Chris Groot, marketing project manager for Netherlands-based seed developer Enza Zaden, shows off a hydroponic lettuce table at Fruit Logistica. Enza Zaden is the second-largest lettuce seed supplier in the world, Groot says, and hydroponic production offers advantages, such as more efficient water use and the need for fewer chemicals. He says a restaurant in Japan has lettuce growing on a hydroponic table so diners can pick their own lettuce for their meal.
Emiliano Escobedo, marketing director for Mexican avocado promotion group APEAM, which exhibited along with other Mexican companies at that nationâs sizable pavilion, said Europe holds much potential for growth.
Avocados donât have near the popularity in Europe as they do in the U.S., he said.
Escobedo said Mexico shipped more avocados to the U.S. in the week before the Super Bowl than it ships to Europe in a year.
France is the top European market for avocados from Mexico, and Eastern Europe, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait show promise, he said.
Others appreciated the exposure to a world of product and packaging innovations.
Kurt Cappelluti, sales manager for exhibitor Stellar Distributing, Fresno, Calif., said U.S.-based firms have in some cases become too inward-looking and can benefit from the global perspective Fruit Logistica offers.
He also said the expo makes it convenient to meet with international clients Stellar deals with.
West Mathison, president of Stemilt Growers LLC, Wenatchee, Wash., echoed those sentiments.
âWe get the opportunity to talk with our customers from basically all over the globe,â Mathison said, citing the opportunity to have joint meetings with importers and retailers.
âIt really helps connect the supply chain, and at the same time gives apple growers from eastern Washington a breath of whatâs going on in the rest of the world,â he said.
Besides the scale of the event, a key difference from U.S. trade shows some U.S. attendees noted was the intent to ink new deals.
U.S. conventions are largely about solidifying existing business relationships and doing face time with clients, said Brian Kastick, president and general manager of Oso Sweet Onions, Charleston, W. Va.
He said businesses come to Fruit Logistica expecting to make deals.
âPeople actually buy stuff here,â he said.