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New TIPA conference promotes U.S.-Mexico border and produce diversity

The Texas International Produce Association has announced plans to host the inaugural VIVA Fresh Conference & Expo March 26-28, 2015 at the Hilton Austin in Austin, Texas. The expo, which is meant to highlight the “Gateway to the Americas,” will focus on showcasing produce grown in the Southwestern United States and Mexico.VivaFreshLogo 070914

The new VIVA Fresh Expo was created to take advantage of the trend to offer more intimate and affordable regional trade shows that allow vendors and customers to create meaningful networking opportunities that highlight products and build relationships. The new show replaces TIPA’s former Texas Produce Convention.

“We’re incredibly excited to debut this new international conference that will showcase the high quality, variety and availability of fresh produce from Texas, the Southwestern U.S. and Mexico,” Bret Erickson, TIPA president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “Connecting buyers with Southwestern U.S. and Mexican producers is a key objective of VIVA Fresh. The conference committees will be working directly with retailers and foodservice companies, who are invited to attend for free, to ensure greater participation.”

The expo will focus heavily on networking and education and include virtual field tours at farms and facilities in Texas and Mexico, a supermarket dietician symposium, the latest in merchandising trends, and a wide range of topics focusing on issues and opportunities with trade between Mexico and the United States and how that affects both growers and customers.

TIPA Chairman Dante Galeazzi of Crescent Fruit & Vegetable and the expo committee chair said, “Imported products continue to grow in volume and distribution. We believe that the topics and opportunities we will provide at Viva Fresh as it relates to the growth and expansion of produce from Mexico, transportation issues and upcoming trade regulations specifically for this region will make this conference unique to other trade shows and create the international draw that is missing from the ‘regional’ shows available today.”

Along with the education component, the expo will be focused on the health benefits, style and taste of Southwestern and Mexico-grown produce, with chef-inspired events and receptions with a region-specific foodie flair.

The VIVA Fresh Expo website will launch in August and include detailed information on schedule, registration, sponsorship and exhibiting. For more information, contact Bret Erickson at bret.erickson@texipa.org.