The new produce industry “supergroup” is about to have its coming-out party.

The International Fresh Produce Association — a marriage of the two biggest US fresh fruit and vegetable industry associations: the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association and the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association — will host its first Global Produce & Floral Show Oct. 27-29 in Orlando.

“The Global Produce & Floral Show is not a new name for a familiar event,” said Cathy Burns, IFPA’s chief executive officer. “When we brought together the two most influential associations for our industry to create a new organization, it wasn’t just about doing more, it was about transforming the industry.” 

The show will be the epicenter of industry innovation and connection, Burns added, and will be the place where the industry’s voice is galvanized to take on the challenges it face and explore the opportunities ahead of it. 

Burns will be leading one of the general sessions at the show to share her expert perspective on innovation and consumer trends in the industry. The show will also feature the produce and floral industry’s largest expo floor, and its Business Solutions Segment will include the Food Safety & Tech X-Change and FutureTEC pavilions. 

Networking opportunities — including a Communications Conclave, a session for the IFPA members’ public relations and communications professionals — will be abundant, as they were at the two former trade organizations’ respective shows for decades.  

“As the first ever Global Produce & Floral Show, this event will go down in the industry’s history,” said Denise Junqueiro, the show committee’s co-chair. “It sets the tone for how the industry moves forward, and we are all looking forward to a very vibrant future. There will be new experiences, new connections and new sources of inspiration for everyone across the full fresh produce and floral supply chain.” 

Star attractions

A major highlight of the inaugural show will be an appearance by award-winning actress Laura Linney.

Linney, who most recently starred in the Netflix drama Ozark, will be the keynote speaker for the Women’s Fresh Perspectives General Session on Oct. 29.

The session, titled “Women in Film: Navigating a Male-Dominated Industry” will feature Linney’s insights on her experience in Hollywood. Linney is a Golden Globe, SAG and Emmy Award winning actress and Juilliard School graduate also known for her work in the films Mystic River, Love Actually and The Truman Show.

“Women’s Fresh Perspectives portfolio focuses on providing the produce and floral industry with professional development, education and networking through the gender lens,” said IFPA’s director of education and talent, Megan Nash. “We’re excited to have Laura Linney, a widely recognized talent in her own field to share her experience with gender inequality in a male-dominated industry. I’m looking forward to her dismantling some of our common misconceptions and inspiring our industry to consider how any kind of inequality can put everyone in our industry at risk of discrimination.”

Linney won’t be the only keynote speaker of note at the show. Jose Andrés, two-Michelin-star chef, James Beard Award winner and founder of the humanitarian group World Central Kitchen, is also on the roster.

“This year as we mark the first Global Produce & Floral Show, we want to create an experience that challenges our thinking and expectations,” said Bruce Taylor, CEO of Taylor Farms and chair of the IFPA board of directors. “It’s time for us to explore how we can transform the world through our work with produce and floral. I don’t think there has ever been such an exciting speaker as José Andrés, who is truly changing the world with food.”

In addition to Taylor, the IFPA executive committee is led by chair-elect Laura Himes, divisional merchandise manager for produce at Walmart; and secretary-treasurer Patrick Vizzone, head of food, beverage and agribusiness at ANZ Banking.

Past chairs include United Fresh Chairman Danny Dumas, president of Courchesne Larose USA Inc.; and PMA Chairman Dwight Ferguson, president and CEO of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation. Martha Hilton, vice president, produce and floral merchandising at Wegmans Food Markets, serves as the first IFPA Foundation chair.

IFPA shares vision for better US health at White House conference

The International Fresh Produce Association has submitted an 8-point plan of recommendations illustrating how fresh fruits and vegetables must be an integral part of the U.S. nutrition security blueprint unveiled at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.

Specifically, IFPA’s recommendations call for:

  • Embedding Produce Prescriptions as a covered benefit within the health system.
  • Embedding a dedicated fruit and vegetable benefit within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
  • Expanding the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) to all elementary schools that qualify under the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), and work towards expanding program to all low-income middle and high schools.
  • Recalibrating and modernizing USDA purchasing programs to address nutrition insecurity and reach additional communities and nonprofit entities.
  • Promoting nutrition clarity in food labeling of fruits and vegetables at FDA.
  • Financially incentivizing fruit and vegetables for all Americans.
  • Establishing a Cabinet-level national Director of Food and Nutrition to coordinate food and nutrition security research across governmental departments.
  • Collecting and analyzing purchasing data from all federal feeding and nutrition programs as a mechanism to measure alignment with, and progress towards, achieving nutrition security
“This is an exciting time for our industry, as there is a lot of momentum around fruits and vegetables as the solution to diet-related disease,” said IFPA’s vice president of nutrition and health, Mollie Van Lieu. “Systemic, scalable policy and programs are how we will embed and institutionalize the principle of ‘millions of mouths at a time’ and achieve the federal government’s dietary guidance to make half the plate fruits and vegetables.”