Disclaimer: I received an all access pass to attend Fresh Summit courtesy of the PMA Fresh Summit and Kitchen PLAY.
I am excited to announce that I was selected to attend this year’s PMA Fresh Summit as part of the #TeamFreshSummit. This year’s PMA Fresh Summit took place in New Orleans, Louisiana from October 19-21, 2017. I’ve never been to Fresh Summit or New Orleans before so this was my first time experiencing both.
What is the PMA Fresh Summit?
The PMA Fresh Summit is an annual convention and expo hosted by the PMA (Produce Marketing Association). The PMA is a trade organization that represents every segment of the global produce and floral industry. Their mission is to connect, inform and deliver industry solutions that enhance members’ prosperity.
Over 1,000+ exhibitors from 30 countries and over 19,500 attendees from more than 60 countries were in attendance. Fresh Summit was the biggest and most global expo I have ever attended.
Prior to becoming a blogger, I never noticed that there were brands for every type of fruit and vegetable. I just thought that the different varieties of fruits and vegetables were pretty standard with the exception of Chiquita or Dole bananas. Fresh Summit taught me that not only are there different brands of produce but that each brand works on expanding the variety of the products they offer and improving the quality. Now when I shop at the supermarket I am more aware of the different brands that are in the industry and notice which ones are sold at my local store.
I got to taste so many different fruits from other countries as well as the U.S. that are not commonly found such as yellow pitahaya, kiwi berries and yellow kiwi. All of the fruit was fresh, delicious and I am on the lookout to see where I can buy some to eat and use in future recipes.
There were also several companies that specialize in plant-based products debuting new products such as Mamma Chia, Nasoya, Harvest Snaps and GOODFOODS. I was excited to be able to try many of these plant-based products before they hit the stores.
There were even some innovative plant-based products. One in particular that stood out to me was tortilla wraps made out of jicama instead of flour or corn. These tortillas are not only vegan but gluten free as well. They come packaged in some water but you are still able to cook with them.
Some of the exhibitor booths looked like mini supermarkets while others created special experiences like the Avocados From Mexico booth. They gave attendees the opportunity to try their avocados in different ways that was creative and fun. They had a guacamole bar, a create your own avocado slider station and a food stand where they served mini meals and the menu changed throughout the day.
The Idaho Potatoes booth had a fair theme where you can win potato themed prizes by playing carnival style games like skee ball and spinning a prize wheel. They also had a lounge where you could take a break and relax and enjoy some beignets made out of potatoes.
The event I was most excited about was the Sensory Experience Contest. Ten finalists were selected to participate. I along with the rest of the #TeamFreshSummit were some of the judges. Our blogger group along with a group of buyers and children tasted all of the recipe submissions and selected three winners based on whether their recipe was produce-themed, innovative, visually appealing and kid-friendly.
I’ve never had the opportunity to be a judge for a competition so it was a new and fun experience. #TeamFreshSummit selected Green Giant Fresh's Spaghetti Squash Pizza Nests as the winner of the Bloggers Choice award.
I had a blast attending the 2017 PMA Fresh Summit. If I get another opportunity to go to Fresh Summit again I would go in a heartbeat. It was a great meeting new people and learning about the new produce varieties that are available and plant-based related products that are coming out within the next year.