The Apex Of Fall: PMA Fresh Summit


Progressive Grocer takes a look at what’s in store at the highly anticipated annual event.

Among our many favorite autumnal rites is the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) annual Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition, which never fails to deliver a top-notch educational program, numerous networking opportunities, and a sold-out exhibition hall featuring a robust harvest of new products and services in produce and floral.

A.G. Lafley, former chairman and CEO of Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble, as keynote speaker, will open this year’s Fresh Summit and share pointers on how the renowned CPG company has grown both its sales and portfolio in recent years. PMA president and CEO Bryan Silbermann will present his annual State of the Industry address during the second session on Saturday, which will feature with an emphasis on innovations, food safety, ethical consumerism and related tips aimed at helping the fresh produce industry better tell its story to an increasingly confused — and often misinformed — American public.

Sunday’s main speaker will be David Nour, CEO of the Nour Group, based in the Atlanta area, and author of “Connect-Ability,” explaining “relationship economics,” followed on Monday by Jim Carroll, a trends and innovation expert and author of “Ready, Set, Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast,” among other titles.

The annual confab, set for Oct. 15 through Oct. 18 in Orlando, Fla., at the Orange County Convention Center, will also feature a Food Safety Solutions Center and a PMA Foundation for Industry Talent Career Headquarters, along with a number of on-trend workshop topics, including “Keeping it Local: The Pros and Cons of Local Sourcing,” which will examine the numerous benefits — and risks — associated with the in-vogue topic. The locally focused workshop’s panel will feature Dave Corsi, VP of produce and fl oral operations for Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Markets Inc.; Rich Dachman, VP of produce for Houston based Sysco Corp.; and Michael Spinazzola, president of DRS Inc. in San Diego, which handles purchasing for Subway restaurants.

For a complete listing of the event’s education program, visit the Fresh Summit website. The deadline to register online is Sept. 17, while the last day to register in advance is Oct. 1.

Food safety will also be at the forefront of PMA’s Fresh Summit, including a new Food Safety Solutions Center prominently located on the show floor in booth #201 at the Orange County Convention Center. Designed as a one-stop interactive destination, the center will provide educational exhibits, live demonstrations, and videos related to food safety technology in the areas of packaging, traceability, processing equipment, product testing, water purification and more.

“This center is part of the fulfillment of PMA’s commitment to help industry members get answers to their most critical food safety questions,” said Joe Pezzini, COO of Castroville, Calif.-based Ocean Mist Farms and chair of PMA’s Produce Safety, Science and Technology Committee. “Food safety is the most important thing we do to safeguard and ensure consumer confidence in our industry’s products.”

Educational content at the center will complement and expand on Fresh Summit’s food safety workshops, as will a host of industry and PMA experts, who in facilitated Q&A sessions are scheduled to explore solutions on the topics of product testing, audits, the various roles of traceability trading partners and more.

In related news, the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) at presstime revealed the formation of industry-led working groups to guide the next round of future activities with direct input from volunteers that are currently being sought to participate in the groups. PTI leaders are seeking volunteers to assist four working groups that will drive key elements of the initiative’s next critical steps:

  • Implementation Working Group: This volunteer group will guide and promote industry-wide adoption of GS1 standards at the foundation of the PTI, including developing best practices, identifying solutions to implementation issues and tracking industry implementation
  • Master Data Working Group: This volunteer group will address issues in regard to identifying product attributes and communicating that data between trading partners
  • Industry Communications Working Group: This volunteer group will ensure two-way communication between the initiative and industry
  • Technology Working Group: This volunteer group will provide a forum for technology providers to collaborate to support the initiative

Mann’s Hot on the Sweet Spud Trail

Washed and ready to heat and eat from a convenient microwaveable bag featuring steam-in-bag technology, Mann’s fresh-cut sweet potatoes are available year-round and have a 14- to 16-day shelf life.

