March 27, 2014
In Today's Issue:
March Madness Host Greg Gumbel to Speak at United Fresh 2014 in Chicago

CBS Sports announcer Greg Gumbel will be the keynote speaker at the Thursday breakfast general session during United Fresh 2014, June 10-13. Gumbel is currently hosting his 17th season of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship Tournament, better known as "March Madness." Gumbel has had a front-row seat at the nation's most important sports events throughout his 40+ year career. From hosting the CBS Emmy award-winning show The NFL Today to announcing events from Super Bowls to the Olympics, Gumbel has become one of the best known and respected announcers in sports television.

"We're excited that Greg Gumbel will share how experiences from the sports world can provide insights for the business world," said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. "As I'm watching March Madness this year and the amazing number of upsets, I'm anxious to hear from Greg what he sees as the keys to teams being able to rise above expectations," Stenzel said.

Gumbel was born in New Orleans, and grew up in Chicago before graduating from Loras College in Dubuque, IA. He is a member of the Loras College Board of Regents, and also served for 12 years on the Board of Trustees of the March of Dimes, and is currently serving as an adviser to the President of the March of Dimes. He is also on the St. Jude Childrens Hospital Sports Council. He is currently on the St. Jude Childrens Hospital Sports Council. In 2007, Gumbel was honored with the Pat Summerall award, recognizing his work in sports journalism and his efforts to make a difference in the lives of those he has touched.

The Thursday, June 12 Breakfast General Session will be held 7:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. in the Vista Ballroom at the McCormick Place Convention Center. Participation in the keynote session is available only to those attendees who have purchased United's educational package. United appreciates the support of Crunch Pak Sliced Apples as sponsor of this Breakfast General Session.

Learn more about registration for United Fresh 2014 by visiting the show website at


Retail Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference to Focus on Brand Differentiation to Drive Produce Sales
Branding authority Al Ries headlines speakers at United's Retail Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference in Chicago.

Legendary brand strategist Al Ries will keynote this year's United Fresh Retail Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference, June 12-13, immediately following United Fresh 2014 in Chicago.

"Whether Marketing 101 is the only marketing course you've ever taken, or you have your MBA in marketing from an elite university, you've studied Al Ries and the impact he has had on marketing, advertising and brand strategy," said Roger Pepperl, Stemilt Growers, and Chairman of United's Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council. "Al Ries is one of the most influential figures in marketing history, and we are honored to have him keynote our conference."

This year's conference kicks off Thursday night with a one-of-a-kind experience at Eataly, Chicago's new fresh food destination marketplace. Conference attendees will be provided a $50 gift card for Eataly, where they can sample foods at a variety of sit-down foodservice tables, prepared grab and go food options, and beverage selections to enjoy while touring a venue unlike any other. Attendees can drop by Eataly throughout the evening to enjoy their own dinner, watch how consumers interact with produce and other foods in this setting, and mingle with other conference attendees. In addition, Eataly management will speak at the conference lunch on Friday to discuss how fresh produce supports the Eataly brand experience.

Conference business sessions convene Friday morning bringing together marketing professionals from throughout the produce supply chain to focus on the role of branding in fresh produce. Attendees will participate in four sessions throughout the day, each examining a different element of branding:

  • Session 1 – Building Brand Awareness/Purchase Intent with the Consumer
  • Session 2 – Product Design and Packaging to Create Brand Recognition
  • Session 3 – Point of Sale and In-Store Merchandising to Drive Brand Purchase
  • Session 4 – Engaging the Consumer Post Purchase to Drive Repeat Demand

In each session, a marketing expert will kick off the discussion with a state-of-the-art review of the topic, which will then be followed by a panel of produce industry marketing pros discussing how the topic plays out in the fresh produce sector. "We believe hearing from these broad marketing experts will stimulate creative thinking for our members, who can then look back inward to the produce environment to see how different strategies might apply in our sector," said Cindy Jewell, California Giant Berry Farms and Vice Chairman of United's Produce Marketing & Merchandising Council. "We know fresh produce is unique, but we also want to think creatively beyond our own marketing traditions."

