May 09, 2012
2012 Produce Show Wrap-Up
Incoming Chairman David Krause Honored as Packer Produce Man of the Year, Chairman Reggie Griffin Urges Consumer Focus

Incoming Chairman David Krause (L) is presented The Packer Produce Man of the Year Award by Packer Editor Greg Johnson.

Chairman Reggie Griffin addresses the General Session.

Incoming United Fresh Chairman of the Board David Krause predicted a bright future for the produce industry at the United Fresh 2012 General Session on May 1. Krause, President of Delano, Calif.-based Paramount Citrus, highlighted the advantages of the entire fresh produce supply chain coming together at the convention and on critical issues during the year, saying, “Working for our collective good, as well as the prosperity of our individual businesses, we tackle the critical challenges facing our industry.”

Krause also applauded United’s presence in Washington, D.C. “They are the go-to source for the facts about our industry’s issues and needs, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re speaking for thousands of us and our businesses, representing billions of dollars of produce sales. That’s a voice to be heard for sure!”

Shortly after his remarks, Krause was awarded The Packer Produce Person of the Year Award for his leadership as President of Paramount Citrus and his contributions to the industry. Greg Johnson, editor of The Packer, presented the award. “The company’s innovative marketing strategy and national branding success through Cuties clementines, are just part of Krause’s dedication to produce industry leadership,” said Johnson.

Reggie Griffin reflected on the past year as his term of Chairman of the Board came to a close, but that doesn’t mean he’s stepping away from the produce industry. During, his 38-year career with The Kroger Company, he has earned a reputation as one of the most knowledgeable industry leaders, and he took the opportunity during Tuesday’s General Session to share his perspective. “There’s only one customer we really need to focus on, and that’s the person who buys our products at the check-out aisle or restaurant table,” he said. Griffin encouraged the industry to make a commitment to telling the story of the care that goes into the production of fresh fruits and vegetables, and to work together to earn and maintain consumer trust. He also traced the accomplishments United has made this past year in rallying the industry to support the adoption of strong food safety standards and harmonized audits that promote food safety. “We succeed because produce industry leaders step up to the challenges and get things done. We’re all fortunate to work in a business where people have so much passion, and a relentless spirit to get things done,” he said. Griffin also presented the United Fresh 2012 Annual Video, a review of this year's achievements and membership value.

“It’s been an incredible experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” said Griffin in closing.

100 Salad Bars Donated to Texas Schools, California Salad Bar Challenge Begins

Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools dedicated 100 salad bars to Texas schools at United Fresh 2012 in an event that brought together school, government and child nutrition officials, health and wellness advocates and produce industry donors to recognize the 100 recipient schools and the more than 60 donor companies. The donation will benefit more than 60,000 children throughout Texas and highlights the produce industry's commitment to combating childhood obesity and increasing fresh fruit and vegetable consumption.  

Ryan Powell, a student from the Hurst Euless Bedford ISD, attended the event and was interviewed by the local NBC station. In the coverage, which can be seen here, he noted that salad bars were making a difference at his school. “The salad bar came in, a lot of kids actually started eating their food and there are more empty trays now, instead of just piled with other junk food,” said Powell.

Dan’l Mackey Almy, President of DMA Solutions, Inc. and Chairwoman of United’s Health and Nutrition Council recognized the significant momentum this donation built for the cause. “As we look forward to United Fresh 2013, I hope my colleagues in California are able to meet our goal of 100 salad bars and exceed it. It’s so important as an industry that we continue to push the bar higher,” urged Dan’l. “So I challenge the entire industry that by United Fresh 2013 next May, that we put 500 additional salad bars in schools across the country.”

Mary Beth Ratzloff, foodservice director for the Hurst Euless Bedford ISD, located just outside Dallas, was thrilled about the new salad bars. “Our district will receive salad bars for 10 of our schools thanks to Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools,” she said. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised about how well all of the salad bars we’ve installed were received by our students. It’s clear they enjoy ‘coloring their plates’ by choosing their own fruits and vegetables from the variety of options at the salad bar. The salad bars have really helped compliment our other efforts to teach students about the importance of eating more healthful fresh fruits and vegetables.”

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 by 2013. Over the last several years, United Fresh has been a driving force behind the nationwide adoption of school fruit and vegetable salad bars as a proven strategy for significantly increasing children’s produce consumption.

Dan’l Mackey Almy Honored at 15th Annual Women in Produce Reception

Dan’l Mackey Almy shares her story at the 15th annual Women in Produce Reception.

Dan'l Mackey Almy took the stage at the 15th annual Women in Produce Reception to share her inspiring journey in the produce industry as the 2012 Women in Produce Honoree. The program recognizes the contributions of all women working in the produce industry, and selects one individual to share her personal experience of service.

