November 17, 2011
In Today's Issue:
United to Salute Icon Reggie Griffin, Benefit Foundation with Golf Tournament and Dinner

This January, United Fresh will honor the achievements and celebrate the career of industry icon Reggie Griffin with a special golf tournament and dinner, Monday, January 23 in San Diego.

“With his retirement as corporate vice president of produce and floral merchandising procurement, Reggie punctuates a 42-year career with The Kroger Company in which he touched the lives of thousands of us in the produce industry, and helped make fresh produce a cornerstone of the retail supermarket business across the country,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel.

Festivities will be held at San Diego’s historic Rancho Bernardo Inn, beginning with the Salute to Reggie Griffin golf tournament, followed by dinner.

Proceeds from the events will support the United Fresh Foundation’s Center for Leadership Excellence. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization committed to developing leadership skills at all levels of the industry, advancing produce safety and quality, promoting global produce industry sustainability, and increasing children's consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables for better health.

“We’re honored that Reggie has agreed for the proceeds from the event to support the Foundation’s Center for Leadership Excellence,” said Steve Grinstead, CEO, Pro*Act, and chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Reggie’s career has defined the word ‘leadership’, and this event will help us continue to invest in future leaders of our industry.”

More information and registration options for the Salute to Reggie Griffin are available by clicking here or contacting United’s Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3400, ext. 416.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available, with multiple recognition levels for those attending the event and those across the industry who would like to join in honoring Reggie.  Please contact United’s John Toner at 202-303-3400, ext. 424.

New State-By-State Profiles Show Impact of Produce Industry Nationwide

The fresh fruit and vegetable industry has a profound effect on all 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to new state profiles released by the United Fresh Produce Association today. Released in a series of state fruit and vegetable profiles, data show that all 50 states grow and sell fresh produce, and the profiles include acreage, farms, employment and production value for each state.

“These valuable resources underscore what those in our industry have known to be true for decades: that the fruit and vegetable industry has a tangible impact on the health and economy of every state in the country,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. “Even in states that may not traditionally be considered produce growing states, producers are growing, shipping and selling fresh fruits and vegetables, employing workers, and contributing to the health and well-being of their communities, both physically and economically.”

The state profiles also detail the impact of adult and childhood obesity and diabetes in each state, as well as the number of participants in federal feeding programs such as the National School Breakfast and Lunch programs, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program.

Additionally, the profiles examine each state’s share of the Farm Bill Specialty Crop Block Grants, WIC program funding and funding allotment for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, showcasing projects and success stories for each.

Data used in the reports come from federal and industry research sources. The profiles are available free of charge at or by clicking here.

PRO*ACT, United Fresh Foundation Mark Five Years of Honoring Foodservice Excellence

The competition is underway once more to honor the foodservice industry's most groundbreaking produce performers through the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program. The program, presented through the United Fresh Foundation's Center for Leadership Excellence, is generously supported by founding sponsor Pro*Act, LLC, and is now entering its fifth year.

“In the foodservice business, the menu that a chef develops is at the heart of the dining experience,” said Max Yeater, President of Pro*Act. “We are proud to continue to support this program which honors chefs who make fresh produce an integral part of their menus.”

Winning chefs will be honored in the categories of Fine Dining Restaurants, Casual and Family Dining Restaurants, Quick Serve Restaurants, Business in Industry & Colleges, Hotels & Healthcare and K-12 Foodservice.

“This program is a real triumph for chefs and the fresh produce industry,” said United Retail-Foodservice Board Chairman Mitch Smith, director, U.S. Quality Systems Agricultural Products for McDonald's Corporation. “It showcases the incredible ways that chefs utilize fresh produce to delight consumers with creative and delicious menu offerings and increase fresh produce consumption through all sectors of the restaurant and foodservice industries.”

The six winning chefs and their corporate executives receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations and registrations to United Fresh 2012, May 1-3 in Dallas. The winners will be honored at the Annual Awards Banquet, and the chefs will also participate in the education program at United Fresh 2012 to share their views on produce trends in foodservice.

“There are thousands of talented chefs who work hard every day to find new and exciting ways to present fresh produce to diners,” said Tom Stenzel, United Fresh president and CEO. “With Pro*Act’s generous support, we are proud to honor those chefs who are committed to treating produce as the centerpiece of the meal.”

Winners will be selected based on nominees' incorporation of fresh produce into menu development, use of protocols for correct storage and handling of produce, community engagement and outreach and how nominees build an overall positive dining experience featuring fresh produce.  Winners will be selected by a panel of United Fresh members focused on excellence in the foodservice sector. Nominations must be submitted before January 16, 2012 and nomination information is available online here.

