This time last year The Snack Magazine introduced the very first Viva Fresh Expo, giving readers a glimpse into how this new event was not “yet another” produce show.
This year we’ll let the numbers do the talking for us.
The Viva Fresh Expo did not have an impressive debut, it had a shattering one.
“The tremendous response from this past year’s expo shows the importance of the Texas, Southwest, and Mexico growing regions,” Hugh Topper of H-E-B tells us. “This is a true regional expo with an international flair that brings value to both suppliers and customers.”
Spots were flying off the proverbial shelves faster than the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) could sell them, with over 900 in attendance at Austin, Texas, and this year is looking to be even stronger.
But if you need more convincing than that, keep reading and find out why we say that the question isn’t “why should I go to Viva Fresh,” but “why wouldn’t you?”
Yes, we know this is the pro-tip every convention, expo, and event in the industry gives for why you should show up. So what sets this one apart? For starters, the focus of Viva Fresh isn’t on the quantity of connections, but the quality.
TIPA impressed more than anything that creating a positive networking environment that would successfully bring buyers and sellers together is always a top priority of the Viva Fresh Expo, and that making sure key suppliers are present to make the trip worth your while is a focal point when putting this experience together. And speaking of experience…
Remember- everything is bigger in Texas, and the shows are no exception. The flavors, the displays, and the ideas.
Last year’s cap was 900 as Viva Fresh came out of the gates, seeing 142 booth spaces sell out this past March. Because of this, TIPA has increased the capacity for this year by 26 percent, and has already sold 60 percent of the exhibitor booths. With over 100 booths already snatched up, it’s a strong possibility that 2016 will sell out as well, with more room for innovations in the industry.
The ideas look to only get bigger, promising an environment that’ll look to bring you to the forefront of produce and tech trends. Which brings us to...
Last year, Viva Fresh Expo’s premiere was also the debut for a virtual farm tour, bringing real-time experience with the growers and the places that the fresh produce is coming from to the comfort of the conference itself. No three hour drives, no dirt on your show clothes, with all the benefits and experiences of being right there with the crop. After this virtual experience, who wouldn’t be eager to see what they have for us this year?
Hosted at the luxurious JW Marriott Hill Country Hotel & Spa in San Antonio, Texas, this year is themed The Gateway to the Americas and highlights produce grown in Mexico, Texas, and neighboring Southwest states. It promises to leave you trying to figure out which was bigger, the ideas or the flavors? But, in all honesty, the dilemma is a win-win scenario for all who attend.
Though this is an industry of tradition, meaning the longer you have been around the better, we can’t emphasize this enough: Viva Fresh sold out completely its very first year, and will only continue to grow. Staying ahead and getting in while you still can is key, and becoming part of a new tradition is a scarce opportunity in produce and agriculture.
“Last year’s Viva Fresh Expo proved to be an overwhelming success, with triple digit retail and foodservice buyer attendance, standing room only meeting rooms, and a busy convention hall,” Bret Erickson, TIPA President & CEO, said when the association announced that the registration for the second Viva Fresh Produce Expo was officially open. But while those numbers were very impressive, especially for a show’s premiere year, it was the feedback that Bret said truly resonated. “The feedback from attendees was extremely positive highlighting the importance of this region and a well-executed show focused on quality produce.”
Still sound like just another produce expo? Don’t forget that opportunities to catch the beginning of a produce tradition in an industry of generations is rare. And while the capacity for Viva Fresh has kicked up to accommodate the spread of last year’s success, TIPA said that it still expects spots to be snatched up quickly.
Don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of this incredible show. Like we said, the question isn’t ‘why should I,’ but rather, ‘why wouldn’t you?’