Available in three convenient sizes and cuts — 12-ounce spears for “fries” and snacking; 16-ounce cubes for cooking, baking and mashing; and 24-ounce spears for peak holiday-season cooking occasions — the latest on-trend fresh-cut item from Salinas, Calif.-based Mann’s will give grocers a great opportunity to capture sales of a fresh produce item that’s hitting the “sweet spot” when it comes to health. Considered a “good carb” and nutrition powerhouse, sweet potatoes are full of disease-fighting nutrients such as fiber, beta carotene, vitamins C and E, folate, calcium, copper, iron, and potassium.

With an SRP of $1.99 to $2.99, Mann’s fresh-cut sweet potatoes are not only on the menu, but now also on the shelf.

For more information, visit Mann Packing Co. Inc. at booth #3781 at PMA Fresh Summit, call (831) 422-7405 or visit

Wholly Guacamole Dips Into ABC DVD Promo

Grocery produce aisles are destination points for today’s health-conscious perimeter shoppers, but are rarely hunted for consumer promotions. Fort Worth, Texas-based Fresherized Foods’ Wholly Guacamole brand is seeking to change that, however, with a major DVD promotion on tap for this fall with ABC TV.

Dubbed “Stay In, Tune In, Dip In,” the promotion pairs a night of watching a favorite ABC show with America’s top-selling guacamole snack dip for the perfect combination of all-natural food, great entertainment and a $10 cash-back reward.

Through Oct. 31, boxes of Wholly Guacamole Classic will sport the $10 ABC TV on DVD rebate design. Consumers who purchase a box of Wholly Guacamole and one of the ABC TV on DVD titles included in the promotion are eligible to receive the $10 rebate, which is valid through Nov. 30.

“Consumers are looking for value-added promotions in today’s economy,” explains Tracey Altman, VP of marketing for Wholly Guacamole. “By offering top ABC entertainment, easy-to-serve food and cash back, we hope to send a message to consumers that buying produce can also be exciting.”

Consumer offers and rebates are familiar to cereals, bags of chips and soda cans, adds Altman, but are unexpected in the produce section. “As a leading dip in the healthiest section of any grocery store, Wholly strives to inspire consumers that buying healthy food can be fun, too.”

For more information, visit booth #5483 at PMA Fresh Summit.

Goodman’s Earthbound Cookbook Hits Stores, Kitchens

Goodman, who founded the San Juan Bautista, Calif.-based company in 1984 with her husband, Drew, has been dedicated to the cause of growing organic produce for more than two decades. Goodman’s newest book follows her first cookbook, “Food to Live By,” and now she’s back to serve up a second helping of her delicious dishes in “The Earthbound Cook: 250 Delicious Recipes for Delicious Food and a Healthy Planet” (Workman Publishing; Sept. 14, 2010; Paperback; $20.95).

Publix and Safeway shoppers will be among the first grocers to give customers a chance to purchase “The Earthbound Cook,” the latest cookbook by Myra Goodman, co-founder of Earthbound Farm.

Among the enlightening highlights of the book:

  • How to making eco-friendly meat choices: Organic vs. conventional feedlot beef; the benefits of grass-fed animal products; the carbon footprints of beef, pork, and poultry
  • What does USDA Organic Certification mean?
  • How saving time can also save energy: Serving straight from the pan and storing food in a lidded pot saves time serving and reheating, while reducing the number of dishes to wash after a meal
  • How to reduce kitchen waste by using cloth napkins and dish towels rather than paper products, and reusing aluminum foil whenever possible — plus the basics on recycling
  • How to choose eco-friendly cookware and kitchen appliances, from cast-iron pans and pots with lids to energy-efficient microwaves and electric tea kettles
  • How to buy and store fresh sustainable seafood
  • How eating lower on the food chain — even just one or two days a week — can reduce your carbon footprint
  • How to create a “green kitchen” design
  • How to clean “green”: What to buy and what to avoid

All of this, as well as an abundance of Goodman’s kitchen “basics” — on everything from Thai curry pastes and panko bread crumbs to how to peel and seed a tomato to using cooked crepes — makes “The Earthbound Cook” one of the handiest kitchen references shoppers will ever invest in.

