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PMA Fresh Summit 2014 (Group 3)

PMA-8On the day that the Produce Marketing Association’s 2014 Fresh Summit opened, Bryan Silbermann, PMA chief executive officer, promised it would be the most well-attended event in the history of the organization. His educated guess proved accurate, as the association announced that a new record of more than 22,400 people attended the three-day event.

Group 1 Photos , Group 2 Photos, Group 3 Photos

Norcross, GA, packaging pros RockTenn were out in force at PMA. Here are Gregg Lapidus, Dwight Morris, Manuel Corona, Diana Hunter and Kenneth Smith.

PMA Fresh Summit 2014 (Group 2)

Del-MonteOn the day that the Produce Marketing Association’s 2014 Fresh Summit opened, Bryan Silbermann, PMA chief executive officer, promised it would be the most well-attended event in the history of the organization. His educated guess proved accurate, as the association announced that a new record of more than 22,400 people attended the three-day event.

Group 1 Photos, Group 2 Photos, Group 3 Photos

 

Maggie Bezart Hall, vice president of trade and promotion for Avocados from Mexico, with the organization's new permanent display bin for Mexican avocados.

Connie Stukenberg rejoins California Avocado Commission as retail marketing director

Produce veteran Connie Stukenberg has returned to the California Avocado Commission staff full-time as retail marketing director. Stukenberg, who had worked on CAC’s merchandising staff from 2000 to 2009, then continued her affiliation with the commission as part of her own business consultancy, CS Sales & Marketing for Results, rejoined the CAC staff effective Aug. 31.

“CAC vice president Jan DeLyser and I are thrilled to have Connie’s merchandising and marketing expertise on staff, as well as all that she brings to the table with her retail relationships and passion for California avocados,” Tom Bellamore, CAC president, said in a press release.Connie-StukenbergConnie Stukenberg

Stukenberg’s expanded responsibility with CAC includes calling on corporate accounts Albertsons, Costco and Safeway. She also has responsibility for retail marketing in Arizona and California, including the Los Angeles wholesale market. This appointment aligns with commission’s focus on marketing of California avocados in the Western United States and with targeted customers across the country.

“Connie is an expert in avocado merchandising and marketing,” said DeLyser. "The relationships that she has built with retailers and others in the produce industry are invaluable.”

Stukenberg has been affiliated with the produce industry for more than 30 years, beginning in 1979 implementing programs for in-store juice extractors in an era before bottled refrigerated juices were merchandised in produce. An innovator from an early age, she co-founded Citrus Connection in 1987 and built the fresh juice company until it was purchased by California Day Fresh Foods (a Chiquita subsidiary that was later renamed Naked Juice). She stayed on with Naked Juice, managing national and regional key retail account sales until 2000 when she joined CAC.

Well-known for her service on numerous charity and industry committees and boards, Stukenberg was a recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award for recognition of more than 4,000 hours of volunteer service to community and country. In 2012 the Fresh Produce and Floral Council presented her with the “Buz” Bolstad Produce Achievement Award for meritorious service and outstanding contributions to the produce industry and council. She is currently serving her third term on the board of directors for FPFC and will serve on the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Committee beginning in 2015.

Mars Super Markets and East Coast Fresh Cuts showcase Sesame Street campaign at Baltimore store

BALTIMORE — Maryland-based East Coast Fresh Cuts and Mars Super Markets, the first supplier-retailer team to jump on board the "eat brighter" campaign, showcased fresh produce branded with Sesame Street characters Sept. 24 at a Baltimore store alongside students from a nearby elementary school.

The 'eat brighter!' movement offers royalty-free access to Sesame Street characters and was forged by Produce Marketing Association, Sesame Workshop and the Partnership for a Healthier America.

The program, launched last October, began taking off after a marketing toolkit was released in March and companies starting using the Sesame Street characters in media placements, in-store signage and packaging, explained PMA President Cathy Burns.

Some 29 suppliers are participating and selling fruits and vegetables with characters designed to reach young children in 19,000 stores.

East Coast Fresh Cuts, based in Savage, MD, services 2,500 stores and was one of the first companies to sign on and start working with PMA, said Ross Foca, president of the company.

"It's a natural fit since we're all about delivering natural products to young children," Foca said at the Sept. 24 event.  

It only took a few months to officially launch the new signage, and now products are in more than 2,000 stores, said Jessica Amodeo, marketing representative for East Coast Fresh Cuts.

The family-owned Mars Super Market chain also was the first retailer to adopt the "eat brighter" campaign and to host the first supplier-retailer event to showcase the Sesame Street produce promotion.

"Kids and mothers were loving [the displays] when we were setting up," Peter D'Anna, Mars Super Market's produce director, said at the event. "It's something that children recognize the characters," and that helps parents purchase fresh produce.

Pure Flavor Bell peppers out of this world, on International Space Station

Pure Flavor has provided greenhouse-grown Bell peppers for the crew members of the International Space Station. These peppers will be part of the fresh food supply delivered on the Space X-4 cargo flight.purvla

On Sept. 21, Space X-4 began its cargo flight from Cape Canaveral, FL, to bring supplies to ISS, including a list of highly nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We are honored to be part of this adventure to bring fresh vegetables to space” Matthew Mastronardi, chief marketing officer at Pure Flavor, said in a press release. “All of us at Pure Flavor are very excited to be working with NASA in their journey to explore the universe in a healthy way.”

Early in the space program prepared meals for astronauts in space were only available in semi-liquid form stored in specially designed packages. A few short decades later, technology has evolved and has given astronauts the ability to have more variety and better food selections, which include some fresh fruits and vegetables.

"Pure Flavor would like to thank NASA for including us in this amazing journey and look forward to other future opportunities," the company said in the release. "The company wishes the crew members all the best and have a safe return flight back to earth."