August 11, 2011

United Off and Running on Fresh Impact Tour

All this week, United Fresh President Tom Stenzel is living life on the road, and connecting with United Fresh members and produce industry leaders in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania on United’s Fresh Impact Tour. Together with the New York Apple Association, Stenzel addressed the concerns and took in stories from the produce industry throughout the Empire State at a town hall in Sodus Point, near Rochester. From there, Stenzel headed south on the Thruway, visiting with producers and retailers en route to New Jersey for the tour’s second town hall in Vineland on Wednesday. You can track United’s progress on the Fresh Impact Tour on Facebook and Twitter.

Gold Krest Farms’ Chris Ochs, left, and Kevin Webb

Joining Stenzel for next week’s tour stops is Vice President of Convention and Industry Relations John Toner and Senior Director of Membership Miriam Wolk. The United trio will visit industry leaders in Ohio, Indiana and Ontario, as well as a town hall meeting at Meijer in Grand Rapids, MI, on Thursday.

Dessa Shaul of Shaul Farms brings in the morning harvest.

Next week’s Fresh Impact Tour Town Hall Meetings are scheduled as follows:

The Varsity Club, Willard, OH – Tuesday, August 16, 11:30 a.m.
The Roma Club, Leamington, ON – Wednesday, August 17, 11:30 a.m.
Meijer, Grand Rapids, MI – Thursday, August 18, 1:00 p.m.

United’s Tom Stenzel, left, Price Chopper’s Keith Frosceno, center, and the Price Chopper produce team.


For more information on the Fresh Impact Tour, visit United’s Facebook home here, or contact Patrick Delaney at 202-303-3400, ext. 417.

United’s Tom Stenzel, left, tests out an apple peeler brought to the United Fresh Town Hall in Sodus Point, NY, by Dudley Pease, right, of F.B. Pease.

Follow the Fresh Impact Tour on Facebook and Twitter!

United Foundation’s Survey Help’s Gauge Industry Salaries and Compensation

The United Fresh Foundation’s comprehensive survey of produce industry compensation and benefits is available on the United Fresh website by clicking here.

The confidential survey of 119 produce industry companies measures employee compensation and benefit data for a wide range of full-time positions including sales and marketing, production and operations, quality control and assurance, administration, finance and accounting, and executives. The survey was open to U.S.-based produce industry employers including grower-shippers, brokers, wholesaler-distributors, importers, exporters and fresh-cut processors.

"This report offers compensation data from multiple market segments across the nation," said United Fresh Senior Vice President of Member Services Victoria Backer.  "This is a terrific yardstick by which produce companies can gauge their salary and benefit levels to ensure their competitiveness within the industry, increase profitability, and not only attract new talent, but also retain the valuable employees already on the team."

United's compensation survey shows detailed salary and benefits information on companies, sorted by ownership type, type of business, produce sales volume, number of full-time employees and geography.
The survey represents a wide range of the industry with regard to company size, with 32 percent of responses coming from companies with between 100 and 499 full time employees, and almost 17 percent coming from companies with fewer than 20 full time employees. Also represented is a large range of sales volumes, including 30 percent of responses from companies doing more than $100 million in annual volume, and 22 percent from companies doing less than $15 million in sales annually.

The survey concept was developed by the United Fresh Grower-Shipper Board, which identified an important need for a national compensation survey for the fresh produce industry.  To help ensure the broadest and most beneficial input for the produce supply chain, a task force with members from the United Fresh Grower-Shipper Board, Fresh-Cut Processor Board, and Wholesaler-Distributor Board was formed in December 2010. The Task Force reviewed and provided input to help determine the top 30 positions within the industry that would be most valuable to industry members.  In February 2011, the survey was sent to the industry and 119 surveys were completed. Industry Insights, an Ohio-based company that specializes in industry compensation research, administered the survey on behalf of United's Foundation.

"The produce industry competes with other industries for attracting and keeping the best talent. United's Grower-Shipper Board strongly supported the idea of conducting a national compensation survey to help industry employers stay competitive in the workplace," said Fred Williamson, president of Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce and chairman of United's Grower-Shipper Board.

The final survey report is now available to members of United Fresh for $495 and non-members for $695. Companies who participated in the survey receive an additional discount. The survey can be purchased here, and more information is available by contacting Victoria Backer at 202-303-3400, ext. 408.

