December 13, 2012
In Today's Issue:
FPFC Members Contribute 13 Salad Bars at Holiday Event

Dick Spezzano, Co-chair of United’s Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools campaign, rallies his produce industry colleagues to support the cause.

More than 300 Southern California produce industry leaders rallied to support Let 's Move Salad Bars to California Schools at the Fresh Produce & Floral Council's (FPFC) Annual Holiday Luncheon and Charity Auction this week. FPFC members generously contributed $35,000 to United’s Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, whichwas selected as one of the two charities to benefit from the auction. At the close of the auction, Dick Spezzano, Co-chair of United’s Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools campaign, announced his personal donation, which inspired other industry colleagues to make personal contributions to the campaign as well. Campaign Co-chairs Karen Caplan, Frieda’s, Inc., and Lisa McNeece, Grimmway Farms, also spoke, hailing the benefits of salad bars and encouraging broad support from the industry.

Earlier this year, FPFC donated salad bars to schools in Sacramento and Anaheim. The FPFC Board members were so impressed with the positive response from students and school officials that they decided to recognize United’s Let’s Move Salad Bars to California campaign at their annual holiday event.

“The enthusiastic and generous response to the California salad bar campaign was just tremendous. FPFC truly believes in this cause and we are so honored to have their support and the support of their members,” said Jeff Oberman, United’s vice president of membership. “We look forward to celebrating this effort together with these members next May in San Diego at the 2013 United Fresh Convention where we’ll announce the total salad bar donations to California schools."

FPFC and all other contributors will be recognized at the Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools celebration press conference on May 15 at the United Fresh 2013 Show in San Diego, where the milestone industry donation of 350 salad bars to California schools will be announced. The press event will bring together California students, school officials, produce industry donors, government officials and public health advocates.

To learn more about Let’s Move Salad Bars to California Schools, or how you can support salad bars for schools in your local community, contact Andrew Marshall, United’s policy & grassroots manager, at 202-303-3407.

Join Industry Colleagues for Foundation Golf Tournament and First Annual Produce Legends Dinner

This year’s United Fresh Foundation Golf Tournament will bring together produce buyers, sellers, suppliers and, most of all, friends of the produce industry! Join us January 28 on this gem of a course, designed by Tom Fazio, for 36 holes of championship golf. The Mountain Golf Course at Ventana Canyon, one of America’s premier golf resorts, is set in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains and makes use of the spectacular desert terrain while preserving the integrity of the natural environment. All proceeds from the golf tournament will go to the United Fresh Foundation. Funds raised from last year’s event helped the Foundation sustain important initiatives, such as the salad bar campaign, and meet other important goals.

Following the tournament, all are invited to attend the new annual Produce Legends Dinner, where United will honor Frieda Rapoport Caplan with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The dinner will be held at the Loews Ventana Canyon Ranch in Tucson. Friends and associates who wish to join in honoring Frieda are invited to participate in the dinner, as well as the Foundation’s benefit golf tournament earlier that day.

“Frieda Rapoport Caplan truly embodies the essence of Lifetime Achievement in the produce industry,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. “From the very beginning of her career, she epitomized the classic produce entrepreneur, always pushing forward as a progressive marketer, savvy business personality and as a leader in our industry. Frieda has not only been a longtime role model for women in produce, but also a role model for the entire industry. Come together with industry leaders as we support her contributions!”

Information on golf and dinner tickets and sponsorship is available here. For more information, please contact Angela Tiwari at 202-303-3416.

United Fresh 2013 Keynote Speaker Talks About What Keeps Customers Loyal

In an interview with a local newspaper earlier this week, Robb discussed the effects of a healthy work environment for Whole Foods employees on customer satisfaction.

“Business is about more than a buck,” said Whole Foods Market Co-CEO Walter Robb in an interview with Austin Business Journal Editor Colin Pope last week. Robb, who will deliver keynote remarks on May 15 at United Fresh 2013, emphasized that while product offerings are a large driver of Whole Food’s success, the company has also made it a goal to create a healthy work environment.

