March 24, 2011

In Today's Issue:

Expanded Funding for Snack Program Will Affect Approximately 4 Million Kids

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Tuesday that $158 million in funding is now available for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) for next school year. The FFVP, which was developed to provide a free fruit or vegetable snack to elementary school students, will increase in funding, and be able to serve an expanded number of schools and students in the 2011-2012 school year. The announcement is particularly impactful, given the work done by United Fresh to secure the more than $1.2 billion in funding allocated for the program in the 2008 Farm Bill.

"This expansion in funding is such a huge win for kids across the country," said United Fresh Vice President of Nutrition and Health Dr. Lorelei DiSogra. "The additional monies will increase the number of elementary school students that receive a fresh fruit or vegetable snack at school each day to approximately 4 million, which is just amazing. This program provides exposure to a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables every day, expanding kids' horizons and increasing their daily consumption of healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables.  It's also very popular. It's a hit with the kids, with the parents and with the schools, and it's having an undeniably positive effect not only on the way kids eat at school but also on their eating habits at home."

The FFVP is available to schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  For more information about this announcement, and to see a full list of funding allocations by state, click here.  For more information about the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable "Snack" Program, click here or contact Dr. DiSogra at 202-303-3400, ext. 403.

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Twenty-Five Top Produce Managers from the U.S. and Canada to Be Honored at United Fresh 2011

Outstanding produce managers representing 21 different supermarket chains, commissaries and independent retail stores in 17 states and Canada will be the honored guests at United Fresh 2011 this May through the United Fresh Foundation's Retail Produce Manager Awards Program.

Sponsored by Ready Pac Foods, the awards program is now in its seventh year and is presented through the Foundation's Center for Leadership Excellence. The awards pay special recognition to those on the front-line in supermarkets working everyday to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables.

"These men and women have such an undeniable impact on our industry," said Tom Stenzel, president and CEO of United Fresh. "In so many cases, they are the face of the fresh fruit and vegetable industry for our consumers, and these produce managers represent the best of the best at their craft. Through their creative efforts and interaction with customers, they’re making produce a centerpiece of the retail shopping experience and wowing consumers every day."

The 2011 winners are:

  • Shannon Adkins, K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc., Shelbiana, KY
  • Dorinda (DJ) Bertoldi, Big Y Foods, Inc., Wilbraham, MA
  • Terry Blackburn, Hy-Vee, Inc., Lincoln, NE
  • Aaron Carleton, King Soopers/City Market, Boulder, CO
  • Donald Courtright, Beale AFB Commissary, Beale, CA
  • Michael Crutchfield, Save Mart, Angels Camp, CA
  • Craig Docherty, Vons, Las Vegas, NV
  • David Dozier, GFF Foods, Moore, OK
  • Paul Ferro, Jewel-Osco, Chicago, IL
  • Jake Foster, Brookshire Grocery Co., Athens, TX
  • Greg Gerdes, Hy-Vee, Inc., Sioux Falls, SD 
  • Mark Glanville, Hannaford Bros. Co., Scarborough, ME
  • Dave Heetderks, Spartan Stores, Grand Rapids MI
  • Brad Lange, Brookshire Grocery Co., Shreveport, LA
  • Dave Lemire, Safeway Stores, Inc., Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
  • Ben Lopez, Nob Hill Foods/Raley's Family of Fine Stores, San Ramon, CA
  • Bob Merritt, Quality Food Centers, Seattle, WA
  • David Nappi, Price Chopper Supermarkets/Golub Corporation, Plattsburgh, NY
  • Ron Potter, K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc., Kingsport, TN
  • Marilyn Jo Poyzer, Woods Supermarkets, Nevada, MO
  • David Schoch, Bel Air Markets/Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Woodland, CA
  • Eric Segerstrom, Safeway Stores, Inc., Bellevue, WA
  • Jennifer Smith, Camp Pendleton Commissary, Oceanside, CA
  • John Ward, VG's Food, Shelby Twp, MI
  • David Williams, Rouses Supermarkets, New Orleans, LA

"The efforts shown by these exceptional retail produce managers are truly inspiring," said Ready Pac's President and CEO, Michael Solomon.  "Ready Pac is proud to once again sponsor this program and we commend these well-deserving individuals and companies for a job well done!"

