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WASHINGTON -- In a move that will provide a new asset for its members involved in the global fresh convenience industry that encompasses fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, as well as innovative commodity packaging, the United Fresh Produce Association has announced a partnership with Market Intelligence's Fresh Convenience magazine to present the Fresh Convenience Congress, a new educational program for the fresh-cut and value-added commodity sector June 22-24 at London's Hilton Tower Bridge hotel.

The Fresh Convenience Congress will explore opportunities to capitalize on the growing fresh-cut and convenience market and examine innovations that maximize profitability. Session topics include new opportunities for the foodservice industry; expanding the retail convenience market; technological innovations in packaging and machinery; new trends in extended shelf-life packaging and point-of-sale materials; and seed varietal development. There will also be discussions throughout on new opportunities to help grow sales. The event will also provide a series of tours within U.K. retail supermarkets, hotel foodservice operations and wholesale produce markets.

"We're delighted to join in bringing a major conference back to Europe for the fresh-cut, convenience sector," United Fresh President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Stenzel said in a May 18 press release. "Companies benefit greatly from participating in Freshconex in Berlin and United's annual conventions and Washington conferences, and they now have an additional venue to address issues shaping the future of the overall convenience market."

London will host the inaugural Fresh Convenience Congress, and every year thereafter the congress will return in June or July to a different location in Europe where fresh produce convenience products show excellent potential for growth.

The Fresh Convenience Congress is jointly organized by United Fresh and Fresh Convenience magazine. Additionally, the congress is supported by the annual Freshconex, organized each February by Messe Berlin GmbH in cooperation with Market Intelligence.

"The Fresh Convenience Congress offers the sector a great opportunity to focus on some of the key trends for fresh produce convenience products in Europe," Jeff Oberman, United's vice president of membership, said in the release. "With the changes happening at the retail and foodservice level, it is extremely important to develop a forum at which the European fresh produce convenience sector at large can discuss in detail the issues that really matter to its future development."

United Fresh member companies will receive a 10 percent discount on congress registration fees. For more information on the event, visit www.freshconveniencecongress.com or contact United's Jeff Oberman or Miriam Miller at 202/303-3400.