May 5, 2011

In Today's Issue:

Food Lion's Cathy Green Burns, Members of Leadership Council Look Forward on PTI

At United Fresh 2011 on Monday, the members of the Produce Traceability Initiative's (PTI) Leadership Council featured a first-ever status report on council member companies' implementation progress, an update on 18 pilot projects now underway, new best practices to assist with implementation and positive comments from Food and Drug Administration Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael Taylor.

"The whole intention of the pilots currently in progress across the industry is to get real, on-the-ground experience on what's working, what's not working and how to share best practices in the service of our goals, but also in the service of efficiency and effectiveness in order to bring this to life," said Leadership Council Chair Cathy Green Burns, president of Food Lion during her presentation during Tuesday's Breakfast General Session. 

The recently completed survey of Leadership Council member companies found that 79 percent of those companies are at an overall state of readiness. Specifically, 94 percent of grower/packer/shipper members, 82 percent of retailer members, 71 percent of wholesaler/broker members and 70 percent of foodservice members report that they are on track to achieve all PTI milestones by the target completion date of 2012. Further, no systemic issues to implementing the PTI were identified by council members, and working groups are already addressing the implementation challenges that members identified.

Additionally, working groups reported that several new best practices had been finalized and would be posted to the PTI website's Resources section soon, including updated best practices on case labeling, updated best practices for hybrid pallet labeling, and an applet for generating voice-pick codes.

Presenting by telephone for a portion of the meeting, FDA's Taylor clearly signaled his agency's interest in collaborating with industry as FDA begins implementing the new Food Safety Modernization Act and its traceability component.

"We are keenly aware that industry has been at the forefront of understanding traceability, and in order to make progress we know we are going to need to build on and embrace the work that industry has done," Taylor said.

"It is very rewarding to hear FDA say that we're headed in the right direction," said United Fresh Vice President of Supply Chain Technology Dan Vaché. "We're doing a lot of heavy lifting for many industries with the PTI. Other parts of the store have to deal with PTI, but produce is leading the way. Cathy was very good and succinct in stating how long it has taken to get where we are, and the momentum that we have, and it is gratifying to hear another retailer so engaged in the PTI that is going to make it a reality."

For video highlights from Green Burns' speech, visit, and for photos from the event, click here. For more information on the PTI Leadership Council, please contact Vaché at 202-303-3400.

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Twenty-Six Produce Companies and Friends Unite to Provide Salad Bars for New Orleans Kids

In a special press ceremony Tuesday morning at United Fresh 2011, United Fresh Chairman Steffanie Smith, industry leaders, and representatives from the offices of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond, as well as area education leaders gathered to officially commemorate the donation of salad bars to 33 New Orleans schools. The donation means that nearly 80,000 children throughout the city now have access to a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables every day.

"The salad bars donated this week come from produce industry members all across the United States, and are another fantastic example of our members' commitment to providing healthier options for kids and increasing access to fresh fruit and vegetables not only in their home communities, but also for the thousands of school kids in our host city of New Orleans," said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel.

The event, "Let's Move Salad Bars to New Orleans Schools," brought together local dignitaries and officials to recognize the 33 recipient schools and the 26 donor companies. Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools supports First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative to end childhood obesity within a generation. United Fresh is a founding partner of the Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which has a goal of donating salad bars to 6,000 schools nationwide within the next three years. United Fresh has pioneered the nationwide adoption of school fruit and vegetable salad bars as a proven strategy for significantly increasing children's produce consumption.

"We are elated to have been selected to be a recipient of salad bars donated by the Let's Move Salad Bars to New Orleans Schools program," said New Orleans Public Schools Director of Foodservice Rosie Jackson. "As a result of the donations, our students will now receive more fresh produce as well as have an opportunity to make healthier choices in their food selections. This initiative will truly enhance our overall program for our students, and show our commitment to the First Lady's Let's Move! initiative. Thanks! Thanks! On behalf of our students."

The schools receiving salad bars are: Algiers Technology Academy, Alice M. Harte Charter School, AP Tureaud Elementary School, Believe College Prep, Bethune Elementary School, Central City Academy, Dwight D. Eisenhower Academy of Global Studies, Edna Karr Charter High School, Emily C. Watkins Elementary School, Esperanza Charter School, International School of Louisiana, International School of Louisiana – West Bank, James Weldon Johnson Elementary School, Joseph A. Craig Elementary School, Joseph Clark Senior High School, Lafayette Academy New Orleans, Lagniappe Academies, LB Landry Senior High School, McDonogh 15 Elementary School for the Creative Arts, McDonogh 28 City Park Academy, McDonogh 35 High School, McMain High School, Miller-McCoy Academy for Math and Business, New Orleans Charter Science and Math Academy, New Orleans College Prep, New Orleans College Prep Elementary School, O. Perry Walker College and Career Prep High School, Paul B. Habans Elementary School, Priestly Charter School, Renaissance High School/KIPP New Orleans Leadership Academy, Sarah T. Reed High School, Sojourner Truth Academy, and William J. Fischer Accelerated Academy.

