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Research on Produce Opportunities to be presented at PMA Foodservice Conference

MONTEREY, CA (June 25)—Industry leaders will discuss implications of new research about produce's role in growing the foodservice industry's business at Produce Marketing Association's (PMA) 2009 Foodservice Conference & Exposition, being held July 24-26 in Monterey, California. The conference kicks off with the "Executive Think Tank: Summary and Discussion" - the first public report on new research into foodservice operators' attitudes and input about produce, and what key industry leaders had to say in reaction about how to increase use of produce in foodservice. This opening session will take place immediately on the heels of and will summarize a facilitated "Think Tank" discussion among top executives representing the restaurant, distributor and produce industries. 

"Produce is both a very important part of a healthy diet and a versatile ingredient in the culinary arts," said IFDA president and ceo Mark Allen. "By conducting research on foodservice operator attitudes to fresh produce and then engaging high-level industry executives in dialogue through the Think Tank, we can identify opportunities to increase fresh produce use in foodservice."

The conference's opening session will first summarize findings of a comprehensive operator research initiative currently underway that examines opportunities and barriers for greater produce use in the foodservice sector. This research, led by the National Restaurant Association with assistance from produce industry leaders, will also set the stage for a first-ever Think Tank discussion among senior thought leaders from across the supply chain. Association leaders will then summarize the discussion and outcomes of that Think Tank meeting, which will take place on July 24 and is being sponsored by Markon Cooperative.

The associations expect that the first Think Tank discussion will serve as the basis for future high-level dialogues within the foodservice and produce sectors to find solutions that benefit everyone - consumers, operators and their produce suppliers.

The operator research explores a range of topics, including: historical and anticipated trends in operators' use of fresh produce; key influencers of purchasing patterns; satisfaction levels with the produce they serve; attitudes about sourcing seasonally vs. year-round; the weight they give to motivators like flavor and taste, and sustainability in making produce buying decisions. A summary report available to the associations' memberships is planned.

For more information on the PMA Foodservice Conference and to register online, visit www.pma.com/foodservice.

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