FRESNO, Calif. — An exposition designed to link food producers with buyers and retailers drew a record number of participants on July 24, organizers said.
The fourth annual Fresno Food Expo featured 126 food and beverage companies including growers, processors and other manufacturers from the eight-county San Joaquin Valley, according to a news release.
The vendors met with 700 pre-qualified representatives from restaurants, food-service and retail companies as well as more than 1,000 members of the public, organizers said. The numbers marked a 93 percent increase in exhibitors and a 250 percent jump in buyers since the expo began in 2011, they said.
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin said in prepared remarks that organizers are “overwhelmed by the impact” the expo has had on the area’s economy.
“The Fresno Food Expo has put a spotlight on our region, highlighting the fact that we are truly the breadbasket of the world attracting buyers from all over the globe who are looking to find our own local products to purchase,” she said.
Presented by Union Bank, the Food Expo moved its date from March to July to accommodate a greater variety of fresh commodities from small and large growers, cooperatives and ethnic producers, the release explained. Registration is being taken for the next expo on July 23, 2015.
The valley is home to more than 2,500 fresh produce growers and packers, which accounted for an economic impact of $113.4 billion in 2012 and more than 72 percent of California’s agricultural value, according to the release.