(April 21, 3:59 p.m.) The United Fresh Produce Association will stay in Las Vegas for its 2009 conference, and the association plans to broaden its focus, particularly in foodservice.

United Fresh, Washington, D.C., is placing a stronger emphasis on produce innovations, fresh meals and technology solutions for retail and foodservice segments at the 2009 United Fresh Marketplace, according to a news release.

Breaking a five-year run, the Food Marketing Institute, Arlington, Va., won’t be co-located with United Fresh’s Marketplace in 2009, enabling United Fresh to make some adjustments for next year’s event. FreshTech will remain at Las Vegas with Marketplace.

United Fresh 2009 is scheduled to take place April 22-24 at the Sands Expo Center, and The Venetian Hotel is the show’s hotel, according to the release.

“As we look to 2009, it’s clear that there will be a growing commitment to the show from foodservice and other marketing channels, in addition to its supermarket base, as well as strong interest from buyers and sellers in the expanding fresh-meals sector,” United Fresh president Tom Stenzel said in the news release.

“Fresh produce is at the center of much of this new product development, and our unique combination of both the Fresh Tech and Fresh Marketplace expos provides the only event where the total supply chain and business leaders in this category come together.”

NEW FOR 2009

Plans for 2009 include a new Meal Solutions Showcase, featuring fresh produce advancements in prepared meals and nutritious snacks.

The Marketplace and FreshTech shows will each offer new show-floor Learning Centers, where attendees can meet to discuss business strategies and education, the release said.

Also for the first time, attendees can plan ahead for the 2009 event with an online virtual trade-show marketplace with an interactive exhibitor database for new products and services.

When exhibitors register for the 2009 show, they will automatically be included in the online marketplace, the release said. The online service is scheduled to be operational this summer.