Dan’l Mackey Almy, president and founder of DMA Solutions Inc., has been a vocal advocate for school salad bars and child nutrition as Chairwoman of the United Fresh Nutrition Council. She began her career with Standard Fruit & Vegetable in Dallas. She quickly climbed the ranks to director of marketing, accepting responsibility for all marketing initiatives, including the development and execution of a corporate marketing plan. Mackey Almy then advanced to the position of vice president at Fresh Del Monte Produce, overseeing the Wal-Mart & Sam's accounts for North America. In 2004, she founded DMA Solutions, Inc., a creative marketing group that has helped to bolster the image of fresh produce by connecting producers and consumers, and helping to differentiate fresh produce in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

“Dan’l’s passion has influenced everyone around her from the first day she entered the produce industry,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. “Today, she continues to inspire through her creative vision and innovative strategies that guide successful marketing initiatives for many companies, and also drive industry success whether promoting produce to celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres or raising funds for salad bars in schools. Dan’l is a shining example that there are no limits to what one can achieve with passion.”

Former First Lady Laura Bush Shares Lessons on Leadership

Former First Lady Laura Bush shared memories of her years in the White House.

It was standing room only as Former First Lady Laura Bush delivered heartfelt keynote remarks at United Fresh 2012, recalling her years in the White House with fondness and humor. Mrs. Bush even delighted in sharing with the audience that former President George H.W. Bush has since “reformed his ways” regarding his outspoken dislike of broccoli, suggesting that the 20,000 pounds of broccoli the produce industry shipped to him in 1991 had made a difference. Mrs. Bush thanked the industry for the donation of salad bars to Texas and for the support the industry has given to child nutrition efforts nationwide.

Tom Stenzel, United Fresh President and CEO, joined Mrs. Bush on stage to ask questions that members had submitted. The audience was delighted to hear Mrs. Bush’s prediction that the Texas Rangers will have a strong showing this year, and were captivated to hear her adventures in Afghanistan as she worked to promote literacy efforts in the region.

United Fresh Attendees Choose New Product Award Winners

The United Fresh trade show has a long tradition of presenting the latest innovations in the fresh produce industry. United Fresh, AMI and FMI attendees chose this year’s New Product Award winners from 27 fresh fruit and vegetable innovations in the categories of Best New Packaging Product, Best New Food Safety Solution, Best New Packing/Processing Equipment, Best New Fruit Product and Best Vegetable Product.

Congratulations to the 2012 New Product Award Winners:

  • Best New Packaging Product:
    Naturipe EarthCycle Packaging for Organic Berries, Naturipe LLC
  • Best New Food Safety Solution:
    FlashCheck® Real-time Bacterial Enzyme Detection Kit, DeltaTRAK®, Inc.
  • Best New Packing/Processing Equipment:
    Bosch Pack 301 IN Inverted Horizontal Flow Wrapper, Bosch Packaging Technology, Inc
  • Best New Fruit Product:
    Fresh Fruit Parfaits, Ready Pac Foods
  • Best New Vegetable Product:
    Delano™, Mastronardi Produce

“These winning innovations are the forerunners in the effort to bring new approaches, ideas and processes to the fresh fruit and vegetable industry,” said John Toner, United’s vice president of convention & industry relations. “From its very beginnings, the United show has been the undisputed home of innovation for the produce industry, and these awards continue to showcase the best and brightest minds in the produce business. We’re proud to congratulate the 27 finalists in this year’s competition.”

Front Line Produce Managers and Foodservice Professionals Celebrated at United Fresh 2012

The 2012 Retail Produce Manager Award winners.

The 2012 Excellence in Foodservice Award winners.

At this year’s Chairman’s Reception and Annual Produce Celebration, United Fresh honored 25 Retail Produce Manager Award winners. These men and women are on the front line of the produce industry, boosting consumption with brilliant displays and tempting promotions. The winners represent 21 different supermarket chains, commissaries and independent retail stores in 15 states and Canada. Several of the award winners shared their secrets to success in show floor panel discussion, which can be viewed on United Fresh TV. Hear these retail produce managers talk about earning customer trust, cross-department promotions, how buyers respond to country of origin labeling and much more!

The 2012 winners are:

