One of the most productive trade expos of the year for the produce industry takes place this week with the PMA Food Service Show in Monterey, CA.
Set for July 29-31 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa, the show is full of exhibits, special sessions and in-the-know speakers, all of which profit the industry overall and the onion industry especially.
More than 30 onion handlers are exhibiting, and many more will be on the show floor, meeting with existing and potential clients over the course of the event.
Virtually every aspect of the PMA Foodservice Show benefits onions, including the Saturday, July 30, morning session entitled Turning Your Customers into Advocates. The hour-long session starts at 9 a.m. and features Jonah Berger, professor at Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. The session will look at the changing marketing landscape and how to reach consumers through branding and relationships.
Berger brings new insight to the topics of consumer behavior and social influence. He has had numerous articles published in academic journals, and he’s also been written up in The New York Times and Harvard Business Review. Author of the NYT bestseller “Contagious: Why Things Catch On,” Berger is a consultant to Google, Coca-Cola and GE.
And from 10:15-11:25 on Saturday attendees can broaden their food safety perspectives through “Food Safety: Positioning Yourself as a Trusted Source,” moderated by Tim York, CEO of Markon Cooperative, and featuring speakers Dr. Bob Whitaker, chief science and technology officer for PMA; Lance Donny, CEO of OnFarm; Robert Stovicek, president of PrimusLabs; and Kyung Soo Carroll, regional executive chef, Bon Appétit Management Co. @ Google.
The session will examine the increasing demand for health information from consumers and the tools technology has provided them. The panel will look at opportunities in the produce industry to leverage those tools to reach consumers; and the group will also revisit the latest best practices in food safety, sharing strategies for communication with both buyers and consumers.
Whitaker, who joined PMA in 2008, is responsible for “safety and security, environmental sustainability and technical innovations for the produce supply chain, from field to fork.” His background includes a16-year tenure with DNA Plant Technology Corporation where he was vice president for Vegetable Research and Development as well as vice president of Product Development. He serves on multiple produce committees, and he is on the Executive Advisory Board for the Center for Produce Safety, serving as chair for the Research and Technology Council. He holds a Ph.D. in Biology from the State University of New York at Binghamton.
Donny of OnFarm heads up the company “which pioneered the Internet of Things in agriculture… OnFarm integrates connected devices, machines and field data to provide farmers with information to make better decisions, increase yields and optimize resources.” A 20-year executive of software and ag companies, Donny has seen OnFarm win numerous awards, including Ag Innovator of the Year, Best M2M Technology in Agriculture and IBM’s North American Entrepreneur of the Year.
Stovicek heads up PrimusLabs and its parent Primus Group Inc., both of which have core analytical competencies in agronomy, auditing, microbial testing, pesticide residue analysis and data management. With more than 30 years in research and applied experience in food safety, pesticide chemistry and agronomy, Stovicek is an established member of PMA’s Science and Technology Committee.
Chef Carroll launched his career early in the test kitchen of his high school, and in his junior year he was cooking at the Grand Hyatt Washington. Graduating Magna Cum Laude from Johnson and Wales College of Culinary Arts, the chef began his career in the hotel industry with Hyatt Hotels, Omni, Starwood and Hilton Hotels, eventually becoming executive chef at the Hilton Anaheim. As regional executive chef for BA@Google, Chef Carroll’s role encompasses support for “responsible farming, wellness and sustainability.”
Information on additional sessions and speakers can be found at the PMA Foodservice Show web site schedule link, http://www.pma.com/events/foodservice/attendees/schedule.