Robb has more than 20 years of experience in the company and is responsible for overseeing retail operations for half of the more than 340 stores. This visionary retail leader will share what produce consumers at Whole Foods value most, and how the produce industry and retailers can work together to meet and exceed those expectations.

United Fresh 2013 features a schedule packed with industry value. The tradition of presenting top-flight education in two learning centers on the show floor will continue, with market segment education specifically designed by leaders in each sector to address the unique challenges and trends faced by Grower-Shipper, Fresh-Cut Processor, Wholesale-Distributor and Retail-Foodservice attendees. The education sessions are just steps away from the United Fresh Marketplace, where attendees will find marketers and merchandisers of fresh produce for retail, foodservice and wholesale levels of trade, and the United Fresh Tech expo, the produce industry's only expo focused on the fresh-cut/value-added market, and all the tools, technology, equipment and services needed for an efficient and profitable produce supply chain.

It all kicks off with the Opening Party, which promises to be an unforgettable adventure as attendees climb aboard the historic USS Midway, one of America’s longest-serving aircraft carriers. Industry colleagues, customers and suppliers will enjoy strolling the flight deck with a spectacular view of San Diego’s harbor and skyline as they explore aircraft spanning 50 years of military history.

Registration is open for United Fresh 2013 in San Diego! This year’s theme, “Discover Fresh Horizons,” underscores the many opportunities for education, innovation and sales growth in fresh produce at the United Fresh show, and all in San Diego, one of the world’s most beautiful convention destinations, May 14-16.

Early registration packages are available through April 1. The All Access Pass to United Fresh 2013 includes access to all of the United Fresh education sessions and networking events, as well as the post-show Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference. The convention will be held at the San Diego Convention Center, and the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina will serve as the headquarters hotel for United Fresh 2013, and reservations may be made online.

For more information, visit the United Fresh 2013 show online, or follow us on Twitter with the hashtag #UnitedFresh2013.

USDA Relaxes New School Meal Limits

The USDA is relaxing upper serving size limits on grains and meats for the rest of the school year, but the doubling of fruits and vegetables served is still required.

The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has granted flexibility to schools in meeting the new school meal requirements under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. In a memo sent to school nutrition directors last week, FNS signaled that maximum servings prescribed for grains and protein could be disregarded for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year, but that calorie limits would still be in effect. The requirement that schools serve double the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables every day remains intact.

“Schools can also make larger portions of fruits and vegetables available at lunch,” encouraged Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a December 7 letter to several senators who had expressed concern over the new school meal rules. He also reaffirmed that the new meal requirements are “science-based standards, in which the portions of school meals are ‘right-sized’ to reflect the age and dietary needs of the students served and the appropriate balance between food groups.”

"We fully support USDA's flexibility to allow schools to serve more grains and protein at lunch. For 101,000 schools around the country this is a year of transition and learning how to effectively implement the new school lunch nutrition standards," said Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, United’s vice president of nutrition & health. 

For more information, please contact Dr. Lorelei DiSogra at 202-303-3400.

Childhood Obesity Rate Drops for First Time in 30 Years

Research points to broad policy changes, including healthier school foods and increased physical activity for the decrease in childhood obesity.

The rate of childhood obesity may be receding for the first time in 30 years, according to a recent report. The decreases are incremental, but significant in that they are the first sign that the epidemic may be reversing course. Philadelphia reported a 5% decrease, and Los Angeles saw a 3% decrease.

“It has been very encouraging to see so many schools embrace more fresh fruits and vegetables in their meals, and to make nutrition a priority lesson to students,” said Ray Gilmer, United Fresh vice president of communications. “The produce industry is proud of the contributions we have made to the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools program. These salad bars improve children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and we know that is a key part of the solution.”

United Fresh is a founding partner of Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, which has donated more than 1,600 salad bars to date in support of  First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative goals. Let’s Move! has focused national attention on the issue and aims to end childhood obesity in a generation.

