UNITED AND PMA CONTINUE TO TALK

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- The United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association and the Produce Marketing Association are continuing their efforts to improve interassociation communications.The executive committees of both groups met at the recent annual convention of United held here and agreed to a more formal, full-day meeting in August in Monterey, Calif.The meeting will be the fourth time the two committees

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- The United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association and the Produce Marketing Association are continuing their efforts to improve interassociation communications.

The executive committees of both groups met at the recent annual convention of United held here and agreed to a more formal, full-day meeting in August in Monterey, Calif.

The meeting will be the fourth time the two committees have convened since last spring when a group of produce industry leaders sent a letter to the chairmen of the two associations calling for them to work together to avoid duplication.

At issue was industry concern that the two groups have unnecessarily competed and have, therefore, wasted resources in their efforts to serve the industry.

"I walk away from these meetings with a good feeling -- a feeling I didn't always walk away with," said Dick Spezzano, vice president of produce for Vons Cos., Arcadia, Calif., and chairman of PMA. "I think we're finally talking and opening up dialogue."

The two have already taken steps to avoid overlap. United, for example, has stopped work on a produce promotion program some perceived as conflicting with the "5 a Day Program for Better Health" to increase consumption of produce. And staff members from each association are attending many of the other groups' committee meetings.

Although there has been discussion about the possibility of merging the two group's annual conventions into one joint show, the boards of both associations do not support such a move at this time.