The salad bar donations are made possible through the generous sponsorship of the following companies: The Andrew Smith Company, Apio, Inc., Bonipak Produce, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, CAMBRO, Capitol City Produce, Chiquita Brands, Ciruli Brothers, Del Monte Fresh Produce, Dennis and Susi Gertmenian, DMA Solutions, Dole Food Company, DuPont Crop Protection, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, Horton Fruit Company, Mann Packing Company, Marie's, McEntire Produce, Muir Copper Canyon Farms, the National Watermelon Association, Pero Family Farms, Stemilt Growers, Taylor Farms, the Produce Exchange, the Tom Lange Company, and True Organic Products.

Tuesday's donation is in addition to the salad bars that the United Fresh Foundation donated to 10 New Orleans schools in the fall of 2010. Schools receiving salad bars last October are: Behrman Elementary School, Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School, Einstein Charter School, Harney Elementary School, Harriet Tubman Elementary School, Hynes Charter School, Laurel Elementary School, McDonogh 32 Elementary School, St. Julian Elementary School and Schaumburg Elementary School.

To date, the United Fresh Foundation has donated salad bars to more than 100 schools in 12 states and the District of Columbia.

For video highlights from the press conference, visit, and for photos from the event, click here.

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Leadership Class 17 Takes First Step in New Orleans
During Wednesday's Breakfast General Session, the United Fresh Foundation announced the 12 new members of the 2011-2012 United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program.  The 17th class of the program includes:
  • Beth Bland Oleson, Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, LaGrange, GA
  • Craig Cahill, Allen Lund Company, Inc., Wakefield, MA
  • Megan Chedwick, Church Brothers, LLC, Salinas, CA
  • Joe Cimino, Pro*Act, LLC, Monterey, CA
  • Anthony M. DeAngelis, Christopher Ranch LLC, Edison, NJ
  • Mark DeCosta, Costco Wholesale, Issaquah, WA
  • Brian Jenny, Naturipe Farms, Lawrenceville, GA
  • Shannon Kyle, Torrey Farms, Inc., Elba, NY
  • Michael Muir, Muir Copper Canyon Farms, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Sheridan Silver, Mann Packing Co., Salinas, CA
  • Sam Stewart, WES Pak Sales, Inc., Dinuba, CA
  • Ross Verner, Topco Associates, Skokie, IL

The year-long program, which is presented through the United Fresh Foundation's Center for Leadership Excellence and sponsored by a generous grant from DuPont Crop Protection, uses a combination of field experience and classroom instruction to teach leadership skills to future industry leaders. Since its inception in 1995, the program has graduated nearly 200 fellows.

"We are pleased to welcome this new class of industry leaders," said United Board Member and Leadership Alumnus Jackson Woodward, Horton Fruit Company, and 2011 advisory committee chairman. "It is extremely difficult to select 12 participants out of the large and impressive field of applicants, especially because the committee must consider a wide range of factors to ensure a well-balanced class. That said, we are proud of the members selected for this year's class and we are confident that this program will develop them to become powerful and influential leaders who will direct our industry forward."

The program begins in July with a trip to California, followed by visits to Washington, DC, Wilmington, DE, Chile, and Dallas, where the class will graduate at the 2012 United Fresh convention. During the program year, the class will participate in a number of educational events and outings centered on the four core focus areas of the program: leadership development; business relationships; government and public affairs and media and public communications. Programming includes field and facility tours, training with expert educators and meetings with key industry leaders and innovators.

"Our leadership program offers each class the opportunity to grow personally and professionally, expanding and improving their industry knowledge and experience. We would like to congratulate the new members of Class 17 and thank everyone who applied for this year's program," said Victoria Backer, United Fresh senior vice president of member services. "We would also like to extend our warmest thanks to DuPont Crop Protection for making this program possible through their continued and invaluable investment in the future of our industry."

To be considered for the program, candidates must submit an application including two essays detailing why they would like to participate and what they consider the most important challenges affecting the produce industry. The applications are reviewed by an advisory committee comprised of United Fresh Board members and leadership program alumni. Through the selection process, the committee is responsible for assessing each candidate based on their experience and expertise, as well as developing a class that is balanced and representative of the industry.

For video highlights from the ceremony, visit, and for photos from the event, click here. For questions or additional information on the Produce Industry Leadership Program, please visit or contact United's Education Manager Julie Jacocks at 202-303-3400, ext. 405.