The research doesn’t point to a specific intervention responsible for the decline in childhood obesity, but notes that the improvements occurred in cities that have had some form of obesity reduction policies in place for several years. Researchers agree that there is no single solution, but that the issue must be approached with a broad set of policies, including healthier cafeteria options, more physical activity, and nutrition education.

The above referenced research is available online. For more information, please contact Dr. Lorelei Disogra, United vice president of nutrition & health, at 202-303-3400.

United Supports Canadian Producers at Policy Conference

Fall Harvest attendees prepare to meet with key members of Parliament on the Canadian produce industry’s top priorities.

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) and the Canadian Horticulture Council recently held their annual Fall Harvest advocacy event in Ottawa. The event highlighted the contributions of the Canadian produce industry and provided information to key members of Parliament regarding the industry’s policy priorities. These include legislative and regulatory changes needed to enhance the ability of Canadian produce providers to meet the public’s nutritional needs and producers’ competitiveness. Canadian producers outlined their position in a series of meetings with members of both houses of Parliament, addressing issues such as food safety, nutrition labeling and revenue assurance. 

Julie Manes, United Fresh director of government relations, attended the Fall Harvest event in support of the Canadian produce industry. “United Fresh has many members who do business in Canada. The industry in the US and the industry in Canada have many common concerns and objectives, so being able to join and show our support is an important and welcome opportunity.”

Attendees also heard detailed updates from Canadian regulatory officials about initiatives on nutrition and food safety. The Fall Harvest event is attended by representatives from all segments of the produce industry across Canada.

For more information, please contact Julie Manes, director of government relations, at 202-303-3400.

Produce Retail Stars to Be Honored at United Fresh 2013
Welcome New Members!
Display by 2012 Retail Produce Manager Award Winner Brian Burrow from Brookshire Grocery Company in Whitehouse, Texas.

The United Fresh Foundation, through the Center for Leadership Excellence, is accepting nominations for the 2013 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program. Established in 2005 by founding sponsor Ready Pac Foods, Inc., the program will honor 25 outstanding retail produce managers at the United Fresh 2013 convention May 14-16 in San Diego.

The Retail Produce Manager Awards Program pays special recognition to produce managers on the front line in supermarkets working everyday to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. Since the program’s inception, over 170 managers from more than 60 different retail banners have been honored for their commitment to customer satisfaction, innovative merchandising, produce-related community outreach, and recognition among company peers.

“We salute the incredible work of these men and women who are delivering an exceptional produce experience every day to the consumer,” said Michael Solomon, President and CEO of Ready Pac Foods, Inc. “We are proud to sponsor this program and honored to have such dedicated and talented managers showcasing the best our industry has to offer.”

This year, 25 award winners, along with their corporate produce directors, will receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations and registrations to the United Fresh 2013 convention. The winners will be honored at the Produce Celebration Dinner on Thursday, May 16, where five grand prize winners will be announced as recipients of an additional $1,000 cash prize.

“We strongly encourage all retailers who want to recognize their best produce managers to nominate them today,” said Victoria Backer, United Fresh senior vice president of member services, foundation.  “This is more than just a plaque to hang on the wall. This program is experience that many have called a highlight of their careers!”

Nominations for the 2013 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program may be accessed online and must be received by January 18, 2013.

Click here for more information, including selection criteria and a list of winners since 2005, or contact Shannon Young, United Fresh education manager, at or 202-303-3405.


Nominate a Chef for the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program
Welcome New Members!
The 2012 Foodservice in Excellence Awards winners shared their diverse experience with convention attendees in an education session prior to being recognized at the awards banquet.

Nominations are now being accepted for United Fresh Foundation’s 2013 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program. Sponsored by PRO*ACT, LLC since its inception, the program honors the foodservice industry’s most innovative produce performers.

“This program is a great way to recognize the work that chefs do in incorporating produce into the new products they develop for their menus,” said United Retail-Foodservice Board Vice Chairman Sean Picquelle, produce and beverage product quality and food safety manager for Taco Bell. “It spotlights the incredible ways that chefs in a variety of restaurants and culinary settings can utilize fresh and fresh-cut produce which ultimately increases fresh produce consumption.”

