January 9, 2014
In Today's Issue:
United’s New Quarterly Report Offers Latest Trends in Fresh Produce for Foodservice

United Fresh is proud to launch Fresh Insights for Foodservice, a new quarterly report showcasing the latest trends in fresh produce use in foodservice and restaurants. United’s Retail-Foodservice Board initiated this report as a resource for members to gain a comprehensive look at how chefs and restaurants are incorporating fresh produce into their menus. The report was developed by Datassential, a leading market research firm dedicated to the food Industry, using data from its menu database, MenuTrends.

“We are excited to offer the industry such an in-depth resource focused on foodservice,” said United’s Vice President of Trade Relations Jeff Oberman, liaison to United’s Retail-Foodservice Board. “Our members know that foodservice trends shift quickly and this publication will be a valuable tool for them to stay on top of those trends and take advantage of new opportunities.”

The publication is organized in four core sections, including Fresh Flavors, which shows in-depth profiles of trending produce items; Menu Intelligence, featuring up-to-date information on how produce is being used in different menu items; Chain Report, which focuses on produce’s role in new menu items; and View From Above, offering a look into produce usage in a particular trend within the foodservice industry.

In this quarter’s report, Fresh Flavors highlights the market penetration and growth of rhubarb, romanesco and pickled vegetables. Menu Intelligence explores the growth of premium burgers and pie on restaurant menus. Chain Report investigates trends among top chain, including pumpkin, jalapeno and cocktails.  View From Above describes the role of produce in Mediterranean fast casual cuisine.

Fresh Insights for Foodservice is free to United members and $50 to non-members. To order the report today, visit United’s website. If you have questions, please contact Victoria Baker at 202-303-3408. For questions about the data or content in this report, contact Maeve Webster, Senior Director, Datassential at maeve@datassential.com.


United Accepting Nominations for the Industry’s Most Innovative Chefs and Foodservice Operators

United has opened the nomination period for the 2014 Produce Excellence in Foodservice Awards Program, which honors the industry’s most innovative chefs and foodservice operators. The program is sponsored by PRO*ACT, LLC, and has honored more than 30 different chefs and foodservice operators 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 with fresh produce as a centerpiece. 

“Thousands of talented chefs work hard every day to find innovative ways to showcase fresh produce in their menus,” said Tom Stenzel, United president and CEO. “With PRO*ACT’s generous support, we are proud to honor those chefs who are committed to making produce the centerpiece of the meal.”

In 2014, the Business in Industry & Colleges category will be expanded into two separate categories, “Business in Industry” and “Colleges & Universities,” bringing the total number of winning chefs to seven. Chefs also will be honored in each the following business categories: Casual and Family Dining, Fine Dining Restaurants, Hotels & Healthcare Industry, K-12 Foodservice and Quick Service Restaurants.

“Fresh produce continues to be the rising star of the foodservice sector, and chefs play a critical role in introducing consumers to new produce items,” said Max Yeater, President of PRO*ACT. “We are proud to support this exceptional program and honor leading chefs who are making fresh produce the highlight of their menus.”

The winning chefs and their corporate executives receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations and registrations to United Fresh 2014 on June 10-13 in Chicago. The winners will be honored at the Produce Celebration Gala, and the chefs will also participate in the education program at United Fresh 2014 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.

Nominations must be submitted by February 28, 2014. More information on the nomination process is available online. For more information about the award program, please contact Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.


Celebrate Outstanding Retail Produce Managers Working in Supermarkets

Here’s your chance to honor the exceptional produce managers on the front line in supermarkets working every day to increase sales and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. United is accepting nominations for the 2014 Retail Produce Managers Awards. United Fresh will award 25 of the industry’s top retail produce managers for their commitment to fresh produce, innovative merchandising, community service and customer satisfaction. Award winners will be recognized at the United Fresh 2014 Convention in Chicago, IL.

The 25 winning produce managers and their corporate produce directors will receive complimentary roundtrip airfare to Chicago for the United Fresh 2014 Convention, full conference registration for the convention, two nights lodging, a commemorative plaque and recognition at the Produce Celebration Gala held at the convention. Five grand prize winners will also receive $1,000. 

Nominations forms must be received no later than February 28, 2014. Nomination forms can be downloaded as a Word document or submitted online. To learn more about the Retail Produce Manager Awards Program, visit the United Fresh Foundation website.

Calling All Speakers! United Fresh 2014 Provides a Platform for Innovation, Ideas, Education

United is now accepting proposals for educational session topics at United Fresh 2014.  Companies interested in developing a workshop at the convention are invited to submit proposals.

