New York Produce Show and Conference enjoys record attendance, sponsorships

Aimee Tenzek

The 14th annual New York Produce Show and Conference (NYPS) opened Dec. 5, with GRATITUDE as the overall theme. The show had a record audience of more than 5,000 executives attending the one-day trade show and three co-located events. There were 350-plus exhibiting companies and a record of 41 sponsors. The New York Produce Show is organized by Produce Business and the Eastern Produce Council.

“Feeling grateful and showing our gratitude can be our choice as we endeavor to change forever how we experience the challenges and blessings presented by our vibrant and vital produce industry,” says Ken Whitacre, chief executive/publisher, Produce Business.


The conference opened Tuesday with the Global Trade Symposium at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel. The symposium provided an intensive look into global trade from the perspective of produce moving in and out of the East Coast via land and sea. Session topics included global trends; export and import challenges and opportunities; land port updates; and updates on avocados, citrus, grapes and mangos.

Gustavo Yentzen (right), Yentzen Group, was moderator of the Dec. 5 Global Trade Symposium Citrus Update session. Panelists included (left to right): Christian Harris, Sunkist Growers; Zak Laffite, Wonderful Citrus; and Mayda Sotomayor-Kirk, Seald Sweet/Univeg.

Cornell University’s Future-Leaders-in-Produce Program was also a highlight Tuesday. Cornell professors provided sessions on the fresh produce industry and trends in fresh cuisine.

Kristen Park, extension associate, Dyson School of Applied Economics at Cornell University, spoke on the U.S. food system and fresh produce during the Foundational Excellence program, Dec. 5.

The Rising Star Reception honored Produce Business‘s coveted 40 Under 40 Award winners, followed by the opening night cocktail reception, which kicked off the show and had a record crowd.

The Rising Star Reception honored PRODUCE BUSINESS’S 40 Under 40 Award winners.


The show continued Dec. 6 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center with the Keynote Breakfast. Students from the Harlem School of the Arts performed the National Anthem. The late Marianne Santo, three-time president of Eastern Produce Council and senior category manager of produce and floral at Wakefern Food Corp., was honored with a video tribute.

During the breakfast, awards were given to the Most Innovative Independent Retailer, Merchandiser of the Year, Most Innovative Dining Outlet, Joe Nucci Award for Product Innovation and Global Marketing Innovation. Hollywood actor and author Scott Christopher was the keynote speaker.

YO QUIERO!, of Rhome, TX, won the Innovation Award for its Avocado & Egg Mini Cups at the Keynote Breakfast, Dec. 6. Pictured is Tara Murray, vice president of marketing, Fresh Innovations, and Ken Whitacre, chief executive and publisher of  PRODUCE BUSINESS.

Charles Blackstone, of New York City Mayor Eric Adam’s Food Policy Office, honored Michael Muzyk, of Baldor Specialty Foods, at the trade show’s ribbon cutting, with a proclamation for his many achievements in the produce industry.

Three chefs provided cooking demonstrations (and sampling) during the trade show. Student chefs also competed and created dishes by foraging fresh produce from exhibitors.

New this year was the Buyer-Connect Program, which enabled key decision-makers to connect with vendors in prearranged, one-on-one meetings during the show.

Also on Dec. 6, a special stage presented five educational sessions. Industry thought leaders shared insights on: the retail future of indoor-grown produce (CEA); how to tap into consumer perceptions to drive sales and overall produce consumption; merchandising success stories; sustainability; and wholesale/distribution challenges and opportunities.

After the show closed, an army of more than 50 City Harvest volunteers gathered 70,800 pounds (that’s more than 35 tons, folks!) of fresh produce donated by NYPS exhibitors, and immediately delivered it to five partner food pantries for distribution. We are proud to play a role in rescuing this food and helping feed NYC neighbors.


The final day of the New York Produce Show and Conference, Dec. 7, featured five industry bus tours and the Ideation Fresh Foodservice Forum.

Chef Jessica Pamonicutt led demonstrations at the Ideation Fresh forum, Dec. 7.

The Ideation Fresh forum featured an in-depth look at trends that will shape the hospitality industry in 2024; a lively panel discussion with foodservice industry leaders about getting fresh produce to the center of attention (and the center of the plate); a powerful demonstration with Chef Jessica Pamonicutt; and a panel discussion with produce marketers who work to get produce onto more menus.

During a working lunch, culinary students from Johnson & Wales University led table discussions about real-world challenges, and later presented their fresh ideas about elevating produce.

Also on Dec. 7, participants could select one of five industry tours when registering for the show and conference — and tour hosts did not disappoint!

New Jersey’s retail tour stops included: Food Bazaar, North Bergen, NJ; the Jersey City Whole Foods; then Seabra’s Market and ShopRite, both in Newark. Manhattan-based retailers hosting a tour included: Whole Foods, Morton Williams, Brooklyn Fare and the new Wegmans that just opened in October on Astor Place, the location that once housed the John Wanamaker Department Store.

Participants could select one of five industry tours when registering for the show and conference, Dec. 7. Pictured is the tour of Manhattan’s Wegmans.

A tour of Brooklyn retailers included Wegmans’ first NYC location, which opened in 2019; Trader Joe’s; and a landmark open-air market, 3 Guys From Brooklyn.

Another tour got “chilly in Philly” and toured the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, the world’s largest fully-enclosed, fully-refrigerated wholesale produce terminal. Rounding out the tours was the always-popular tour of New York City’s 112-acre Hunts Point Produce Market.


Mark your calendar for next year’s New York Produce Show and Conference: Dec. 10–12, 2024.

And exhibitors, book your booth now, as there’s a limited time to maintain the current booth rate. Visit or talk to your sales representative before Jan. 10 to lock in the 2023 rate!



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