BERLIN—If you’ve ever been to Fruit Logistica, you understand how easy it is to get lost in the masses of people in the sprawling maze of a show floor at Messe Berlin.
The final numbers aren’t out for this year’s event, but more than 78,000 attended last year, with more than 3,200 booths. That’s triple the size of the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit, for comparison.
Many of the booths are enormous pavilions and you can walk right past them without a single person making eye contact. It’s a fantastic show to wander.
And, you don’t have to wear a badge. You must check in and check out with a bar code, and once your badge has been scanned, you can put it away.
This seems like an exhibitor’s nightmare. How do they know when potential buyers are walking past the booth?
They don’t. Most of them have pre-arranged meetings with buyers, which is not uncommon in the U.S. The new business must be an exciting bonus.
But as a buyer, as a trend spotter, it’s different. I talked with four buyers from retailers in the U.S., and all of them told me the same thing.
All of them found the experience rewarding, a unique opportunity to window shop the latest the produce industry has to offer.
One, a regional player with more than 300 stores, said they were looking for technology and innovation, but was also spotting the new varieties and products for the folks back at home. This was the first time they’d attended.
Two others were looking for new products and packaging and enjoyed the opportunity to attend the retail tours provided by United Fresh’s International Advisory Board.
One told me they were shooed away from loitering too long at a pavilion.
It’s a goldmine of anonymity. (And I’m going to leave them anonymous, too.)
This isn’t to say that buyers don’t find U.S. tradeshows a rewarding experience. Of course they do, and each of the buyers I talked to made that clear.
For a unique experience, though, Fruit Logistica is definitely worth the trip.