“Attendees come to the United convention to hear cutting-edge information about industry issues and trends,” said Shannon Young, United’s education manager. “The workshops are wildly popular and become a dynamic place for members to learn and exchange ideas.  This is a great platform for speakers who have unique information to share and educate the produce industry on critical topics. ”

Education sessions will take place on the trade show floor at the Fresh Tech and Fresh Marketplace Learning Centers. The Fresh Marketplace Learning Center will help attendees gain critical business and customer insights with educational sessions on consumer trends, business strategies and marketing opportunities.  The FreshTech Learning Center is designed for attendees to enhance their management skills and efficiencies with educational sessions on food safety, traceability, transportation and logistics, emerging technologies and more.

Industry members interested in presenting an education session can download the proposal submission form. Proposals should be emailed to Shannon Young at syoung@unitedfresh.org. The deadline to submit a proposal is January 15, 2014.  For more information, please contact Shannon Young at 202-303-3405.

USDA Revises Federal Order on Chilean Blueberries

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) revised its federal order on new entry requirements for the importation of fresh blueberry fruit from Chile into the United States. The revised order allows Chilean blueberries bound to the United States to be fumigated with methyl bromide at 4lbs, 40-49 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 hours at five ports in the U.S. The following United States Ports of Entry are allowed to participate in this fumigation protocol and revised federal order.

  • Elizabeth City, New Jersey
  • Long Beach, California
  • Wilmington, Delaware
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Miami, Florida

APHIS initiated the original federal order in response to multiple detections of European Grapevine Moth in Chilean blueberry orchards. The initial federal order required blueberry shipments from Chile destined to the United States to be fumigated with methyl bromide at the point of origin in Chile before shipment.

Learn more about federal import orders by visiting the APHIS website. To read the revised federal order, APHIS Amends New Requirements for Fresh Blueberry Fruit Imported from Chile into the United States, click here.


Learn How to Limit Your Legal Exposure in Food Recalls

United is hosting a webinar exploring the legal impacts of foodborne illness outbreaks and recalls on produce companies on Thursday, January 16, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (EST). The webinar, Strategies for Limiting Your Legal Exposure in Recalls, is free for United members and only $50 for non-members.

The webinar is hosted by the United Fresh Grower-Shipper Board and is the first of a new, webinar series hosted by United’s Market Segment Boards and Expert Councils. Each month, United’s volunteer leader groups will tackle a new topic on key issues impacting the industry.

To register for the webinar, click here. If you have questions, please contact Erin Grether at 202-303-3402.

Submit Your Application Today to Join United’s Market Segment Boards

Don’t miss the opportunity to make a positive impact on the produce industry by joining United’s Market Segment Boards. United is now accepting nominations for potential candidates to serve on the boards. These boards include a broad pool of talent from each business segment of the produce supply chain. Boards are empowered to identify, discuss and advance issues of importance within their market sector to ensure United Fresh is meeting specific business needs, addressing critical issues and implementing programs that deliver member value to each market segment. 

Each board has up to 22 members predominately representing companies from their respective business sectors, as well as supplier and allied association members that work closely within a specific segment. Terms of service for board members are two years. The boards meet three times a year in person (United Convention, Washington Public Policy Conference, and Winter Leadership Meetings) and conduct additional business by phone and web conference.
Positions will be opening on each of the following boards. Please click on the board of interest to see the current board members:

Volunteers must be from a United member company in good standing. Only a limited number of seats will be open on each board to volunteers from the respective business sector. All volunteers will be reviewed by the Nominating Committee for consideration, which will present the final slate of board candidates to the membership for election in the spring.

In addition to the Market Segment Boards, United also has six Expert Advisory Councils that include members from all segments of the industry who share a common expertise.

Finance & Business Management Council
Food Safety & Technology Council
Government Relations Council              
Nutrition & Health Council
Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council 
Supply Chain Logistics Council

To learn more about the different councils, click here. If you or a representative from your company is interested in service on one of the boards or councils, please complete this form and return it to United Fresh by Friday, January 31, 2014. If you have any questions or would like additional information, contact Victoria Backer at 202-303-3408.


Supply Chain Keeps Moving Despite Record-Setting Cold

Record-setting cold temperatures of -12 degrees below zero didn’t faze Rob Strube, CEO of Strube Celery and Vegetable Co., at the Chicago International Wholesale Market as he welcomed United Vice President of Trade Relations Jeff Oberman to the market this week. Oberman was in town for member visits related to the United Fresh 2014 convention in Chicago, a short six months away. “I guarantee there will be warmer temperatures in June in Chicago during United Fresh 2014," Oberman said.


New Study Finds Incentives Boost Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

A new nationwide study shows that healthy food incentives increase SNAP participants’ consumption of fruits and vegetables. The study, Healthy Food Incentives Cluster Evaluation, summarizes results of incentive programs at more than 500 farmers’ markets in 24 states and the District of Columbia.  The incentives doubled the value of SNAP (food stamps) benefits spent at farmers’ markets to purchase fruits and vegetables and significantly boosted healthy eating among SNAP recipients.

 “This study highlights the benefits of providing SNAP families with incentives to purchase more fresh fruits and vegetables and the importance of strengthening nutrition in SNAP,” said Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, United vice president of nutrition and health. “We support expanding incentive programs to supermarkets so that SNAP families have access to more fresh fruits and vegetables year round.”

