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A Message from President & CEO Tom Stenzel on United Fresh LIVE!

Jun 26, 2020

June 26, 2020

Dear produce industry members,

It was wonderful to connect with so many of you last week during United Fresh LIVE! When we made the decision two months ago to pivot our in-person convention and expo to virtual, we had no idea where this would take us, and no road map to guide the way.

This is a big thank you to all of our exhibitors and sponsors who helped make this possible, and to all of you who registered and joined us online last week. Our goal was to bring our produce community together, to learn together, to do business together, and maybe have a little fun together. You all helped achieve each of these goals!

But the experience doesn’t end now – we have more than 30 workshops and general sessions online and on-demand, all still FREE to everyone. And, our expo is still open – you may not find the booth staff waiting for your chat, but you can explore new products and services 24-7, and message anyone who’s a part of United Fresh LIVE! Be sure to get back online and take full advantage of the expo and these on-demand sessions:

General Sessions

  • Opening General Session with Feeding America Keynote
  • Women In Produce General Session
  • Organics General Session
  • Retail-Foodservice General Session
  • Closing General Session With Industry Leader Panel

Marketing & Business Development

  • Adaptation & Transformation: The Future of Produce Foodservice Distribution
  • Foodservice Insights From Visionary Chefs
  • Retail Insights From Visionary Produce Managers
  • The Feelings and Habits That Accelerate Fruit and Vegetable Consumption: Delivering on the Desires and Demands of Consumers
  • The CARES Act Toolbox: Unlocking Federal Programs That Help the Fresh Produce Industry

Food Safety & Technology

  • How to Turn 3rd Party Audits into More Than Just a Certificate
  • TEC Talks
  • COVID-19: Lessons Learned from other Industries
  • Smarter Food Safety, Big Data, and Predictive Analytics
  • Adding COVID-19 to the Produce Safety Job Description


  • Global Trade Challenges in the COVID-19 Era
  • How International Sourcing Has Changed
  • Specialties and Exotics: What’s New From Around the World
  • Spanish Language Session: Global Focus – The Mexico Market
  • Spanish Language Session: Global Focus – The South American Market

Controlled Environment Agriculture

  • Introducing the CEA Food Safety Coalition: Who We Are, and What We Do
  • Food Safety Challenges and Opportunities Unique to CEA Leafy Greens
  • COVID-19 and Market Disruptions: How Decentralized CEA Supply Chains Add Value
  • Retail Partners’ Perspective on Value of CEA Production
  • Indoor Ag-Conversations

School Foodservice Forum

  • School Meals 101 Meets COVID-19: Opportunities for Fresh Produce in K-12 School Nutrition Programs
  • Selling to Schools: Understanding Fruit and Vegetable Requirements in K-12 Foodservice
  • Continuing a Culinary Focus: Prioritizing Fruits and Veggies Before, During and After COVID-19
  • School Meals During COVID-19: Creative Approaches to Ensuring Students Get Their Fresh Fruits and Veggies
  • The Future of Fresh Produce in Schools: A State Agency Perspective

One more note – congratulations to our “Best in Show” exhibitors selected by attendee votes. And, also a shout out to the winners of our games and competitions online. I still can’t get past the first puzzle, and I think I came in 186th in the fruit and vegetable trivia contest!

Even while we were having fun together online, our priority continues to be helping you keep the produce chain moving to feed the world. It was an honor for us to launch United Fresh LIVE! with a salute to our workers – be sure to watch this video dedicated to the essential workers bringing fresh produce to people everywhere.

Your companies are working hard to keep them safe, and on the job. For the future, we hope a vaccine will be available sooner than later. We joined with other food associations this week asking the Trump Administration to prioritize access to a future vaccine for our workers, right behind health and medical personnel.

We also continued our work in food safety this week, encouraging the FDA and USDA to correct the Chinese government allegation that the coronavirus came back to Beijing on imported food. We’re very pleased with the strong statement these agencies issued confirming that there is no scientific evidence that food can transmit the virus. FDA also sent an industry letter this week recognizing United Fresh and the Texas International Produce Association for putting together strong food safety best practices for the papaya sector.

Last, we’re working to begin setting up briefings with both the Trump and Biden campaigns. Like all election years, the outcome is uncertain so we will be building relationships with both campaigns so that they understand our issues. More to come on that down the road.

Wishing you well, and thanking you again for all that you do to keep the produce chain moving!

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