December 23, 2009

In Today's Issue:

United Fresh Q3 Report Sees Increase in Volume, Puts Spotlight on Fresh-Cut Promotion

American shoppers have increased their purchases of fresh produce by almost 7% over this time last year, according to the latest edition of the United Fresh Research & Education Foundation's quarterly research report, Fresh Facts on Retail. The report, produced in partnership with the Perishables Group and sponsored by Del Monte Fresh Produce, measures retail price and sales volume trends for the top 10 fruit and vegetable commodities, as well as value-added, organic and other produce categories.  

Highlights of this quarter's report include:

  • For fruits, an increase in volume sold by 6.7%
  • For vegetables, an increase in volume sold by 7.6%
  • An increase in both volume (101%) and dollar sales (14.9%) for cherries
  • An increase of 8.7% in dollar sales of fresh corn
  • In the value-added fruit category, an increase in volume and dollar sales for jars and cups
  • In the value-added vegetable category, an increase in volume and dollar sales for the meal prep category

In addition, the report's Quarterly Spotlight feature explores the depth and breadth of promotional discounts within the value-added fruit and vegetable category.

"While prices are down for many fruit and vegetable categories versus this time last year, it is positive to see the broader increase in volume," said United Fresh President Tom Stenzel. "Consumers are returning to the fresh category and increasing the amount of fresh, healthy produce on their dinner tables"

Fresh Facts on Retail can be downloaded free of charge for all United Fresh members ($50 for non-members).  For more information about how to obtain the report or suggestions for future category spotlights, please contact Julie Jacocks, United Fresh education coordinator, at 202-303-3400 ext. 405.  For questions about specific data contained in the report, please contact Kelli Beckel at the Perishables Group at 773-929-7013.

The Packer Spotlights United's Decade-Long Involvement with the WIC Program

In case you missed it, The Packer's Tom Karst has put together a series of articles on United's 10-year-long involvement in the expansion of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to include fresh fruits and vegetables.

For full transcripts of the articles, please click the links below.

Voucher rule remedies near miss 10 years ago
Decade of work pays off with WIC produce vouchers
WIC program timeline
United Fresh hopes to mirror its WIC success with school salad bars

GAP Technical Working Group Gathers at Hamburger University

Members of the Technical Working Group with the iconic Ronald McDonald statue at McDonalds headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill.

More than 30 stakeholders from across the produce industry supply chain met in Oak Brook, Ill., last week to participate in the second meeting of the Technical Working Group (TWG). The meeting was held at McDonald’s Corporation headquarters - affectionately referred to as "Hamburger University" - and allowed the TWG to continue its work to harmonize Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) standards.

"The goal of the TWG is to work toward one audit performed by any credible third party, acceptable to all buyers," said TWG Chairman Suresh DeCosta, McDonalds manager of quality systems, U.S. supply chain management and host of the two-day meeting.

"As a result of the meeting, it is clear that the working group has achieved a better understanding of the way to harmonize all ten audit standards," said Dr. David Gombas, United Fresh senior vice president of food safety and technology. "This is a key step in the process of accepting food safety standards among the different commodity representatives."

Also at the meeting, former United staffer Dr. Donna Garren of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) presented the GFSI benchmarking process for food safety, and GlobalGAP Standards and Technical Manager Elme Coetzer advocated the benefits of a North American National Technical Working Group that can adapt the harmonized standard to the GlobalGAP process.

The purpose of the TWG meetings is to bring together a wide variety of produce stakeholders to harmonize technical food safety standards.  The TWG is still open to all produce industry stakeholders.  If you are interested in being apart of the standardization process, please contact United's Erin Grether at 202-303-3402 for more information on upcoming meetings.

FRESHCONEX Attendees Invited to Tour Berlin Retailers


United Fresh members and friends on hand for the FRESHCONEX expo in Berlin are invited to join United Fresh for a tour of leading supermarket retailers ALDI Discount, METRO Cash + Carry and LIDL Discount. The February 2 outing will explore different produce formats and better understand the impact of discount strategy in the competitive German market.

In addition, between store visits the group will tour major Berlin highlights including the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, the Wall, Reichstag and Siegessäule.  

Following the tour, all participants are invited to United's Member Welcome Reception at the Berlin Marriott Hotel, the United Fresh headquarters hotel for Fruit Logistica.  Special thanks to United fresh-cut processor member Fresh Factory, Hamburg, for sponsoring the Berlin tour and welcome reception.