The book is 462 pages long and features full-color photographs throughout.

For more information, visit

Pretty Lady’s Got A Brand New Bag

Pretty Lady Table Grapes, offered by McFarland, Calif.-based Dulcich & Sons, has kicked off the 2010 season by offering a new stand-up bag that also acts as a disposable colander, as well as a host of other merchandising products sure to boost Pretty Lady sales this fall. Retailers are increasingly discovering this new way to display grapes, which is not only capturing the customer’s eye, but also adding a new level of convenience for consumers and produce department personnel alike.

“The feedback has been amazing,” says Nick Dulcich. “The new bag acting as a colander has raised some eyebrows, as it is not only an easy and effective way to rinse and store the grapes, but is also less expensive than some other counterparts now available in the industry.”

The company is providing matching display bins and shelf-danglers, which effectively round out a totally new look for produce departments carrying Pretty Lady. Included with the newly branded merchandising efforts is the popular “Harvest Hobgoblin” program, available again this fall, as well as a new Harvest Hobgoblin Bin that will be previewed during the upcoming PMA Fresh Summit. While the Hobgoblin program was originally created for Halloween, many grocers have observed that it could fit the fall theme of their produce departments and add a little “flavor” to the programs already in place.

While the 2010 grape season has gotten off to a bit of a rough-and-tumble start, Dulcich & Sons and its marketing arm, Delano, Calif.-based Sunlight International Sales Inc., are starting to see their volume increase as they move into the crop and are now harvesting several varieties. “We see a lot of beautiful fruit on the vines right now, so we’re very happy with the current production,” affirms Dulcich. “Availability of the new green seedless varieties, Autumn King and Luisco, will be increasing this fall, which we’re also very excited about,” he adds, noting that the two varieties are “excellent holiday products, as they are available through December, and will surely provide increased sales with their delicious flavor, generous size and refreshing crunch.”

Based in the San Joaquin Valley, Dulcich’s vineyards are all located within a short distance from a state-of-the-art facility in Delano. With 2,500 acres of multiple varieties of table grapes, the grower offers a large line of red, green and purple varietals. Dulcich & Sons’ Sunlight International ships premium table grapes worldwide, including to such countries as Taiwan, Thailand, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Russia, Dubai, India, Mexico and Canada, as well as throughout the United States.

For additional information, visit, contact Julie Lucido at (559) 322-0203 or [email protected], or stop by the Sunlight International Sales Booth #2089 at PMA Fresh Summit.

Stemilt Pears Ripe for the Pickin’

With its pear harvest season well underway in Washington state, Stemilt Growers is pumped about the high-quality pears that are filling store shelves this season, which lasts through mid-October. Offering a diverse mix of pears, including classic favorites — Bartlett, d’Anjou, and Bosc — Wenatchee, Wash.-based Stemilt also supplies a variety of specialty pears, such as Comice, Concorde and Forelle, as well as Asian pears, all of which can provide retailers with a boost in sales this fall.

Additionally, Stemilt, a leading tree fruit growing, packing and shipping company, bills itself as the top shipper of sweet cherries and the largest supplier of organic tree fruits in the nation. The company has also demonstrated a commitment to sustainable agriculture and social responsibility since 1989, when founder Tom Mathison launched its “Responsible Choice” program.

For more information, visit Stemilt at PMA Fresh Summit at booth #2855.

Crunch Pak Expands With New Items

Crunch Pak is gearing up to debut new additions to its line of Snackers at PMA Fresh Summit. The nutritious, convenient line contains interesting combinations of fruits and other sides, such as dips and cheese, in a mini tray.

The Cashmere, Wash.-based company offers fresh apple Snackers choices that include apples, cheese and grapes; apples, cheese and pretzels; and apples, cheese and caramel. The new line additions include combinations of apples, peanut butter and raisins; apples with caramel and chocolate morsels; apples, cheese and crackers; apples, pretzels and raisins; and apples, granola and peanut butter. Launched in May 2010, the sliced apple varieties carry an SRP of $1.99 to $2.99 and have national distribution in more than 9,500 stores through multiple channels, including grocery stores, club stores, mass merchandisers and convenience stores. To optimize its supply capabilities, Crunch Pak produces and ships from both Washington state and Pennsylvania.

