January 22, 2009

In Today's Issue:

Belair Keaney

After millions packed the streets and parkways of the nation's capital Tuesday, an estimated 40 inaugural balls across the Washington area played host to revelers from around the nation and indeed the world, serving the finest food and drink to those who had come to take in this unique hallmark of the Democratic process.

Two United Fresh member companies saw the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor take center stage at several of these high-profile events celebrating the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Delivering fresh product to six inaugural balls held Tuesday at the Washington Convention Center, Belair Produce, Inc. of Hanover, Md. provided 1700 lbs of Grimmway Farms baby carrots, 700 lbs. of broccoli florets, 600 lbs. of grape tomatoes, 680 lbs. of celery sticks and 300 lbs of diced tomatoes totaling nearly 4000 lbs of produce.

Normally servicing D.C.-area clients Monday through Saturday, Belair Executive Vice President Rob Mumma said that some changes were required given the heightened security surrounding the Inauguration.

"We hit all of our D.C. accounts on Sunday, using Monday for minor fill-in, and we're back to normal today," Mumma said, adding that no additional stops were made on Inauguration Day. "We've seen a definite uptick in business, and we're cautiously optimistic about what's coming down the pike."

Mumma, a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va., added "it was fantastic to see my alma mater march in the Inaugural parade."

Providing produce for balls held at the U.S. Senate, Washington Hilton, Washington Grand Hyatt, Newseum and the J.W. Marriott, among others on Tuesday night, was the Keany Produce Co. of Landover, Md, but the company's involvement didn't stop there.

On Monday night, Keany provided a combination of locally-grown and organic items for the Green Ball, hosted by former Vice President Al Gore at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. The company collaborated closely with the even'’s head chef to provide for a menu of sustainable, organic and local items.

"With the incoming administration's emphasis on sustainability, the local and organic food movements seem to be a real focus of events surrounding this Inauguration," said Keany Sales Manager Roy Cargiulo.

Keany also extended its normal six-day schedule to accommodate clients concerned that they may be affected by the large crowds and security perimeters of the Inauguration.

"We started work nearly two weeks out, setting up guidelines for our larger-volume and fresh-cut clients, and special orders. We also set up a 24-hour hotline for customers in need of last-minute troubleshooting," said Cargiulo. "We found that the key was to be in touch early, in order to better help our clients be prepared." 

Cargiulo added that working in a post-9/11 Washington has helped prepare his company for the Inauguration’s additional security measures.

"We have a number of accounts where our vehicles are searched and sealed before they are allowed to proceed, so we felt much better prepared for the added security during the Inauguration."

VilsackJust hours after President Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, the Senate got back to work, confirming six of his cabinet nominees including former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack as the next Secretary of Agriculture.

At last week's Senate confirmation hearing, Secretary Vilsack spoke of the need to increase access and availability of fruits and vegetables in federal nutrition programs including the School Lunch Program which will come before Congress for reauthorization this year.

"We are confident that Secretary Vilsack will be a strong advocate for increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and are pleased that produce took played a central role in the discussions during his confirmation hearing," said Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy for United Fresh.

Coverage of the Vilsack confirmation hearing can be found from Reuters, The New York Times, CQ Politics, and The Miami Herald. A full transcript and audio recording of the confirmation hearing can be found here. For more on United Fresh's Child Nutrition efforts, log on to www.unitedfresh.org.

United Fresh 2009Following up on the success of its inaugural annual research report in 2008, United Fresh is pleased to announce that Issues Scan 2009 will be unveiled amid a packed schedule of events at United Fresh 2009, April 21-24 in Las Vegas, Nev.  Scheduled for debut at this year’s Luncheon General Session, Issues Scan 2009 will give attendees the opportunity to hear new research into the attitudes and purchasing decisions of the American produce shopper.

United Fresh and researchers from Harris Interactive will present results from Issues Scan 2009, and explore consumer attitudes and the future influence of political and social issues swirling around the industry. Retail, foodservice, and produce executives are invited to understand the issues shaping today's buying decisions, and forecast the issues ahead in order to navigate our changing business future. 

"In tough economic times, smart companies listen to their customers even more critically to discern fads from trends, understand consumers' real purchase intent, and thus eke out greater profitability and sales," said United Fresh Past Chairman Emanuel Lazopoulos, Del Monte Fresh Produce, sponsor of the Luncheon General Session

Following the Issues Scan presentation, Produce Outlook 2009 kicks into gear with a panel of leading retail and foodservice produce executives sharing their insights into the real consumer impact of these and other issues in today's marketplace.  Returning to moderate this year's Produce Outlook panel is United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel.

From top speakers and state-of-the-art technology to world-class educational workshops and red carpet special events to two unique trade shows under one roof, United Fresh 2009 offers the unique opportunity to gain critical industry knowledge while networking your customers and peers in the retail, foodservice, convenience, growing, shipping, wholesale, distribution, fresh-cut processing, and equipment sectors - all in one show!

To register or for more information, log on to www.unitedfresh.org today!

Recall TrainingUnited’s popular Training for a Recall, Communicating Under Fire course is back for 2009! The highly-attended, real-world course will come to four cities in the coming year: Atlanta, Ga.; Salinas, Calif.; San Antonio, Texas; and West Palm Beach, Fla.  The course is especially designed for the produce industry to help companies prepare for and defend against the havoc that a product recall can wreak on a business. 

