4 Fresh Produce Trends from the PMA Foodservice 2017 Conference

4 Fresh Produce Trends from the PMA Foodservice 2017 Conference

I’m about to make a bold statement, one that I think rings true across our industry: Success in fresh is rooted in relationships. And this year’s PMA Foodservice Conference and Expo only strengthened my belief that our relationships with each other help make the fresh produce and foodservice industries stronger and more innovative.

4 fresh produce trends from PMA Foodservice 2017

In addition to relationships, a few other themes emerged throughout the events, sessions, and conversations at PMA Foodservice. Here are four essential produce trends that emerged at PMA Foodservice Conference and Expo 2017.

Relationships matter

In fresh produce, quality matters. So does the quality of relationships we have with the people and companies we work with. This is likely the reason the expo isn’t packed with show-stopping booths you often see at other events. Instead, there’s an immense focus on building relationships and growing networks with other attendees and exhibitors. It’s one of my favorite aspects of this event.

Service matters

Best-in-class service goes hand-in-hand with relationships. When collaborative relationships are in place, solutions are built, like processes that can help analyze and streamline the fresh supply chain; innovative programs and technology that enable easy custom ordering and tracking; tools and resources that provide access to valuable food safety information, restaurant trends, and industry data; and the insights that can help grow business. Whether you’re a local quick-serve restaurant or a national white linen franchise, service impacts every part of your business.

Consumers’ preferences change

Produce trends shift as food trends do, and staying on top of foodservice consumers’ ever-changing preferences is a strategic way to keep your menu relevant. PMA Foodservice was held in Monterey, CA, which is only a handful of miles from the Salinas Valley—a stretch of one of the most productive agricultural regions in the state that’s also known as “the Salad Bowl of the World.” The proximity to the fields gave many foodservice companies the opportunity to see the land that grows much of the fresh produce items used in their restaurants and kitchens. It also allowed them to better understand where new and staple varieties come from and what it takes to get the fresh fruits and vegetables consumers want from farm to plate.

Innovation matters

Foodservice consumers want fresh foods, and that means supply chains need to be quicker to respond and faster to replenish. Technology offerings can make all the difference in seamless, efficient ordering processes; the right logistics solutions make faster replenishment and more frequent deliveries possible; distribution models are quickly advancing to keep pace. After all, providing what customers demand is key to a successful business, but how you get those products to your store shelves is also part of the equation—and when it comes to fresh items, it’s a big part of the equation.

Final thoughts

The PMA Foodservice Conference was another terrific example of the possibilities that exist in our industry. I’m proud to work with people who value relationships and believe, like me, that we’re better together.

Maximizing fresh supply chain potential can be difficult and require expert help. Learn more about fresh supply chain solutions.

Todd Bernitt

Todd Bernitt - Vice President of Managed Services for Robinson Fresh

Todd has worked for C.H. Robinson for the past 23 years. In that time he has held multiple positions in numerous areas of the company—from truckload to intermodal and most recently Sourcing. As Vice President of Managed Services for Robinson Fresh, Todd manages strategic direction, resource allocation, and technology to meet the demands of foodservice customers and suppliers. Todd holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Business Administration from Illinois State University.

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