Texas International Produce Association Launches 2018 Viva Fresh Expo
MISSION, TX - The Viva Fresh Expo is back and better than ever this year, and the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA)-hosted event is coming back to the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio. Taking place from April 5-7, 2018, this year’s fourth annual expo is expected to once again cater to sold out crowds and attract major buyers from regional and national retailers alike.
“We’ve seen increased attendance from retail and foodservice buyers from companies including H-E-B, Walmart, and US Foods, and 100 percent of our surveyed retailers say the expo meets their business needs,” shared Dante Galeazzi, TIPA’s President and CEO. “Since we know this region is a main focus for attendees, we’ve increased our outreach to include more regional growers and revamped our exhibitor list, so the majority of exhibitors will be from Texas, Mexico, and the Southwest United States.”
As the importance of the Texas, Mexico, and Rio Grande Valley produce industry grows, so does the success of this premiere regional event. In 2016, TIPA established a Retail & Foodservice Advisory Board, made up of 14 retail and foodservice contacts, to assist in guiding the direction of the Viva Fresh Expo. Today, these advisory members have continued to reinforce the significance of the region, as well as cite its importance as a main factor in why they continue to be involved with the expo.
“I’ve been impressed with the Viva Fresh Expo year after year,” said Joseph Bunting, Produce Business Director at United Supermarkets and Advisory Board member. “It’s a true regional event and showcases Texas and Mexico as a commanding force for high-quality, year-round fresh produce. I always look forward to Viva Fresh to strengthen current relationships, make new connections, and stay up on all the regional trends.”
According to a press release, approximately half of fresh fruit and vegetable imports from Mexico entered the U.S. through Texas land ports in 2016—meaning $5.4 billion worth of produce, or over 220,000 truckloads, have entered through the region. TIPA shared that fruit and vegetable imports from Mexico are growing at an astounding rate: from 2007-2015 alone, imports from the country have more than doubled, reaching an impressive 107 percent growth rate.
Not a group to rest on its laurels, TIPA’s Viva Fresh is continuing to push for innovations and advanced best practices. Through the Viva Fresh educational seminar program, attendees can experience a virtual tour of a field, a packing house, and quality control measures to help learn more about topics like best in class food safety and how Mexican suppliers are raising the bar. Additional educational sessions will tackle such industry challenges as the multi-generational marketplace and how Amazon will impact the future of retail sales and marketing.
Registration is now open for exhibitors and sponsors at www.vivafreshexpo.com, and if year’s past have taught me anything, it will sell out! Plan to register early and scoop up those hot exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities. Registration for most retail and foodservice buyers is free, and a travel stipend is provided.
See you all in San Antonio!