The world’s leading fresh produce conference and networking events
Carl Collen

BY CARL COLLEN

Tuesday 17th January 2012, 09:58 London

Countdown on to Freshconex 2012

This year's Business Forum focuses on some of the industry's most pressing topics, and features a host of expert speakers

Countdown on to Freshconex 2012

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The Freshconex 2012 Business Forum on 8-10 February offers fresh produce convenience experts a top-notch platform with information and discussions focusing on current industry trends.

Featured topics over the three days of the trade show range from "New opportunities in marketing for fresh produce convenience" to "Food safety" and "Technology and new product development". The Freshconex Business Forum offers excellent opportunities to share in-depth information and exchange ideas with guest speakers and international industry representatives.

Staged in Hall 7.2b, the Business Forum is fully integrated into the exhibition area which means that it is included in the Freshconex admission price, with presentations simultaneously translated into German and English.

"New opportunities in marketing for fresh produce convenience" is the key theme on the first day of the trade fair, which runs alongside Fruit Logistica at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds. In a series of half-hour presentations, international industry representatives focus on the market opportunities resulting from special marketing strategies in the fresh convenience sector.

In many European countries, including the UK, Italy and the Netherlands, fresh convenience products are now an established part of daily eating habits. In his presentation, Tony Walsh, category manager at Florette, talks about which markets still offer potential for the development of fresh produce convenience products in 'New markets for fresh produce convenience products'.

Johan Halvorsen from SydGrönt AB in Sweden outlines the Nordic markets' special demands on fresh convenience product suppliers in the session 'Market solutions for fresh produce convenience in Nordic markets, where he will describe what buyers in these countries expect and what consumers want.

Private label products play an important role for European food retailers. Peter Hostens, managing director at UNIVEG Legumex Trade, shows how sales can be increased through the development of private label brands in the convenience category in 'Opportunities for developing the convenience category at retail'.

A growing number of fresh convenience brands are being sold through non-traditional sales channels. In his presentation Hans Liekens, operating general manager at Chiquita Brands International, talks about the size of the potential gains in these new markets, the success stories taking place at the traditional retail level as a result of these new opportunities, and how consumers perceive and respond to the new purchasing options in 'Beyond retail: building your brand for a total consumer experience'.

'Food Safety' s the main topic of the forums on the second day of the event. The German market and international suppliers are still feeling the impact of the E coli crisis last summer. This situation clearly demonstrated the importance of food safety and traceability. In his presentation, Frederic Rosseneu, food policy advisor at Freshfel Europe, explains what lessons need to be learned and what special challenges the convenience sector is facing in 'Learning the lessons of the food safety crisis'.

Food safety audit harmonisation represents a key challenge for the business. Dr David Gombas, senior vice-president, food safety & technology at the United Fresh Produce Association, and Dr Kristian Moeller, managing director of GlobalGAP, discuss the current situation and assess the steps needed to achieve harmonisation in 'Next steps to food safety audit harmonisation'.

Information and available communication channels are crucial in the debate about food safety. Close cooperation with the media makes good sense when it comes to ensuring public awareness. In the forum 'Using the media for food safety', Mike Knowles, managing editor of Market Intelligence Ltd, and Michael Barker, editor of Fresh Produce Journal, discuss the role of the press and social media, and address the issue of whether they should be more involved in the information flow.

New technologies can play an important role in improving food safety, from extending shelf-life and product preservation, to washing and cleaning. The presentation by Marc Benarie, export manager at Bioconservacion S.A., focuses on how these technologies can support food safety for fresh convenience products in 'The role of new technologies in food safety'.

The focus on the third day of the trade fair is on 'Technology and new product development'. New seeds, innovative varieties and continuously updated technologies have resulted in changes across the entire supply chain. Daniel Kretzschmar, produce chain manager at Nunhems for Europe and the Middle East, introduces the latest innovations, and describes the development of new varieties in 'Fresh produce convenience and new seed technology'.

New products and product mixes are generating new sales potential. Robert Verloop, senior vice-president marketing at Naturipe Farms, LLC, presents the latest industry trends and offers an assessment of future trends in 'New product mixes in the fresh convenience market sector'.

Shelf life is a key factor in the future growth of the fresh produce convenience sector. Simon Matthews, general manager at Agricoat NatureSeal Ltd, and Sayandro Versteylen, director of product technology at Paper Pak Industries, discuss new technological solutions along with what to expect in the future and what impact these technologies will have on product quality in 'New technologies to improve shelf life and product quality'.

The Freshconex Business Forum is presented by Fresh Convenience Magazine and the United Fresh Produce Association. Information updates for the Freshconex Business Forum and its speakers are available online: www.freshconex.com/events.

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