For more information call (509) 782-7753; visit, or stop by the PMA Fresh Summit booth #231.

PTI Seeks Volunteers

The four working groups will report to a new PTI Leadership Council, which will replace the current steering committee structure. The PTI Leadership Council will include expanded involvement of leaders from across the produce supply chain, including retailers, foodservice operators and distributors, produce suppliers, and wholesalers/terminal markets.

“This new structure will establish the platform for every industry member to become more involved with the PTI initiative,” explains PTI steering committee chair Cathy Green, president of Salisbury, N.C.- based Food Lion LLC. “We believe this structure will create a more inclusive process that will benefit PTI and the industry alike.”

Meanwhile, GS1 US has joined the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA), the PMA and the United Fresh Produce Association (United Fresh) as a PTI administering organization.

Volunteers are also being sought to participate in PTI-designed pilot projects, or to work with PTI to develop case studies of pilot projects their companies have completed, during any stage of implementation of PTI milestones. Ditto for industry associations and organizations, which are also being called on to join a new Industry Association Interest Group the PTI is forming to allow interested industry associations to participate in the initiative.

Potential volunteers should contact Marlo Bodinizzo of GS1 US via e-mail at [email protected] by Sept. 27. Detailed descriptions of each working group’s area of focus can be found on the PTI website at

Colorful Harvest Sweet Red Corn Shines

Once a secret of chefs who use the raw or roasted kernels to add color and crunch to their recipes, Ruby Jewel Sweet Red Corn from Colorful Harvest LLC boasts naturally sweet flavor that the grower says are even more so on the grill. The first harvest of Ruby Jewel Sweet Red Corn — a special variety developed through traditional plant-breeding methods and grown only by Colorful Harvest — began in mid-August from in Merced in California’s Central Valley.

Sports fans and tailgate partiers were alerted to the availability of the special grilling corn in Safeway, Lucky, Raley’s, Nob Hill, Bel Air, Save Mart and other grocers by a series of announcements that aired on KNBR sports radio, the exclusive broadcaster of the San Francisco Giants. The radio spots were done in conjunction with The Buckhorn Grill, a fast-growing Bay Area restaurant chain known for its marinated tri-tip.

“The corn was bred to produce a deep-red color and high sugar content,” says Doug Ranno, COO and managing partner of Salinas, Calif.-based Colorful Harvest, who notes that the corn’s natural red pigment contains a powerful antioxidant, anthocyanin, that’s present in Ruby Jewel Sweet Red Corn at levels 350 percent higher than in ordinary yellow corn.

Colorful Harvest grows other unusual products, including purple-orange and green cauliflower, Rainbow Crunch Carrots and purple broccoli, in addition to sweet red strawberries, melons and more. For further information on the entire family of Colorful Harvest products, visit or booth #855 at PMA Fresh Summit.


The National Mango Board (NMB) has reported record-setting mango import volume from April 1 to Aug. 15, 2010. The USDA Market News database shows volume that’s 15 percent higher than the same period in 2009 and higher than any year on record for the same period.

Favorable growing conditions across multiple regions have contributed to the record-setting volume. The primary source of growth was Mexico, which increased its volume of mangos exported to the United States by 18 percent compared with 2009 for the same period.

“The spike in volume, particularly in the front part of the season, is attributed mainly to the increased production of Ataulfos,” said Ken Nabal, VP of sales and logistics for Frontera Produce Ltd. in Edinburg, Texas. “It’s important to note that the yellow-skin mango sales have been mostly incremental as regular mango movement is growing as well.”