PTI Survey Seeks Input on RPC Labeling Practices by August 25

The Produce Traceability Initiative's (PTI) Technology Working Group is seeking input from growers, packers, shippers, wholesalers and re-packers on their current practices for labeling returnable plastic containers (RPCs). The group asks companies currently packing into and labeling RPCs to participate in an online survey about their labeling practices, to help the working group develop effective best practices for creating PTI-compliant RPC labels for shipments into the U.S. marketplace. The group is developing those best practices in response to industry requests for a standard, baseline RPC label that is acceptable to all U.S. buyers.

To access the survey through August 25, please visit the survey link on the PTI home page, at

The PTI Technology Working Group, comprised of representatives from a wide variety of technology companies, will draw on the survey results to develop best practices for creating RPC labels that include information required for PTI compliance along with customary shipper information. The new labels will also allow packers to include other potentially requested information (for example, information requested by customers or individual states).

For more information, contact PTI Technology Working Group Co-Chair Dan Vaché at 425-629-6271.

For more information about the PTI, visit

Is Your Company an Outstanding Advocate for Produce in Washington?

Just one week left to nominate one outstanding company for its work championing the fresh fruit and vegetable industry. At the Washington Public Policy Conference this fall, United Fresh will recognize one industry champion with the Produce Industry Advocate of the Year Award.

The award recipient is selected based on the candidate’s demonstration of outstanding support for public policy advocacy with federally-elected leaders; diligent work on federal policy objectives to advance the fresh produce industry; active involvement with produce industry political initiatives such as the Washington Public Policy Conference, Grassroots Action Network and United FreshPAC; and United Fresh membership. The recipient of this year’s award will be announced at the 2011 Washington Public Policy Conference.

Past Produce Industry Advocate of the Year Award winners include:

2010 - C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.
2009 - Pro*Act, LLC
2008 - Walter P. Rawl & Sons
2007 - New York Apple Association, Inc.
2006 - Sunkist Growers, Inc.
2005 - L & M Companies
2004 - Produce for Better Health Foundation
2003 - Tanimura & Antle
2002 - Capital City Fruit Company, Inc

For more information on the United Fresh Produce Industry Advocate of the Year Award, click here or contact Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3400, ext. 416.

Fresh-Cut Workshop Returns to UC Davis

For the 16th year in a row, the Postharvest Technology Center at the University of California, Davis, will hold its Fresh-Cut Products Workshop focused on maintaining the quality and safety of fresh-cut and value-added produce. The workshop, September 13-15, seeks to provide a solid overview of the value-added product category and caters to each level of fresh-cut produce industry professionals.

Fresh-cut and value-added products are an important and rapidly expanding food category for the produce industry, food processors, retailers, and food service operators. With increased interest in fresh-cut products comes the manufacturer’s desire to meet consumer demand with safe products that are packaged and distributed to maintain freshness and nutrition and extend shelf life, while ensuring good eating quality.

This workshop provides an overview of many issues on the production, processing, packaging, distribution and quality assurance of fresh-cut products. Participants gain working knowledge of established and new procedures for fresh-cut products through topic-related sessions. The workshop also features discussions on microbial food safety and the effects of temperature and modified atmospheres on fresh-cut fruit and vegetable quality.

For more on the workshop, please click here or call 530-752-6941.

One More Chance to Equip Your Staff with the Best Inspection Training Available

The final session of United’s popular Produce Inspection Training Program, the produce industry's only USDA-instructed inspection training program, will take place September 12-16 at the USDA Fresh Products Branch National Inspectors' Training and Development Center in Fredericksburg, VA.

The 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 principles 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. For more information on the program, please contact United Fresh Senior Vice President of Member Services Victoria Backer at 202-303-3400, ext. 408.

Chairman’s Roundtable Thanks 2011 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 2011 Chairman’s Roundtable:

  • State Garden, Chelsea, MA

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 Senior Director of Membership Miriam Miller Wolk at 202-303-3410.

New Member Welcome

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

  • Label & Bar Code, Inc. – Springfield, OR
  • Kingdom Fresh Produce – Donna, TX
  • Capitol Risk Concepts, Ltd. – White Plains, NY

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

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