The Produce Marketing Association's Foodservice Conference & Exposition, set
for July 30 to Aug. 1 in Monterey, CA, will provide foodservice professionals
an outstanding menu of events and exhibitors.
Julia Stewart, PMA's public relations director, told The Produce News that this
year's conference is placing a big focus on food-safety programming. The
Food Safety & Traceability: Where We Are, Where We Need to Be workshop is
scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Saturday, July 31.
"The PMA and industry experts will discuss using traceability as more than a
food-safety system and its positive effects to [the] foodservice operator's
bottom line," said Ms. Stewart. "Additional discussions will focus on the
importance of traceability in any food-safety implementation plan. Attendees
will have the opportunity to ask food-safety and traceability questions to
panelists Dr. Bob Whitaker, PMA chief science and technology officer, and
Brenda Lloyd, director of equipment distribution and systems at Unified
Foodservice Purchasing Co-op, the purchasing arm of Yum! Brands."
The conference will kick off with the annual golf tournament Friday, July 30, at
the Bayonet & Black Horse Golf Course, which supports the PMA Foundation
for Industry Talent, known as PMA FIT. All proceeds benefit PMA FIT's Nucci
Scholarship for Culinary Innovation. New for 2010, PGA teaching professional
Dean Reinmuth and two of his South African students will conduct a golf
demonstration clinic prior to the start of the round.
At 4 p.m. Friday, PMA will host the new member, attendee and exhibitor
welcome reception at the Monterey Marriott Hotel. The gathering provides an
opportunity for those who are new to the conference to meet with members of
the planning committee and with each other. The annual kickoff reception
follows at 5 p.m., also at the Marriott, giving attendees the opportunity to
reconnect with old friends and meet new acquaintances.
Friends and colleagues can gather at 6:30 Saturday morning for the PMA FIT
5K Run-Walk. Runners and walkers will be able to enjoy the sites of a
beautiful seaside course through Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium
and the Hopkins Marine Institute, with the turnaround above the crashing
surf. The course starts and finishes on the Portola Courtyard between
Fisherman's Wharf and the Portola Plaza. Registrants receive a post-race
continental breakfast, a commemorative T-shirt and race gift bag. Aerobic
warmup for the event is at 6:30 a.m., with a start time at 7 a.m.
Additional workshops scheduled for the event include Locally Grown: Supply
Chain Success Stories. Ms. Stewart said that this much-requested session is in
response to overwhelming feedback from PMA buyer members.
"It will feature four case studies created by researchers from the University of
California, Davis," she said. "Each will detail the success of locally grown
supply chains. The studies will be followed by a discussion of the impact of
the 'triple bottom-line' of economical, social and environmental in these
successful supply chains."
The Networking: More than a Business Card workshop will teach attendees
how to be remembered and to create real trust using proven techniques they
can put to use right away. This presentation promises to be both entertaining
and motivational. It will provide a well-documented, repeatable and
predictable process presented by Rob Jolles, sales expert and author of the
business bestselling book, Customer Centered Selling.
PMA FIT is hosting The Fresh Perspective @ Foodservice: Women's Networking
event. This event -- for women only -- is an opportunity for attendees to
connect with current and future industry leaders while gaining inspiration and
insight from one another.
A highlight at every PMA foodservice conference is the general session. This
year, Chefs Dish! will be presented at 7:55 a.m, Sunday, Aug. 1. The session
will address trends that influence growth and profitability. Moderator Chef
Robert Danhi, who specializes in Southeast Asian cuisine, will be joined by
celebrity Chef Rick Bayless as well as by executive chef of the Playboy Mansion
Bill Bloxsom-Carter and Chef Eric Justice, vice president of culinary operations
at Pei Wei Asian Diner.
The chefs will discuss their philosophies on produce, their backgrounds and
their views on current industry trends.
"The opening general session of the conference will be on foodservice 2020
initiatives," said Ms. Stewart. "This project was launched after the 2009 PMA
foodservice conference by the PMA, the National Restaurant Association and
the Foodservice Distributing Association. Representatives from these
organizations got together to discuss how the foodservice and produce
industries could work together. It's known that the foodservice industry is
criticized for the high obesity rate in the U.S., and the group considered how
that might be contributing to the decline in foodservice sales in recent years.
The group decided to work together to create healthier menu items that
would help consumers, the restaurant industry and the produce industry at
the same time."
As a result of that meeting, 25 executives from the restaurant and produce
industries were brought together to brainstorm about the initiative. They
came up with the ambiguous goal of doubling fresh produce consumption at
foodservice operations by 2020.
"This year, the day before the conference opens, the group will meet again
with the original panel from last year to create a steering committee," said Ms.
Stewart. "It will lay a course to move ahead with a definite plan and a timeline
to work toward the 2020 goal. The PMA will report on that steering committee
at the opening session, with a panel discussion on what this means for the
foodservice and produce industries. We will encourage people to get involved
now and explain to them what they can do to help the project to reach its
Doors will open at 11 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 1, to the foodservice exposition,
tagged the "Best Five Hours in Foodservice." Attendees can network and
discover new product ideas from 153 exhibitors, and view the best new
products and services featured in the New Products Showcase.
The conference and exposition will wrap up with the networking breakfast at
7 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 1.