CHICAGO — As the second year of a 10-year plan to double produce use in restaurants approaches, foodservice, produce and food distribution industries are looking toward a more operational plan of achieving their goal.

The first year of the Foodservice 2020 initiative brought greater collaboration between the initiative’s backers — the Produce Marketing Association, the National Restaurant Association and the International Foodservice Distributors Association — including participation in each of the groups’ events, said Bryan Silbermann, PMA president.

Foodservice 2020 initiative enters new phase


PMA plans to kick off its annual foodservice conference and exposition July 30-Aug. 1 with another think tank that involves members of the produce and foodservice industries. The association is in the process of putting together a Foodservice 2020 steering committee with association staffs and members of NRA, PMA and IFDA.

Rich Dachman, vice president of produce for Sysco Inc., was named chair of that committee.

This year’s think tank and research has double the funding of last year’s, with Paramount Citrus joining Markon Cooperative as a sponsor. Kerry Tucker of Neffer, Smith, Tucker Inc., San Diego, will oversee the think tank discussions and report again this year.

“It will be a working meeting. We’ll be breaking out into groups and working on some operational plans,” Silbermann said.

The PMA Foodservice convention also features more chef demos and participation from the foodservice industry, Silbermann said.

The NRA asked PMA to organize a culinary demonstration at its convention May 22-25. Cliff Pleau, director of culinary development for Darden’s Seasons 52 restaurants, filled the role. Silbermann and other PMA and produce industry members also spoke at the NRA Show.

“Clearly this is the output of this partnership of the Foodservice 2020 initiative,” Silbermann said. “This is one of the most obvious, doing programs at each other’s events.”

Silbermann said there is also more collaboration in efforts that affect booth associations’ constituencies, like Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign. NRA president and chief executive officer Sweeney worked with the initiative before its publicity, and was at the White House for the official launch. In her statement to the media and to the association’s members, she called out the joint effort to increase produce on menus specifically.

Silbermann said the associations are also looking at ways they can collaborate the work of their education foundations to help each other develop talent in their industries.

“They (new chefs) see produce resonating with them in terms of sustainability issues, health and wellness,” Silbermann said.