International Fresh Produce Association's 2023 Global Produce & Floral Show Wraps

International Fresh Produce Association's 2023 Global Produce & Floral Show Wraps

ANAHEIM, CA - As International Fresh Produce Association’s Chief Executive Officer Cathy Burns shared with me, numbers are exciting, but it is the attendance of the connections needed which count to everyone who came from 60-plus countries all over the world for the 2023 Global Produce & Floral Show. Those numbers, speaker Michael Jackson observed on the first morning, meant there was likely someone there with a solution to your problem.

IFPA reported a buyer for every six attendees, delivering quality connections for businesses making new and transformative partnerships.

International Fresh Produce Association’s 2023 Global Produce & Floral Show saw industry members from all over witness advancements and developments in the pursuit of promoting fresh Matching this was the energy found throughout the event, namely on a showfloor that showed activity and conversations happening up to (and sometimes beyond) the final countdown of each show day.

Cathy Burns, Chief Executive Officer, International Fresh Produce Association"Coming back to Anaheim for the first time as IFPA, I could not be more impressed and inspired by the support the global produce and industry gave us this week. From our incredible exhibitors displaying their latest innovations to our generous sponsors who see the value in raising their visibility, the Global Produce & Floral Show truly is THE force for connections and creativity for anyone involved in fruits, vegetables, flowers, and plants," Cathy said. "On behalf of the IFPA Board and staff team, a heartfelt thank you to all who joined us, and I look forward to seeing so many of our guests again next year in Atlanta."

Thursday kicked off several opportunities to borrow and apply wisdom in addition to connections, with Cathy Burns’ ever anticipated State of the Industry presentation reflecting on the facts of today and the questions of the future—namely advocacy and artificial intelligence. When I say a completely tech-generated cartoon Cathy delivering a speech was a talking point for days to come I am not exaggerating.

Industry members partook in a variety of educational sessions, keynotes, and more to foster growth and partnership

Technology and its potential impacts, positive and yet-to-be-determined, continued to be spotlighted in a CEO Panel featuring Patrick Vizzone, IFPA Board Member; Dr. Elliott Grant, Chief Executive Officer of Alphabet Company Mineral; Andrea Albright, Executive Vice President of Sourcing for Walmart; and Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of SHRM.

Andrea Albright, Executive Vice President of Sourcing, Walmart“We’re really focused on democratizing access to regenerative projects, so you find that intersection of value, trust, and resiliency, which is actually the core of our sourcing strategy […] we have to find great value, great products, sourced in a resilient way, and making sure trust is there, that quality is there,” Andrea Albright shared as the leaders dove into labor, access, and perceptions of technology influence.

The session was one of four keynotes, which also included Apple Co-Founder, Steve Wozniak and, at the 17th Women’s Fresh Perspectives Breakfast, Olympian and Advocate Allyson Felix.

IFPA's CEO Panel featured experts and leaders (left to right) Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of SHRM; Dr. Elliott Grant, Chief Executive Officer of Alphabet Company Mineral; Andrea Albright, Executive Vice President of Sourcing for Walmart; and Patrick Vizzone, IFPA Board Member

As we listened to the final keynote before our last hours of GFPS, Felix said something that echoed—or perhaps closed the loop to—Cathy Burns’ own final message of taking control of what is on the horizon by challenging everyone to take action.

“You can use your voice even if it shakes,” Felix shared with us, connecting advocacy and action to vulnerability and perseverance in just a few words.

Catherine Gipe-Stewart, Director of Marketing, Superfresh Growers®“The Women’s Fresh Perspectives breakfast was the ideal event to start off the final day of GPFS 2023,” shared Superfresh Growers’ Cat Gipe-Stewart. “We celebrated the power of allyship and standing up for our friends and colleagues, using our own voices to lift up others. I felt incredibly empowered hearing Allyson Felix share about her journey in such a raw manner—her words around failure were powerful: She encouraged us to embrace failure; sit with our emotions and understand the frustration and sadness, then use those feelings to propel ourselves forward for change. Allyson discussed not waiting for the perfect moment for change, but to start where you are planted around what you are passionate about. I felt surrounded by her friendly support and encouraging words.”

The wisdom followed attendees to the show floor, with more than 30 speakers over 12 Education Festival sessions amid innovations, networking, and showcasing across our industry as we navigated over 1,160 companies exhibiting, including 157 first timers. A special focus on technology solutions was brought to the floor as well, including the Innovation Hub, with the Future Tech Pavilion and the Fresh Field Catalyst Accelerator program.

Paul Mastronardi, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mastronardi Produce®"At the 2023 Global Show, we always feel the industry come together to celebrate the people and passion behind the produce sector. The Mastronardi Produce team was proud to bring our unique SUNSET® flair to the event and show our commitment to pushing boundaries in fresh produce,” Paul Mastronardi, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mastronardi Produce®, commented.

IFPA changed the education sessions format to one which allowed attendees to explore or sit between several industry topics and mavens

That flair certainly captured some buzz as the company was among several accolades for show standouts. Congratulations to the below winners!

  • Best First-Time Exhibitor: Molly’s Grape & Citrus Company
  • Best Island Booth in Business Solutions: International Paper
  • Best Inline Booth in Business Solutions: Kwik Lok Corporation
  • Best Island Booth in Produce: Windset Farms
  • Best Inline Booth in Produce: Frieda’s Branded Produce
  • Best Island Booth in Complementary Items: Fresh Gourmet Company
  • Best Inline Booth in Complementary Items: Offshoot Brands
  • Best Island Booth in Floral: Gems
  • Best Inline Booth in Floral: Penang Nursery, Inc.

From the 245 Fresh Ideas Showcase Participants:

  • Best Sustainable Packaging: Alpine Fresh Hippie Organics for Fully Home Compostable Bags
  • Best Product Promo: Mastronardi Produce for Sunset Summer Dream Raspberries

And a heartfelt congratulations to the latest recipient of the Frieda Rapoport Caplan Womens Catalyst Award, Raina Nelson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Westfalia Fruit Marketing USA, presented by previous winner Carrie Mack, Senior Sourcing Manager, Apples and Pears, Walmart!

I can’t think of a better way to wrap up than to reflect not only on IFPA’s message of taking action, but on the resources available beyond the big annual event we have all just completed.

John Anderson, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and Managing Partner, Oppy“This year’s Global Produce Floral Show was nothing short of exceptional. As a company that holds a booth each year and witnesses the level of energy and engagement within our industry on the show floor, we have a firsthand perspective to the advantages of being a part of the association,” John Anderson, Chair and Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner for Oppy and IFPA Chair, shared with me. “It provides an unparalleled platform for produce companies to showcase their offerings, connect with industry leaders, and forge invaluable partnerships—which is a key part of why Oppy is a member, and why I’m so honored to be this year’s IFPA chair. Having been an active member of the association for over 25 years, serving on various boards and committees, I have seen the invaluable impact it has on the produce sector. I look forward to being a part of driving positive change alongside the IFPA team over this next year.”

Here is to another big show in the books!

Companies in this Story

International Fresh Produce Association

The International Fresh Produce Association is the largest and most diverse international association serving the entire…