With its return to a live event in Monterey, CA, PMA Foodservice Conference and Expo has a lively agenda and a sold-out expo ready for attendees July 21-22.
Held once again at the Monterey Conference Center, the 40th event is designed to provide great networking and meeting opportunities for the industry. Foodservice, which was especially hard-hit by COVID-19’s shutdowns and restrictions, is regaining its momentum, and PMA has scheduled innovative ideas and educational forums addressing trends and demands. For a look at the schedule and any registration information, go to https://www.pma.com/events/foodservice/attend/schedule.
This year’s expo features 125 booths, with the onion industry well-represented. Among those exhibiting are Gills Onions, Onions 52, Eagle Eye Produce, Potandon Produce, Idaho-E. Oregon Onion Committee/USA Onions, Wada Farms and RPE.
The Foodservice show kicks off on July 21 with a 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. PMA “Volunteer Experience” with Brighter Bites. Sign-up can be done online at https://www.cervistech.com/acts/console.php?console_id=0174&console_type=event_list&res_code=jMgSnK&ht=1.
Volunteers will participate in an onsite bagging and distribution food program at La Gloria Elementary School in Monterey, seeing “firsthand the benefits of bringing fresh fruits and vegetables directly to local families’ hands.” For health and safety, temperature checks and masks will be required on school property.
The school excursion is followed from 2:30-4:30 p.m. Buyer Sourcing Meetings, with separate registration required. The meetings will be held in the conference center and present an opportunity “for foodservice produce suppliers to connect with foodservice operators and distributors, in a fast-paced, low-pressure environment, opening the door for more in-depth conversations in the future.”
An invitation-only happy hour follows with the Center for Growing Talent from 4:30-6 p.m.
Thursday’s activities get underway with an 8:15 networking breakfast, followed by the General Session and Peer-to-Peer Discussion Group portion from 9-11 a.m. in the Monterey Marriott. The website reads, “Gather the hottest culinary and foodservice trends and take your company to the next level as the foodservice industry rises post-pandemic. This session will support your efforts to fast-track your operation. A deeper dive in small breakouts with peers and industry leaders across the foodservice supply chain will follow. Share your experiences, learn from others and walk away with actionable insights.”
Speaking at the General Session will be Lauren M. Scott, PMA Chief Strategy and Membership Officer. Lauren will look at innovation and collaboration, and the session will segue into the smaller Peer-to-Peer talks.
From 10:30-3:45 the networking lounge will be open in the conference center, providing opportunities for meetings. And the expo will run from 11:15-3:45.
The website notes that products and services, menu ideas, health, and “plant-forward menu trends” will all be showcased at the expo.
A “Chef’s Creation Lunch” will be hosted from 12:15-1:45 at the conference center, where attendees can “immerse yourself in the creativity of chefs as we celebrate all things foodservice.” The chefs will be working front and center, allowing show-goers to watch them in action.
The 2021 PMA Foodservice show closes out with a “Reception at the Barns” at Cooper Molera from 4-5 p.m.