Produce Marketing Association's Cathy Burns Shares the Top Five Things She Is Looking Forward To at the Foodservice Expo
MONTEREY, CA - Can you smell that ocean breeze? Feel the energy in a room full of industry friends? Hear the laughter, insights, and camaraderie that is so essential to our fresh produce events? I know that Cathy Burns can. With the Produce Market Association (PMA) Foodservice Conference and Expo just weeks away on July 21–22, the organization’s Chief Executive Officer is anticipating an unforgettable event, and that excitement is already palpable.
As she packs her suitcase and thinks about returning to PMA’s Foodservice Conference in Monterey, Cathy joins me to share the top five things that she is most looking forward to at the Foodservice Conference on California’s coveted Central Coast.
“I cannot wait to greet people—both those I know and those I haven’t met yet—from across the foodservice supply chain with a smile, hug, handshake, fist bump, elbow bump, or however they prefer! Being back in the community of our members is good for my soul and re-energizing,” she says. “Our organization exists for and because of our members. Being able to come back together again after more than a year away will feel like a family reunion.”
“I am looking forward to experiencing the educational program, especially the State of the Foodservice Industry general session. Chef Robert Danhi will be our host, and Lauren M. Scott will have a fantastic look ahead,” Cathy continues. “There will be an opportunity to hear insights from industry members as we work together to solve the challenges facing foodservice. No other segment faced the kind of disruption that foodservice faced this past year. I’m floored, but not surprised, by everyone’s resilience, and hopeful for the way we respond and transform foodservice going forward.”
Cruising the Expo
“The simple joy of walking the Expo floor is one element I am deeply looking forward to. I’m ready to hear the buzz across the floor, smell the fresh product samples, and see the creativity of the produce foodservice industry come to life in new product innovations,” Cathy tells me. “The expo is sold out, and I know that there’s an eagerness to get out there and share these incredible products with new and established partners. We know that travel has been limited for many foodservice companies, but we’re thrilled to see that a third of our current registered attendees come from buyer companies.”
“One of the things I am looking forward to the most is volunteering with our strategic partner, Brighter Bites. I have always been a passionate supporter of the work that Brighter Bites does to not only help alleviate barriers for access to fresh produce to families in need, but their incredible ability to help those families develop healthy habits and a long-term love for fruits and vegetables,” she adds. “I’m excited to be able to join 39 other foodservice attendees to volunteer with the organization and experience the ‘on-the-ground’ aspect of the program!”
“Being back in Monterey is like returning to a second home. It has been two years since I’ve last been in Monterey and as we all get back into the swing of travel, I am looking forward to returning and remembering the things that I love most about the area,” Cathy concludes. “The foggy mornings, the welcoming bark of the seals, the serenity of the bay, surrounded by our members’ fields with some of the freshest and most delicious produce on the planet; all of these make Monterey one of my favorite places.”
We can hardly contain our excitement at AndNowUKnow. The foodservice industry has seen every face of the past pandemic and come out stronger and more resilient than ever before. Cheers to what is to come, and all you are already accomplishing!