LAS VEGAS — Expo floor educational sessions, expanded business suites and live Webcasts were some of the new wrinkles at the United Fresh Produce Association’s 2010 convention, and organizers, exhibitors and attendees praised overall results.

“We reached every one of our targets here, so we’re very happy,” said Stu Monaghan, national sales manager for DNE World Fruit Sales, Fort Pierce, Fla.

“The show has been fantastic,” said Elliot Grant, founder and chief marketing officer for YottaMark, Redwood City, Calif.

Grant said traceability discussions on the show floor featured good exchange of ideas and fostered traffic throughout the day.

“This is a great show for us to get stuff out there and get some feedback,” said Tony Freytag, marketing director for Crunch Pak, Cashmere, Wash. “We’re very busy and anybody we wanted to see, we have seen.”

Attendees and exhibitors have been very positive about the show in their communications with United Fresh, said Ray Gilmer, vice president of communications for the Washington, D.C.-based association.

“Exhibitors were happy with the traffic and attendees were happy with what they could see at the show as well as the education session and networking,” he said.

The April 20-22 show had about 4,500 attendees, which Gilmer said was about the same as last year.

Gilmer said the show experienced good attendance from all market segments.

“We really did accomplish what we hoped to do with this convention and that was to make it relevant and valuable for all four of the market segments we are going after and the attendance showed that,” he said.

United Fresh learning sessions were geared to those four segments — grower-shippers, fresh-cut processors, wholesalers/distributors and retail/foodservice operators.

Gilmer said the number of booths, 250, was the same as last year. Of that, 75 companies were new exhibitors.

The video webcast of an April 22 retail produce manager awards presentation featured more than 300 live viewers from 29 states and several countries. As of April 26, the www.unitedfresh.tv Web site had more than 10,000 downloads of various files from the show, he said. What’s more, Gilmer said the United Fresh show applications for the iPhone and the Blackberry each had 200 downloads.

Gilmer said 150 people attended the April 23 United Fresh Global Produce Sustainability Conference, also in Las Vegas.

New Orleans is the site of the next United Fresh show, May 2-5. He said. There are no firm plans to continue on-floor educational events. Part of that decision will be based on the show floor layout in New Orleans. Several attendees said those sessions, including Produce Traceability Initiative discussion, allowed a better use of their time because they didn’t have to leave the show floor.

“Exhibitors like that too, because they weren’t losing attendees to go off site to attend a meeting,” he said.

Gilmer said United Fresh is excited to go to New Orleans.

“This is a city that is welcoming visitors with open arms and trying to make it a popular destination and (we’re) going to take advantage of that.”

He said it is too early to say what will happen after 2011, but he didn’t rule out a return to Las Vegas at some point.

“Our long-term statistics show that Las Vegas is among the most popular destinations and for good reason,” he said. “There is never a problem in going to Las Vegas and I’m sure we will be back sometime soon.”

United Fresh 2010 finds strong reviews

Dan Galbraith

David Gering (left), owner of Nampa, Idaho-based Gering & Son, which builds equipment for Charlie’s Machine & Supply Inc., Boulder, Colo.,talks to a potential customer about a new slicer at the United Fresh 2010 convention and expo in Las Vegas.