The inaugural Global Cold Chain Expo, which took place June 20-22 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, was a success, with over 1,200 cold chain professionals from 18 countries in attendance.  

Created in partnership between the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA), Alexandria, Va., and United Fresh Produce Association, Washington, D.C., along with the International Floriculture Expo, produced by Diversified Communications, Portland, Maine, and FMI Connect, produced by the Food Marketing Institute, Arlington, Va., attendance at the overall shows included nearly 13,000 key decision-makers representing the world’s perishable supply chain, including produce, logistics, fresh-cut flowers, temperature-controlled warehousing and food processing and manufacturing.

“For the first time ever, all sectors of the world’s cold chain came together under one roof,” says Eben James, chairman of GCCA’s core partner, the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW) and president and CEO of Trenton Cold Storage, Canada. “The variety of exhibitors and attendees at the show provided new opportunities for participants to connect and develop new relationships.”

Highlights from the show include:

  • A hosted buyer program put a spotlight on the value of maintaining a high-quality cold chain to other key industry partners, from broadline foodservice distributors and food processors to major consumer packaged goods (CPG) firms. 
  • Educational programming began with keynote speaker Jim Lemke, president of Robinson Fresh, Eden Prairie, Minn. Lemke discussed the fast pace of modern supply chains and what the future of consumer shopping habits will look like.
  • Additional sessions focused topics such as food safety, cold chain integration and automation.
  • Networking opportunities included everything from a reception and a happy hour to an ice cream social and more.

The 27,000-squarefoot show floor was populated by 165 exhibiting companies representing the temperature-controlled supply chain, including specialists in warehousing, transportation, construction and logistics.

“The first Global Cold Chain Expo was a huge success thanks to the relationship between GCCA, United Fresh and their respective members,” says Tony Freytag, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Crunch Pak, Cashmere, Wash., and chairman of the United Fresh board of directors. “It was exciting to see the cold chain and fresh produce communities unite to create a unique perishable supply chain experience.”

The second annual Global Cold Chain Expo will return to Chicago’s McCormick Place in June 13-15, 2017.