Training for a Recall, Communicating Under Fire is a multi-part course, including a two-day workshop on how to prevent a product recall from becoming a crisis and optional media training. The first part of the course emphasizes the legal liability and business implications of a recall, the importance of traceability, and how to apply a crisis plan to product recall situations. Attendees receive a Certificate of Competition at the end of the two-day course.

"A recall can happen for any number of reasons from mislabeling to more serious reasons," said Amy Philpott, United Fresh vice president of communications. "No matter the severity of the recall, a company can minimize the damage to its reputation and its future if it is prepared and informed, which is exactly what this course helps a company do."

A separate media course includes training by communications and public affairs specialists on how to deliver messages under the pressure of a real-life interview. To ensure each attendee will have an opportunity to experience on-camera mock media interviews, the class size for the half-day media training is limited and requires a separate registration. 

The first 2009 installment of Training for a Recall, Communicating Under Fire, will be held March 25-27 at the Doubletree Club Atlanta Airport North hotel in Atlanta, Ga. For more information, contact Education Coordinator Julie Jacocks at 202-303-3400 ext. 405.

Freshconex Fruit Logistica

There are just 14 days until the start of the exciting slate of events at this year’s Freshconex and Fruit Logistica, starting February 3 in Berlin, Germany. Complete with exciting trade shows and informative business forums, Freshconex and Fruit Logistica are the leading trade fairs for the international fresh produce trade!

United Fresh invites you to come and do business with specialist suppliers and customers from all over the world.  Both the Freshconex Exhibition and Congress are tailored to the specific needs of the fresh-cut convenience business.

When visiting the Freshconex Exhibition, Congress, and Business Forum you will have the opportunity to visit product displays featuring product preparation equipment and technology and point-of-sale technical accessories or take part in education sessions focused on the latest trends in the international fresh-cut sector. 

Fruit Logistica is the most important business and communication showcase of the international fresh produce trade, providing a venue for the industry's key decision makers to exhibit, and as an attendee, you have the unique opportunity to approach potential business partners with your services and products.
There’s still time to register!  Don’t miss this opportunity to develop and expand your fresh-cut convenience or fresh produce business. For more information, contact Melissa Speed at 202-303-3404. 

CornellWhat's it really like on the retail side of the produce business? How can produce suppliers apply lessons and strategies learned from the retail industry to improve their business? Find out the answers to these and more as industry leaders Bruce Peterson and Bruce Knobeloch share their thoughts and experiences from the retail and produce industries in the "Reflecting on Retail Strategies: Lessons for Suppliers" session taking place at the 2009 Produce Executive Development Program. Presented by United Fresh & Cornell University, March 8-13, 2009, this is a can't-miss event!

Peterson and Knobeloch are just two of the many powerful speakers you'll hear from at this year's Executive Development Program. The Program will also include in-depth discussions on topics such as changes in food retail and foodservice climate, competitive strategy development, negotiation & conflict resolution, new product development, global food industry trends and supply chain effectiveness, plus a survival guide to financial planning.

This Program is designed for mid- to senior-level executives who are interested in achieving a competitive edge and helping their companies address the key challenges and opportunities faced by today's produce industry. This course has sold out two years in a row, so be sure to register today! Class activities are interactive so enrollment is limited, and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. Early registration discounts end January 5, 2009.  For more information or to register, contact Victoria Backer at 202-303-3400 ext. 408.

New 2009 Chairman's Roundtable Supporters

United Fresh's Chairman's Roundtable provides extra support for programs in government relations, food safety, nutrition policy and other areas to help grow the produce industry. We are pleased to recognize the following companies who have committed to the Chairman's Roundtable in 2009:

Chairman's Roundtable
  • Fox Packaging, McAllen, Texas

The Chairman's Roundtable is an opportunity for United Fresh member companies to contribute above and beyond their basic dues. Roundtable members are industry leaders who set the pace in building United's strength in areas that do not generate their own revenue. Members of the Chairman's Roundtable enjoy special recognition throughout the year for their support.

For more information on the Chairman's Roundtable, please contact Director of Membership Miriam Miller at 202-303-3410.

New Member Welcome

Each week, United Fresh welcomes its newest partners in building a stronger produce industry:

  • Freedom Freight & Logistics, LLC, Visalia, Calif.
  • Associated Food Stores, Far West, Utah
  • Product Safety First, Fresno, Calif.
United Fresh thanks all current members for their dedication to the Association and the produce industry. Please let us know whenever we can be of service to you. For more details about the benefits of membership, please contact Jeff Oberman or Miriam Miller at 202-303-3400.

Upcoming United Fresh Events
Upcoming Events

News & Views


News and Views

Obama halts new or pending Bush regulations

Why do produce guys baby apples and baggers don't?

Feinstein's Ag Jobs bill now has a better chance of passing

Schafer leaves post with more faith in government

Peterson says stimulus package includes $250M for USDA computer upgrade


Canadian farmers say that to thrive, agriculture must be seen as profitable and sexy

18 immigrants found in Spanish produce truck

New Zealand Food Safety Authority to test foods in new study

Food outsourcing is a $5B opportunity for India

Irish Food Safety chief to step down

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