It was a record-breaking year at Produce Marketing Association’s 33rd annual Foodservice Conference, including the unseasonably warm temperatures in Monterey, CA, which soared into the high 80s.
The conference by the numbers:
“It’s great to see so many foodservice and produce professionals here rallying behind the common goal of putting more fresh, delicious, healthy fruits and vegetables on foodservice plates,” said Jill Overdorf, director of business and culinary development for Coosemans Shipping of L.A. and PMA Foodservice Conference Committee co-chair. “Global flavors, the socially conscious consumer, and food safety and technology all took center stage this year – working together to drive consumption.”
“A record-breaking show like this highlights the value of the ongoing collaboration between the fresh produce and foodservice industry. The energy and networking that occurred throughout the weekend was palpable,” said Cathy Burns, PMA president. “Bringing to life our “Innovate the Plate” theme, the innovations came in many forms and represented consumer trends across the foodservice industry – ultimately validating the drive to put more fruits and vegetables in the center of the plate. The dedication of those industry members who served on PMA’s Foodservice Conference Committee under the leadership of Jill Overdorf and Fritz Stelter was pivotal in this year’s success.”
"Cherry harvest is progressing and the fruit is beautiful with excellent quality," said Dave Gleason, chief horticulturalist for Domex. "We've spent the past 52 weeks preparing for where we are right now, picking. We make every effort to make sure we pick the fruit when its ready and in good condition so we deliver it to the warehouses to be put into packaging and sent on to the consumer. People are enjoying our cherries this year and with reason — they're some of the best cherries we've every picked."
Fresh & Easy launched a full-scale marketing campaign inviting customers to discover an all-new Fresh & Easy. Since transferring to new ownership in November, the company has reinvigorated its brand and stores with the aim of providing healthy, convenient and affordable food.
The marketing campaign will include radio, outdoor, digital and social media elements running in all markets. The campaign is centered on five pillars that differentiate Fresh & Easy as new kind of market designed for modern consumers: affordable organics with the launch of its "Wild Oats" brand; freshly prepared food hand-picked, hand-chopped and handmade by in-house chefs; food delivered its peak freshness each morning; no hidden ingredients; and meal solutions, ranging from a quick bite to a gourmet meal.
“Our goal with this marketing campaign is to welcome shoppers to see the new Fresh & Easy,” Mike Evans, Fresh & Easy’s head of marketing, said in a press release. “We set out to make our stores and our brand fresher, easier and more relevant to modern consumers who are looking for healthy, convenient options.”
Campaign materials can be seen at http://itsabouttime.freshandeasy.com.
A new television campaign for Grapes from California launched in June on the Food Network.
“These commercials showcase the natural beauty, easy versatility and great taste of California grapes while communicating the value of sharing life’s special moments with family and friends, and the care that growers put into growing,” Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission, said in a press release.
One of the two new commercials has a grower theme and the other has a dinner party theme.
These 30-second commercials, the first two of a planned series of six, are seen during shows like “Trisha Yearwood’s Southern Kitchen,” “Sandra’s Money Saving Meals,” “Home For Dinner with Jamie Deen” and “Diners Drive-ins & Dives.” The commercials will run through December and will be used in future seasons.
Dave Gleason, chief horticulturalist for Domex Superfresh Growers, provides and update on this year's cherry crop in one of its lower Yakima Valley orchards. Harvest is progressing nicely this year, and color is developing due to warm weather with cool nights. The flavor is excellent and the crop loads are ideal for great fruit.