Registration for the Retail Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference is included in the All Access registration for United Fresh 2014, which includes all general sessions, meals and networking events, educational programs and admission to the United Fresh Marketplace, FreshTech, and FMI expos. Conference registration can also be purchased separately as a stand-alone event, including trade show admission.

For a complete schedule of events and speakers, please visit Retail Produce Marketing & Merchandising Conference on our website at

United's "Now Boarding for Chicago" Fresh Impact Tour Continues in Ohio and Indiana

More than 40 produce industry executives attended a Town Hall luncheon in Cincinnati this week as part of United's Spring Fresh Impact Tour.

The United Fresh 2014 Now Boarding for Chicago Spring Fresh Impact Tour continued this week with Town Hall events in Ohio and Indiana. On this week's portion of the tour, Dan Vaché, vice president, supply chain management, and Andrew Marshall, policy & grassroots manager, met with members to discuss top industry issues, including the Food Safety Modernization Act and its anticipated impact on shippers, importers and transportation companies; how the 2014 Farm Bill benefits fresh produce; fresh produce trends in retail and foodservice; opportunities for fresh produce in school meals; United's Let's Move Salad Bars to Midwest Schools campaign; and a preview of business opportunities at United Fresh 2014, June 10-13 in Chicago.

On Tuesday in Cincinnati, United Fresh Board Member Joe Klare of Castellini hosted a town hall luncheon attended by more than 40 produce industry executives. The day also included a stop by Total Quality Logistics, also in Cincinnati.

Wednesday's Town Hall was in Willard and was attended by 20 members. Hosts for the event include Wiers Farm, Buurma Farms and Holthouse Farms of Ohio/Doug Walcher Farms.

Today (Thursday) in Indianapolis, Caito Foods and Indianapolis Fruit Company hosted a Town Hall. Dan and Andrew also toured the facilities and met with members at Caito Foods and Indianapolis Fruit.

Thanks to all who have attended and shared insights and opportunities to grow the fresh produce industry.

The Now Boarding for Chicago Spring Fresh Impact Tour continues in the coming weeks with stops in Pennsylvania, Washington, Idaho and California. To see a list of the upcoming Town Hall meetings, visit the United Fresh website. Be sure to visit the United Fresh Facebook page, where members and staff are posting updates and photos. Follow us online or attend a Town Hall to join in on the Now Boarding for Chicago Spring Fresh Impact Tours! For more information, contact Miriam Wolk, United vice president of membership & marketing, at 202-303-3410.

United's Dan Vaché visits with Ben Wiers of Wiers Farm in Willard, OH. Robert Holthouse of Doug Walcher Farms of North Fairfield, OH discusses food safety with United's Dan Vaché.

FDA Seeks Input on Consumer Food Safety Alerts Requirement

FDA published this week an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), in connection with new provisions to the Reportable Food Registry (RFR), about what information should be required to alert consumers that they may be in possession of a reportable food. With this action, FDA is implementing a section of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that amended the Reportable Food Registry to include requirements intended to help keep consumers notified and safe from foodborne illness.

FSMA gives FDA the authority to require a responsible party to submit to the agency "consumer-oriented" information regarding a "reportable food" (with the exception of fruits and vegetables that are raw agricultural commodities), including information necessary to enable a consumer to accurately identify whether he or she is in possession of a reportable food. A reportable food is defined as a food having a reasonable probability of causing serious adverse health issues or death.

"As written, this would apply to all operations registered with FDA, including fresh-cut processors, and all retailers with more than 15 stores," said Dr. David Gombas, senior vice president, food safety and technology. "It's uncertain if this requirement would apply to packing, repacking, and distribution operations that have registered with FDA but only handle raw, intact produce."  The ANPRM has a 75 day comment period.  As with the other FSMA rules, United Fresh will convene a working group to consider the ANPRM and its potential impact on the produce industry including affected customers.  More information can be found on the FDA website here, or by contacting David Gombas at 202-303-3411.


