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Fresh Produce Takes Center Stage at International Event

The last week in March saw the launch of a fresh produce sector area at the International Food & Drink Event in London. The fresh produce stands were organised by Nigel Jenny and his team at the Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC).

Nigel Jenney, Nicola Chessum and Emma Glanville

"The thinking behind doing this from an FPC point of view and for the broader produce industry is to promote the fresh produce industry to the visitors who are here today," explained Jenney. "There hasn't been any event to promote our industry for a few years and we are keen to do this again, our members here have been getting fantastic feedback and we hope to build on this year on year. It has been very successful so far."

At this event there was a different visitor profile to other trade fairs which are centred around fresh produce, although the event is not solely for fresh produce, visitors are the customers of fresh produce growers and suppliers: the food service businesses, the hotel trade, the small individual cafes, and hotels who are all looking to add value to the ingredients provided.

"This an opportunity for our growers, and suppliers to find a new market in supplying directly to these customers. The catering and independent retailers represent 35% of our industry's buyers. It is a massive industry that is often perhaps sadly ignored, but it's the heartbeat of our industry that gets forgotten from time to time.

"Our passion is to push it harder and show them the fantastic offer that we have and build on that opportunity. We have several European companies here and we are also looking to promote them, our food supply depends on buying produce from around the world, we have companies here which solely concentrate on exotics and many of these products you will never see in the UK retailers.

"We have had a whole range of people on the stand, some offering technology and some wanting to market their produce and all are giving us positive feedback. The technology offers us ways to become more sustainable using robotics etc, they are all looking to understand what a slightly different customer base is looking for from them."

Author: Nichola McGregor


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