(April 21) Bigger is often better in the business world.

The United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association, Washington, D.C., is betting that’s also true in the trade show arena. Story, Page A1

United has inked a deal to make its annual conference and exhibition part of the Food Marketing Institute’s megashow in May 2004. The deal will put fresh produce industry exhibitors in a position to be seen by the top brass of the heavy hitters in the food industry.

Association chairwoman Karen Caplan, president and chief executive officer of Frieda’s Inc., Los Alamitos, Calif., said time savings and ease of attendance factored into United board’s decision.

The move should provide an opportunity to give produce a higher profile at FMI, a show that in recent years has seen a decline in industry presence. It also may mean a return of produce marketers to a United showcase. Recent years have seen the show focus on suppliers to the fresh produce industry — labelers, bag makers and manufacturers of other equipment.

The conference portion of the event will continue to fill a need, as well, providing education for the vertical produce industry on hot industry topics, from organic marketing to country-of-origin labeling.

As United kicks off its 100th anniversary celebration, this is a move that should well serve its members and the produce industry at large.