Since its launch in 2008, the program has honored 27 talented chefs and foodservice professionals for their exceptional work in incorporating fresh produce in menu development, proper food safety and handling, engaging in community outreach, and building an overall positive dining experience featuring fresh produce. 

In 2013, six winning chefs will be honored in each the following business categories: Business in Industry & Colleges Hotels & Healthcare Industry, Casual and Family Dining Restaurants, Fine Dining Restaurants, K-12 Foodservice, and Quick Serve Restaurants. Winners are selected by a panel of United Fresh member representatives focused on excellence in the foodservice sector. Nominations must be submitted before January 16, 2013. Nominations are accepted on the United Fresh Foundation website.

“Produce can take a consumer’s ordinary dining experience and make it extraordinary,” 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 and provider their customers with innovative and exciting concepts.”

The six winning chefs and their corporate executives receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations and registrations to United Fresh 2013, May 14-16 in San Diego. The winners will be honored at the Annual Chairman’s Reception & Produce Celebration Dinner and will also participate in education sessions at the convention to share their views on produce trends in foodservice. PRO*ACT will also make a donation to a charitable organization of each winner’s choice.

For more information about the award program, please visit the Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program online or contact Miriam Wolk, United Fresh senior director of membership, at 202-303-3410.


United to Speak with Peruvian Exporters on FSMA, PT
Welcome New Members!Peruvian exports of agriculture products are on the rise. Above, artichokes are processed. United Fresh will speak to Peruvian exporters on the requirements of FSMA and the advantages of PTI.

Dan Vaché, United Fresh vice president of supply chain management, and Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy, will present at the International Produce Traceability Initiative & Food Safety Seminar in Lima, Peru. As the fresh produce industry awaits implementation of the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and moves towards full supply chain traceability with PTI, the seminar will help Peruvian exporters prepare for the new requirements. The United team will also be joined by Ed Treacy, PMA vice president of supply chain efficiencies, and Jorge Barrenechea Cabrera, SENASA general director of plant health. Participants will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and questions with the speakers as well as network with representatives from food safety and traceability companies.

“Peruvian exporters who want to continue to be reliable produce suppliers to the United States may need to brush up on what is actually required under FSMA, and PTI will certainly give advantages, as more and more importers are looking for those traceability capabilities,” said Vaché. “We continue to seek opportunities to assist the industry by providing education on the steps to become compliant with the PTI recommendations. As imports of fresh fruits and vegetables continue to increase, it is vital for importers to adhere to the PTI recommendations. We appreciate the opportunity to present to the Peruvian market.”

The seminar will be held January 22 at the Westin Hotel & Resort in Lima, Peru. Registration is $125 before December 14 and includes two coffee breaks and lunch. To register, please visit or contact Priscilla Lleras at Additional questions should be directed to Dan Vaché at 425-629-6271.


Chairman’s Roundtable Thanks 2013 Supporters
Welcome New Members!

The 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 2013 Chairman’s Roundtable:

  • Ciruli Brothers
  • Costco Wholesale
  • Fresh Solutions Network, LLC
  • Frieda’s, Inc.
  • H. Brooks & Company
  • Index Fresh
  • L & M Companies
  • McEntire Produce
  • TMW Systems

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 Wolk at 202-303-3410.


New Member Welcome
Welcome New Members!

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

  • NoKota Packers, Inc.
  • Sun-Glo of Idaho, Sugar City, ID

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 Wolk at 202-303-3410.


Upcoming United Fresh Events

day plannerJoin us for events designed to grow your business:

Produce Inspection Training Program
January 14-18, USDA Training Center, Fredericksburg, VA

United Fresh Foundation Golf Tournament & Produce Legends Dinner
January 28, Loews Ventana Canyon, Tucson, AZ

2013 Winter Leadership Meetings
January 28-30, Loews Ventana Canyon, Tucson, AZ

2013 Produce Executive Development Program
March 10-15, 2013, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
United Fresh 2013 
May 14-16, 2013, San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA