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At the opening general session of the United FreshMKT, United FreshTEC, International Floriculture Expo and Global Cold Chain Expo, show organizers revealed a fifth expo to be co-located with those events in June 2018. Launched by United Fresh, EnsembleIQ and Progressive Grocer, the new SmartFood Expo will focus on the burgeoning category of healthy foods marketed as “better-for-you,” providing retail and foodservice buyers with a one-stop shop for what’s new and to learn about trends and opportunities to boost their share of the healthy food business.
The expo is slated to feature a broad range of consumer products, among them natural foods, plant-based foods, fresh and healthy, organics, raw foods, products with clean labels and limited ingredients, and a wide variety of items that appeal to consumers’ demand for better-for-you products, uniting industry leaders to explore consumer trends, market data, merchandising strategies and more to help retailers and foodservice executives build upon the excitement and business growth in this increasingly popular segment.
“We’re excited to be partnering with United Fresh, as well as all of the show partners in Chicago, to meet a glaring need in the healthy food space,” said Jeff Greisch, chief brand officer at Chicago-based EnsembleIQ. “We know from our readers/users that buyers are anxious to grow their healthy foods offerings to meet increasing consumer demand. Until now, they’ve had to work too hard to find those products and learn how to take advantage of these business opportunities. With our commitment to retail success, we’ll be bringing focus to this diverse marketplace, employing the full resources of the EnsembleIQ team, including the Path to Purchase Institute, Progressive Grocer, Convenience Store News and our other properties.”
“We’re equally excited to be partnering with EnsembleIQ, calling upon their deep knowledge and experience in the retail food space,” noted Tom Stenzel, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh. “Our own experience has been focused on meeting the growing consumer demand for innovations in fresh produce and fresh foods across all retail and foodservice channels. We’re now pleased to bring the SmartFood Expo side by side with our fresh foods, produce, floral and cold chain shows at McCormick Place in Chicago. A show focused exclusively on healthy foods is the ideal complement to our current events.”
The primary audience for the event consists of buyers from multiple retail and foodservice channels sourcing “better-for- you” foods. These include major national chains but also independents, health and specialty food stores, restaurants, online marketers, and home delivery and meal kit marketers. In Further, a number of larger CPG companies and private-equity investors will be seeking new food products that might fit within their own portfolios. The primary exhibitor audience includes some of those same CPG companies marketing better-for- you foods, but also a wide range of small and midsize companies in search of product exposure and sampling opportunities.
“While a few trade shows include a small selection of food products in this space, there are no shows targeted exclusively at the growing healthy foods segment,” Stenzel added. “The show’s mission is to provide a unique opportunity for buyers to concentrate their focus on healthy foods. Chicago is an easy flight from anywhere in the U.S., as well as a major international destination, enabling widespread retail and foodservice attendance with minimal disruption to busy buyers’ daily work.”
The expo will be the fifth partner show in Chicago next year, taking place at the 800,000-square-foot South Hall at McCormick Place alongside the International Floriculture Expo, Global Cold Chain Expo, United FreshMKT and United FreshTEC. “We’re thrilled to continue growing the footprint of healthy food, fresh foods, produce, floral and the cold chain services need to deliver the highest quality to consumers,” Stenzel said.
Exhibit sales, educational program development and attendee promotion will begin immediately following the 2017 shows running June 13-15 in Chicago. Sales and program development will be handled jointly by the EnsembleIQ account staff and the SmartFood Expo team.
For more about exhibiting, partnering or supporting the SmartFood Expo, contact United Fresh VP of Convention and Industry Collaboration John Toner at 202-303-3424 or [email protected], or EnsembleIQ Chief Brand Officer Jeff Greisch at 224-337- 4029 or [email protected]