Mission, Texas; February 17, 2016: On the heels of the 2015 sell out show, and preparations for the 2016 show that is already sold out, three prominent Texas retailers have endorsed the Viva Fresh Produce Expo which will be held on March 30-April 2 at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort and Space in San Antonio, Texas.
Attending buyers regularly highlight the key benefits of the rapidly growing Tex-Mex corridor and its importance to trade, the strong educational programs with Virtual Field tours and the ability to connect with grower-shippers in a more personal setting as reasons for attending the Viva Fresh Expo.
Part of the impetus for the creation of the Viva Fresh Expo was the growing importance of the Tex-Mex corridor, the national changes in transportation, labor and the availability of water which continue to make produce imports from Mexico an important source for fresh produce and of significant economic importance to Texas and the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas which sits at the end of the new Mexican “superhighway”. In fact, by 2023, fruit and vegetable imports from Mexico to Texas are forecast to grow as much as 70% in comparison to 2015, or the equivalent of nearly 360,000 truckloads annually, according to the most recent analysis by the Texas A&M Center for North American Studies.
H-E-B’s Group Vice President, Hugh Topper stated, “The tremendous response from this past year’s Expo shows the importance of the Texas, Southwest and Mexico growing regions. This is a true regional Expo with an international flair that brings value to both suppliers and customers.”
Tommy Wilkins, Director of Sales for Grow Farms Texas who also serves on the Expo Steering Committee states, “As an ex-retailer I know from first-hand experience how important the ‘Gateways to the Americas’ is to the produce industry especially with the amount of products that pass through and are grown in Texas each year. More importantly, I am proud to be a part of such an innovative regional Expo.”
The Viva Fresh Expo was also created to take advantage of the trend to offer more intimate and affordable regional tradeshows that allow vendors and customers to create meaningful networking opportunities. According to Joseph Bunting, Produce Business Director, United Supermarkets, “The Viva Fresh Expo provides ample opportunity to develop new business relationships and strengthen already established relationships in a personal setting. We look forward to connecting with suppliers from the Southwest, Mexico, and of course Texas the fastest growing produce corridor of the country.”
In addition to networking, the expo focuses on education programming with the inclusion of technology that includes virtual field tours at farms and facilities in Texas and Mexico. “The educational program is outstanding, especially the virtual field tours that bring the farm into the conference room,” said Keith Durham Category Manager of Fresh Produce at Brookshire Grocery Company. “This is a must attend event to network with best-in-class growers, meet other buyers and learn about the challenges and opportunities of the Gateway to the Americas region while enjoying all the hospitality the Lone Star State has to offer.”
And since everything is bigger in Texas, expect more big ideas and big flavors at the 2016 Viva Fresh Produce Expo. Along with the education component, the expo will continue to be focused on the health benefits, style and taste of Southwestern US and Mexico-grown produce, with chef-inspired events and receptions with regional-specific foodie flair.