With just a few days to catch his breath after this year’s Viva Fresh Produce Expo in San Antonio, TX, Dante Galeazzi, CEO, and president of the Texas International Produce Association, took some time to share his thoughts with OnionBusiness on the show’s remarkable growth since it was launched in 2015.
“We don’t have the overall attendee figures together yet, but what we do know is that we had more than 330 retail and foodservice buyers from 98 companies in attendance to see our 168 exhibitors on the show floor,” Dante said of the April 5-7 event. “That’s a 190 percent increase in buyer attendees from our 2015 show. We feel like that’s a great place to be in just the fourth year of the Viva Fresh Produce Expo, and we look forward to increasing that figure, and the diversity of buyer companies (up from 98) in the coming years.”
He said “the more ‘regional’ companies take advantage of our show,” adding that many come from Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and companies with operations in Mexico who cross their product through Texas.
“The Viva Fresh Produce Expo is all about what’s happening in this part of the world, and it’s two and a half days for companies in this area to really shine and show their goods,” he said.
When asked what the biggest takeaway from the 2018 show was, Dante answered, “It’s hard to pick any one part of the show, but I have to say the reception was a great highlight. We had so many people attend and take part of the incredible atmosphere at the JW Marriott.” That setting in San Antonio came customized just for Viva Fresh: “The weather was great, the music was perfect, the food was fantastic. It really all came together for an incredible evening. When the time came to start breaking down the reception, we still had a full house on the lawn, and it didn’t look like it was slowing anytime soon either. Personally, that really makes me feel proud because it means people are really enjoying themselves and making great connections to be spending as much time as they were at the reception.”
And he said plans are in the works for the 2019 event already. “It’s a full year gig,” he said. “We’ll start really working on contact by this summer, but we’re already compiling our notes and doing some post-show reviews. Next year, we’ll be hosting the show on April 25-27 at the same place, the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. We’re looking forward to putting together another lineup of excellent educational topics, with plenty of opportunities for all our show-goers to connect with people through the fresh produce supply chain.”
And, he added, “Most importantly, we can’t wait to tell the world the next chapter in our region’s story as we do every year at the Viva Fresh Produce Expo.”
Photos courtesy of Dante Galeazzi, CEO, and president of the Texas International Produce Association