(Feb. 17, 12:17 p.m.) John Toner certainly isn’t alone in thinking Fruit Logistica is the Goliath among trade shows in the world produce industry. As such, he said he’s hoping to incorporate some ideas he picked up there when his own organization, Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association, has its annual convention in April.

A record 2,288 exhibitors — up from 2,110 in 2008 — from 80 countries were at Fruit Logistica, Feb. 4-6 in Berlin.

Toner, United Fresh’s vice president of convention and industry relations, said he is impressed with the way European produce representatives effortlessly mix business with pleasure.

“Buyers spend more time on the exhibit floor in Europe than in the U.S., and nobody wears a badge over there,” he said. “You have to stick your hand out and introduce yourself.”

Toner said he intends to bring some European sensibility to this year’s United Fresh convention, April 21-24 in Las Vegas.

“We want our organization to be a place to do business,” he said. “We want to encourage our exhibitors to include more seating in their spaces, bring more of the social side back to the show floor, and then bring it into business.”

The number of international Fruit Logistica attendees increased from 75% to 80% this year, including members from the Canadian Produce Marketing Association, Ottawa.

“This was our third year going to Fruit Logistica, and it was very impressive,” said Carole Brault, CPMA senior convention and tradeshow manager. “Our convention is in May in Toronto, and this gave directors a meeting point and area to promote CPMA as a whole.”