The Orlando, Fla.-based NMB has launched marketing initiatives in the consumer, retail and foodservice sectors to help drive demand for this sizable crop. Early in the season, NMB spokeswoman and Latin entertaining expert Ingrid Hoffmann appeared on the NBC Today show’s Cinco de Mayo “Guac Off,” reaching more than 4 million viewers. Hoffmann included mangos in her guacamole recipe and quipped to host Al Roker that she was celebrating “Cinco de Mango,” the catchphrase for a NMB marketing initiative. She also appeared in the NMB’s “Celebrate Summer” video segment, which reached approximately 50 million viewers on broadcast and cable TV, and on the Internet. The “Celebrate Summer” segment featured Hoffmann demonstrating her Cuban Mango Melt sandwich, and showing viewers how easy it is to select, ripen and cut a mango.

Mango coverage in consumer magazines, newspapers and online has grown to an unprecedented level in 2010, due to the NMB’s ongoing media programs, coupled with mango’s rising star as a hot food trend. In the first two quarters of 2010, U.S. consumers were exposed to mango messages more than 339 million times, which is a 49 percent increase over 2009 results for the same period.

The retail sector has also shown significant support for mangos, with secondary displays and over 1,800 demonstration events executed so far this year. The NMB has developed specialized point-of-sale materials to educate consumers about yellow-skinned and green-skinned mangos. More than 8,500 of these pieces have been shipped to retailers nationwide.

“The response from retailers this year has been really exciting,” notes NMB director of marketing Wendy McManus. “They are reporting stronger mango sales than in previous years, and they have been more willing to promote mangos.”

Early results show a positive trend developing in retail mango sales for 2010. First-quarter mango sales per store per week were up 39 percent vs. the first quarter of 2009, according to data from the Perishables Group, based in Chicago.

For more information, visit

Ocean Mist Falls for Fennel

Just in time for the fall and holiday selling seasons, Ocean Mist Farms is debuting a premium 2-count fennel (Sweet Anise) clamshell pack. Having acquired expertise in growing the Italian specialty vegetable over eight decades, the Castroville, Calif.-based grower grows a proprietary fennel variety that consistently produces a bright-white large bulb.

The recyclable PET 1 clamshell offers 100 percent product visibility, country of origin and a UPC code. Recently launched in August 2010, the latest healthy addition from Ocean Mist carries an SRP of $1.99 to $2.50 per package

For more information, visit, call (831) 770-6435 or stop by booth #2681 at PMA Fresh Summit.

Clifford Produce Highlights Growers, Small Farms

Clifford Produce, a leading supplier of greenhouse tomatoes, seedless cucumbers, baby eggplants and peppers, has unveiled a new website as part of a rebranding campaign to reflect its expansion while showcasing its growers, produce varieties, packaging, nutrition data, recipes and product images.

“We wanted to give our customers the opportunity to see where their food is grown and who’s growing it,” says Mike Glass, sales manager for the Ruthven, Ontario-based company. “This new website is unique in that it allows our customers to meet our growers, to see our farms, and to view our packaging and shipping systems.”

A streaming video highlights the company’s “big-grower capacity,” “small-farm advantage,” and “ability to deliver” by taking viewers on a journey from Clifford’s greenhouses to its packaging facilities to the point of shipment.

“We’ve essentially doubled our growing capacity, and are poised to become a leading supplier of greenhouse produce on an international scale,” Glass notes. “We are still committed, however, to the ‘small-farm’ way of doing things … to providing our customers with premium-quality produce that has been cared for with regard to health and the environment. Our growers use clean water, non-chemical pest control, good picking practices and good sanitation practices, and we are ever mindful that the same practices are applied on adjacent land.”

The site also highlights the company’s use of quick response codes, or QRs, on much of its packaging, which may be read with a mobile smart phone, and link to the Clifford Web page and to incentives such as coupons. The company also plans to use QRs for traceability, offering details about where, exactly, each product is grown; when it is harvested; and when and where it is packed.

Retailers and suppliers can also determine the availability of a given product, view packaging details and learn about pallet configuration.

For more information, visit or stop by the PMA Fresh Summit at booth #671.

Global Gathering

SIAL sets the standard for food innovation worldwide.

