by Lori Barber
Last week, I joined fellow SiteLabbers and thousands of other fresh produce marketing executives at United Fresh 2013 Fresh Horizons in San Diego, California. Together, we spent a couple of days learning what’s new in fresh produce, checking out the latest marketing trends, meeting super talented chefs and even found time to soak up some Southern California sunshine. In case you missed it, we’ve got you covered. Our team has assembled our very own CliffsNotes version below. P.S. You also missed some great parties! (Here are some photos from our adventures in conferencing!)
The very best way to start any convention is to give attendees plenty of opportunities to mix and mingle; and the Board of Directors and Executive Committees at United Fresh did a great job of doing just that this year! Our two favorite opening events were the New Member Reception, hosted high atop the San Diego Convention Center, and the Opening Party Aboard the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier. It was so fun to see our clients and industry friends socially, and prepare for two busy days of produce marketing. Photos from these and all events can be found at: http://www.unitedfresh.org/United2013
Next, Walter Robb, Whole Foods Co-CEO, was the first of two keynote speakers. Walter Robb talked about two big trends that continue to drive consumption in produce this year: juicing and local organic. Understanding what consumers of produce want is key to crafting your online marketing strategy. “Today’s consumers are seeking a renaissance type of cooking experience.” “Today’s consumer wants a recipe with a QR code, that leads to information about where fresh produce is grown, and then clearly lists ingredients needed for purchase.” Scan the fruit, meet the grower, and find the recipe!
The trade show floor provided an inside look at the latest fresh produce products and best new marketing strategies. SiteLab’s top exhibitor picks include: Melissa’s Produce, Sunkist Growers and NatureRipe Farms. Here’s why: first, we loved the way Bill Schneider, Director of Marketing at Melissa’s Produce talked to local school children about fresh produce directly from the trade show floor. Next, we were impressed with Sunkist Growers’ booth. It was well organized and showcased great new products for kids, like ‘Lil Snappers kid size fruit‘. When it came to showcasing new ways to use product, the folks at Naturipe Farms exceeded our expectations by demonstrating lots of recipes that could easily be duplicated by the at-home chef or busy family.
Moving right along, “Your Passport To Celebrate” was SiteLab’s very own celebration of 16 successful years in online marketing. To memorialize this monumental occasion, we hosted a very special wine tasting aboard the Leight Star Yacht, which we docked in San Diego Harbor right behind the Convention Center. Each and every level of the Leight Star featured specially selected wine and food pairings. Later that evening America’s 1st Master Sommelier Eddie Osterland, presented tips from his new book “Power Entertaining” and entertained guests with great ideas on how to use food and wine to close business deals. For me, this was the highlight of the show. Why? Because it was during the party, when I looked into the crowd of familiar industry faces, that I realized how vital our services are. The major brands we serve depend on us to meet goals and serve customers. The entire industry of growers, shippers, processors, packagers, wholesalers and vendors, like SiteLab, all benefit indirectly from our hard work when consumption increases. Check out our party photos on Facebook!
And finally, we wrapped up the show with an all day post-show Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference. All the speakers were great, but we especially enjoyed “The Impact of Social Technologies on Food Culture” by June Jo Lee, Vice President of Strategic Insights. It was fascinating to learn more about all the ways consumers think about, talk about, and experience food online. I loved it so much, that I’ve decided to devote my next blog to this topic. Stand by for more …
We at SiteLab would love to share our marketing expertise, produce and otherwise, with you. Contact email@example.com or call 214-906-6633 for more information.