A Fresh Future: A Dive into the 2023 Global Produce & Floral Show

Our coverage of the event, encompassing its significant highlights, spanning innovations, challenges, and future prospects.

The much-anticipated Global Produce & Floral Show was held in Anaheim, California, from October 19-21. Annually, this event becomes a benchmark for the latest trends in the world of produce and florals. "Each year, our team eagerly anticipates this event. As we navigate the evolving landscape of fresh produce, this event serves as an opportunity to stop and reflect, learn, and forge connections," shared Juan Pablo Caballero, Director of Sales for QIMA Produce. This year was no exception, as the show lived up to its reputation as the prime locale for industry insights, networking, and trend-spotting.   

The World’s Epicenter of Produce and Floral Innovation 

While Anaheim is normally known as one of the happiest places on Earth for mouse-related reasons, the city was temporarily a global hub for produce and floral innovation. Over three vibrant days, we observed more than 20,000 professionals from more than 60 nations and upwards of 1,160 companies, sharing one mission for knowledge and collaboration.  

This year's event highlighted the technological breakthroughs that are driving industry evolution. Central to this focus was the Innovation Hub, a dedicated space for cutting-edge solutions. The hub included the Future Tech Pavilion, where participants from the Fresh Field Catalyst Accelerator program showcased their year's achievements.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) took center stage across various sectors. Innovations spanned generative AI, 3D printing of food, and palm scanners that assess vegetable intake. In retail and food service, AI-driven customer experiences offered advanced meal suggestions. The floral industry showcased AI-powered robots skilled in intricate flower arrangements. A major emphasis was on reducing food waste through AI, with dynamic pricing strategies based on product freshness and AI scanners pinpointing ripeness. AI is poised to make its way into consumers' kitchens, with smart cutting boards monitoring nutrition and calories, and apps scanning refrigerator contents to suggest meals. According to McKinsey data, AI is set to revolutionize the agriculture sector, impacting sales, marketing, software engineering, and supply chain logistics."

The Hosts And Their Clear Call to Action

Cathy Burns, CEO of the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA), delivered a strong message on the imperative for the fresh produce industry to adapt and innovate in response to swiftly changing global challenges. She underscored IFPA's commitment to sustainability, health advocacy, and forward-thinking strategies like fresh produce prescriptions.

Burns particularly emphasized the transformative role of artificial intelligence (AI) across diverse aspects of the sector, from enhancing retail experiences to optimizing logistics.

While addressing the challenges posed by extreme weather events, Burns stressed the significance of recognizing and mitigating risks to food security. She also elucidated consumer expectations for businesses to play a leading role in addressing these critical issues. Her discourse was comprehensive, emphasizing the urgency of addressing both environmental and human sustainability. With compelling data on employee burnout and its far-reaching economic implications, she underscored the importance of prioritizing human well-being.

 Burns issued a clear call to action: the industry must unite to drive change, embrace innovation, and advocate for a better, healthier future.

QIMA in the Spotlight 

For QIMA and its subsidiaries - QIMA WQS , QIMA IBD & Produce - the event served as an invaluable platform for connecting with clients, partners, and potential collaborators, while simultaneously showcasing QIMA's extensive food services. Gathered at booth #4249, our team, hailing from various regions across the country and Latin America, brought a vibrant blend of enthusiasm and eagerness to the event. Juan Pablo Caballero, speaking on behalf of all QIMA representatives, expressed, "Being able to provide a comprehensive suite of services, from origin to destination, encompassing quality, food safety, and sustainability certification, instills the team with the confidence to offer a one-stop solution to the produce industry, simplifying their journey in these aspects."

Both producer territories and international buyers shared perspectives on the potential avenues for growth, as well as the obstacles encountered in diverse regions. These discussions unveiled the intricate nature of international trade, highlighting the significance of grasping diverse market dynamics, regulatory frameworks, and shifting consumer preferences.

For QIMA, these conversations were essential, emphasizing the necessity of adaptability and foresight in this ever-evolving industry. 

QIMA Food Team

Reflecting on Anaheim's Success, Setting Sights on Atlanta 2024

Looking ahead, we eagerly await the next event slated for October 17-19, 2024, in Atlanta, Georgia. Here at QIMA, we've already begun our preparations. Our goal is to remain in harmony with the ever-evolving needs of the produce industry. To achieve this, we are dedicated to enhancing our offerings through advanced training, innovative software solutions, and a range of other exciting developments that we have in store. All of these initiatives are designed to simplify operations and play a pivotal role in ensuring their sustained success.