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Report from Fresh Summit Convention and Expo

VLAM shows the US what the Belgian fruit and vegetable sector has to offer

For the first time in 11 years the Fresh Summit Convention and Expo PMA was in New Orleans again. From 18 to 20 October the Ernest Memorial Hall formed the meeting place for fruit and vegetable contacts from all over the world. Belgium was also present with a stand, smelling of fresh soup and other goodies. This year the fair attracted exhibitors and more than 18,000 visitors from over 60 countries. This fair is the largest of its kind in America. Among the visitors more than 3,000 buyers were present. Amongst the innovations marketing to children was a hot topic. Both during the workshops and in the exhibition hall these elements were clearly present. Apples sized for children and communication in the form of cartoon figures were some of the examples which could be used in the future to promote and improve the consumption of fruit and vegetables by children in America.

Taste of Europe
The Belgian fruit and vegetable sector was the responsibility of Vergro and Alpimex/Ruris this year. Under the new concept of 'Taste of Europe' VLAM created a 28 m² stand, a space to show off Belgian produce to attendees. For the first time VLAM also brought a chef to tickle the taste buds of the passing trade and clearly illustrate Belgian produce such as leek, chicory, peppers and strawberries and what they have to offer. The trade fair concluded on 19 October with a Belgian contact evening where American importers and retailers could taste delicious snacks with focus on the vegetables in combination with Belgian beers.

Chicory remains the most exported vegetable to America (*1.024 ton), but also celery (*183 ton) and salsify (*96 ton) find their way over to the US more and more. Despite the many barriers which must be overcome such as the strength of South American countries, the distant location and phytosanitary conditions make America, for Belgium a market where chances lie. 

The next edition of the Fresh Summit Convention and Expo will take place from 17 to 19 oktober 2014 in Anaheim.

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