United Fresh’s First Virtual Trade Show, a Real Milestone

The first large-scale virtual trade show for the US fruit and vegetable industry will begin in two weeks. United Fresh Live! it is the response to the new normal imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Although most food and beverage industry trade shows have canceled or postponed their events to prevent COVID-19 infections, the United Fresh Produce Association decided to explore a new option for doing business. It became the pioneer of large-scale virtual trade shows with the creation of the United Fresh Live! which will be held June 15-19.

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According to United Fresh, the platform will gather the global community to share lessons learned during the coronavirus crisis and plans for the future. Programming throughout the week of June 15 will include live and on-demand education, as well as daily Coffee Talks where industry professionals can gather for informal discussions on critical topics.

The daily “Expo Power Hours” will bring the virtual trade show to life where attendees will discover innovations and make connections to grow sales and profitability. Each day will conclude with networking events, community receptions, and other social gatherings, virtually.

United Fresh LIVE! is free to all attendees. By removing all barriers of access for the industry, participation, and therefore, education, exposure and opportunity are amplified. With these hurdles out of the way, companies can invest in staff development by encouraging more employees to seek out education sessions applicable to the career growth.

What Does a Virtual Trade Show Look Like?

The more than 200 exhibitors participating in United Fresh LIVE! have had to revise strategies for engagement, reevaluate what “booth staff” means and reconsider the approach to driving traffic to their booths. And some are finding excitement in the experience.

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“We no longer need to consider the cost to bring equipment to the trade show.,” shared Jordan Schultz, Technical Support Specialist, Kronen Corp. “Utilizing the technology of United Fresh LIVE!, we can create a more impactful learning environment, display out a full range of equipment, and produce more value for prospective buyers at a reduced cost for everyone involved.”

Traditional show floor experiences like the Featured Product Showcase will be shared in United Fresh’s digital Show Preview, a PDF overview of the companies participation this June. The piece will give attendees an opportunity to start evaluating the booths they’ll plan to visit during “Expo Power Hours” the two hours each day dedicated solely to virtual trade show exploration.

A Flexible Program Available 24 Hours a Day

On Monday, June 15 at Noon EDT, United Fresh will cut the virtual ribbon on United Fresh LIVE! and kick-off the week with an Opening General Session. Each day at Noon, attendees will gather for live general sessions including Women In Produce on Tuesday; Organics on Wednesday; the Retail-Foodservice Celebration on Thursday and concluding with the Closing General Session at Noon on Friday.

From Tuesday through Friday, attendees can participate in the Get Fit sessions that will take place daily at 9:00 am. Coffee Talks will take the place of traditional X-Change Sessions beginning daily at 10:00 am and focusing on topics such as cause marketing, food safety audits, and controlled environment growing. These discussions, hosted through United Fresh LIVE! on Zoom will be followed by Workshops from 11:00-Noon EDT. Attendees will access all of this content through the Lobby of United Fresh LIVE! once they’re logged onto the platform.

Dedicated “Expo Power Hours” will take place each day from 1:00-3:00 pm EDT where everyone on the platform will be encouraged to explore the virtual expo hall. Exhibitors will be hosting content experts, booth give-aways, live field and facility tours and more during the Expo Power Hours.

With over 200 exhibitors, visitors will have five days to experience the full virtual trade show.

Each day will conclude with community receptions and happy hours hosted through the platform. In addition to the International and Food Safety Receptions taking place on Monday at 5:00 pm EDT, participants can join the open Happy Hour receptions Monday through Thursday starting at 6:00 pm EDT.

The week’s networking events will conclude on Thursday evening with the United Fresh LIVE! Celebration.

Another benefit of a virtual trade show is the opportunity to experience education and discovery on your own time. The platform is accessible to attendees 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the summer. Live general sessions and workshops will be accessible on-demand and expo booths will be open for exploration until September 1, 2020.

“We’ve really opened the flood gates of accessibility to the industry,” said Tom Stenzel, United Fresh’ President & CEO. “By allowing engagement and exploration of the platform throughout the summer, we’re ensuring that the industry has access to all the tools possible in order to grow their business at a time when growth became as uncertain as the weather,” Stenzel concluded.

For more information about the schedule of events, exhibitor listing and ways to participate, visit www.unitedfreshlive.org.