ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- In an effort to distinguish its exposition, the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association here is taking the show-floor emphasis away from fresh produce and placing it instead on equipment and technology. In a letter sent to members June 4, the board of directors' Convention Task Force said the shift will eliminate the greatest area of duplication between United and the Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Del. "We want to work with PMA to build this clear differentiation in trade shows; put the competition behind us; and move forward as partners, not rivals, to build a stronger produce industry," read the letter, which was sent by eight United board members on the task force.
Last year, PMA and United engaged in occasionally bruising -- and ultimately unsuccessful -- talks to merge organizations and end duplication. Sarah Delea, vice president of communications for United, said suppliers of fresh produce will still be welcome to display their wares at the association's 1997 convention next February. However, the trade show emphasis will be on suppliers of "tools, technology, equipment, goods and services available to help you increase your efficiency, productivity and profitability," according to the task force.
Sixty percent of exhibitors at United's 1996 convention in New Orleans were offering equipment, goods and services to the industry, rather than selling produce, the letter stated. The decision to shift the focus of United's exposition was unanimously approved by the board of directors at the annual board meeting last month, it was reported.