The program's 25 winners were selected from hundreds of nominations submitted by retailers and produce suppliers across the industry. Selections were made based on a number of criteria, including efforts to increase produce consumption through everyday excellence in merchandising, special displays and promotions, community service and commitment to total customer satisfaction.

All winners and their corporate produce directors will be honored at United Fresh 2011 during the Chairman's Reception & Annual Awards Banquet, Wednesday, May 4, at the Hilton Riverside Hotel in New Orleans. In addition to the awards, five Grand Prize recipients will receive an additional $1,000 cash prize.

On the United Fresh 2011 trade show floor, select program winners will take part in a panel discussion of retail strategies and trends, as well as consumer purchasing habits. This special event will be available at www.UnitedFresh.TV.

Applications for the 2012 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program will be available this fall online at www.unitedfresh.org, with winners to be honored at United Fresh 2012 in Dallas. More information on United Fresh 2011 can be found at www.UnitedFresh2011.org.

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Wide Range of Experience Makes for a Valuable Produce Executive Development Program

The 2011 edition of the United Fresh Foundation's Produce Executive Development Program wrapped up last week in Ithaca, N.Y. and was hailed as a success. Presented in partnership with the Cornell University Food Industry Management Program, the program brought in participants from the U.S., Mexico and Australia to discuss leadership, group dynamics, negotiation and conflict resolution, finance, entrepreneurship and industry insights.

"One of the real assets of this course is the range of leaders that it draws," said United Fresh Senior Director of Membership Miriam Miller. "Attendees bring the unique perspectives of both young leaders rising in their companies, to CEOs, to senior staff at a renaissance point in their careers."

Also unique to the program is the instructional mix of Cornell professors and instructors from the Food Industry Management Program, as well as respected produce industry business leaders like Pro*Act's Steve Grinstead, Peterson Insights' Bruce Peterson, and Produce Business' Jim Prevor. Program leaders guide participants through different role playing exercises and simulations, tours of area retailers, as well as non-traditional coursework, viewpoints, and problem-solving approaches like how getting enough sleep can make a difference in effectiveness and ability.

The course is an intense, five-day course for mid- to senior-level executives that focuses on issues critical to both personal development and the larger challenges and opportunities faced by today's produce industry leaders. Every year, participants take part in a unique learning experience characterized by cutting-edge theory, industry best practices and thought-provoking discussions about key business issues affecting the global produce industry.

For more information the program, click here or contact Julie Jacocks, United Fresh education manager at 202-303-3400, ext. 405.

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Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance Takes Strides Toward Finalized Recommendations

With significant congressional action on Farm Bill reauthorization set for the coming summer and fall, the members of the Steering Committee of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance (SCFBA) met for two days this week in Washington to hear updates on the work of nine work groups focused on reviewing and developing policy recommendations for the upcoming reauthorization of the key agricultural legislation.

Each work group provided a report to the committee, followed by discussion and feedback from the committee on each report. Finalized recommendations will serve as the basis for a united produce industry advocacy effort on issues such as research, nutrition and risk management.

"We made significant progress toward a full slate of finalized recommendations," said Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy at United Fresh and the SCFBA's Steering Committee Secretariat. "The SCFBA was very successful in the last Farm Bill in getting key needs of the produce industry met, but we can't take anything for granted in this next reauthorization. A comprehensive and robust examination of our priorities, like we had in these meetings, is critical to developing a successful strategy for working with policymakers to make sure that the priorities of the  specialty crop industry are appropriately addressed as the next Farm Bill is written."

In addition to its Farm Bill discussions, members of the SCFBA met with majority and minority staff of the House of Representatives Agriculture Committee, receiving an update on the Farm Bill reauthorization timeline and discussing the need for education and outreach with new members of Congress who are beginning to address agriculture issues.

For more information on United's work on the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, please contact Julie Manes, director of government relations at United Fresh at 202-303-3400, ext. 404.

