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‘I Love 5 to 10 Servings a Day’ recognized for leadership in Quebec

dux2The Quebec Produce Marketing Association was honored with a DUX Award for its “Eating better, one serving at a time” communications campaign at a Jan. 21 ceremony in Montreal.

The educational initiative launched as part of the “I Love 5 to 10 Servings a Day” program took home top honors in the “Communications-Corporate Association” category. DUX recognizes organizations that help improve the overall health of the general public through good eating habits.GalaDUX2015 443 DUXNoémie Léveillé (seated left), QPMA communications and marketing coordinator, and Sophie Perreault (seated right), CEO of QPMA, are joined by Francis Bérubé of Sobeys Québec, Sammy Cacciatore of Sun Grape Marketing and Pierre Jr. Landry of Sobeys Québec at a Jan. 21 ceremony in Montreal where the QPMA was honored with a DUX Award.

Launched by the QPMA in 2013, the educational “Eating better, one serving at a time” communications campaign encourages Quebec consumers to add one extra serving of produce to their diet every day.

“Thanks to the close contact we have with consumers, we know they’re increasingly aware they should be eating five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, but the real challenge for them is making it happen,” Noémie Léveillé, communications and marketing coordinator at the QPMA, said in a press release. “That’s why the campaign uses a positive and encouraging approach to show Quebecers that increasing their daily produce intake is not only easy, it’s fun, too, because it brings fresh flavors and bright colors to mealtime every time.”

To support consumers in their efforts, the people behind the “I Love” campaign have developed and shared a host of simple real-life ways to add an extra serving of produce to their diet each day. These tips and tricks can be found on the website along with a wealth of information on fruits and vegetables, their benefits, measuring a “serving,” customized guides and educational tools, as well as the latest and greatest recipes by produce industry professionals. The QPMA initiative is also very active on its page, posting inspiring culinary creations and advice.

Last but not least, the campaign also works on the ground (consumer shows and event sponsorships), teaming up with partners on a number of projects to encourage Quebec consumers to eat better.

“We were the first to create a general program promoting fruits and vegetables in Quebec by rallying the entire industry, and that makes us trailblazers,” Sophie Perrault, chief executive officer of QPMA, said in the press release. “It’s been an incredible team effort and we sincerely thank all of our valued members and partners for their confidence and support, which are directly responsible for the success of the “I Love 5 to 10 Servings a Day” program and our winning communications campaign.”

International Vine conference convenes in Hermosillo

HERMOSILLO, SONORA — The prelude to the second annual International Vine Symposium was a Feb. 4 tour of Grupo Alta plantations to the north of Hermosillo. Formal technical production sessions were scheduled for Feb. 5-6 in Hermosillo and a closing tour on Feb. 7. Grupo-Alta-vineyard

Presenting the conference is Asociación Agricola Local de Productores Uva de Mesa Frutas y Hortalizas, which uses the acronym AALPUM.

Juan Laborin, AALPUM director general, said 300 people would attend the formal program. The opening tour was limited to speakers, exhibitors and the press.

Laborin noted that AALPUM will host its annual Sonora Spring Grape marketing conference in its hometown of Hermosillo on April 23-24.

Grupo Alta is also headquartered in Hermosillo, Sonora, and owns Divine Flavor LLC. Divine Flavor is a major shipper of Mexican grapes, but is also heavily involved in growing and exporting Mexican vegetables, melons and peaches. Divine Flavor distributes and markets these products from its new distribution center in Nogales, AZ.

OPMA president announces plans to retire

Ian MacKenzie, president of the Ontario Produce Marketing Association, has announced that he plans to retire at the end of this year.

MacKenzie has been with the OPMA since 1994, leaving briefly in 1998 to become general manager of the Ontario Apple Marketing Commission, but returning to OPMA in 2002.

