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PMA Foodservice Conference releases education schedule

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PRESS RELEASE PMA’s BB #:153708 brand-new À la carte! education and engagement stations will offer a veritable amuse bouche of useful information for foodservice providers, suppliers, menu developers, chefs and more. This is a can’t-miss stop on PMA’s Foodservice Conference & Expo produce culinary tour.

The five À la carte! sessions are scheduled Friday, July 26 from 2-3:30 p.m. in the Monterey Marriott San Carlos Ballroom and lobby. Keynote speaker Ted Allen, host of “Chopped” and “All-Star Academy,” will start day one of the conference from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., followed by the Strolling Lunch Competition then À la carte!

So, after Allen’s keynote, take the short jaunt from the Marriott across the skybridge to the Monterey Conference Center second-floor lobby for the Strolling Lunch Competition, which Allen will help judge!

While there, don’t forget to cast your vote for the People’s Choice award. Sorry, you must pick just one recipe where produce is the star! After the Strolling Lunch, make the short roundtrip back across the skywalk to the Marriott. (You get a jump start burning off lunch!)

The San Carlos Ballroom in the Marriott will house the Taste the Trends, Top Technology of Tomorrow, and Talks on Talent À la carte! sessions. Sustainability Corner and Protecting Your Business: The Next Generation of Produce Safety Education will be in the lobby.

The speaker lineup for the À la carte! sessions includes PMA subject-matter experts in produce safety, sustainability, blockchain, and talent, as well as tech leaders and culinary innovators with expertise in food, nutrition, customer palates and global flavors. For bios and more info on #PMAFoodservice keynote and À la carte! speakers, visit the Foodservice event speaker page at

À la carte! sessions in Marriott Lobby:

Sustainability Corner
PMA member companies serving on PMA’s new Sustainability Committee will share stories via video about how their respective companies are bringing sustainable business practices to life. The video premiere is the first time a significant number of produce industry sustainability best practices have been showcased in this format.

Find out what colleagues in the industry are doing and use their example as possible inspiration for implementing sustainable initiatives in your own companies. Ed Treacy, PMA Vice President, Supply Chain and Sustainability, will be on hand to offer insights and answer questions. Members of the PMA Sustainability Committee are expected to join Treacy periodically. Have a problem that needs solving, an idea or a success story of your own? Share it with us.

“This is just the start of our efforts to inspire the produce industry to continuously optimize processes and resources in order to drive economic, social, and environmental benefits that leave the world a better place for future generations,” says Treacy. “In the near future, we will continue our efforts to inspire the industry by curating and communicating case studies of member initiatives that support the 3 Ps of sustainability, People, Planet and Profitability.”

Also, PMA will share more information on sustainability, the work of the PMA Sustainability Committee, and info on the Ethical Charter for Responsible Labor Practices through the PMA Foodservice Conference mobile app.

Protecting Your Business: The Next Generation of Produce Safety Education
PMA’s Chief Science and Technology Officer Dr. Bob Whitaker will unveil a sampling of PMA’s new turnkey produce safety training program, Fresh Ed™. View a prototype education/e-learning module and find out more about the online training platform set to launch in August.

The produce safety training modules are primarily for growers, packers, and processors; however, retail and foodservice vendor category managers and produce buyers in search of produce safety awareness education can also potentially benefit from content and training that will be available from PMA through Fresh Ed.

Anthony Barbieri, PMA Vice President of Sales, Events & Programs, who will lead PMA’s engagement efforts with companies seeking training, will also be on hand to answer questions. In addition, more information on Fresh Ed will be available through the PMA Foodservice Conference mobile app.

À la carte! sessions in Marriott San Carlos Ballroom:

Top Technology of Tomorrow
Participating companies provide business solutions for grower/shippers and foodservice operators, including supply chain management, traceability and sustainability products and services.

Native — Frank Pica and Sarah Sanders, cofounders and co-CEOs of Native, will demonstrate their software program which allows restaurant buyers to connect with farms local to their area to source quality, locally grown produce for menu incorporation. This real-time inventory and sales management tool allows wholesale buyers to access local food as it is harvested. When retailers or foodservice operators wish to feature local (or local and seasonal) ingredients in a menu item, this technology can help.
Treasure8 — This food-tech company focuses on tackling food waste by using a cost effective, patented infrared dry blanching technology to dehydrate leftover/surplus vegetables to create tasty, healthy snacks. Timothy Childs, CEO and co-founder, will present.

Oritain — Jeff Elder, managing director, North America, will share how Oritain’s traceability system uses forensic science and data analysis to verify product origin from any point in the supply chain.

iFoodDecisonSciences — Diane Wetherington, CEO, and a member of PMA’s Produce Safety, Science and Technology Committee, will share iFoodDecisionScience’s supply chain risk management solutions that aim to reduce food contamination outbreaks and improve food safety.

Taste the Trends
This immersive experience, hosted by Chef Jessica Foust, vice president of culinary innovation and nutrition, The Food Group & Creative Food Solutions, will feature a refreshing take on menu trends and the role produce – the original plant-based diet – can and should play in plant-inspired menus. This session features three engagement stations that will rotate every 20 minutes. Topics that will be explored are plant-based proteins and share of plate for produce, challenges/opportunities for use of produce in delivery and off-premise, and diet and culture. Michael Buononato, senior vice president, Creative Food Solutions, and Chef Ben Lee, director of culinary services, Creative Food Solutions, will join Foust in taking participants on this food-trends journey.

Talks on Talent
Attracting new talent to the produce industry is crucial to our success. Here’s your chance to get ahead of the rising expectations of the next generation of talent and join the conversation with industry members, young professionals, and college students to discuss the trends. Doug Bohr, executive director, Center for Growing Talent, will kick off the discussion and invite you to join in and share your thoughts in a highly interactive forum where everyone is encouraged to participate.

The advance registration deadline to attend PMA Foodservice Conference & Expo in Monterey July 26-27 is July 19. Registration will be available on site. Discounted hotel accommodations are available for a limited time as inventory lasts. Contact Expovision at 866-774-0457 or 703-770-3905. You must be registered for the event to be eligible for conference rates.

About Produce Marketing Association
Produce Marketing Association (PMA) is the leading trade association representing companies from every segment of the global produce and floral supply chain. PMA helps members grow by providing connections that expand business opportunities and increase sales and consumption. For more information, visit