June 5, 2014
In Today's Issue:
United Fresh 2014 Is Next Week!

United Fresh 2014 is finally here! Next week, the produce industry gathers in Chicago for an exciting week of education, networking and business innovation. Still not registered? Sign up before June 7 and save. You'll beat the onsite rates and the Registration Lines!

Review the United Fresh 2014 Onsite Show Guide
The Guide includes a detailed schedule of events, education sessions and speakers, networking events, detailed exhibitor listings and contact information, plus the show floor map.

See Who’s Coming to Chicago on the Advance Attendee List
Thousands of industry leaders like you will be in Chicago. Click here to see everyone you’ll be networking with at United Fresh 2014.

Download the United Fresh App
Download the new United Fresh mobile app from the Google Play Store or iTunes App Store for convenient information on the convention schedule, education sessions, exhibitors, and updates from United! The app makes it easy to upload your pictures from the show and to share social media updates on Facebook or Twitter. Use the links above or visit the app store on your phone and search for “United Fresh.”

Watch for Pictures and Video from the Show
Whether you can join us in Chicago or not, it’s always fun to see the photos and video from United Fresh 2014. Be sure to visit the show website starting June 11 to see daily updates on all the activities in Chicago.


It’s not too late to join us in Chicago. Visit the United Fresh 2014 website now to register. See you next week in Chicago!


International Floriculture Expo to Co-locate with United Fresh in 2015 in Chicago

Organizers of the International Floriculture Expo have announced plans to co-locate the 2015 and 2016 editions of the floral industry’s leading education program and trade show with the United Fresh show, starting in Chicago, June 9-11, 2015 at McCormick Place. The floral and produce expos will be staged side-by-side, directly across from the Food Marketing Institute’s FMI Connect. Together, the multiple events are building Chicago into the one-stop shopping and learning center for the fresh food, floral and retail industry, serving the entire supply chain from grower through retailer.

The annual International Floriculture Expo (IFE) is the leading trade exposition and educational conference for mass market retailers, supermarkets, garden centers, retail florists, growers, nurseries, event floral designers, and other retailers of floral and foliage products. The 2014 event coming up June 10-13 in New Orleans brings together more than 225 exhibitors and floral industry buyers, merchandisers and decision makers for a full day of education and three days of networking, sourcing and celebrations of the floral industry.

“As United Fresh and FMI Connect are getting ready for an amazing 2014 event in Chicago in just a couple of weeks, I’m thrilled that the excitement surrounding our partnership in this year’s show has led to the International Floriculture Expo coming on board as a partner for future years,” said United Fresh President and CEO Tom Stenzel. “The International Floriculture Expo is the leading trade show and educational event serving the floral industry, and we believe it is destined to grow together with us in Chicago in 2015 and beyond,” he said.

“This move to Chicago opens up an array of buyer and supplier opportunities as we join with shows already attracting 15,000 attendees and 900 exhibitors,” commented Bob Callahan, Show Director for Diversified Communications, owners and organizers of the International Floriculture Expo. “The combination of these powerful events will bring together cross-category retailers from high volume mass markets and mid-size grocers, to independent operators from the local, national and international markets.”

The International Floriculture Expo will continue its focus on delivering value to the floral industry’s buyers and decision makers, while United Fresh retains its focus on serving the entire fresh produce supply chain. In 2015, unique education programs designed for the floral and produce sectors will take place on Tuesday, June 9. All exhibit halls will be open for a two-day exhibition on June 10-11, with admission to all shows for one registration price. The International Floriculture Expo and United Fresh will share the North Exhibit Hall, with a main aisle running down the center of the hall. The FMI Connect expo and its partners will be located directly across the main concourse in the South Hall.

“We look forward to producing United Fresh 2014 as a world-class produce event in just a few weeks, and can’t wait to get started planning for 2015 as the floral supply chain and produce supply chains come together to create the single ‘must attend’ event for our industries in the coming years,” Stenzel said.

United Fresh Releases First-Ever Wholesaler-Distributor Operations Benchmarking Report

United Fresh this week announced the availability of a first-ever benchmarking report designed specifically to help produce wholesalers and distributors evaluate the effectiveness of their operations. United Fresh commissioned the report in response to member company needs for assessing the performance of their operations as compared with others in the produce industry.

“The Wholesaler-Distributor board identified benchmarking data as a key resource needed for our industry,” said Lisa Strube, director of finance for Strube Celery & Vegetable Company and chairman of the Wholesaler-Distributor board. “This resource will help fellow produce wholesalers and distributors identify key operational areas that affect business performance and help these companies stay competitive in the marketplace.”

Prepared by research firm Industry Insights, the report allows produce companies to compare their labor practices, sales practices, procurement and inventory management, warehouse metrics and outbound transportation by ownership type (family or private), primary customer business segment, produce sales and case volume, number of full-time employees, warehouse square footage and geography.

United’s Wholesaler-Distributor board oversaw the development of the report, devising the survey questions and providing input on organizing the data. “The Wholesaler-Distributor board played an extensive role in developing this resource for United,” said Miriam Wolk, vice president of membership & marketing and staff liaison to the Wholesaler-Distributor board. “Their expertise was crucial to this project, and the board plans to explore additional benchmarking resources that can benefit the wholesale & distribution sectors.”

Ron Carkoski, CEO of Four Seasons Family of Companies and past chairman of the Wholesaler-Distributor board, will present an overview of the report at the Wholesaler-Distributor Super Session at United Fresh 2014 in Chicago on Thursday, June 12 at 9 a.m.

