International award adds spark to build-up for second London show

As preparations for the second London Produce Show and Conference enter their final stretch, the news has broken that the inaugural event has won a highly sought-after international award

The event, presented jointly by Fresh Produce Consortium and Produce Business, has been selected as the Number One International Event in the prestigious FAME Awards, presented by FOLIO: the magazine for magazine management

Many Produce Business UK readers will have read what the organisers have said about their own show, but for an independent view, here is what FOLIO’s panel of judges said when announcing the award: 

Produce Business is a leading American magazine for the fresh produce industry. Although the publication has a notable presence in the UK, there are other British and European publications in its competitive set. Still, there were no large-scale events in the UK to serve the trade. So the brand decided to appropriate what it does with events in the US across the pond.

“The brand believed that by doing a substantial trade show, conference and networking event in the UK, it would help build closer relationships with the British and European trade and help increase brand awareness. So the idea became spinning its New York Produce Show and Conference into London.

“A show of this magnitude in this market was new to the London trade. It included 140 exhibitors and a program packed with thought leaders from around the world.

“The results were instant and impressive. A study done of exhibitors at the show by England Marketing indicated that:

98% of attendees surveyed said they enjoyed the show and 88% said they would attend next year. And nearly everyone (95%) said they would recommend the show to other fresh produce companies.

Circulation of the magazine and its digital products in the UK more than doubled and industry demand led to both the establishment of a substantial custom publishing unit and launch of a UK-specific digital publication early in 2015.

“While the UK is smaller than the US, the London event, with over 1,100 attendees, was the largest of its kind. And in 2015, it will only get bigger, with attendance projections set 50% higher than in 2014.”

The award is not just a win for the organisers, but recognition of the part played in making it happen by the charter exhibitors, the speakers, chefs, students and attendees, and the UK industry as a whole, says Jim Prevor, editor in chief of Produce Business.

“The real win was in creating a new opportunity for engagement in the great iconic city of London. From across Britain, around Europe and the Middle East and around the world, thought leaders, key traders, prominent buyers, all gathered to learn, to build and reinforce relationships and to do business in this great standard-setting nation. A region of the world that truly was an island in produce terms, suddenly became a centre of attention as the global produce trade pivoted to London,” he says. 

“The London Produce Show and Conference is presented by The Fresh Produce Consortium and PRODUCE BUSINESS and has grown under the tutelage of Tommy Leighton and an impressive and hard-working UK team including Emma Grant, Linda Bloomfield, Hannah Gorvin, George Beach, Natalie Pavich, Gill McShane, Kathy Hammond and Liz O’Keefe, backed up by a substantial American team. Congratulations are due to all.”

The 2015 event takes place at Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott Hotel on Park Lane on June 3-5. Click here to view the website for more details about the structure of this year’s event and how you can participate, here to register to attend FREE, as a buyer of fresh produce, and here to find out more about the programme that has already been put in place.

Tommy Leighton concludes: “It is of course a huge honour to win any award of this nature and the London Produce Show & Conference also placed second in two other FOLIO categories. Alongside the big increase in interest in this year’s event around the world, we think this is further recognition that we have introduced a model that worked, one that provides great value to exhibitors and attendees alike and something that we can continue to develop in the coming years to attract the world of produce to London each June.”

News of this award was swiftly followed by the announcement of two more awards won by the publishers of Produce Business. 

First, the “Pulitzer Prize of the Business Press” – the Jesse H. Neal Award, for Editorial, Commentary and Opinion, has been bestowed upon Jim Prevor, aka The Perishable Pundit, who was honoured this year, following last year’s award for best columns in Produce Business. 

And they say these things come in threes, so the news that the Eastern Produce Council has deemed fit to honour Jim with a Lifetime Achievement Award at its gala dinner this weekend was the icing on the cake. 

He said: “Under any circumstances, such an award is humbling. But to win it from an association the Pundit’s family has been a member of since its founding, and to be so recognised in an industry where the Pundit’s father, Michael Prevor, grandfather, Harry Prevor, and great-grandfather, Jacob Prevor, all toiled is of special meaning.

“How does one possibly say thank you?”

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