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Bruce Taylor, chief executive officer of Taylor Farms, will put the spotlight on innovation as keynote speaker at this year’s United FreshTEC Conference, debuting Tuesday, June 13 at McCormick Place in Chicago. In addition to Taylor’s keynote, conference attendees will participate in expert panel discussions on pre- and post-harvest automation, food safety in packing and processing operations, and an intense look at controlled growing environments.freshe

The FreshTEC Conference will gather hundreds of produce and fresh foods operations executives seeking opportunities to advance their businesses through technology. Conference attendees will break from presentations to explore the FreshTEC University Showcase where top universities from across the country will share their cutting-edge data, concepts and ideas, as well as innovative projects in ag technology.

On Wednesday and Thursday, June 14-15, the FreshTEC Expo will bring exhibitors and attendees together with several new destinations to enhance education and networking on the trade show floor. Attendees will find the new TEC X-Change at the entrance to the expo, providing a meeting place for colleagues who share common interests to connect and share perspectives on key issues. Topics will include food safety, sanitation, product development, packaging and supply chain management.

Within the expo, a new FutureTEC Zone will feature a concentrated display area for start-up companies bringing new technologies to the fresh foods industry. As a focal point, Western Growers will feature leading companies from its Center for Innovation & Technology in Salinas, one of the most important incubators in the produce industry for start-up companies.

The Food Safety Pavilion expands this year with more exhibitors, research presentations and poster sessions than ever. As the food industry works to comply with the new regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act, this becomes one of the most important destinations on the show floor.

Finally, the FreshTEC Learning Center will feature education on real-world applications for today’s business challenges. These 45-minute sessions will feature topics such as sanitary equipment design, transportation, cybersecurity, packaging and biotechnology. In addition, attendees will look into the future with TEC Talks — five-minute sessions featuring start-up companies in the FutureTEC Zone.

Registration for the United FreshTEC Expo & Conference is now open. Attendees will have access to co-located shows — the United FreshMKT Expo, Global Cold Chain Expo and the International Floriculture Expo. In addition, FreshTEC attendees will be able to catch up with friends and peers during the official 2017 Opening Party kick-off event at the Shedd Aquarium, this year co-hosted with the Global Cold Chain Expo.

Food Lion will remodel 93 stores in the greater Greensboro, NC, market in 2017. The company will make a $178 million investment in its stores, which includes remodeling the stores, additional price investments throughout the year and investments in associates and the community through Food Lion Feeds. foodlion

"We're proud to have been a part of the greater Greensboro community since 1968, and are excited to bring our newest format to this market," Food Lion President Meg Ham said in a press release. "We look forward to making significant investments in our stores, our customers, our associates and our communities to offer a new grocery shopping experience. We want to ensure our customers can easily find fresh, quality products to nourish their families at affordable prices every day, delivered with caring, friendly service every time they shop."

Since Food Lion launched its "Easy, Fresh and Affordable...You Can Count on Food Lion Every Day!" strategy, the grocer has brought enhancements to its Greensboro stores, including product expansion, new registers, price investments and enhanced service. When the remodels are complete, among the key benefits customers will be able to take advantage of include fresh, new stores designed to be easier to navigate and shop so customers can get in and out of the store quickly and expanded variety and assortment that is relevant to customers in each store, such as more local products, natural and organic selections and healthier snack options.

Greensboro is the fifth market to be remodeled and the stores are expected to be completed on a rolling basis between March and August 2017. Food Lion will continue to launch enhancements across its more than 1,000 stores in 2017, as well as remodel additional markets over time. The company has previously completed 142 stores in greater Charlotte, NC, in 2016, 162 stores in the greater Raleigh, NC, area in 2015, along with 76 stores in the greater Wilmington, NC, and Greenville, NC, markets in 2014.

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The Chilean Fresh Fruit Association partnered with main sponsor Northgate Gonzales Markets, a 41-store retailer based out of Anaheim, CA, at the City of Bell third annual 5K Run/Walk and Children's 1K.

Chilean dancers performed La Cueca, the Chilean national dance, before the start of the Feb. 19 race.5X4A6906-pro-chile

The FruitsfromChile street team handed out samples of Chilean grapes and blueberries to more than 1,500 participants, which included 100 Northgate Gonzalez Market employees.

“Northgate Gonzalez Markets is a strong supporter of summer fruit from Chile during the U.S. winter months," Steve Hattendorf, western region merchandiser for the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, said in a press release. "They have an outstanding Health & Wellness/Viva La Salud program, which supports these types of health and fitness events.