The report is available for purchase via the United Fresh website. Companies that submitted data are eligible to receive a fully-customized report for their company at a deeply discounted rate of $95. Non-survey participants can order a survey report for $195 for United Fresh members and $295 for non-members. For more information on the report, please contact Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.


Changes Proposed to the Harmonized Standards

At their March 13 meeting at Taco Bell headquarters, the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative Technical Working Group approved five proposals for changes to the Post-harvest Operations Harmonized Food Safety Standards.  Changes ranged from minor clarifications to inclusion of a new requirement regarding protection of produce from bodily fluids; the approved changes can be viewed here.

“The first version of the Post-harvest Operations Harmonized Standards was finalized in June 2012,” said Dr. David Gombas, senior vice president food safety and technology and coordinator for the Produce GAPs Harmonization Initiative. “These changes demonstrate our responsiveness to stakeholders, and also that the standards are otherwise complete and accepted by fresh produce packinghouses, coolers, distributors and their customers who are accepting audits performed to these standards.”  The changes will be open for comment for three months, until September 1, 2014.  Unless there are substantive concerns, the changes will then become final. 

At the same meeting, the Technical Working Group authorized a Documentation Task Force to review the Field Operations and Harvesting and the Post-harvest Operations Harmonized Standards, for which policies and procedures an operation should have written, versus being acceptable as just a verbal policy or procedure.  According to Dr. Gombas, “When the Technical Working Group harmonized the various GAP standards into the Harmonized Standards, they were careful to require policies and procedures to be written only when necessary, relying on written records, inspection and employee interviews to demonstrate compliance with requirements.  As a result, the Field Operations and Harvesting Harmonized Standards require only 27 policies and procedures to be written, and the Post-harvest Operations Harmonized Standards require only 24 to be written, many of which can be a few sentences combined in the operation’s Food Safety Plan. Comments from stakeholders have caused the Technical Working Group to reconsider whether more documentation should be required.”  Anyone interested in participating on the Documentation Task Force should contact Erin Grether at egrether@unitedfresh.org.


Roundy’s Banners to Support Salad Bars for Midwest Schools with Produce for Kids Campaign

Copps Food Center, Metro Market and Pick N’ Save are partnering with Produce for Kids for their annual Get Healthy, Give Hope campaign, which will benefit the United Fresh Foundation’s, Let’s Move Salad Bars to MIDWEST Schools campaign.  The goal of Let’s Move Salad Bars to MIDWEST Schools is to increase children’s produce consumption by donating salad bars to schools in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.  The retail campaign, which runs June 1 through June 30, will educate families on the benefits of healthy eating, while encouraging shoppers to add more produce to their grocery carts,  including Naturipe® Blueberries; ENZA JAZZ™ Apples / Oppy; RealSweet® Vidalia® Onions; and Tasti-Lee® Tomatoes, the participating fruit and vegetable suppliers in the Get Healthy, Give Hope campaign. 

“We encourage families to make their local produce department a destination during their regular shopping trips,” said Steve Jarzombek, vice president of produce merchandising at Roundy’s. “Our hope is that families will incorporate fresh produce into their meals to eat healthier while also helping to support Let’s Move Salad Bars to MIDWEST Schools to ensure all children have daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables.”

For more information about the Get Healthy, Give Hope campaign, visit www.produceforkids.com.   More information about Let’s Move Salad Bars to MIDWEST Schools is available on the United Fresh website or contact Andrew Marshall, United’s policy and grassroots manager at (202) 303-3407.


DiSogra Keynotes CPMA Health Summit   

Last week Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh’s vice president of nutrition, delivered the keynote address at “Health Summit 2014” in Toronto, hosted jointly by the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) and the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA). The purpose of “Health Summit 2014” was to move ideas into action and create a roadmap to increase consumption of fresh produce and create a healthier Canada.  This is the second year that CPMA and CPHA have partnered to bring Canadian produce leaders and public health leaders together to develop strategies to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.

DiSogra’s address focused on global strategies, policy and environmental changes to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, the importance of produce and public health working together in coalition, and how to build political support for policy actions to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.  DiSogra highlighted policy accomplishments in the USA, the European Union, New Zealand and the United Kingdom that are increasing children’s fruit and vegetable consumption.  “There is tremendous interest by various stakeholders in Canada to build political support for a national Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for school children and I was excited to hear about the success of the Manitoba Vegetable and Fruit Program that could be used as a national model for Canada,” she said


Last Chance to Win a Taste of Chicago! Register for United Fresh 2014 Today

Just one more day to register for United Fresh 2014 so that you'll be automatically entered for United's Taste of Chicago giveaway. You could win a gift certificate to one of the best restaurants in Chicago! 

This week’s drawing features these great Chicago restaurants: Benny’s Chop House, Carmichael’s and The Capital Grille.  
Last week’s lucky winners were Dave Rhodes of Marsh Supermarkets, Carolyn Rodio of Costa Fruit & Produce, and Colin Giboney of Bolthouse Farms. Congratulations and bon appétit!

Tomorrow, June 6, United Fresh will draw three lucky winners from the United Fresh 2014 registered attendee list. Each winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to one of Chicago's finest restaurants, courtesy of our promotional sponsor Testa Produce, Inc. 

Watch for the weekly announcement from United Fresh to see if you're a winner and Register now for United Fresh 2014 for the best chance to win!

New Member Welcome

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

  • Equitable Food Initiative, Washington, DC
  • Lineage Logistics, Colton, 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 Miriam Wolk at 202-303-3410.


Upcoming United Fresh Events

Join us for events designed to grow your business:

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

The Washington Conference 2014
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

United Fresh Foundation Tip Murphy Legacy Golf Tournament
Sep 29, Oasis Golf Club, Loveland, OH