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Global Conference Explores Innovation

After the main United Fresh 2011 programming wrapped up on Wednesday, attendees still had exciting development opportunities to look forward to with Thursday's Global Conference on Produce Innovation and Technology. Exploring new and innovative technologies in several industry sectors, the Global Conference began Thursday morning with inventor and entrepreneur Nicholas Webb, who explored many of the common characteristics of the world's most innovative companies, focusing on such well-known brands as Apple, the United States Army, Southwest Airlines and the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.

Angela Paymard, chairman and CEO of program sponsor N2N Global, summed up the spirit of the Global Conference in her opening remarks.

"To be successful in business, you have to realize that what got you here is not going to get you there. To remain in the public conscience, businesses must reinvent, they must innovate," she said.

Following Webb's presentation, United's Burleson Smith, vice president of environmental affairs and sustainability led a session examining innovation in pre-harvest technology, which featured Monsanto's Jim Zarndt and Carl Jones, and Ramsay Highlander's Frank Maconachy.

After a short break, JSB Group President Jeff Brandenburg moderated a panel on postharvest innovation with Naturipe's Robert Verloop, Dr. Trevor Suslow of UC Davis and Paper Pak Industries' Sy Versteylen.

Lunch featured a panel of leaders including Del Monte's Dennis Christou, Michael Muzyk of Baldor Specialty Feeds, Avendra's Ed Thompson and Paddy Callaghan of Nature's Best and moderated by United President Tom Stenzel that discussed how to make innovation a core culture in produce businesses of all size and type.

The afternoon session featured Paymard and her team from N2N along with United's Vice President of Supply Chain Management Dan Vaché, who looked at different ways IT solutions and even things as simple as smartphones can empower businesses in the supply chain and logistics enterprise.

Rounding out the day was social media baronesses Dan'l Mackey Almy of DMA Solutions and One Media Group's Stacey Larson, who showcased the different ways that social media can be used by produce companies to reach both customers and consumers.

For photos from the Global Conference, click here.

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Award Winners Represent Innovation, Leadership, Technical Expertise and Dedication to Produce

United Fresh 2011 rolled out the red carpet for its award winners in New Orleans this week as the association presented a host of awards, honors and special recognitions, including the United Fresh Technical Award,  New Product Awards, the Reception Honoring Women in Produce, the Retail Produce Manager Awards and the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards. Additionally, Wednesday's Breakfast General Session played host as Greg Johnson, editor in chief at The Packer, presented the Produce Woman of the Year Award to United Fresh Immediate Past Chairman Steffanie Smith of River Point Farms.

In addition to Chairman Smith, United Fresh 2011 honorees include:

Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards:

  • Business in Industry & Colleges:Chef Martin Breslin, Director of Culinary Operations, Harvard University Dining Services, Cambridge, MA
  • Casual & Family Dining Restaurants: Chef Regis Holden, Senior Director of Culinary Services, Eat'n Park Restaurants, Homestead, PA
  • Fine Dining Restaurants: Chef Clifford Pleau, Senior Director of Culinary Services, Seasons 52, Costa Mesa, CA
  • Hotels & Healthcare: Chef Jacques Wilson, Executive Chef, El Camino Hospital, Mountain View, CA
  • K-12 School Foodservice: Jenilee McComb, Director, Childhood Nutrition Programs, Provo School District, Provo, UT
  • Quick Service Restaurants: Chef Dan Barash, Executive Chef, Moe's Southwest Grill, Atlanta, GA

Retail Produce Manager Awards:

  • Shannon Adkins, Food City, Shelbiana, KY
  • Dorinda 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, Food City, 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

In addition to their recognition as program honorees, Terry Blackburn, Ron Potter, Jennifer Smith, David Dozier and Dave Schoch were named the winners of an additional $1000 grand prize.

Technical Award:

  • Suresh Decosta, Manager of Quality Systems, McDonald's Corporation

New Product Awards:

  • Best New Packaging: MIXIM Classic 5x5 6oz. Bushberry Packaging System, Sambrailo Packaging
  • Best New Food Safety Solution: SmartWashTM, New Leaf Food Safety Solutions
  • Best New Processing Equipment: Primus Gemini – New and Improved Fresh Berry Sorter, Best Sorting
  • Best New Fruit Product: Sun DropsTM Grape Tomatoes, Mucci Farms AND Naturipe® Berry Quick Blueberry Snacks, Naturipe Farms, LLC
  • Best New Packing/Packaging Equipment: Volmpack Ultrek 320 Vertical-Form-Fill-Seal Bagger, Volm Companies, Inc.
  • Best New Vegetable Product: Pure Flavor Grill Ready Vegetable Mix, Pure Hot House Foods Inc.

For video highlights from all the awards ceremonies, visit, and for photos of the award winners, click here.

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Video Highlights, Photos Now Available!

See all the magic from United Fresh 2011 on video at and in pictures at!

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