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London Produce Show a sister act for New York event

By ROBYN MIRANDA
Special to The New Jersey Farmer

LONDON (July 15, 2015) —The London Produce Show and Conference met for the 2nd annual exhibition and tradeshow in London on June 3-5.
With more than 120 exhibitors from 45 countries, the trade exhibition was a great opportunity for networking.
Additional activities at the conference included a cocktail reception sponsored by Stubbins Food Partnerships, chef demonstrations, informational seminars and workshops, guided tours and a student mentoring program.
The sister show, “The New York Produce Show and Conference,” will hold its sixth annual tradeshow Dec. 1-3 in New York City.
There were several College students in attendance from the University of New Castle, Kent University, Harper Adams University, Reading University, Cornell University and four students from Rutgers University were also in attendance. Sponsored by the London Produce Show, the four Rutgers School of Biological and Environmental Sciences students included Robyn Miranda and Robert Pyne, graduate students studying Food Science and Plant Biology, respectively, as well as recent graduates Elaine Erlenbach and Michael Lamantia, studying Agriculture and Food systems and Food and Business Economics, respectively. The student mentoring program included an informative lineup of speakers.
Topics covered included the expansion of the food industry via social media; food marketing techniques and the diverse career opportunities available within the fresh produce industry.
“The student-mentoring program encouraged professional development and helped break the barrier between students and leaders in the agribusiness industry,” Robert Pyne of Rutgers University noted. Industry representatives served as hosts and guided the students thorough the tradeshow floor to facilitate their networking opportunities.
Several industry tours were offered on the third day of the London Produce Show ranging from wholesale market tours to production/agriculture visits, as well as retail and foodservice tours.
Rutgers University students participated in the educational retail tour to grocery stores in Central London which included stops as Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer and Asda. Lead by Claire Powell, LPS Seminar and Retail Tour Coordinator, students observed the noticeable difference in produce marketing approaches across various types of retail stores visited.
The store department manager and host of the tour at Waitrose, Anselm Colom, explained that fresh produce most commonly sold is individually packaged in London. The reason, Colom explained, was because most of their customers shop for convenience and buy food needed just for a few days. By comparison Rutgers student Elaine Erlenbach noted, “The supermarkets appear to be constantly busy whereas in the United States, it’s crowded at peak hours of the day.”
This could suggest a reason why the United Kingdom has a significantly reduced amount of food waste when compared to the United States.
As of 2012, the U.S. food waste is 28 times larger than in the U.K., yet the population in the United States is only five times greater.
Generally consumers in the UK buy food needed for one or two day consumption, once consumed, they return to shop for more.
Whereas in the United States, it is common to see consumers purchase in bulk quantities due to the availability of superstores, which are less common in London.
Individually packed produce also helps to improve traceability of the product if an outbreak or recall were to occur. An additional benefit to having produce individually packaged is a decrease in the risk of foodborne disease.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that foodborne diseases strikes one in six Americans resulting in 3,000 deaths annually.
Jim Prevor and his company, Phoenix Media Network, Inc., sponsored the opportunity for students to attend the London Produce Show and Conference.
(Editor’s note: Robyn Miranda is a student at Rutgers University.)