Following the successful closure of the first digital edition of United Fresh, the organisers drew some positive conclusions for what was a memorable event. More than 12,500 attended the event, with more than 7,500 online at any one time. Over 1,000 joined the general sessions, while the workshops, coffee talk roundtables, networking receptions and morning fitness classes reached thousands more.
The Board of Directors made the decision to open up this platform free of charge, not just to United Fresh members, but to the entire industry. After debating charging a reduced fee, maybe even just $100, United Fresh decided to let attendees decide what this has been worth. No one knew what to expect in a virtual trade show and convention. Now we do.
This decision meant giving up US$1 million in direct registration revenue, and a large amount of exhibit fees were refunded to exhibitors who didn’t have the means to continue online. However, many exhibitors were able to stick by United Fresh, and there were many new exhibitors who joined in this new format. As the convention makes up 30% of the annual budget, the organisers are appealing for support from across the sector to keep it going. A statement read: “Please make an investment in our industry's future and in United Fresh's future so that we can continue to serve you by connecting and advancing the supply chain. The future will be different, and we think our industry will be different. But together, we can continue to increase the consumption of fresh produce and make a positive impact on the health and well-being of our world. Food will win.”