Technology will play a big role in this year’s Global Produce & Floral Show.
Running Oct. 19-21 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif., the show will feature new main events, including the future tech pavilion, tech accelerator program, and the food safety and tech exchange. All events got a test run last year at the International Fresh Produce Association’s (IFPA) show.
The tech accelerator is a six-month IFPA program that supports the growth and development of global start-up companies offering innovative technical solutions for the produce and floral industries. For 2023, the program has recruited 12 start-up companies interested in entering the produce market, which are then invited to exhibit their products/business solutions at the Global Show.
Designed as a platform to exchange ideas, members can join other like-minded colleagues to discuss the hottest technology, food safety, sustainability, and supply chain topics at the food safety and tech exchange. IFPA will host 30-minute sessions aimed at sharing challenges and solutions in an informal setting.
Similar to the Tech Accelerator, the Future Tech Pavilion provides opportunities for start-up companies to showcase their innovative technology solutions to our industry.
“So just to paint a picture,” said IFPA’s Chief Education and Program Officer Doug Bohr, “we will have the IFPA booth where we will host members and host conversations. You will have the future tech space, tech accelerators, participants all exhibiting there and the tech and food safety exchange going on.
“It will become a very dynamic area that will be part of the show floor.”
There are a lot of dynamic areas on the show schedule, and it all starts with the IFPA Retail Tour on Wednesday, Oct. 18, from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Stops will include the Grocery Outlet, Super King, and Gelson’s Market.
Bohr said the tour will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the industry and is a popular kickoff to the show.
The official start to the Global Produce Floral Show will come the next day, Oct. 19, at the State of the Industry General Session starting at 8:30 a.m. There, Laura Himes, vice president of Sourcing – Fresh, at Walmart will kick things off, and she will be joined by Cathy Burns, CEO of the International Fresh Produce Association. Bohr said Burns’ take on what’s happening in fresh produce is “wildly popular” every year.
The CEO panel will happen later that day and will feature the following participants: Judith McKenna, president and CEO of Walmart International, Johnny Taylor, president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, and Dr. Elliott Grant, who is the CEO of Mineral. Moderating the panel will be Patrick Vizzone, who is the managing director and head of Agri-Food and Impact Investment, with Franklin Templeton Global Private Equity.
“I have to say we could not be more excited about the speaker lineup of the entire program,” said Bohr.
Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, will take the stage on Friday, Oct. 20, at 8:35 a.m. and on Saturday, Oct. 21, the Women’s Fresh Perspectives Breakfast will feature Olympic gold medalist and entrepreneur Allyson Felix.
“I think more importantly [with the speaker lineup] we are looking at how these speakers can talk to our members about things that are relevant in the big world, but the subject matter is especially applicable and can be brought down to practical application and meaningful conversation with the fresh produce and floral industry,” Bohr said.
It’s a festival
The show’s education festival from
10:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 19 will be filled with conversation starters. Topics include government policies members should know about, what can be done to advance global nutrition and health trends, consumer purchasing habits, sustainability and food safety standards, the state of the produce workforce, how future generations are impacting the industry in terms of purchasing behavior, packaging and controlled environment agriculture.
“The speakers of these topics are members who are talking to other members,” said Bohr. “So, we’re really creating a dialogue between IFPA members and really allowing them to engage in what is top of mind, what’s relevant, and what’s important to them.”
On the show floor
The expo will officially open on Oct. 20 and will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will host over 3,200 buyers looking for new ideas. Attendees can take advantage of the show within a show within a show in the arena, where the future tech session, tech accelerator program, and tech and food safety exchange will take place. Tech trends will be talked about and attendees will also be able to see these trends in action in the arena.
“There will be a wide range of new products being showcased on the show floor,” said Bohr. “We have things for retailers, food service operators, and wholesalers.
“And we also have the technological solutions, packaging solutions, and machinery on display.”
There will also be a fresh ideas showcase open to exhibitors looking to highlight a new product or service. Judges and a panel of retailers will review the showcases and select a best produce demo and a best sustainable packaging winner.