Get ready to be “quadruple” excited for the United Fresh Expo in 2018! Why? United Fresh is rounding out a tradeshow “quintet” with the addition of the SmartFood Expo™ - the only B2B event focused entirely on better-for-you food, across all food and beverage categories. Meanwhile, the United FreshMKT and United FreshTEC Conference and Expos will enter their second year, so get ready to experience the perfect combination of new and familiar as you head to Chicago in 2018. Here’s what you need to add to your calendar and “must-see” list for this year’s expo:
- The SmartFood Expo™ - This new event delivers retailers and foodservice professionals exciting and exclusive access to new healthy trends in food and beverage. As fresh produce marketers, we see the potential gold mine this could provide to brand looking to align themselves with basket-adjacent health brands with star power!
- United FreshMKT Expo – This continues to be the fastest growing segment of the annual United Fresh event. The Organic Showcase is one of the most popular show floor destinations where 50+ organic products will be on display. Centralizing these products allows buyers to explore one location on the floor, then choose to journey to the product’s booth to further engage, so make sure your organic showcase signage gives ‘em a reason to pay you a visit!
- United Fresh Innovation Awards – Your opportunity to vote on more than 36 products and technology solutions for bragging rights to “most innovative” will return near the organic showcase in 2018. Winners are announced on Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 pm and it’s a great place to gather and network, so don’t miss it even if you aren’t up for an award!
- United FreshTEC Expo – Operations, production and fresh-cut processing executives can head to this area of the show floor to find new equipment and solutions for automation, engineering, supply chain management, food safety and more. We’re excited to check out the dozens of exciting start-up companies featured in the FutureTEC Zone. There are so many of these solutions-providers emerging to help you solve problems that you may not even know you have yet, so don’t miss paying this area a visit.
- Marketing, Food Safety and Business Management X-Changes - These destinations offer an opportunity for attendees and exhibitors who share common interests and challenges to exchange perspectives on key issues and topics, including: guerilla marketing, information technology overload, brand equity (the financial kind), crisis management, ag water testing, pathogen management and more. Collaboration like this is speaking our love language!
- United FreshMKT and SmartFood Luncheon & Conference and the United FreshTEC Luncheon & Conference – Before all of the amazing things above even begin, you have the opportunity to listen in on five hours of general session presentations from industry experts on a variety of topics. You can get the full schedule of United Fresh Education sessions here, but for our marketing readers we’d like to call out the session on Food Media, Food Culture, and Making the Everyday Connection featuring Chadwick Boyd and representatives from Bon Appetit and The Kitchn – we can’t wait!
If all of these exciting opportunities weren’t enough, you can still expect to enjoy these annually anticipated United Fresh events:
- The United Fresh Opening Party at Chicago’s Field Museum!
- The Breakfast General Session, featuring keynote speaker Bob Sutton, Stanford Professor and author of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling book, “The No Asshole Rule - Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't.”
- The School Foodservice Forum with dozens of Top School Foodservice Directors who want to explore fresh options and solutions for feeding our nation’s children.
- The CAN’T MISS Reception Honoring Women in Produce on Tuesday afternoon, which will honor Cindy Jewell, Vice President of Marketing at California Giant Berry Farms.
- The United Fresh Retail-Foodservice Celebration Breakfast to honor 25 retail produce managers and recognize 8 leading chefs for their excellence in advancing the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables through in-store program, community engagements and menu development.
As you can see, there’s SO MUCH to cover and so many different topics and expert features happening during this year’s expo. In fact, there are more than 90 hours of education available to you, so it’s best to plan the right team to be in attendance to experience it all. We know the DMA team will divide and conquer, so keep an eye out for us all over McCormick Place and let’s meet for a drink to talk marketing in June, give us a shout!