A lot of words get thrown around in food trends these days. “Plant based.” “Better.” “Smart.” And the United Fresh Produce Association is bringing these trends to the forefront at this summer’s show. In addition to co-locating with the International Floriculture Expo and the Global Cold Chain Expo, the Washington, D.C.-based organization is launching an all-new event, the SmartFood Expo. I took some time with Mary Coppola, senior director of marketing and communications, to learn what “smart” food is, and why it’s a “smart” idea to add this one to your summer tradeshow lineup.
PR: What is the SmartFood Expo?
MC: The SmartFood Expo is the only food and beverage show focused exclusively on better-for-you innovations in packaged goods, snacks, beverages and more. SmartFood means making smart choices. Thinking smart. Eating smart. Being smart. That’s what the inaugural event is all about — helping you and your business make the smart decisions that will appeal to your customers and their desire to live healthier lives. Better for you and better for them.
From June 25-27, 2018, food industry leaders and innovators converge over three days of education, networking and a product showcase, where the future of fresh, healthy and better-for-you options are on display. With a goal of bringing to market the future of better-for-you products, the focus of SmartFood Expo is on food that makes a difference—in your operation, in your brand, and in the mind, body and wellness of your customers. From snacks and entrees to packaged goods, if it’s health-conscious and better for your business and your customers, we’ve got it covered.
PR: Why is it a good fit for produce?
MC: Produce is the crown jewel of healthy and better-for-you food choices. The United FreshMKT Expo co-location with the new SmartFood Expo at McCormick Place this June will elevate the status of fresh produce to the broader food community as retail and foodservice buyers, retail dietitians and other food influencers descend on Chicago in search of a complete immersive experience in the world of healthy food and consumer wellness. Produce companies can expect to gain exposure to a whole new audience of buyers who are seeking to discover the next best thing. Be prepared to have elevated conversations and samples on hand!
In addition, SmartFood exhibitors will be seeking to discover new partnerships with fresh produce companies. From entrepreneurs to venture capital firms, an eye for discovery will be roving the floor for the next great idea in food from packaging, varieties, kits, combinations, flavors and more. United FreshMKT and SmartFood exhibitors can expect the unexpected – be prepared and open to the opportunities of this co-location.
PR: What will buyers find at the SmartFood Expo?
MC: Held in Chicago, a top food hub easily accessible from cities coast to coast, SmartFood Expo offers abundant opportunities to stock up on the knowledge, connections and emerging trends across the spectrum of consumer food categories. From snacks to packaged goods and perishables, if it’s health-conscious and better for your business and your customers, we’ve got you covered. Smart food means better food. Better food mean smart business.
The SmartFood Expo will feature two pavilions dedicated to the fastest growing food product categories in today’s market: the Plant Based Foods Pavilion and the Chicagoland Food Incubation Hub. Over the past year, plant based foods saw an 8.1% growth in sales, with plant-based meats accounting for 2.1% of sales in refrigerated and frozen meat product sold at retail, according to Nielsen data.
Discover the newest innovations in the exploding category of plant based foods at the Plant Based Foods Pavilion. The Chicagoland area not only leads the nation in packaged food and beverage sales, but also boasts a vibrant local food movement and a large number of entrepreneurial start-ups. These start-ups are revolutionizing consumers’ retail shopping experience. Attendees will discover the next big better-for-you products at the Chicagoland Food Incubation Hub.