In addition to the tour and welcome reception, United Fresh will also host its own booth in Hall 1.1 of the FRESHCONEX expo, and will again partner with Market Intelligence, publisher of Eurofruit Magazine, to deliver daily educational sessions in the FRESHCONEX Business Forums.  The Business Forums offer information on cutting-edge innovations in fresh-cut convenience from industry leaders from around the world.  And on Thursday evening February 4, United will continue its tradition of hosting a Global Reception at the trade fair for members, visitors and guests in the United Fresh booth.

A limited block of rooms at the discounted rate of EUR 175 per night are still available.  All United Fresh members and friends are invited to book rooms within the United Fresh block before the January 4 deadline. Registration for the Berlin Retail/City Tour is limited to the first 25 participants, on a first-come, first served basis.  Registration is $100 for United Fresh members and $200 for non-members.

For more information on these activities, contact Victoria Backer, United Fresh senior vice president of member services at +1-202-303-3400.

What's Under Your Tree this Christmas?

The holiday season is in full swing, and you've checked off your entire shopping list. But have you thought about your employees?

The career-building development that happens at United Fresh 2010, as well as the face to face interaction with the experts, tools and technologies, and new products needed to build a winning business at each stage of the produce supply chain are gifts that keep on giving the whole year round. 

In addition to world-class networking and education, United Fresh 2010 includes five different destination areas concentrated on specific business needs:

  • FreshTech, the industry's only expo focused on the fresh-cut, value-added market and all the tools and technologies needed for an efficient and profitable supply chain
  • FreshMarketplace, our traditional expo featuring marketers of fresh produce and services for the wholesale, retail and foodservice trade
  • Business Suites, the most rapidly growing segment of the show where buyers and sellers can enjoy private hospitality, business planning sessions and their own comfortable "home base" on the show floor
  • Food Safety Demo Center, an expanded destination area offering the industry's only expo showcasing food safety solutions for the entire produce supply chain
  • Traceability and Logistics Demo Center, first pioneered by United last year, now expanded to include supply chain logistics and transportation solutions

"As business owners and managers, we want to make sure that our employees feel rewarded during the holidays, so what better way to reward than by investing in their professional future with a registration to United Fresh 2010," said United President Tom Stenzel. "What they'll learn at this year's show will pay professional dividends for them and for your business for years to come."

For more information and to register online, please visit or call 202-303-3400.

A Smart Executive Decision Looking Toward the New Year

The 2010 United Fresh Produce Executive Development Program still has spots available for produce executives looking to broaden their leadership portfolios. 

Developed in partnership with Cornell University, this program is the premier forum for produce industry leaders to sharpen their executive business skills, master the skills to navigate economic challenges and earn effective tools to advance their companies.

This five-day course, March 14-19, 2010 takes executives through a unique learning experience characterized by cutting-edge theory, industry best practices and thought-provoking discussions about critical business issues affecting the global produce industry, such as Negotiation & Conflict Resolution, Leading Through Change, Financial Planning, and Understanding the Global Food Industry.

This course is designed the attendee a more agile executive to effectively lead into the new year and beyond.

Tuition for the five-day Produce Executive Development Program includes five nights lodging at the Statler Hotel, all classroom sessions and materials, tours, lunches, several special dinners, completion certificate and group photo. Those who register before January 15 will receive a substantial discount. For more information, contact Julie Jacocks at 202-303-3400 ext. 405.

Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year!

This is our last issue of Inside United Fresh for 2009.  Many thanks to all United Fresh members for being part of a special team representing and serving our great industry.  We wish you and your families a happy and healthy holiday season, and will return with more news and information on January 7.



Chairman's Roundtable Thanks 2010 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 2010 Chairman's Roundtable:

  • Ciruli Brothers, Tubac, Ariz.
  • Gills Onions, LLC, Oxnard, Calif.

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 Fresh's strength in areas that do not generate their own revenue. Members of 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 202-303-3400 ext. 410.

New Member Welcome

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

  • MWV, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Produce Pro, Inc., Woodridge, Ill.

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 at 831-422-0940 or Miriam Miller at 202-303-3410.

Upcoming United Fresh Events
Upcoming Events

News & Views


News and Views

Texas cantaloupe workers take up residence in motel

New York state senator Espada pushes on farm worker rights

Oklahoma Department of Ag entering social media arena

Minnesota's Peterson to seek re-election to House

Texas farmworker lawsuit ends in mistrial


Indian authority releases unified licensing procedures draft

New Zealand campaign warns of pesticides in food

Survey warns of possible return of rising food prices

Canadian vegetable food safety program hits milestone

Taiwanese legislators warn against import of shoddy Chinese products

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