The global nature of the produce business was fully evidenced throughout the London Produce Show and Conference (LPS19), put on by the Fresh Produce Consortium and Produce Business magazine over June 5-7 at Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott hotel on London’s Park Lane. As the UK’s leading global produce get-together, it enables suppliers and buyers to connect within an immersive networking event in one of the world’s iconic cities for the fresh fruit, vegetable and flower industries. Drawing upon London’s traditional role as an international hub of trade and commerce, with the LPS19 the fresh produce industry has thus built upon a regional retail scene that is evolving rapidly and matched that with a reach that is unparalleled.
The three-day event kicked off with the first-ever iteration of the Global Grape Summit on June 5. Here over 300 key industry players from six continents gathered to discuss ways to boost grape consumption and move the industry forward, while surveying the numerous new varieties which have been introduced over recent years. The English phrase “spoilt for choice” comes to mind when considering the expansion of this produce sector, and impacts upon the fact that wine production has increased dramatically in the UK – a land that doesn’t come immediately to mind with regards to wine. Produce Business magazine co-organized the event with the Yentzen Group (the parent company of FreshFruitPortal.com, PortalFruticola.com and ChinaFruitPortal.com), and its president and editor-in-chief Jim Prevor noted the truly international nature of this confab, detailing that people from six continents came to London to confer over every facet of the grape industry supply chain, from production through distribution through retail.
Also on June 5 was the Trading With The UK Seminar, presented by the Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC). At this event, representatives from Defra, the Food Standards Agency and Freshfel Europe provided a comprehensive view of how to go about trade with the UK today, with an eye towards potential changes that may arise in a post-Brexit world.
Of course London is duly celebrated as one of the worlds’ leading cities for cuisine, foodservice and catering, but since this is all made possible by having premium fresh ingredients as a basis the highlight of the three-day LPS19 was the one-day Trade Exhibtion on June 6. Here trade exhibitors got direct access to a wide range of international produce buyers from the retail, foodservice and wholesale sectors, and facilitated the growing UK retail scene, wherein discounters, premium and online retailers increasingly become as prominent as the established mainstream. Additionally, this one-day exhibition presents a series of networking occasions with the variety of seminars and chef demonstrations run alongside the exhibition, where attendees can exchange knowledge of current practices, trends and areas of concern in the produce industry. Also worth noting is the horticultural aspect of this event; as England has a well-deserved reputation as a nation of gardeners, the Trade Exhibition served to re-establish this, with an accent upon the sharp-end of innovation.
On the final day, June 7, attendees had opportunity to take part in one of several market tours, which provided a chance to survey up close purchasing points of produce trade in the area. The tours included a number of venues – the New Covent Garden Wholesale Market Tour; the New Spitalfields Wholesale Market Tour; the Chambers/The Fruitery Production Tour; the Reynolds Foodservice Tour; a Retail Tour; and the Halo Logistics Tour. A record number of industry people came out for the entire three-day LPS19, which demonstrated its growing stature as a must-attend event for people in the international produce community.
Among noteworthy happenings at the Show was the presentation of the Third Annual Best International Initiative For Marketing Fresh Produce To Children 2019 Award, sponsored by The Embassy of the Netherlands in the UK on behalf of the Dutch fresh fruit and vegetable sector. This was announced by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the UK Simon Smits, and first place went to a US-based initiative Produce For Kids – which was created in 2002 by Shuman Farms (a leading grower and shipper of Vidalia onions) – in recognition of their outreach to more than 17,000 children and elementary school classes and more than 2,000 retail stores; they have donated more than $6 million dollars to charities that benefit children and families throughout the US. The runner-up citation went to Aldi UK and VegPower’s ‘Eat Them To Defeat Them’ campaign.
Anyone interested in more information and details about The London Produce Show can log onto the website at www.londonproduceshow.co.uk.