United Fresh LIVE! is a response to an unprecedented challenge to our industry and our world.
While citizens around the globe are social distancing and avoiding physical connections, our industry must continue to find creative ways to continue doing business, and trade shows are a large part of that strategy for the fresh produce supply chain.
Knowing that we need a place to come together to share experiences, to learn new ways of doing business, and explore the innovations that will drive our industry to future success, the United Fresh Produce Association BB #:145458 – with unanimous support from their Board of Directors – took a giant leap into the future of virtual events and launched United Fresh LIVE!
The platform will gather the global community to share lessons learned and plans for the future. Programming throughout the week of June 15 will include live and on-demand education, as well as daily Coffee Talks where industry professionals can gather for informal discussions on critical topics.
And daily “Expo Power Hours” will bring the virtual trade show to life where attendees will discover innovations and make connections to grow sales and profitability. Each day will conclude with networking events, community receptions and other social gatherings, virtually.
United Fresh LIVE! is free to all attendees
United Fresh LIVE will take place the week of June 15-19. As virtual events go, the traditional cost factors of flights, hotels and expenses are no longer a factor.
By removing all barriers of access for the industry, participation, and therefore, education, exposure and opportunity are amplified.
With these hurdles out of the way, companies can invest in staff development by encouraging more employees to seek out education sessions applicable to the career growth.
Retail buyers can encourage category buyers and commodity specialists to explore new products, brands and solutions to their store’s needs. Divide and conquer takes on a whole new meaning in a virtual platform as companies can assign staff to explore different aspects of the event from the comfort of their home office or desk.
“We could never have all of our buyers at Costco travel to attend an in-person event; but now, every buyer on the Costco team can check in online to see what’s new and innovative in every produce category,” shared Frank Padilla, Vice President, General Merchandise Manager Produce & Meat, Costco Wholesale. “They can do so live during the event, or 24-7 at their convenience.”
What does a virtual trade show look like?
The more than 200 exhibitors participating in United Fresh LIVE! have had to revise strategies for engagement, reevaluate what “booth staff” means and reconsider the approach to driving traffic to their booths. And some are finding excitement in the experience.
“We no longer need to consider the cost to bring equipment to the trade show.,” shared Jordan Schultz, Technical Support Specialist, Kronen Corp. “Utilizing the technology of United Fresh LIVE!, we can create a more impactful learning environment, display out full range of equipment, and produce more value for prospective buyers at a reduced cost for everyone involved.”
Traditional show floor experiences like the Featured Product Showcase will be shared in United Fresh’s digital Show Preview, a PDF overview of the companies participation this June.
The piece will give attendees an opportunity to start evaluating the booths they’ll plan to visit during “Expo Power Hours” the two hours each day dedicated solely to virtual trade show exploration.
Planning Your Week on United Fresh LIVE!
The schedule for United Fresh LIVE! is robust and can seem intimidating – 8 hours a day across five days of content – who has time for that? The benefit to a virtual event is the opportunity for attendees to create their own schedules and map out their week according to their availability and interest.
On Monday, June 15 at Noon EDT, United Fresh will cut the virtual ribbon on United Fresh LIVE! and kick-off the week with an Opening General Session. Each day at Noon, attendees will gather for live general sessions including Women In Produce on Tuesday, Organics on Wednesday, the Retail-Foodservice Celebration on Thursday and concluding with the Closing General Session at Noon on Friday.
Tuesday through Friday, attendees are invited to get their blood pumping early with Get Fit sessions taking place daily at 9:00 am EDT. Coffee Talks will take the place of traditional X-Change Sessions beginning daily at 10:00 am and focusing on topics such as cause marketing, food safety audits and controlled environment growing.
These discussions, hosted through United Fresh LIVE! on Zoom will be followed by Workshops from 11:00-Noon EDT. Attendees will access all of this content through the Lobby of United Fresh LIVE! once they’re logged onto the platform.
Dedicated “Expo Power Hours” will take place each day from 1:00-3:00 pm EDT where everyone on the platform will be encouraged to explore the virtual expo hall. If there’s one window of time you block on your daily calendar the week of June 15, this is it!
Exhibitors will be hosting content experts, booth give-aways, live field and facility tours and more during the Expo Power Hours. With over 200 exhibitors, you’re going to need all five days to experience the full trade show – and exhibitors are planning to change up their content daily too!
Each day will conclude with community receptions and happy hours hosted through the platform. In addition to the International and Food Safety Receptions taking place on Monday at 5:00 pm EDT, you can join the open Happy Hour receptions Monday through Thursday starting at 6:00 pm EDT. The week’s networking events will conclude on Thursday evening with the United Fresh LIVE! Celebration.
24-7 Access Through September 1
Another exciting benefit of a virtual event is the opportunity to experience education and discovery on your own time. Although there are certainly a number of events throughout the United Fresh LIVE! schedule that will be much more exciting to experience in real time, the platform is accessible to attendees 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the summer! Live general sessions and workshops will be accessible on-demand and expo booths will be open for exploration until September 1, 2020.
“We’ve really opened the flood gates of accessibility to the industry,” said Tom Stenzel, United Fresh’ President & CEO. “By allowing engagement and exploration of the platform throughout the summer, we’re ensuring that the industry has access to all the tools possible in order to grow their business at a time when growth became as uncertain and the weather.”
“See” You at United Fresh LIVE!
“We are an industry that thrives on personal connections,” said John Toner, United Fresh’s Vice President of Convention & industry Collaboration. “Hand shakes and hugs are critical to our relationship building. Until we’re able to interact in that capacity again, I’ll look forward to seeing familiar faces and making new connections through United Fresh LIVE! ‘See’ you online!”
Registration for United Fresh LIVE! is free at www.unitedfreshlive.org. Attendees are encouraged to register in advance in order to have time the morning of June 15 to set up their personal profiles on the platform – likened to a basic LinkedIn profile – putting your pertinent professional information and your best foot forward. Don’t forget to upload your headshot too!
For more information about the schedule of events, exhibitor listing and ways to participate, visit www.unitedfreshlive.org.