The study found incentive programs also create economic opportunities in the communities in which low income Americans live by helping direct SNAP dollars towards purchases of healthy foods sourced from regional farmers, processors, and wholesalers. To read a summary of the report, click here. For the full report, click here.

United Fresh supports funding in the upcoming Farm Bill for fruit and vegetable incentives. The 2014 Farm Bill is expected to include $100 million as a federal match to expand fruit and vegetable incentives, not only at farmers’ markets but a variety of retail outlets.


Did You Know Using a Grid Method For Soil Sampling Can Reduce Unnecessary Fertilizer Use?

Proper management of nutrients is critical to provide nutrition for optimal crop growth while avoiding excess nutrients which may be lost to the environment. United’s Sustainability Guide and Self-Assessment can provide you with easy strategies to make your operation more sustainable. The Guide assists producers in understanding four key areas of sustainability - stewardship of resources, environmental impacts, social accountability, and economic success/viability. The Guide also provides a simple way to measure your efforts to be more sustainable from year to year.

“Many growers and shippers are committed to sustainable production but it can be difficult to track progress from year to year,” said Ray Gilmer, United’s vice president of issues management & communication. “This tool helps them to assess current sustainable practices and identify new strategies they could incorporate into their businesses.” 

United’s growers and shippers are invited to participate in a 2014 pilot group for United’s Sustainability Guide and Self-Assessment. Growers who participate in the 2014 pilot group will use the Guide in their operations and then provide feedback and suggestions to help shape improvements for future guidance. Use of the Guide is voluntary and growers will not be asked to submit their own sustainability data.

The Sustainability Guide and Self-Assessment was developed by the United Fresh Foundation's Center for Global Produce Sustainability, with the contributions of the Center's Sustainability Advisory Board, a group of United Fresh volunteer leaders representing a broad spectrum of the produce industry.

More information about the United Foundation’s Center for Global Sustainability can be found on the United Fresh Foundation website. United members can download a copy of the Guide for no charge. To sign up for the pilot group, please contact Ray Gilmer at 202-303-3425.


Save $50 on Registration for a Fresh Produce Food Safety Workshop at UGA

United members receive $50 off of registration for the Fresh Produce GAPs/HACCP workshop at the University of Georgia on February 18-20, 2014 in Athens, GA. The three-day course will provide a unique program of lectures and work group discussions from a broad-based faculty of food microbiologists, HACCP experts, authorities from academia, industry and government. The work group sessions provide interaction with HACCP authorities who have developed and implemented successful HACCP programs for the fresh produce industry.

In the hands-on laboratory participation the participants will learn to identify and prevent food safety hazards, set preventive/control measures and control limits, develop control and monitoring procedures, document and verify the results of their efforts, as established by the International HACCP Alliance. The goal of the interactive sessions is to assist participants in developing a Food Safety Plan that they can implement in their specific operations. This course is accredited by the International HACCP Alliance. Successful completion of the course and exam provides HACCP certification.

Learn more about the food safety workshop by visiting the UGA Marketplace website. For more information, contact the University of Georgia at 706-542-2574.


Congratulations to John and Amy Toner on the Birth of Their Son, JJ!

We want to send our heartfelt congratulations to United’s John Toner and his wife Amy. They welcomed their son JJ John James Toner, VI into the world on December 13, 2013 at 11:13 am. JJ was 8 pounds, 8 ounces and 21.5 inches long. Baby and mother are doing great.

New Member Welcome

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

  • Advance Customs Brokers & Consulting LLC, Miami, FL
  • CargoNet, Jersey City, NJ

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 Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.


Chairman’s Roundtable Thanks 2014 Supporters

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 this week to the 2014 Chairman’s Roundtable:

  • L & M Companies

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.


Upcoming United Fresh Events

Join us for events designed to grow your business:

Produce Inspection Training Program
Jan 13-17, USDA SCI Training & Development Center, Fredericksburg, VA

United Fresh Webinar Series: Strategies for Limiting Your Legal Exposure in Recalls
Jan 16

2014 Winter Leadership Meetings
Jan 21-23, Trump National Doral Miami, Miami, FL

The Salute to Joe Procacci Golf Tournament and Produce Legends Dinner
Jan 21, 2014, Trump National Doral Miami, Miami, FL

United Fresh Special Activities at Fruit Logistica 2014
Feb 5-7, 2014, Berlin, Germany

2014 Produce Executive Development Program
Mar 9-14, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Produce Inspection Training Program
Jun 2-6, USDA SCI Training & Development Center, Fredericksburg, VA

United Fresh 2014
Jun 10-13, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL

2014 Washington Public Policy Conference
Sep 8-10, Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC

Produce Inspection Training Program
Sep 22-26, USDA SCI Training & Development Center, Fredericksburg, VA