International Fresh Produce Association’s (IFPA) Foodservice Conference scheduled for July 28-29 will have the highest buyer participation in 42 years, with over 800 buyers.
Bruce Taylor, CEO of Taylor Farms and Chair of the International Fresh Produce Association Board of Directors, gave his thoughts on the Foodservice Conference coming up in Monterey, California.
“Americans are hurtling toward a diet-induced disaster of obesity and chronic disease. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the solutions,” said Taylor. “Currently, only 1 in 10 US consumers enjoy the recommended amounts of fresh fruit and vegetables each day. The 2022 Foodservice Conference will be a key opportunity for fresh produce suppliers to interact with restaurants, hotels, schools, health care, workplace buyers, menu developers, and chefs from over 700 companies to discuss solutions to this complex challenge. Success will benefit everyone. If I had to identify a theme this year for education, it would be – new channels of opportunity.”
Taylor will be a featured panelist in Monterey Bay Live! Session taking place on Friday, July 29. The session will be hosted by award-winning author and television host Leslie Sbrocco. It will feature guests Michel Nischan, the Founder and Chairman of Wholesome Wave, and Vincent Huynh, culinary director at Agricole Hospitality.
The speakers will share their experiences on how they’re changing menus and growing appetites for produce at foodservice. Each of these speakers and their companies are dedicated to reinventing the way we see produce, removing barriers between consumers and fruits and vegetables.
For the first time, this year’s conference will include a significant group of K-12 school foodservice menu planners, chefs, and procurement officials.
“K-12 school buyers are an important and unique group of attendees that we are excited to have joining us at this year’s Foodservice Conference,” said Andrew Marshall, IFPA’s staff liaison for wholesaler-distributor members and team lead for engagement with the K-12 school nutrition community. “These foodservice professionals plan daily menus for the next generation of produce consumers. They want to see new products, talk to growers, fresh-cut processors, and distributors and discuss how best to source, serve and promote fresh produce on their menus. We look forward to having these foodservice operators join us!”
With the addition of the K-12 Foodservice Forum, this year’s conference will welcome local and national participants from some of the largest school districts in the country to attend the conference and expo, in addition to field tours at local farms. This group of professionals provides daily breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and more to the youngest of our consumer population.
Research has found that building healthy habits at young ages contributes to healthy eating later in life, reinforced in Brighter Bites’ program evaluation. Brighter Bites is an organization dedicated to delivering fresh fruits and vegetables to families along with nutritional education and a fun food experience.
The IFPA Foodservice Conference will culminate in a closing reception and “Wine for a Cause” auction benefiting Brighter Bites. Conference registration is open, and attendees can find more information on the event website.