“It’s been both a pleasure and an honor to work with so many great individuals in this industry,” MacKenzie said in a press release.MacKenzieIan MacKenzie “Each board I’ve served has brought something new and innovative to the table that has enabled OPMA to grow from 60 members in 1994 to over 275 today and develop into an advocate for the industry here in Ontario.”

“Ian has provided the association with strong leadership for almost 20 years,” Steve Bamford, chairman of the OPMA, added in the press release. “It will be a challenge to find a suitable replacement, but I am confident that the board of directors will be able to find such an individual over the next few months. A selection committee has been formed and has begun the process of recruiting. They look forward to interviewing a strong slate of candidates who will compete for the position."

OPMA said that candidates should have a great deal of experience in the produce industry with expertise about key industry issues and opportunities related to both regulations and marketing. The successful candidate will have to possess a strong business acumen and the ability to engage members, and the individual should also be skilled at nurturing relationships with government, regulatory bodies, media and partner associations nationally and internationally.

“Replacing Ian will be a difficult task as the role requires a unique mix of skill sets and careful interaction with many segments of the industry”, Bamford added in the press release.

Anyone wishing to submit his or her name for consideration should do so before March 1. Resumes should be sent to

Wegmans rated No. 1 for corporate reputation

Wegmans Food Markets, a family-owned supermarket chain with 85 stores in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic region, reached the top spot for corporate reputation among the 100 most visible companies, according to the 16th annual Harris Poll Reputation Quotient study. Other ranked retailers included Publix Supermarkets (eighth), Whole Foods Market (21), the Kroger Co. (32), Meijer's (39), Aldi (44) and Safeway (67).

"To be recognized in this way is just incredible," Danny Wegman, chief executive officer, said in a press release. "It always starts with our people, who thrill our customers every day and extend a family feeling in our stores across six states."

Wegmans is a newcomer to the list, which in previous years was limited to 60 companies. Harris Poll expanded the list to 100 companies this year to offer deeper insight by industry.

Study respondents are asked to rate a company’s reputation on 20 attributes that fall into six key reputation dimensions: Emotional Appeal, Products & Services, Social Responsibility, Vision & Leadership, Workplace Environment and Financial Performance. Wegmans was the only company to rank in the top five on all six reputation dimensions.

“Results like these make us very proud, but also affirm that our employees are living our values of caring, respect, empowerment, high standards, and making a difference,” Wegman said in the press release.

In another new feature, Harris Poll had each company rated by 100 Opinion Elites, a sub-segment of the main survey respondents who, according to Harris, are more informed, engaged and likely to act based on corporate conduct and other reputation factors. Opinion Elites also place Wegmans at No. 1.

New Jersey holds 100th State Agricultural Convention

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Agricultural interests across the Garden State were gathered at the Tropicana Casino & Resort here Feb. 3-5 for a true milestone: New Jersey's 100th State Agricultural Convention. This was also the fourth year that the convention co-located with the annual conventions of the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey and the New Jersey Blueberry Association.

"This is shaping up to be a great convention,"DonioAward1846Frank Donio Inc. received the Neil Robson Farmers Against Hunger Award. Donio's George Campbell (center) flanked by Kristina Guttadora and Jim Giamarese of the New Jersey Agricultural Society. (Photo by Gordon M. Hochberg) Al Murray, New Jersey's assistant secretary of agriculture, told The Produce News midway through the event. "Once again, it's a large crowd — not just delegates but people from all over who are interested in the agricultural community. And co-locating again with the Vegetable Growers has been very successful."

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher delivered the annual State of the State Agriculture Address Wednesday morning, Feb. 4, speaking about "how our history can inform our present and future for the betterment of all your farm operations."

Later that day, Jim Giamarese of the New Jersey Agricultural Society, which administers the Farmers Against Hunger Program, presented the Neil Robson Farmers Against Hunger Award to Frank Donio Inc. George Campbell accepted the award on behalf of the company, a longtime produce distributor headquartered in Hammonton, NJ.