"February is Heart Health Month and grapes and blueberries can help combat heart disease," Hattendorf noted. "Our team had a great time today handing out Chilean grape and blueberry samples, nutritional information and healthy recipes for the runners.”

Three major retail panelists have been confirmed as part of a keynote presentation at the upcoming Organic Produce Summit July 12-13 in Monterey, CA.  The Retail Roundtable presentation will explore insights, opportunities and challenges facing retailers in the multi-billion dollar organic fresh produce industry.opslogo

The three panelists — Dave Corsi, vice president of produce and floral for Wegmans; Heather Shavey, assistant vice president of global produce for Costco; and Chad Miller, vice president produce procurement for Sprouts — will engage OPS attendees with an overview of their respective stores approach to organic fresh produce, as well as the challenges and opportunities in marketing to consumers in the booming organic marketplace. The Roundtable will be moderated by Tonya Antle, cofounder of the Organic Produce Network.

“We are thrilled to have three of the most influential, prominent and progressive retail leaders in the sales of organics as part of our program,” Susan Canales, director of operations for OPS, said in a press release.  “With three different formats covering three geographical spheres, our attendees will gain insightful and useful information on how leading retailers are marketing organic fresh produce to consumers and the opportunities to drive sales into the future."

The Retail Roundtable is one of four featured keynote presentations scheduled for OPS 2017. Other confirmed presentations include an overview of organic fresh produce sales from data company Nielsen and an inside look at America’s first USDA certified organic fast food restaurant chain, The Organic Coup.  One additional keynote presentation will be announced in the coming weeks.

General registration for OPS is now open and available at www.organicproducesummit.com.  OPS 2017 will feature sold-out retailer/buyer field tours and an opening reception on July 12. The following day a full slate of educational breakout sessions and keynote presentations will kick off the morning. The event concludes with a sold-out exhibitor expo featuring over 100 growers, shippers and processors of organic fresh produce from across North America.

Registration is limited and attendees are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible as OPS anticipates another sold-out event.

March is coming. It’s the perfect opportunity for the nation to come together to combine its favorite springtime pastime — filling out a college basketball bracket — with its love of apples. To celebrate National Nutrition Month, the U.S. Apple Association is encouraging apple lovers to join the Apple Madness bracket tournament — a five-week, five-round online competition spotlighting 32 apple varieties and essential health facts.apple

Launching Feb. 22 and continuing through March 31, apple fans can visit the official 2017 Apple Madness bracket at USApple.org/AppleMadness to vote for their beloved varieties — including tried-and-true veterans such as McIntosh, Granny Smith and Fuji; popular favorites Honeycrisp and Pink Lady; or rookies like SweeTango, SnapDragon and Jazz. The varieties with the most votes advance weekly.

To take part, individuals can lock in their Apple Madness prediction bracket between Feb. 22 and 28 for a chance to win a grand prize of an entire three-month supply of apples, a new addition this year to the campaign. Then throughout March, any individual can vote daily to help their favorite apples advance through each round:

  • Fresh 32 (March 1-7): First round features all 32 apples seeded in 16 match-ups.
  • Vitamin-C Sixteen (March 8-14): Top apples from week one fight it out in round two.
  • Edible Eight (March 15-21): Eight apples fight to make it to the fiber four.
  • Fiber Four (March 22-27): Only the four favorite apples remain.
  • National Chomp-ionship (March 28-31): Vote and watch as the ultimate apple variety is crowned.

Voters will have the chance to win plenty of apple-related prizes, including gift baskets, cookbooks, gift cards and more from USApple members all month long, and the grand prize will be awarded to the prediction bracket that most closely matches the actual outcome. Members donating prizes include Borton Fruit, Chelan Fresh, Domex Superfresh Growers, JAZZ Apple, Michigan Apple Committee, New York Apple Association, New York Apple Sales, Rainier Fruit Co., Red Jacket Orchards, Ridgetop Orchards, Riveridge Produce Marketing, Sage Fruit Co. and Washington Apple Commission.

“Apple Madness provides a unique opportunity to educate customers on the flavor profiles and benefits of the many different apple varieties — during basketball season when everyone has tournament bracket fever,” Korenna Wilson, director of consumer health for USApple, said in a press release. “As the competition heats up, we share apple facts, important health research and award fun apple-themed giveaways. Last year, we received more than 25,600 votes in our inaugural competition. We look forward to seeing which variety comes out on top this year.”