NEW YORK — The city itself isn’t the only thing everybody wants to be a part of, as the famous song suggests. The “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere” sentiment could also apply to the second New York Produce Show and Conference.
About 300 exhibitors filled three conference halls at the Hilton New York for the show, Nov. 7-9. Last year’s show didn’t quite fill two halls.
The event, featuring a one-day expo Nov. 8, drew rave reviews from exhibitors and attendees.
“This is our first year so we’re still evaluating it, but attendance is up quite a bit, from what I hear, and this may be a better option for a Northeast show for retailers to come to,” said Bob Mast, vice president of marketing for Columbia Marketing International, Wenatchee, Wash. “It’s an alluring show in a very nice venue. We’re very impressed.”
A breakfast session Nov. 8 concluded with a retail panel focusing on numerous topics, including capitalizing on the local-grown movement, private labels, and consumers’ desire for value pricing and value-added items.
A Dole Salads University event at midday on Nov. 8 attempted to reach consumer media and bloggers in what Bil Goldfield called a groundbreaking “Celebrate Fresh Media Event” that lasted about an hour.
Goldfield, communications manager for Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Fresh Fruit Co. Inc., called the overall show a success and said the media event “may be the best thing we’ve done.”
The show floor provided an opportunity to reach a potential new customer base for some companies.
“Our exposure is very important to us because we started direct-marketing just this season, so we came here looking for the East Coast exposure, and what a better place to get it than New York City,” said Jay Colasanti, salesman for Leamington, Ontario-based Nature Fresh Farms.
Some had expressed concern about the show’s value coming on the heels of the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit, which was Oct. 14-17 in Atlanta. However, the New York show didn’t even appear to lack new product launches. Many exhibitors said they either didn’t attend Fresh Summit or they displayed different offerings at the New York show.
Many exhibitors said they preferred a smaller show to PMA, not only because of the lower costs, but also because of more personalized contact with business associates.
“I think there’s a lot of value to a regional show like this,” Goldfield said. “I think a show like this can provide greater opportunity for more meaningful dialogue.”