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FDA Tightens Restrictions on Imports from Fukushima and Surrounding Prefectures in Wake of Crisis

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned the import of products including fresh fruits and vegetables from the immediate area surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Northern Japan, after the plant was damaged during the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in the region earlier this month. In addition to the FDA precautions, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has ordered a stop to the sale of several products from the area, including spinach and kakina from Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki and Togichi prefectures. In addition to the banned commodities, all other imports from the region will be diverted for special radiation screening, however according to the FDA, no contaminated product has entered the U.S. from Japan.

To facilitate inquiries on these recent developments, FDA, USDA and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has issued a sheet of talking points that may be downloaded here. For additional information, please contact United Fresh Communications Manager Patrick Delaney at 202-303-3400, ext. 417.

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Compensation Survey Available Through May 15

Don't forget to weigh in with your company's information on the United Fresh Produce Industry Compensation Survey, available at www.unitedfreshsurvey.com.  U.S.-based produce industry employers including grower-shippers, brokers, wholesaler-distributors, importers, exporters and fresh-cut processors are encouraged to participate until the May 15 deadline.  Companies that participate in submitting data for the survey are eligible to receive a fully-customized report for their company at a discounted rate of $195.  

Prepared by expert research firm Industry Insights, the survey confidentially collects data from U.S.-based produce companies.  It measures compensation and benefits levels for 30 positions including Sales & Marketing, Production & Operations, Quality Control & Assurance, Administration, Finance & Accounting and Executives. 

"We've had a wide range of companies already participate in the survey and have made the decision to keep the survey open until May 15, allowing further industry participation - thus developing an even more robust final instrument," said Victoria Backer, senior vice president, member services.  

For additional information about the survey, contact Backer at 202-303-3400, ext. 408.

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Inspection Training Course Promises Hands-On Education by USDA Instructors

United Fresh is pleased to announce the second installment of its popular Produce Inspection Training Program, the produce industry's only USDA-instructed inspection training program, May 16-20 at the USDA Fresh Products Branch National Inspectors' Training and Development Center in Fredericksburg, VA. This hands-on training is designed to help produce industry receivers, handlers, buyers, shippers and sellers understand the complexities of the produce inspection process.

The program is offered in two specialized courses: Fundamentals of Produce Inspection and the Commodity Labs course. The two-day Fundamentals course is a prerequisite to the Labs course and focuses on inspection essentials, PACA, sampling procedures, and general market principles. The three-day Commodity Labs program applies the fundamental principals to real world inspections including the five most commonly requested commodities - grapes, lettuces, potatoes, strawberries and tomatoes - with up to seven additional commodities based on the attendees' most common preferences.

Class size is limited and registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The registration fee for the introductory course is $895, $1225 for the advanced course, and $1925 for members for both courses taken together.  If three or more colleagues register for both courses at the same time, each receives a $100 discount.

To learn more, please click here or download the program brochure and registration form. For additional questions, please contact Julie Jacocks, United Fresh education manager at 202-303-3400, ext. 405.

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Don't Miss a Chance to Save BIG on United Fresh 2011!

The deadline for early registration for United Fresh 2011 in New Orleans is this Friday, March 25. Registrations completed before the Friday deadline will receive a discount of up to $100 on all the BIG Ideas, Innovation and Solutions at United Fresh 2011.

United Fresh 2011 offers attendees from every segment of the produce industry BIG value for their BIG business needs. Register now to get the best deal, and for more information on the show, visit www.UnitedFresh2011.org.

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Betty Allison of the Maryland Food Center Authority is this Week's BIG Winner in United's Restaurant A Week Giveaway!

Congratulations to Betty Allison of the Maryland Food Center Authority! She's the winner of this week's Restaurant a Week Giveaway. Betty will enjoy Dickie Brennan's Palace Cafe, courtesy of United Fresh.

Every Thursday, United Fresh draws a winner from all registered attendees to United Fresh 2011. Winners receive a gift certificate to one of New Orleans’ finest restaurants. Each week, the list is updated with the most current registered attendees, so the sooner you register for United Fresh 2011, the BIGGER your chances are to win!

Congratulations Betty! Next week's Restaurant a Week winner is headed to Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse, courtesy of United Fresh 2011.

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New Member Welcome

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

Welcome
  • Des Moines Truck Brokers, Norwalk, IA
  • University of Florida/IFAS Hendry County Extensión, La Belle, FL

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.

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Upcoming United Fresh Events
Upcoming Events

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