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PMA Foodservice moves expo to Saturday, announces Keynote speakers

foodservice keynote

Newark, Del. – Two heavyweights in the food culture industry will share the marquee at Produce Marketing Association’s Foodservice Conference & Expo in Monterey, CA, in July.

One boasts a television hosting pedigree that includes the Food Network’s “Chopped” and “All-Star Academy,” and the other is an award-winning author, journalist, explorer and National Geographic Fellow who was named one of the best international speakers at the 2018 Davos Economic Forum.

TV host, writer and cookbook author Ted Allen will wow PMA’s Foodservice conference crowd on Friday, July 26 with his talk on “Changing the Way Americans View and Taste Food.”

Renowned explorer, researcher, and speaker Dan Buettner will present “Blue Zones: Secrets of a Long Life” on Saturday, July 27, prior to the expo opening.

Ted Allen sets PMA stage for Growing Appetites 

Known for his personality and wit as well as culinary expertise, Allen will share his thoughts on what’s next for the foodservice industry. He will also help judge PMA’s Strolling Lunch competition, which will feature inventive, produce-centric recipes prepared by guest chefs using sponsor products.

From hosting top-rated television shows to serving as food and wine connoisseur on Bravo’s “Queer Eye,” Allen has left his stamp on American culture.

He’s won both an Emmy for “Queer Eye” and James Beard Awards for hosting “Chopped,” where he begins each episode by prompting four chefs to open their baskets of mystery ingredients and face off to create an appetizer dish. The entrée and dessert rounds follow, with one contestant eliminated each round.

During his years with “Chopped,” Allen has observed hundreds of chefs make inspired dishes — and some less-than-stellar platings — using unusual and seemingly disparate combinations of ingredients. When a contestant is eliminated, Allen famously announces, “You’ve been chopped.”

Allen is also a contributing writer for the likes of Esquire, Bon Appetit, and Food Network Magazine, and is the author of “The Food You Want to Eat: 100 Smart, Simple Recipes” which features vibrant, all-natural dishes.

Buettner presents on Blue Zones and longevity

Buettner, who has traveled the globe in search of secrets to happiness and long life, will take PMA Foodservice Conference attendees on an incredible visual journey to what researchers call Blue Zones – places where they’ve discovered nine commonalities that lead to the greatest life expectancy.

His books, “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest,” “Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way,” “The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People,” and “The Blue Zones of Happiness,” were all national bestsellers.

Buettner has appeared on “The Today Show,” “Oprah,” “NBC Nightly News,” and “Good Morning America,” and has keynoted speeches at TEDMED, Bill Clinton’s Health Matters Initiative, and Google Zeitgeist.

His presentation in January 2018 at the World Economic Forum in Davos was chosen as “one of the best of Davos.”

Buettner now works in partnership with municipal governments, large employers, and health insurance companies to implement Blue Zones Projects in communities, workplaces, and universities.

Blue Zones Projects are well-being initiatives that apply lessons from the Blue Zone areas to entire communities by focusing on changes to the local environment, public policy, and social networks. The program has dramatically improved the health of more than 5 million Americans to date.

Expo Now on Saturday: Calling All Foodies

PMA’s Foodservice Expo attracts all manner of foodservice personnel, from suppliers and service providers to influencers like menu developers and chefs. Roughly 500 diverse buyers attend each year, including operators, distributors, wholesalers, meal kit companies, and more. About 75 percent of attendees influence purchasing decisions.

The expo, which will be held for the first time on Saturday this year instead of Sunday, will feature about 200 exhibiting companies, including 24 first-timers who will be grouped in the First-Time Exhibitor Pavilion.

“We provide the best gathering of the movers, shakers and innovators in foodservice each July against the backdrop of Monterey Bay, and a host of activities surround PMA’s conference and expo, like grower tours, plant tours, and customer parties,” said Jill Overdorf, co-chair of PMA’s Foodservice Committee and Director of Business Development of Value-Added Fresh and Corporate Chef at Naturipe Farms.

“PMA’s event is a who’s who of the foodservice industry where connections are made, and creativity is sparked,” explained Overdorf. “I was an Executive Chef for more than 20 years, and each year I’m surprised and delighted at this event. It’s a mecca for showcasing new uses for fresh produce in foodservice and value-added products.”

In addition to the conference and expo, activities include Center for Growing Talent’s Bocce for Talent Tournament Wednesday, July 24; Joe Nucci Memorial Golf Tournament Thursday, July 25; 5K Race for Talent Friday, July 26; and a menu of “À la carte!” education sessions to choose from on July 26 that focus on sustainability, food safety, technology, and food trends.

Networking opportunities include an afternoon reception, the Center for Growing Talent Women’s Fresh Perspectives Reception, tasting stations and more. Buyer Roundtables on July 26, which allow foodservice suppliers to connect face-to-face with operators and distributors, requires advance registration and space is limited.

Invite-only events include the Center for Growing Talent Contributor and Volunteer Reception and PMA’s Foodservice thinkTANK, a gathering of foodservice thought leaders charged with discussing critical issues facing the industry and serving as catalysts to increase produce consumption and help reach the goal of making produce #HalfThePlate.

For a complete schedule, more details, and to register, visit PMA’s Foodservice event page at