University of Georgia and United Offer Hands-On HACCP Course for the Fresh-Cut Industry

The University of Georgia Food Science Extension Outreach Program and United Fresh are sponsoring a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification program on safe fresh-cut produce handling practices. The course is offered May 6-8, 2014 at the University of Georgia in Athens.

This program has been specifically designed for the fresh-cut industry and is accredited by the International HACCP Alliance. The goal of this program will be to provide you with the skills and knowledge to design, implement, document and maintain HACCP in your fresh-cut business. Our short course provides a unique program of lectures and work group discussions from a broad-based faculty of food microbiologists, HACCP experts, and authorities from academia, industry and government. The work group sessions provide interaction with HACCP authorities who have developed and implemented successful HACCP programs in fresh-cut processing plants.

This program has been designed to meet the FDA's training requirements and is accredited by the International HACCP Alliance, whose goal is to provide standardized training for the food industry in HACCP principles. The course curriculum was developed to help processors understand, develop and apply HACCP principles in their produce operations. 

Owners, plant managers, quality assurance personnel, production supervisors, field inspectors, marketing directors, and anyone responsible for designing and implementing field and fresh-cut food safety programs are encouraged to attend. 

Visit the course website for more information and to register. Prepaid registration is required by April 18, 2014. Register by April 18, 2014 - fee $550; United Fresh member registered by April 18 - fee $500 (save $50). Register three or more from the same company at the same time before April 18, 2014, and receive a $50 per person discount on the regular registration fee. Limited to 40 participants, so register early!

Today Is Last Day to Nominate Women in Produce Honoree

Today (March 27) is the last day to submit nominations to help select an honoree to speak at the annual Reception Honoring Women in Produce, Thursday, June 12 at the United Fresh 2014 convention in Chicago. Each year, United Fresh recognizes the contributions of all women working in the produce industry and honors one outstanding female industry leader at this reception.

"It was an amazing experience to be awarded this honor last year," said Lisa McNeece, 2013 Women in Produce Honoree and vice president of foodservice and industrial sales for Grimmway Enterprises Inc. "I encourage the produce industry to participate in the nomination process and recognize the many outstanding women who contribute to our industry."

Nomination forms may be downloaded from the United Fresh 2014 website and must be received by Today, Thursday, March 27.

Past Women in Produce Honorees include:

Dan'l Mackey Almy, DMA Solutions, Inc.
Tonya Antle, Tanimura & Antle
Frieda Rapoport Caplan, Frieda's Inc.
Margaret D'Arrigo , Taylor Farms, Inc.
Jan DeLyser, California Avocado Commission
Jan Fleming, Strube Celery & Vegetable Company
Janice Honigberg, Sun Belle, Inc.
Lorri Koster, Mann Packing Company
Lisa McNeece, Grimmway Farms
Kathleen Nave, California Table Grape Commission
Dr. Martha Rhodes-Roberts, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Steffanie Smith, River Point Farms, LLC
Heather Shavey, Costco Wholesale
Mayda Sotomayor-Kirk, Seald Sweet International
Rosemary Talley, Talley Farms
Jenney Tenney, The Kroger Company

For more information on the Reception Honoring Women in Produce, please contact Angela Tiwari, United Fresh political affairs manager, at 202-303-3416 or visit the United Fresh 2014 website.


Apply Now for the United Fresh Industry Leadership Program

United Fresh is now accepting applications for the 20th class of the United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program. Thanks to the generous support of founding sponsor DuPont Crop Protection, United members have the opportunity to take part in this unique experience dedicated to developing future leaders of the industry. Since it was first launched in 1995, more than 200 industry members have graduated from this exclusive program.

The United Fresh Produce Industry Leadership Program is the only ongoing, fully paid leadership program for the produce industry. Each year, twelve fellows are selected to participate in the program which is developed around four fundamental goals: leadership development; business relationships; government and public affairs; and media and public relations.

During the year-long fellowship, participants will take part in a series of customized trips including face-to-face meetings, hands-on training with top industry experts and educators, interactive experiences with influential leaders in Washington and more. This year's schedule will include four trips, with the class graduating at the 2015 United Fresh Convention in Chicago.

