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Viva Fresh Expo returns to Austin in 2017

Hosted by the Texas International Produce Association, the third annual Viva Fresh Produce Expo returns to Austin, TX, April 20-22, 2017 at the Austin Convention Center and Hilton Hotel. The expo has catered to sold out crowds and increased buyer attendance by more than 70 percent.

“With only two years under its belt, Viva Fresh has become a great regional show. The mix of Texas and Mexico growers makes this a true international event,” Hugh Topper, H-E-B’s group vice president, said in a press release. “The venues have been great and with the event returning to Austin this year, everyone can experience the hospitality of the capital of Texas.”VivaFresh2017

The Gateway to the Americas-themed regional event features produce grown in Texas, the neighboring Southwest states and Mexico. It’s no secret that Texas and the Rio Grande Valley play an important economic role in the distribution of fresh produce. From 2007-15, fruit and vegetable imports from Mexico through Texas have grown an eye-popping 107 percent. In 2015, Texas crossed 210,000 truckloads, with that number expected to grow to as much as 358,000 by 2023, according to analysis by the Texas A&M Center for North American Studies.

“We know we’re doing something right when buyer attendance has nearly doubled from year one to year two and nearly 100 percent of those retail and foodservice attendees report they are satisfied or very satisfied with the event with many commenting this is one of the best events they’ve attended," Bret Erickson, TIPA president and CEO, said in a press release. "Additionally, over 90 percent of all attendees report that they plan on coming back to join us again in 2017.”

Since day one, the expo has focused on networking as well as education by tackling critical issues through technology and experiential learning. Year three will include the popular virtual field tours that bring the farm directly to the convention center and create a real-time experience for visual engagement and the ability to ask questions of the growers in the field hundreds of miles away.

Because everything is bigger in Texas, expect more big ideas and big flavors at the 2017 Viva Fresh Produce Expo. Along with the education component, the expo will continue to be focused on the health benefits, style and taste of Southwestern U.S. and Mexico-grown produce, with chef-inspired events and receptions with regional-specific foodie flair.  

For more information or to register online, visit VivaFreshExpo.com.  Sponsors and exhibitors should plan to register early as exhibits and sponsorship opportunities in 2015 and 2106 were sold out with a waiting list.  Registration for retail and foodservice buyers is free and a travel stipend is provided.