  • Leslie Alex, Hannaford Brothers, Dover, NH
  • Ricky Allemand, Brookshire Grocery Company, New Iberia, LA
  • John Ballard, Food City/K-VA-T Food Stores, Lafollete, TN
  • Matt Blair, Price Chopper/Golub Corporation, Cicero, NY
  • Phil Burgess, Safeway Stores, Bend, OR
  • Brian Burrow, Brookshire Grocery Company, Whitehouse, TX
  • Franklin Bys, Hy-Vee, Inc., Coralville, IA
  • James Campbell, Sunflower Farmers Market, Denver, CO
  • Brian Collegnon, Rueben’s County Market , Hartford, WI
  • Corey Conrad, Colemans Food Centres, Corner Brook, NFL, Canada
  • Brian Corbitt, Bel Air Market/Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Sacramento, CA
  • Jolene Cyr, Food Maxx/Save Mart Supermarkets, Fairfield, CA
  • Ron Danielson, Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, Woodland, CA
  • Chad Faulk, Harris Teeter, Charlotte, NC
  • John Heon, Big Y Foods, Lee, MA
  • Rich Jackson, Quality Food Centers, Sammamish, WA
  • Steve Kaminski, Jewel-Osco, Westmont, IL
  • Charmagne Kendrick, VG's Food Center/Spartan Stores, Fenton, MI
  • Jim Kesteloot, Harris Teeter, Reston, VA
  • Michael Kolek, Jewel-Osco, Schaumburg, IL
  • Brian Langdon, The Kroger Company, Cincinnati, OH
  • Mike McElmeel, Hy-Vee, Inc., Silvis, IL
  • Elizabeth Myers, New River MCAS Commissary, Jacksonville, NC
  • Wanda Ivy Nicholas, Travis Air Force Base Commissary, Travis, CA
  • Nick Puleo, Vons, San Diego, CA

Six foodservice professionals were presented the Excellence in Foodservice Awards at the event. The award honors chefs and their companies for their innovative and influential use of fresh produce in the culinary arts. The winners also participated in a panel discussion that covered school lunches, organic produce, connecting consumers to farmers and much more. A recording of the session is posted for viewing on United Fresh TV.

The 2012 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Award winners are:

  • Business in Industry & Colleges:
    Chef David Kramer, Chef Instructor, College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL
  • Casual & Family Dining Restaurants:
    Chef Michael Stebner, Director of Culinary, True Food Kitchen, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Fine Dining Restaurants:
    Chef Brian Scheehser, Trellis Restaurant, Kirkland, WA
  • Hotels & Healthcare:
    Chef Christophe Depuichaffray, Area Executive Chef, InterContinental Mark Hopkins and Hotel InterContinental San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
  • K-12 School Foodservice:
    Jessica Shelly, Director of Food Services, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati, OH
  • Quick Service Restaurants:
    John Hughes, Senior Vice President & Director of Training, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Manasquan, NJ
Produce Industry Leadership Program Graduates Class 17, Welcomes Class 18

Class 17 of the Produce Industry Leadership Program graduated at United Fresh 2012.

Congratulations to Class 17 of the Produce Industry Leadership Program who graduated at United Fresh 2012! Their yearlong program included field and facility tours in California, Washington D.C., Wilmington, Del., Chile and Dallas, as well as training with expert educators and meetings with key industry leaders and innovators. The investment they have made in their careers is sure to yield great benefits for the entire industry.

United Fresh is also proud to announce Class 18. Presented through the Foundation’s Center for Leadership Excellence and sponsored by a generous grant from DuPont Crop Protection, this program was launched in 1995 and has graduated more than 180 program participants.

The Produce Industry Leadership Program welcomes the following professionals to its 18th Class:

  • Catherine Baggott, Earthbound Farms
  • Helena Beckett, Tanimura & Antle
  • Jamie Brannen, Gerrald's Vidalia Sweet Onions
  • Natalie Erlendson, Sun World International, LLC
  • Zak Laffite, Paramount Citrus
  • Cristie Mather, Pear Bureau Northwest
  • Jerald Morgenthal, Castellini Company, LLC
  • Cory Oliver, H-E-B
  • Kristen Reid, MIXTEC Group
  • Sophia Sarafidou, Greenfood S.A.
  • Roman Smith, Freshway Foods
  • Dean Taylor, Mastronardi Produce, LTD
Don’t Miss United Fresh 2012 Show Highlights!

United Fresh 2012 was a true Texas-sized event! With more than 4,500 United Fresh attendees, the show floor was bustling with activity. With so many educational sessions and workshops, networking events and booths to visit, United has compiled photo and video highlights from the show to catch you up with anything you may have missed. Meet our exhibitors, hear from expert panels on produce retail and foodservice and see highlights from this year's big events on United Fresh TV! Be sure to stop by our United Fresh 2012 Photo Gallery, for a close-up look at our speakers, the vibrant show floor and networking events!

United Fresh 2012 Exhibitors Donate Nearly 60,000 lbs to Food Bank

United Fresh exhibitors filled their booths with colorful and flavorful displays, with everything from tomatoes and peppers to juice and yogurt. At the close of the show, participating exhibitors donated their food products to the North Texas Food Bank, nearly 60,000 pounds in total. The North Texas Food Bank reported that this donation filled three truckloads and is enough to provide nearly 50,000 nutritious meals to the local community. The Bank also reported that this was one of the most successful show partnerships they have participated in, given the quality and quantity of the product. Thank you exhibitors for helping to make a positive impact in our convention host city!

Save the Date for United Fresh 2013

Mark your calendars now for United Fresh 2013! The show will be held May 14-16, 2013 in San Diego, California.

For more information, please contact John Toner, vice president of convention & industry relations, at 202-303-3424.