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The United Family honors outstanding team members at Leadership Awards dinner

The United Family, which operates United Supermarkets, Market Street, Albertsons Market and Amigos locations in Dallas-Fort Worth, West Texas and New Mexico, recently recognized its most outstanding team members and partners at the company’s 11th annual Leadership Awards dinner.

“Our Leadership Awards dinner is a special occasion for our company every year, as we take time out to recognize and honor exemplary team members, who continually support our stores and help fulfill our company’s mission,” Robert Taylor, president of The United Family, said in a press release. “Although we continue to grow and add stores in new service areas, our focus will remain to operate with integrity and deliver our guests exemplary service.”

 Honorees include:

  • Ryan Prince, Lubbock – Unite Award
  • John Anderson, Canyon – Store Director of the Year
  • Kenneth Weise, Abilene – Abilene Region Team Member of the Year
  • Tammie Bridwell, Amarillo – Amarillo Region Team Member of the Year
  • Robert Miller, Frisco – DFW Region Team Member of the Year
  • Gene and Oliva Arguello, Lubbock – Lubbock Region Team Members of the Year
  • Reda Toller, Odessa – Midland-Odessa Region Team Member of the Year
  • Waynett Lester, Hobbs – New Mexico Region Team Member of the Year
  • David Molina, Wichita Falls – Wichita Falls Region Team Member of the Year
  • Lubbock Market Street – UCrew of the Year, Accepted by Store Director Noel Garcia
  • Ganesh Kumarraja, Lubbock – Store Support/Distribution Center Team Member of the Year
  • HiTech of Texas – Partner of the Year

United has honored deserving team members with Leadership Awards each year since 2006. Recipients receive a one-of-a-kind statue designed by the company and crafted by R.S. Owens Co., maker of the Academy Awards, to reflect the spirit of a servant’s heart.

For The United Family, 2016 marks a historic year, as United Supermarkets celebrates the store’s 100th anniversary. What began as United Cash Store in Sayre, OK, in 1916 has grown into a multi-banner, Texas-based grocery chain with 66 stores in 36 communities.

Shipping fresh produce in RPCs reduces environmental impact

IFCO released the results of a new peer-reviewed life cycle analysis study comparing Reusable Plastic Containers and corrugated cardboard containers used to package and transport fresh produce from farms to retail locations. The results show RPCs are more environmentally-sustainable than corrugated boxes in seven key categories.

The study concludes that, for the same produce shipments, RPCs  produce 31 percent lower CO2 emissions; produce 85 percent less solid waste; consume 65 percent less water; require 34 percent less energy; contribute significantly less environmental pollution (72 percent lower eutrophication, 51 percent lower ozone depletion and 48 percent lower acidification); and produce 6 percent less phytochemical smog; however, differences were not significant enough to make a conclusive comparison.

“IFCO has a strong commitment to preserving our natural resources for future generations,” Daniel Walsh, president of IFCO North America, said in a press release.  “These results clearly show RPCs are the intelligent choice of growers, retailers and food processors that share our goal of an environmentally sustainable food production system.”

The LCA study was conducted by Franklin Associates, a nationally recognized life cycle assessment and solid waste management consulting firm. Franklin looked at the sustainable attributes of RPCs, display-ready corrugated fiber containers and non-display-ready corrugated fiber containers used to package, transport and display fresh produce. Results were peer-reviewed by packaging and LCA experts at the School of Packaging at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan.

During the study, Franklin reviewed the environmental performance factors for RPCs, DRCs and NDCs during use with a varied sample of fresh produce commodities. The study reviewed the entire lifecycle of each packaging system, from raw material extraction to postconsumer disposal.

The study concluded, “In seven out of eight examined environmental indicators (energy demand, global warming potential, ozone depletion potential, water consumption, acidification, eutrophication, solid waste generation), the IFCO RPCs, as defined by this analysis, provide greater environmental savings for delivering produce in North America than does the use of fiber corrugated containers for these commodities.”

“IFCO evaluates its sustainability performance on an ongoing basis so our customers and their consumers can have the confidence that IFCO RPCs are the best choice when it comes to preserving our planet for future generations through responsible business practices,” Walsh said in the release.

To read the study, click here:

Supervalu announces executive changes, renames Independent Business segment

Supervalu Inc. announced that veteran wholesale executive James Weidenheimer has been named to the newly created position of executive vice president of corporate development and chief innovation officer, reporting to Supervalu President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Gross. Weidenheimer joins the company after having spent the last 16 years in senior leadership positions with C&S Wholesale Grocers. He is expected to start in his new role by April 25.

In this position, Weidenheimer will work closely with Supervalu’s wholesale and retail teams to develop and execute on market opportunities, including new business development, cross-channel merchandising and promotions, and integration of logistical and delivery solutions for key Supervalu customers.

“I’m thrilled that Jim will be joining Supervalu and serving on our executive leadership team,” Gross said in a press release. “Jim and I have worked together in different capacities over the past 20 years. Jim has a wealth of industry knowledge and extensive expertise in procurement, distribution and logistics and is able to draw on all this experience when considering how to best structure new offerings for a customer. I’m confident that he’ll bring instant credibility to this role and innovation to our business. We believe there are significant opportunities to grow our business with existing customers and also to add new ones and Jim will be an excellent addition to help us achieve these goals.”

