After missing face to face event participation in 2020, excitement is building as we prepare to see our west coast colleagues in Monterey, California for the PMA Foodservice Conference & Expo!
As we look forward to the moment when we all meet again, here is what we believe is important for you to know to help you prepare.
What You Need To Know About PMA Foodservice
Buyers will be there
Our friends and colleagues at PMA tell us that buyer participation this year is strong, making up 30% of registrations so far, which is a very high ratio of buyers to suppliers. With the foodservice industry still recovering after last year's devastating impact, participation is largely in part to the sponsors of the Hosted Buyer Program created to bring buyers to Foodservice that are in need of support.
To help you plan more strategically, PMA is sharing a list of buyers that are currently registered and are keeping this list up to date.
Celebs are on the agenda
This year’s Best of Show Contest will be a “Chef’s Edition” and judged by Shaun O’Neale, winner of MasterChef Season 7 on FOX, owner & executive of the Larrea restaurant in Las Vegas and author of “My Modern American Table.” He will be selecting winners for Best of Show, 2nd place and Best Product Promo.
Attendees can meet Shaun and see him in a live cooking demo starting at 4:15 pm PT at the Networking Reception at the Barns on Thursday evening. The Barns at Cooper Molera is a short 3 block walk from the Monterey Conference Center and cocktails will be served.
In other celebrity news, winners of the United Fresh Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award will be attending the conference and recognized during the General Session.
Health and safety measures
Restrictions on physical distancing, capacity and mask requirements for those vaccinated have been lifted. However, the expo and meeting rooms will be setup to allow for more socially distant interactions throughout the conference. Exhibitors will be serving tasting samples in easy to carry, single-serving containers and there will be plenty of places to take a mask break. Check out all healthy and safety measures here.
Navigate the show from your phone
Download the “My Show Planner” app next week (one week from the show) and see who is exhibiting, search by products and services, check out the Fresh Ideas Showcase, schedule meetings for onsite or online and more. The show planner is available now for you to use to get ahead of your week and make plans early on the Foodservice website.
Meeting space is available - for FREE
All tradeshows come with their challenges and one that we have a special level of love for is finding available space for impromptu meetings during the show. During PMA Foodservice, a Networking Lounge with beverages is available on level 2 of the Monterey Conference Center and Jeffers plaza from 10:30 am to 3:45 pm PT. Also of note, this location is also where lunch will be provided on Thursday.
Support local restaurants and book early
Book your breakfast, lunch and dinner reservations now and support the reopening of many local establishments! Due to the impacts of COVID-19, you may find that restaurants have longer wait times or fewer staff, so expect seating and mealtime to take longer than usual.
Select sessions are FREE for all
PMA's Virtual Town Hall will be on location in Monterey on Wednesday at noon EDT. Now celebrating it's 40th year, PMA Foodservice industry veterans will share how they look for innovation and new ideas to build a healthy business. Panelists include Steve Grinstead, CEO FreshEdge, Rich Dachman, CEO, Brighter Bites, Nichole Towell, Senior Director Marketing & Packaging Procurement, Duda Farm Fresh Foods and Chef Todd Fisher, Culinary Ambassador for Duda Farm Fresh Foods.
Since it isn’t possible for everyone to attend this year, PMA will be live streaming the General Session on Thursday in the PMA Mobile app from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. PT, which will be available for everyone to see even if you aren't registered for the event. Those who cannot attend can also check out all of the exhibitors online and reach out to connect using the “My Show Planner” tool. Browse the show schedule to get informed, plan and stay connected - no matter where you are in the world!
Make a difference while in Monterey
Help CGT reach their goal of garnering 5 million steps and $5,000 prior to the show with the Walking for Talent Challenge! As a participant, you can create your own fundraising page and invite your family and friends to make a donation in your name. Top fundraisers will win prizes and let's be honest, who doesn't love prizes?
In addition, PMA’s strategic partner, Brighter Bites, has announced that all attendees registered to attend the show can also sign-up to help give back to local families in a special networking and volunteer experience. Volunteers will participate in onsite food bagging and distribution to families at a local elementary school. What a great teambuilding experience for those that are local or visiting! Slots are limited so interested individuals should register now before our travel team takes up all of the spaces.
Will we see you in Monterey? We hope so! Follow our key take-aways from content shared during the conference on Twitter @thecoreblog. Follow our photos of the beautiful sights. marketing excellence and general shenanigans on Instagram Stories! Want to have a meeting? Let's get it booked. Safe travels to all and we'll see you soon!