Food processors and foodservice operators gathered at Sealed Air’s Packforum Americas facility on Sept. 8-9 for the 2010 Foodservice Forum event to hear from industry experts on a number of topics, including trends in menu innovation, labor and employment law, and sustainability.

The event highlighted a breadth of categories across all segments of the foodservice industry, with presentations by individuals with insider viewpoints about current and future foodservice trends and technologies.

Labor law expert Calvin W. Blackburn III delivered the keynote address to attendees on the first day of the event. Blackburn has guided many corporations and governmental entities in labor and employment matters and relevant human resource issues in the workplace using innovative approaches with sensitivity to the company’s bottom line.

Paul Schlossberg, president of DFW Consulting, conducted a session on entering the takeout and vending market through packaging innovations. During his presentation, Schlossberg discussed the current state of the vending industry and the opportunities for innovation. Following Schlossberg’s presentation, attendees were able to see the future of vending in action as they witnessed an on-site demonstration of a vending machine that dispenses individual hot ready meals for consumers.

“This event was a chance for our guests to interact with and share ideas about how trends and technology can help foodservice operators,” said Susan Edwards, foodservice manager and corporate chef for Sealed Air’s Cryovac Food Solutions. “The best way to make sure we are advancing in every way possible is to participate in the sharing of ideas that we can adapt, such as the vending market that Paul Schlossberg discussed.”

Also speaking at the event was Kristina Butts, director of legislative affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. In her role, Butts lobbies Congress on food safety, nutrition, energy, animal welfare and animal health issues on behalf of cattle producers. She spoke about the current Food Safety Bill and how it would affect food processors and foodservice operators.

“The food prepared for attendees of the event was exquisite due to the techniques and creativity of Certified Master Chef Kevin Gawronski,” said Edwards. Gawronski and his team from Schoolcraft College created six unique dishes for attendees, including potato-stuffed shrimp served with lobster and fresh corn sauce, and pork tenderloin with a sweet potato and apple gratin.

Attendees experienced the application of microwaveable and ovenable ready meals in a foodservice environment first-hand. On the first day of the event, participants selected their single-serve lunch entrée from the facility’s refrigerated case. The restaurant-quality selections were then individually prepared and plated in the kitchen and presented to the tables in a matter of minutes. Attendees enjoyed roasted turkey and beef ribs which were packaged and prepared in Oven Ease ovenable bags for lunch on the second day.

Packforum Americas opened in Atlanta on Sept. 8, 2008. The facility is a permanent customer forum that brings the food processing, supermarket and foodservice industries together to experience the full global range of Cryovac food packaging systems, programs and services.