on the "Changing Face of the American Consumer," and United will unveil a new consumer study. Schumacher said the study will reveal what consumers really eat, as opposed to what they say they eat.