Attendees of the New York Produce Show can learn more about industry developments by attending educational sessions and participating in retail and industry tours.

The activities are part of the Dec. 2-4 show, which is co-sponsored by the Short Hills, N.J.-based Eastern Produce Council.

Sessions are scheduled for Dec. 2 and Dec. 4 at the New York Hilton Midtown at 1335 Avenue of the Americas, the convention hotel.

On Dec. 3, the keynote breakfast, expo and other micro-sessions are scheduled for the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on 655 W. 34th St.



On Dec. 2, the Global Trade Symposium, “Produce Import/Export: A View from America’s Gateway to the World,” plans to cover the city’s importance in produce movement while a Dec. 4 Ideation Fresh forum focuses on foodservice developments.

At the Dec. 3 keynote breakfast, a panel of up to eight executives of leading Northeastern retailers plans to discuss consumer trends and retail merchandising strategies.

The panel is scheduled to include these retailers:

  • Paul Kneeland, council president and vice president of produce, floral, meat and seafood for Parsippany, N.J.-based Kings Super Markets LLC;
  • Eric Beelitz of The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., Montvale, N.J.;
  • Derrick Jenkins of Wakefern Food Corp., Keasbey, N.J.;
  • Chris Keetch of Ahold USA Inc., Carlisle, Pa.;
  • Anthony Sattler of C&S Wholesale Grocers, Keene, N.H.;
  • Jay Schneider of Acme Markets Inc., Malvern, Pa.;
  • Eric Stone of FreshDirect Inc., Long Island City, N.Y.; and
  • Vic Savanello of Allegiance Retail Services LLC, Iselin, N.J.

Kneeland said the panel is critical for those wanting to properly serve the populous Northeast’s supermarkets.

“From an exhibitor’s or a seller’s standpoint, it’s important to know what the top retailers in the area are thinking,” he said.

“The information in the panel will give them an advantage when they bring products to us because they will know exactly how we go to market.”


Foodservice focus

The foodservice symposium is becoming more popular and helps fulfill the council’s mission to connect sellers with buyers, Kneeland said.

“Foodservice interest in this show and the symposium has grown nicely,” said John McAleavey, the council’s executive director.

“All the heavy hitters are scheduled to be in the Ideation Fresh seminar.”

Foodservice is becoming a more prominent fresh produce customer, Kneeland said.

“To be able to connect the fresh produce industry with the chefs is key,” he said.

“A lot of these chefs are not only serving restaurants, they’re also working in schools and colleges, which offer more venues for fresh produce. A lot of people think (of) the produce industry as produce and floral, but as foodservice grows, they have the same needs from fresh produce.”

The sessions continue to see increasing participation and address the innovation in fresh produce use in retail and foodservice channels, Kneeland said.



On Dec. 4, buses are scheduled to leave the convention hotel at 8 a.m. to transport participants on five tours designed to show the metropolitan area’s unique retail and wholesale landscape, Kneeland said.

Two tours will visit Manhattan and New Jersey retailers while a third is scheduled to tour retailers in Brooklyn and include a visit of urban agriculture operations.

Another tour is scheduled to visit the Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, while the fifth takes visitors to the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market and includes a visit to a Wegmans store.

“Urban rooftop farming is becoming so much more popular, and people are very interested in it,” Kneeland said.

“The retail tours will show the area’s diversity and the strategies retailers in this area use to go to market.”

Many regional retailers bring their merchandisers, managers and other key people to the show in buses, McAleavey said.

“The big thing is, of all the shows out there, we get a disproportionate number of retailers,” he said.

“We see tremendous turnout from the retail trade. That area is growing.”

Foodservice interest also remains high as the council works with culinary students and chefs who visit the show, McAleavey said.

Students from several colleges and universities, including Cornell, Rutgers, Philadelphia’s Saint Joseph’s University, the University of Delaware and the University of Connecticut, are frequent show participants, he said.

Rutgers plans to bring eight students plus a professor who enjoys the show, McAleavey said.