A single showcase for the entire global food market and a powerful reference for purchasers seeking French and international suppliers and partners, SIAL will run Oct. 17 to Oct. 21 at the Parc des expositions Paris Nord Villepinte. Considered the largest meeting place in the world for food professionals, SIAL assembles stakeholders — from manufacturing, retail, catering and foodservice — across the import-export pipeline. Show organizers expect 148,000 visitors from around the world to tour a hall packed with 5,500 exhibitors.

“Eating better and cheaper, gaining time, having more choice, more pleasure, more sensory experiences — consumers are changing,” says Valery Lobry, SIAL general manager. “Their expectations, needs and demands are perpetually evolving, spurring on retail and foodservice players to adjust, incurring that deep-down feeling that the need to meet new challenges will never cease. These changes contribute to the upheavals in the traditional food landscape, where in the past, the roles seemed so clearly defined. But today, retail and foodservice combine their know-how and expertise to adapt their offering to the new demands.”

The pace of change is quickening, leaving little time to adapt to the latest transformations, Lobry notes. “SIAL’s role is to anticipate these changes by providing the profession with the appropriate tools for product implementation and analysis, enabling it to meet the challenges ahead.”

Show highlights include:

  • Trends & Innovations Observatory: An exhibition of innovative food products and spotlight on current consumer trends
  • Food Design: Focuses on trend forecasting and the creation of concepts by design students from ESAD in Reims
  • La Cuisine du SIAL: Allows visitors to taste the latest cuisine trends
  • Nutrition & Health Village: Delivers talks on health and food prospects around the world
  • The Wine Innovation Forum: Features major French and international brands, their marketing innovations, and breakthroughs in wine
  • In-Store Services & Solutions: Dedicated to POS product promotion, this feature presents the tools and applications of tomorrow, together with exhibitors from this particular sector
  • Gourmet Special: Offers a selection of rare and original products from the show

A retail store tour, scheduled for Oct. 22, will allow SIAL attendees to visit the most dynamic French stores — from local markets to supermarkets and organic and hard-discount stores — to take in the latest concepts in customer service, staging, product mix and fittings.

Another highlight of the expo, which will also feature an area dedicated to sustainable development topics, will be SIAL d’Or prizes. Since 1986, this product competition has showcased commercially successful product innovations from 29 countries worldwide from nine categories: savory grocery products, sweet grocery products, fresh dairy products, fresh products (non-milk), savory frozen foods, sweet frozen foods, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and wine.

With innovation an integral part of the exhibition, SIAL aims to develop more cutting-edge services, such as the QR code, to make visiting easier. The code — visible on SIAL press releases and promotional material — takes visitors directly to the new mobile website with the latest services.

Co-located with In-Food and IPA, the World Food Process Exhibition, SIAL will give visitors a fully comprehensive view of the food chain, from manufacturing process to finished product, including semi-processed food products, ingredients and outsourcing solutions.

IPA provides visitors with a full array of material and equipment for the transformation of food products, in addition to numerous technologies, machines and packing materials. Some 600 companies — 48 percent of them international — will take part in this year’s IPA trade show. In-Food, meanwhile, is a wholly semi-processed food products, ingredients and outsourcing solutions event. It’s the meeting place not only for food manufacturers, but also for R&D, product development and purchasing specialists.

Produce for Kids Bows ‘Ideal Meals’

Produce for Kids (PFK), based in Orlando, Fla., is offering a new program called “Ideal Meals” to participating retailers this year via 4-inch-by-6-inch cards merchandised in a self-contained, colorful display unit that offers fast, easy tips for shopping and assembling healthy meals using sponsored products.

Each meal is developed by a registered dietitian and meets the recommended dietary guidelines set by the USDA.

Launched in response to consumer research that showed moms are interested in information about healthy cooking in the produce department, Ideal Meals cards make it easy to shop and prepare for healthy meals.

The cards are available online year-round and in-store at Price Chopper and Giant and Martin’s Food Stores during the PFK’s fall campaign that runs through October. More information is available by visiting, or at the PMA Fresh Summit booth #943.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds