June 26, 2014
In Today's Issue:
United Fresh and National Association of Convenience Stores Announce Partnership

United Fresh Produce Association and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) have announced a new partnership to significantly increase the sales of fresh produce in convenience stores. A new task force of members of both groups met during the United Fresh 2014 convention on June 12.

As the leading associations representing produce suppliers and their convenience store customers, United Fresh and NACS have formed the partnership to identify best practices that can be shared across the industry to assist convenience store operators in developing their own fresh produce supply chains and in-store management. With more than 151,000 locations across the country, convenience stores are increasingly seen as a convenient destination for consumers to buy fruit and vegetables. In 2013, produce sales at convenience stores were up 16.7 percent, more than doubling the overall 7.3 percent growth rate of produce in the United States.  Convenience store sales of produce reached $328 million in 2013, and the groups believe that sales can increase dramatically over the next five years from this task force’s efforts.

“The business opportunities for convenience stores that manage fresh produce well are vast, for direct sales as well as enhancing the image of stores as a provider of fresh and healthy food options. Fresh-cut fruit and vegetables, ready-to-eat meals and snack products, and even whole commodities can deliver attractive margins and new customer segments to retailers,” said Tom Stenzel, United Fresh president and CEO.

“Consumers are increasingly seeking grab-and-go, convenient options for their produce needs. Convenience stores present a tremendously underdeveloped source of produce sales in communities,” said NACS President and CEO Henry Armour. “We are excited to work with United Fresh to give retailers the tools to affordably acquire merchandise and sell produce in their communities as part of our broader nutrition initiative.”

At its initial meeting in Chicago, the task force reviewed current challenges in supply chain management, in-store handling and merchandising, and other barriers to produce success for convenience retailers. The task force also began identifying best practices in meeting each of these challenges, learning from those retailers and produce suppliers who are finding the greatest success today. The associations plan to develop tools and services to share best practices and successes with the broader memberships of NACS and United Fresh.

For more information, contact Jeff Oberman, vice president, trade relations.


Pollster and Communications Expert Frank Luntz to Keynote Washington Conference Closing Luncheon

United Fresh will welcome back one of its most popular speakers ever with Frank Luntz’s Insider’s Look at the 2014 Elections at the closing lunch Wednesday September 10.  Luntz will give his entertaining, behind-the-scenes perspective on how the Fall 2014 Congressional elections will impact the produce industry.

“Frank Luntz has helped shape the debates on our nation’s most critical public policy issues,” said senior vice president of public policy Robert Guenther. “With The Washington Conference taking place only a few weeks prior to the pivotal 2014 elections, Luntz will provide attendees with an up to the minute analysis of on the direction of the political tide.”

Luntz, deemed “the Nostradamus of pollsters,” was named one of “50 of America’s most promising leaders aged 40 and under” by TIME magazine, as well as the “hottest pollster” in America according to the Boston Globe. He was also named one of the four “Top Research Minds” by Business Week and won the coveted The Washington Post “Crystal Ball” award for being the most accurate pundit. In 2012, he was included in a TIME global poll of the “most influential people in the world.” He also served as a consultant to the award-winning NBC hit show The West Wing.

To register or for more information, visit The Washington Conference website, or contact Angela Tiwari, political affairs manager, at atiwari@unitedfresh.org.

United Fresh Calls for Members to Develop Comments to FDA Advance Notice for Proposed Rulemaking

United Fresh invites members to participate in a working group to develop comments to FDA regarding its Advance Notice for Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) to use Reportable Food Registry reports to develop in-store alerts to consumers of recalled foods.  FDA published the ANPR in March and the comment period was scheduled to close June 9.  United Fresh requested an extension to the comment period. FDA has agreed to the request and the comment period now closes August 11.

“United Fresh members have participated on working groups to comment on seven FSMA-related proposals so far,” said David Gombas, senior vice president of food safety and technology.

Some of the questions posed by FDA that the working group will address include:

  • What information should be required in consumer notifications so that consumers can determine whether a food in their possession is a reportable food;
  • What types of retail establishments should FDA consider to be “grocery stores” subject to the consumer notification requirements;
  • What constitutes prominent display or sharing of the information by a grocery store with its customers; and
  • Should FDA require industry to submit consumer-oriented information to FDA, even if the food will not be available for sale to consumers at the retail level.

The working group will meet by web conference during the month of July.  Any United Fresh members interested in participating in the working group should contact Erin Grether at egrether@unitedfresh.org.
For more information on United Fresh’s resources related to the implementation of FSMA, visit the United Fresh website.


United Fresh Foundation Receives Award for Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools

The United Fresh Foundation has been named a 2014 Power of A Gold Award winner by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). ASAE recognized the Foundation for its work with Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools and the Foundation’s leadership in child nutrition.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by our association peers for our work with Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools and to increase children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” said United Fresh President & CEO Tom Stenzel.  “The produce industry, foundations and allied businesses have rallied around salad bars as a tangible benefit that encourage children’s increased fruit and vegetable consumption and empowers students to make healthy choices in the school lunch line.”  To date, Let's Move Salad Bars to Schools has provided salad bars to more than 3,400 schools nationwide, benefitting over 2 million students every day.

The Power of A Awards recognize association and foundation programs that positively impact America and the world.  As a Power of A Gold Award winner, the United Fresh Foundation is under consideration to receive one of six Summit Awards, ASAE’s highest honor for associations.  Summit Award winners will be announced July 7.

More information about the United Fresh Foundation and Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools is available here, www.unitedfresh.org/saladbars.


Welcome Class 20 of the Produce Industry Leadership Program

The United Fresh Produce Association is pleased to announce the 12 members of the 2014-2015 Produce Industry Leadership Program. The program, which was first launched in 1995, is sponsored by a generous grant from DuPont Crop Protection and since its inception has graduated more than 200 industry members.

The Produce Industry Leadership Program welcomes the following professionals to its 20th class:

  • Michael Anderson, Kingston Fresh
  • Stephanie Barlow, National Watermelon Promotion Board
  • Leah Brakke, Black Gold Farms
  • Jeff Cady, Tops Markets, Inc.
  • Jacquie Ediger, Pro Citrus Network, Inc.
  • Kimberly Flores, Seald Sweet
  • Aaron Hunter, Caito Foods Service, Inc.
  • Alexandra Jackson, Frieda's, Inc.
  • Brian Knott, Grow Farms
  • Hilary Martin, Frey Farms
  • Ryan Van Groningen, Van Groningen & Sons, Inc.
  • Kami Weddle, Rousseau Farming Company

Beginning this July, the members of Leadership Class 20 will participate in several educational events and outings centered on the four core focus areas of the program: leadership development, business relationships, government and public affairs, and media and public communications. The class will meet four times over the next year, including a commencement ceremony at the United Fresh 2015 convention in Chicago.

For more information on the program, contact Victoria Backer, senior vice president, member services.


Retail & Foodservice Reports Help Your Company Increase Produce Sales   

New editions of FreshFacts on Retail and Fresh Insights for Foodservice are now available for download from United’s online publications store.

The Q1 2014 FreshFacts on Retail report shows that fresh fruit and vegetable volume remained steady during the first part of 2014, and consumer demand for organic produce remained high. The report also delves into specialty produce and how consumers’ desire for “new” fruits such as mango and papaya is driving growth in the category.

The Summer 2014 issues of Fresh Insights for Foodservice explores how chefs are adding fresh fruits and vegetables to create flavorful summer menus. The report features spotlights on watermelon and butter lettuce, as well as how fresh produce is transforming menus across all types of restaurants and foodservice operations this summer.

Both FreshFacts on Retail and Fresh Insights for Foodservice are free for United Fresh Members and $50 per copy Non-members.


Register Today for The United Fresh Foundation Tip Murphy Legacy Golf Tournament

Join us on Monday, September 29, for The United Fresh Foundation Tip Murphy Legacy Golf Tournament. Participation in this fundraising event supports the foundation's programs to increase children's access to fresh fruits and vegetables, a critical step in combating childhood obesity and launching a lifetime of healthy choices! The Tournament will celebrate Tip's legacy of service to the produce industry, network with retail and industry colleagues, and support a great cause benefitting the next generation of produce consumers.

Registration is $350 per person or $1400 per foursomeTournament fees includes lunch, 18 holes with cart, awards reception and contest holes including closest-to-the-pin and longest drive.

To register, or for more information, visit the United Fresh website or contact Andrew Marshall at 202-303-3407.

Congratulations to the Winner of the 2014 Salute to Leadership Raffle

Congratulations to Chuck Hellman of J. Hellman Produce, Los Angeles CA, the winner of this year’s $25,000 Grand Prize in the Salute to Leadership Raffle! The raffle drawing was held on Wednesday, June 12 at the United Fresh 2014 Produce Celebration Gala. Proceeds from the raffle support the United Fresh Foundation.

New Member Welcome

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

  • 4M Services & Distribution, San Antonio, TX
  • Bank of the West, Sacramento, CA
  • CCOF Certification Services, Santa Cruz, CA
  • Estrada & Sons, Inc., Clemson, SC
  • Hartnell College, Salinas, CA
  • J.W. & Associates, Kathleen, FL

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:

The Washington Conference Webinar Series: My Business Needs a Stable and Legal Workforce NOW - The Current State of Play as Immigration Policy Moves Through Congress
Jul 24, 2014 (2pm - 3pm US/Eastern)

The Washington Conference Webinar Series: Capitol Hill 101 - Washington Conference First Time Attendee
Aug 14, 2014 (2pm - 3pm US/Eastern)

The Washington Conference Webinar Series: What Congress Needs to Know About Your Business - Preparing for your March on Washington
Aug 21, 2014 (2pm - 3pm US/Eastern)

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