Participation in the program is limited to 12 fellows who are selected by an Advisory Committee. The fellows are chosen from a broad cross-section of the industry to represent the breadth of the United Fresh membership. Candidates interested in applying for the 20th class can download an application at The deadline for applications is April 7, 2014.

Eligibility to participate in the program is limited to representatives of United Fresh member companies, and all candidates must have the support of their companies to participate. There is no cost to participate in the program and all regular expenses are covered by the program. For full more information, visit or contact United Education Manager Shannon Young at or 202-303-3405.

Spring Edition of Fresh Insights for Foodservice Report Cites Menu Trends that Incorporate Fruits and Vegetables

Restaurant innovations using blueberries, green tomatoes and watercress are just some of the highlights of the Spring 2014 edition of Fresh Insights for Foodservice, a quarterly report from United Fresh showcasing the latest trends in fresh produce use in foodservice.  The report, launched in January 2014, is an insightful tool for identifying trends in foodservice.
The Spring Fresh Insights also reports on the increased incorporation of fruit and vegetable smoothies in restaurant menus, with acai and avocado among the trending ingredients.  Mixing smoothies with "a variety of fruits and, increasingly, vegetables, fits well within the growing trend of 'healthy yet indulgent," according to the report.

The Spring report of Fresh Insights also includes a look at the top fresh produce ingredients used by restaurants for making flatbreads. Plus, readers will find news about fresh produce used in pizza served by fast casual restaurants, and a survey of how fresh produce is being used in limited time offerings at a variety of prominent restaurant chains.

"Using the research gathered from restaurants from across the country, the Fresh Insights report tells the ways fresh fruits and vegetables are increasingly used in dishes in every restaurant segment," said United's Vice President of Trade Relations Jeff Oberman, liaison to United's Retail-Foodservice Board. "Because foodservice trends are constantly evolving, our members can use the report to help them take advantage of these restaurant menu trends."

The concept for this new report was initiated by United's Retail-Foodservice Board as a resource for United members to gain a comprehensive look at how chefs and restaurants are incorporating fresh produce on their menus.  The report is developed by Datassential, a leading market research firm dedicated to the food Industry, using data from its extensive menu database, MenuTrends.

Fresh Insights for Foodservice is free to United Fresh members and $50 to non-members. To order the report today, visit United's website. If you have questions, please contact Jeff Oberman, United Fresh Vice President of Trade Relations, at 831-600-8922. For questions about the data or content in this report, contact Maeve Webster, Senior Director, Datassential at

Partnership for Food Safety Education Announces Conference

The Consumer Food Safety Education Conference, December 4-5, 2014 in Arlington, VA, is an opportunity to meet with health educators and public health leaders to discuss the newest concepts to promote consumer food safety behaviors. The conference program is designed to help food safety educators improve public health outcomes through robust discussion of topics like: 

  • How to Motivate Behavior Change 
  • Assessing the Impact of Food Safety Education Programs 
  • Helping Consumers Identify the Myths and the Truths about Food Safety in Social Media 
  • Real World, Real Change - Reaching Target Audiences 

More information about the conference is available here.

United Fresh is a member of the Partnership for Food Safety Education, which works to save lives and improves public health through research-based, actionable, consumer food safety initiatives that reduce risk of foodborne illness. For more information, contact Ray Gilmer, vice president, issues management & communication, at 202-303-3425.


New Member Welcome

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

  • Good Foods Group, LLC, Pleasant Prairie, WI

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.


Upcoming United Fresh Events

Join us for events designed to grow your business:

Pennsylvania Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
April 1, Four Seasons Family of Companies, Ephrata, PA

Philadelphia Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
April 2, Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, Philadelphia, PA

Seattle Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
April 7, Costco Wholesale, Issaquah, WA

Spring Government Relations Council Meeting
April 8-10, Grand Hyatt Washington, Washington, DC

Yakima Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
April 9, Gasperetti's Gourmet Restaurant, Yakima, WA

Recall Ready Training Workshop
April 9-10, Costco Headquarters, Issaquah, WA

Visalia Produce Industry Town Hall Luncheon
April 16, The Vintage Press, Visalia, CA

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