The United Fresh Foundation is providing expert assistance to schools seeking to serve more fresh produce with the first-ever Fresh Produce Pavilion at the School Nutrition Association Annual National Conference in Boston, July 13-16.
The 1600 sq. ft. pavilion features an “Ask the Experts: Produce Solutions Center” and produce exhibits that establish a destination area on the trade show floor focused exclusively on promoting fresh fruits and vegetables.
The “Ask the Experts: Produce Solutions Center,” sponsored by PRO*ACT, features produce distributors from around the country including, Costa Fruit & Produce, Inc. (Charlestown, MA), Hardie’s Fruit & Vegetable Co. (Houston, TX), Muir Copper Canyon Farms (Salt Lake City, UT), Royal Food Service (Atlanta, GA) and Van Eerden Co. (Grand Rapids, MI).
The produce experts serve as consultants for schools to answer all their produce-related questions, share guidance and tips for writing produce RFPs, discuss how to establish collaborative business relationships between schools and produce distributors and showcase the wide variety of fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables that are ideal for school foodservice.
The Pavilion also has a fresh vending machine stocked with single-serve fresh cut fruits and vegetable and salads that illustrates products ideal for meeting the new “Smart Snacks in Schools” nutrition standards. United partnered with the National Automatic Merchandising Association to have the Fit Pick vending machine on display.
“Having a strong, face-to-face presence at the SNA conference allows United and the fresh produce industry to demonstrate their commitment to helping school nutrition operators find the most efficient ways to provide a variety of fruits and vegetables that their students will enjoy,” said Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, vice president of nutrition & health at United Fresh.
“We are pleased with the industry support given to this first-ever pavilion designed to help schools maximize their success in serving a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables,” said United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel. “This strategy connects us with hundreds of school foodservice directors from across the country, helping them understand the unique aspects of the fresh produce marketplace, as well as making sure they’re aware of the many fresh and fresh-cut produce items that that can appeal to the next generation of produce consumers.”
“We appreciate PRO*ACT’s assistance in staffing the ‘Ask the Experts’ area, where school foodservice directors will be able to consult with experts outside of their own procurement process. This affords a consultative environment in which buyers are not negotiating with their own vendors, but instead are learning from distributors who are not trying to win their business,” Stenzel added.
Exhibitors at United’s Fresh Produce Pavilion include:
- Chiquita Brands International
- Duda Farm Fresh Foods
- Grimmway Farms
- HMC Farms
- Mushroom Council
- National Watermelon Promotion Board
- Pear Bureau Northwest
- Ready Pac Foods
- San Miguel Produce
The Pavilion also features a salad bar to promote Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools. School foodservice directors attending the SNA conference are invited to enter their names to win the salad bar. United Fresh is a founding partner of Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, which has to-date donated salad bars to more than 3,400 schools nationwide.
Additionally, United has organized educational sessions at the SNA show. The programs, titled “Your Produce RFP: Achieving Variety, Quality and a Collaborative Relationship,” will include panel and roundtable discussions among school foodservice directors and produce distributors.