Last year's winners in each category were:

Fine Dining Restaurants: Chef Clifford Pleau, Senior Director, Culinary and Beverage, Seasons 52 Restaurants, Orlando, FL

Casual and Family Dining Restaurants: Chef Regis Holden, Senior Director of Culinary Services, Eat'n Park Restaurants, Homestead, PA

Quick Service Restaurants: Chef Dan Barash, Executive Chef, Moe's Southwest Grill, Atlanta, GA
Business in Industry & Colleges: Chef Martin Breslin, Director of Culinary Operations, Harvard University Dining Services, Cambridge, MA

Hotels & Healthcare: Chef Jacques Wilson, Executive Chef, El Camino Hospital, Mountain View, CA

K-12 School Foodservice: Jenilee McComb, Director, Child Nutrition Program, Provo School District, Provo, UT

For more information about the award program, please contact Miriam Wolk, United Fresh senior director of membership, at 202-303-3400, ext. 410.

AMS Seeks Comments on Fresh Produce Pilot

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) spoke with United Fresh and members of the fresh produce industry Wednesday regarding a new fresh produce pilot program for schools in Michigan and Florida.

The goal of the two-year pilot beginning in January is to increase access to fresh produce in schools, and the pilot will include six fresh produce items: grapes, oranges, lettuce, carrots, blueberries, and apples. Through the pilot program, AMS aims to to leverage existing commercial distribution channels across the country and current school relationships with growers, processors, wholesalers and distributors.

In conjunction with this week’s call, AMS also released a draft request for proposal (RFP) for the pilot and is seeking comments prior to the final RFP’s release later this month. United Fresh encourages members to learn more about the pilot program and submit their comments.

“This is a unique opportunity for members from across the distribution chain and around the country to learn more about opportunities to provide schools with fresh fruits and vegetables and to advance our goal of increasing access to fresh produce in school meals,” said United Fresh Vice President of Nutrition and Health Dr. Lorelei DiSogra.

More information on the pilot programs is available at the following links:

Fresh Produce Pilot Program
Pilot Program Information Sheet
Understand the Process

For questions on the pilot program, please contact DiSogra at 202-303-3400, ext. 403.

USFRA, Discovery Networks Launch Food Dialogues Videos

Starting this week, the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance is partnering with Discovery Communications to help Americans learn more about how food is grown and raised. The coalition of agricultural organizations, of which United Fresh and Western Growers are affiliate members, launched a series of videos at featuring real farmers and ranchers answering consumer questions about the agricultural community’s commitment to continuous improvement, as well as the role farmers and ranchers play in providing healthy choices for Americans.

The videos reinforce the commitment by farmers and ranchers to an ongoing conversation with consumers about food production, underscoring the important messages and themes launched during the USFRA’s recent Food Dialogues events in September,” said United’s Ray Gilmer, who serves on the USFRA budget committee.

The documentary-style videos will air across the Discovery Communications’ networks—which include Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Science, Discovery Fit & Health, and Planet Green—through December 25.

For more information, visit

Stenzel, Guenther Join Western Growers in San Diego for Annual Meeting

United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel and Senior Vice President of Public Policy Robert Guenther joined Western Growers members in San Diego last week for the association’s 86th annual meeting. The gathering celebrated industry, policy and regulatory successes over the last year, and paid special tribute to former California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura for his leadership and vision.

“A.G. is not only a great friend and leader in California, but also across the country, where he is seen as a respected leader for many of us in the fresh produce industry,” said Stenzel.

The meeting offered workshops ranging from genomic research and alternative energy to retail marketing and food service, as well as luncheon sessions during which attendees heard from political consultant Dick Morris, Chairman Tom Deardorff II, and Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif, who gave an interesting perspective of word affairs.

“We are pleased to join Western Growers in this important industry meeting, and remain committed to continuing to develop strong synergies between our allied partners across the fresh produce industry,” said Guenther.

Vaché Details Case Labeling Best Practices on RedLine Webinar

Dan Vaché, United’s vice president of supply chain management joined United Fresh member company RedLine Solutions Wednesday for a webinar detailing the recent updates to the Produce Traceability Initiative’s Case and Pallet Labeling Best Practices documents. The latest version of the documents includes guidance on labeling for reusable plastic containers (RPC), as well as best practices for the printing of case labels.

“The creation of a best practice document can be a long process but getting it right is important and maintaining the best practices within the scope of traceability can, at times be a challenge,” said Vaché. “The [PTI] Technical Working Group had plenty of long discussions and, in the end, produced a document that will benefit the entire industry.”

In his presentation, Vaché provided an overview of how the PTI Case Label Best Practice has progressed since the first release in August 2009, including a review of the goals in creating best practices for case labeling, physical changes to the case label layout, suggested placement of case labels, and barcode specifications including barcode print quality standards and verification.

For more on the Produce Traceability Initiative, visit, or contact Vaché at 202-303-3400.

Make the Most of your United Fresh 2012 Experience with Next Month’s Exhibitor Forum

Today is your last chance to received discounted hotel accommodations for next month’s United Fresh 2012 Exhibitor Forum at the Dallas Convention Center. Produced in conjunction with co-location partners FMI, AMI and NASDA, the Exhibitor Forum, December 13-14, will help current and prospective United Fresh 2012 exhibitors maximize their benefits, ROI and participation in this spring’s show, May 1-3 in Dallas.

