United Fresh 2014 Show Favorites and Highlights
CHICAGO, IL - United Fresh 2014 took to the Chicago stage this year with some of my fresh produce favorites and a few new characters that are continuing to catch our AndNowUKnow eye. Kicking off June 11th, the fruit and vegetable expo welcomed a 15% growth in exhibitors over last year and a host of dynamic fresh product innovations. Here are some highlights from this year’s event…
For those who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing a greenhouse first hand, you are missing out. I have had the pleasure of writing about these amazing systems for nearly three years now but have yet to set foot inside the space of their technological mastery. Thank you, Nature Fresh. The company brought attendees face to face with the greenhouse experience in all of its beauty and awe this past United Fresh. The amount of precision and care that goes into the daily upkeep and growing of these greenhouse vegetables is truly amazing. Nature Fresh
Tiffany Gate Foods FreshCooked line offered attendees prepared, hard to cook vegetables, grains and beans to spice up menu items. The lineup offers perfectly cooked and ready to use products on salads, in soups, as sides or by themselves. Offerings include quinoa, beets, yams and chickpeas… new ways to add versatility to traditional dishes. Tiffany Gate
As specialty varieties are continuing to catch fire in the citrus category, Sunkist presented Zebra™ (pink variegated) lemons. The fruit is pink on the inside, with a yellow and green striped rind. Zebra lemons are slightly less acidic than conventional lemons and make for an visually stimulating alternative that is also ideal for garnishing. Sunkist currently has limited supplies of Zebra lemons, but with more growers planting the variety, supply is expected to grow in the coming years. Sunkist
Always on top of its snacking game, Pure Flavor highlighted its Snacking Series in the company’s new proprietary, “all-in-one” oval packaging. The line includes Juno® Bites, Sangria Medley, Azuca cherry tomatoes and the new Bumbles yellow snacking tomatoes along with the new “3” combo pack. The company is tapping into new and versatile ways for stacking and displaying for unique retail opportunities as well. Pure Flavor
Ready Pac also debuted its new line of six Bistro® Bowl™ Wrap Kits, that include Garlic and Herb Caesar, Thai Peanut Crunch (my favorite), and Turkey Avocado Ranch. The new line also accompanied Ready Pac® Ready Snax™ product, launched earlier this year, is a contender in the 2014 United Fresh New Product Awards in the Best New Packaging category. The fresh wraps pack an amazing amount of flavor and are easy to construct. I have even done it while driving (not recommended). Ready Pac
Green Giant also fed famished attendees with 8 new all-natural hummus flavors including Roasted Pine Nut Hummus with Pine Nut and Sundried Tomato Topping Roasted Red Pepper Hummus with Red Pepper Coulis Topping. Other items to debut in the line were Roasted Garlic Hummus with Roasted Garlic Topping, Artichoke Spinach Hummus with Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Topping, Garden Vegetable Hummus with Roasted Vegetable Topping, Mediterranean Hummus with Tapenade Topping, and Sundried Tomato & Basil Hummus with Onion and Balsamic Vinegar Topping. Needless to say, they were a regular stop on my route. Green Giant
If you missed the IFCO booth cooking demo and book signing, you’ll have to make sure and mark you calendar for the next show because, this 14-year old can cook. Kid Chef Eliana de Las Casas and IFCO Youth Produce Ambassador took to the stage and the camera to introduce the simple, easy and fun ways that kids can prepare fresh produce and create tasty memorable dishes. With IFCO, Eliana hopes to extend the reach of fresh produce consumption to a younger demographic through her constant outreach and education. Eliana’s first cookbook, Eliana Cooks! Recipes for Creative Kids was released in October 2010. Her second cookbook, a full-color, hard cover book, Cool Kids Cook: Louisiana, the first in a series, debuted in Spring 2013 and received a Parents’ Choice Approved award. She has been named one of the “Top 10 Most Famous Kid Critics and Cooks” in the world by The Daily Meal, and has a global weekly radio show called “Cool Kids Cook” on the VoiceAmerica Kids network. IFCO
To check out our previous article on United Fresh Award winners and highlights, click here!
Thanks for a great show United Fresh, see you in Chicago again next year.