For additional details on the upcoming show, see our preview coverage.

Combined United Fresh/FMI show offers increased exposureRetail meets fresh produce in Chicago in June when members of the United Fresh Produce Association and the Food Marketing Institute gather for their respective trade shows, which are beginning three years of cooperation and co-location.

Set for June 10-13 at the McCormick Place Convention Center, attendees and exhibitors at the trade shows and educational conferences will benefit from increased exposure and networking opportunities, outgoing United Fresh chairman Ron Midyett said when he announced the three-year agreement last year.

John Toner, United’s vice president for convention and industry relations, said he expects about 15,000 attendees at the combined event, with about 900 total exhibitors between the two trade shows.

“The combined shows provide an opportunity for new partnerships to develop and for those of us in the produce industry to get a look at other parts of the (retailers’) stores,” Toner said.

FMI president and CEO Leslie Sarasin said research shows consumers are increasingly interested in fresh foods, making the produce aisle more important than ever to retailers.

“United Fresh and FMI’s collaboration strengthens our ability to provide event-goers with solutions to growing basket size, increasing customer trips, improving margins and increasing market share,” Sarasin said in a news release.

Members of the two groups will come together June 10 for a joint opening general session where former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech.

New on the show floor

Toner said the United Fresh show floor will be more than 70,000 square feet and will include more than 85 new exhibitors.

For the first time, the United Fresh show floor will include a Midwest Produce Pavilion, where the emphasis will be on local suppliers, Toner said.

The United Fresh show is welcoming back the Floral Pavilion, which has been absent from the trade show for 25 years, Toner said.

As usual, the United Fresh conference includes educational sessions, but Toner said a new feature will help attendees glean specific information for their operations.

“A new area this year is the Expert Consultant Center,” Toner said. “Attendees can stop in for free advice from top consultants.”