Weidenheimer’s background includes serving as senior vice president of corporate development for C&S Wholesale Grocers from 2008 to January 2016 when he retired from C&S. Prior to C&S, Weidenheimer served as vice president and chief financial officer for the wholesale division of Richfood Holdings. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas.

Supervalu also announced additional changes to Gross’s executive leadership team. Bruce Besanko, the company’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, has added the responsibilities of chief financial officer, a position he held from August 2013 to October 2015. In his role as both COO and CFO, Besanko will continue to oversee Supervalu’s five regional Retail banners, the company’s merchandising, marketing and pharmacy functions, and the finance function, as well as add oversight of Supervalu’s human resources function. Additionally, the company announced that Susan Grafton will serve in the position of senior vice president of finance and chief accounting officer, reporting to Besanko. Grafton will oversee accounting and certain finance functions. These changes to Besanko’s and Grafton’s roles are effective immediately.

The company also announced the renaming of its Independent Business segment to Wholesale, as wholesale serves as this segment’s primary function, which is to distribute consumable products to retail stores for final sale. Mike Stigers, executive vice president of wholesale, will continue to lead this renamed segment and will report directly to Gross.

“I’m very thankful to have a smart, highly driven team of executives who have helped me quickly assimilate into my role with Supervalu,” said Gross. “I value their contributions and I’m pleased they will be a part of helping me drive the growth of this company going forward.”

CPMA attracts over 2,500 attendees to final Calgary show


The Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s 91st annual Convention & Trade Show in Calgary was a great success, with more than 2,500 representatives from across the fresh fruit and vegetable supply chain in attendance. This was the CPMA’s final trade show in Calgary, and attracted a vast new audience, including local chefs, restauranteurs and floral. There were representatives from 18 different countries in attendance, demonstrating the international flavor of the industry.3N8A1292-copyMayor of Calgary Naheed Nenshi (right) presented Calgary's highest honor, The White Hat, to outgoing CPMA Chairman Mike Furi of The Grocery People and Sam Silvestro, incoming chairman (Walmart).

“The CPMA was proud to host such a successful show, and welcome more participants to our Calgary show than ever before,” Ron Lemaire, president of CPMA, said in a press release. “With 431 exhibit spaces and over 231 companies represented, we were honored to host a vibrant and diverse show filled with consistent traffic on the show floor. Our street team went out into restaurants around Calgary and brought chefs and restauranteurs to the show, which was really refreshing. From the business sessions and learning lounges to social events, we were pleased to deliver a cutting edge business program combined with extensive learning and networking opportunities.”

CPMA’s overall program welcomes a diversity of delegates and exhibitors who are active within the Canadian fruit and vegetable marketplace, and offers a distinctive blend of business, networking, development and educational opportunities, while attracting a wide variety of attendees.

The CPMA’s 92nd annual Convention & Trade Show will take place in Toronto from May 9 to May 11, 2017. The theme for 2017 is We Are Produce, and members of the industry are encouraged to learn more at


Sun World bolsters licensing and variety-development teams

Sun World International LLC has appointed Garth Swinburn as vice president of licensing and Terry Bacon as vice president of variety development. The licensing and variety development staffs are part of Sun World Innovations, a division recently launched to harness the company’s intellectual property and fruit genetics as well as licensing, new technology ventures and related investments.Swinburn-GarthGarth Swinburn

Swinburn, who since 2011 has managed Sun World’s Australia and New Zealand fruit-licensing business, assumes responsibility for directing the company’s worldwide licensing staff and activities, including offices located in South America, Europe, South Africa, Australia and California. He received his bachelor’s degree in horticulture science from New Zealand’s Lincoln University, his post graduate diploma in agriculture economics from the University of New England and his master’s in agribusiness from Australia’s University of Queensland. In addition to his Sun World experience, he has an extensive background in horticulture, fruit production, management consulting and intellectual property.Bacon-TerryTerry Bacon

Bacon is the company’s director of variety development and he joined Sun World as a fruit breeder in 2000. He has managed the company’s fruit research program since 2008 and will continue to oversee all table grape and stone fruit breeding and variety development. Bacon received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in horticulture and fruit breeding from Texas A&M University, where he subsequently worked in that institution’s fruit-breeding program. He previously managed his own commercial stone fruit orchard.Frett-TerrenceTerrence Frett

The company has also brought Terrence Frett on board as an assistant fruit breeder working with Bacon in the development of new stone fruit and grape varieties. He was recently awarded his Ph.D. in fruit breeding from the University of Arkansas where he worked under the direction of renowned fruit breeder John Clark. Frett earned his master's degree in plant breeding and environmental science from Clemson University.

“Sun World has distinguished itself as a leading breeder, grower, marketer and licensor of exceptional fruit varieties,” David Marguleas, executive vice president, said in a press release. “These appointments and promotions underscore Sun World’s commitment to innovation and, along with its licensees, to providing retail customers and consumers around the world with a year-round supply of unique and flavorful branded fruit. Terry and Garth are proven leaders in our fruit breeding and licensing business and will be instrumental in helping to further bolster Sun World’s global footprint in grape and stone fruit development. And, we’re looking forward to the many scientific contributions Terrence will make to our variety development program."