Participants in the forum will learn from industry experts how to make the most of the United Fresh 2012 experience. Forum attendees will meet with fellow exhibitors from the AMI, FMI and NASDA expos, vendors who will be providing services at the show, and convention center and visitor bureau staff.

Wednesday at the Forum includes an address from Skip Cox, CEO and president of Exhibit Surveys, Inc., a leader in the intelligence and measurement resource segment of the events marketing industry. During his address, Cox will detail simple strategies for exhibitors to make the most of the opportunities at United Fresh 2012.

“This is a wonderful chance for AMI, FMI, NASDA and United Fresh to come together with our exhibitors to talk about ways to make the 2012 show in Dallas a smashing success,” said John Toner, United Fresh vice president of convention and industry relations. “With Skip Cox addressing trends in the marketplace and how to achieve ROI through their booths, attendees to the Exhibitor Forum will learn how to better position their companies in today's exhibition space.”

In addition to Cox’s address, participants will interact with United Fresh staff and industry colleagues at the following special events:

Idea Exchange – Attendees can network with peers from the FMI, AMI and NASDA shows at a Tuesday Evening Reception as well as Wednesday’s Continental Breakfast and Group Lunch.

Research Presentation – Research will focus on the current state of tradeshows and specific business trends within the produce, meat and overall food industry to maximize marketing investment.

Vendor Forum – Participants will discover cost-saving discounts and the most efficient approach to handling booth logistics at this mini tradeshow featuring many of the convention center’s vendors.

United Fresh Promotion Clinic – After meeting with the show partners, United Fresh exhibitors will break out into individual sessions to talk specifically about pre-show promotion strategies to drive the attendees exhibitors want to see.

Tour of the Dallas Convention Center – Attendees will experience first-hand where exhibit space will be located, shuttle bus drop off points, entrances, and proximity to education session rooms, allowing exhibitors to gain a sense of potential attendee traffic patterns.

Registration for the Exhibitor Forum is complementary, and information and registration options are available by contacting United’s Jamie Woodside at 202-303-3400, ext. 420. Additionally, a discount hotel room rate of $99 has been arranged at the adjoining Omni Dallas Hotel, however the rate is only available to exhibitors who register by the end of the day today. Hotel reservations may be made by clicking here.

Chairman’s Roundtable Thanks 2012 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 2012 Chairman’s Roundtable:

  • Andrews Bros., Inc. Detroit, MI
  • C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Eden Prairie, MN
  • Cabbage, Inc., Westlake, OH
  • California Giant Berry Farms, Watsonville, CA
  • Capital City Fruit Company, Norwalk, IA
  • Crunch Pak Sliced Apples, Cashmere, WA
  • D'Arrigo Brothers Company of New York, Bronx, NY
  • Delhaize America, Salisbury, NC
  • Domex Superfresh Growers, Yakima, WA
  • Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Oviedo, FL
  • First Fruits Marketing of Washington, Yakima, WA
  • Flavor 1st Growers & Packers, Horse Shoe, NC
  • Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association, Maitland, FL
  • Four Seasons Produce, Ephrata, PA
  • Frontera Produce, Edingburg, TX
  • Gills Onions, Oxnard, CA
  • H. Brooks & Company, New Brighton, MN
  • Heartland Produce Company, Kenosha, WI
  • Horton Fruit Company, Louisville, KY
  • IFCO SYSTEMS, N.A., Tampa, FL
  • Jem-D International, Forest Park, GA
  • John Vena, Inc., Philadelphia, PA
  • Lakeside Produce Distribution, Rocky River, OH
  • Liberty Fruit Co., Kansas City, KS
  • Market Fresh Produce, LLC, Nixa, MO
  • Mission Produce, Oxnard, CA
  • NatureSeal, Wesport, CT
  • Nonpareil Corporation, Blackfoot, ID
  • Northwest Horticultural Council, Yakima, WA
  • O.P. Murphy & Sons, Soledad, CA
  • Paramount Citrus, Delano, CA
  • Pear Bureau Northwest, Milwaukie, OR
  • Peter Condakes Company, Everett, MA
  • Potandon Produce, Idaho Falls, ID
  • Stemilt Growers, Wenatchee, WA
  • Strube Celery & Vegetable Company, Chicago, IL
  • Tanimura & Antle, Salinas, CA
  • The Kroger Company, Cincinnati, OH
  • The Nunes Company, Salinas, CA
  • The Tom Lange Company, Springfield, IL
  • Windset Farms, Delta, BC, Canada
  • Winter Garden Produce, Uvalde, TX

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.

  • Gary Waugaman Consulting, Watsonville, CA

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 Wolk at 202-303-3410.

Upcoming United Fresh Events

Events in your area, designed to grow your business.