Fresh thinking was on display at the Anaheim Convention Center in California last week as it played host to the International Fresh Produce Association’s (IFPA) annual Global Produce and Floral Show.
The event kicked off with a keynote address from IFPA CEO Cathy Burns who spoke of the challenges facing the global fresh produce and floral industry – from geopolitical tensions to extreme weather events, disruptive technologies (such as A.I.) and evolving consumer behaviours.
“We must look at the how the state of things are, envision what we want the state of things to become, and most importantly, act to make it happen,” said Burns. “The good news is this industry knows how to invent from within and tap into innovation from outside our community.”
That action includes advocacy for the fresh produce and floral industry at all levels – global, domestic and local – and driving consumption. “We are here to get more people to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and buy floral more often. Period. And we will act on that through a three-pronged approach of government relations, public relations, and consumer relations.”
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, the engineer who helped transform the computing industry, was also at the show to tell stories from his impressive career and to share his perspectives on innovation and technology. When asked how companies can be more innovative, Wozniak advised hiring a "chief disruptive officer." And when it comes to disruptive technologies such as A.I., Wozniak said companies are going full-steam ahead developing it without always thinking about the problems that may arise. There is a responsibility for it to be regulated, he said. "What's regulation? It doesn't stop you from doing business, it means you won't do certain bad things – you can still do all the good."
On the trade show floor about 1000 exhibitors showcased their products and services to some 20,000 attendees from around the world. From apples to state-of-the-art tech solutions, there was lots to see at the show – in the gallery below are a few items that caught our attention.