“We have built our brand over the past 20+ years on the back of our fresh pineapples. In the past at trade shows, it has always proven successful to have people come into our booth and have a first hand experience with our product: To see, feel and taste our pineapple. Obviously, with a virtual format, that is not a possibility, so we have to learn how to show off our fruit in a different way.” This is what Jake Kamysz of Chestnut Hill Farms says about the company’s preparations for exhibiting at the virtual Fresh Summit 2020 this October.
Preparing for the virtual format
For Chestnut Hill Farms, this will be the second time they exhibit at a virtual show following the United Fresh Live! show earlier this year. “We were able to learn from United Fresh what people were most interested in learning about with regard to our product offering and us as a company and we can focus on those things with new content for Fresh Summit. We are still in the early stages of designing our ‘booth,’ but it appears we can display our products in different ways,” Kamysz shares.
As the company won’t be able to let visitors try their products, they have had to pivot their strategy for the show. Kamysz explains: “We are planning to give our visitors a more in depth look into the workings of our farm, the journey our fruit takes from seed to store shelves while also highlighting some of the competitive advantages we think we can offer prospective customers.”
New offerings: Organic and Fair-trade bananas
For Chestnut Hill Farms, pineapples have been their staple item for the past two decades. Recently, however, they have expanded their product lineup, and this is something they will be highlighting at the show. “We want to continue to highlight how our pineapple is a winner at retail as well as the foodservice and processing categories, but we are also looking forward to displaying our new offerings including organic and Fair-trade bananas. Our recent partnership with Fresh Fruit out of the Dominican Republic gives us an opportunity to enter a market that has seen significant increases in demand but inconsistencies in supply over the past several years. This new opportunity offers a consistent supply 52 weeks of the year,” Kamysz says.
New format brings new opportunities
While attending or exhibiting at a virtual trade show was basically unheard of a year ago, the industry has quickly pivoted to adjust to the ‘new normal.’ “With the virtual format you do miss the interactions and the buzz and energy that comes along with the live shows,” says Kamysz. “That being said, it does provide us opportunities that we may not have gotten as well. With the platform being accessible to buyers for more than 2-3 days in a large sprawling conference hall, we hope to have conversations with our buyers and potential partners that the time constraints of a live show do not allow.”
He adds: “One of the main differences we have noticed is that it takes a more focused effort to make sure we reach out to our contacts before the show to make sure they stop by to see what we have to offer, as well as diligent follow up.”
Despite this, Chestnut Hill Farms’ expectations for the virtual show are no different than if the show was live: “The entire industry has had to go through similar challenges and changes that Chestnut Hill Farms has. We believe that the conversations that take place during the show are important, but success is based on the actions and follow- through that take place after those conversations,” Kamysz concludes.