28 February 2017
Q&A with Jim Pittas, PMMI Vice President, Trade Shows
What makes ProFood Tech unique? How will it differ from other shows that showcase packaging and food processing technologies? 

ProFood Tech will be the most comprehensive food and beverage processing show in North America. The show was developed in response to the industry’s need for a forum to exchange new ideas and information. Backed by three tradeshow industry powerhouses—PACK EXPO®, Anuga and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), as well as valuable input from an exhibitor advisory council made up of top manufacturers in the industry—the event will feature relevant, cutting-edge technologies both on the show floor and in the ProFood Tech Conference Program.
Between Anuga, IDFA and PMMI, there are some big names behind ProFood Tech. What sparked this partnership and how has this enriched ProFood Tech? 

All three groups came to this point from different places, but they shared a common goal of building a complete and expansive food and beverage processing show. To do this, PMMI expanded its membership to include processing suppliers and launched a Food and Beverage Processing Zone within PACK EXPO in 2010. We were looking for a new way to help our members and serve the industry and, because of space restrictions in Chicago and Las Vegas, we felt that a new show dedicated to food and beverage was the best way forward. Anuga, which produces the world’s largest food and beverage processing show in Cologne, Germany, was seeking a partner in North America to extend its brand and approached PMMI. Around the same time, the IDFA, as North America’s largest dairy association, had a show as part of Worldwide Food Expo for many years and was trying to establish a permanent home for their International Dairy Show. It was really perfect timing that all three partners came to this point at the same time.

What is unique about ProFood Tech is this is a joint venture, not a co-location, and all three partners have ownership and a specific role to play. PMMI is responsible for running the show and getting our members to support ProFood Tech. IDFA is responsible for not only getting their members to attend but also for producing a first-class conference program and providing structured education to the attendees. Anuga’s primary role is using their international connection to sell non-North American suppliers into the event and, in the future, expanding out of North America to bring this show to an international audience.
How many exhibitors have committed and from what categories? 

By mid-February, we had exceeded our initial goal of 400 exhibitors and are approaching 425 at this point. The main categories covered on the ProFood Tech show floor are Baking/Snack, Beverage, Confection/Candy, Dairy, Grain/Mill/Cereal, Meat/Poultry/Seafood, Prepared Food and Produce/Fresh Food.
Starting a brand new show is never easy. How have you been getting the word out to the industry? 

Fortunately, there is power in numbers and the reach that PACK EXPO, Anuga and IDFA have is second to none. We are using every channel imaginable through all of our organizations including print advertising, digital advertising, editorial coverage in both print and digital and alliances with other industry associations to reach their memberships. Social media has been key to the campaign and, of course, our exhibitors are one of our biggest vehicles to spread the word about the event and the benefits of attending.  
How has the response been so far? What kind of attendance are you expecting? 

The response has been very positive both from a feedback perspective and from a registration perspective. We are expecting 6,000 attendees at the event and we are poised to meet that goal.
What should attendees expect from ProFood Tech that they haven’t seen at other shows? 

The attendees should expect the same great show experience they have come to know from PACK EXPO, Anuga and IDFA events. The conference program is very comprehensive and relevant; in fact, we have a very special key note speaker, Peyton Manning, who will address winning strategies. The show floor has a great mix of representation from the entire processing industry and there will be lots of running machinery, which is not something you can experience just anywhere.   
Jim Pittas is Vice President, Trade Shows, for PMMI. He is responsible for the sales, promotions and operations of all PACK EXPO-branded events, including PACK EXPO International, PACK EXPO Las Vegas, EXPO PACK México. He also oversees PACK EXPO Services, a PMMI subsidiary that serves as the general contractor for show-related services. Pittas serves on the Board of Directors of the Major American Trade Show Organizers (MATSO), and is a member of the International Association of Exhibitions & Events (IAEE) and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).
Interested in learning more about the future of food and beverage production and packaging? Visit Tetra Pak at booth 2403 during ProFood Tech 2017. 
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