United Fresh Honors Produce Managers at Awards Banquet

The United Fresh Produce Association announced the grand prize winners of its 2007 Retail Produce Manager Awards at a banquet and reception at the Hyatt Regency Chicago on Monday evening.

CHICAGO — The United Fresh Produce Association announced the grand prize winners of its 2007 Retail Produce Manager Awards at a banquet and reception at the Hyatt Regency Chicago on Monday evening. Selected from a group of 20 top produce managers from around the country — all winners of the award — the four grand prize winners were chosen based on their exceptional performance in four ranked areas: excellence in merchandising, special displays and promotions, community service, and commitment to total customer satisfaction. James Fornelli, produce manager of a Jewel-Osco location in Highland Park, Ill., was recognized for innovations such as a mobile refrigerated produce display case that he installed in the front of his store, as well as developing a weekly farmers’ market format, and his establishment of a certified kosher value-added produce program inspected by a local rabbi. Jorge Munoz, produce manager of a Morgan Hill, Calif., Safeway was recognized for his efforts to teach the importance of healthy eating to local children by hosting store tours and working extensively with local schools to give educational presentations on fruits, vegetables and the health benefits of eating more produce. Jeffry Ingram, produce manager at a Tyler, Texas, Brookshire Grocery location, developed recipe centers at his store that group ingredients into centralized displays that make cooking or preparing foods with produce easy for shoppers. He also developed the largest farmers’ market and garden center in his area. And Ray Bowman, produce manager of a Sioux Falls, S.D.-based HyVee, was recognized for developing unique ways to draw customers into his department, promoting fresh fruits and vegetables on local radio and TV, developing a floorstand featuring a recipe of the week, giving produce tours to local middle and high school students, and once filling a Bobcat loader with bananas and decorating it with football paraphernalia to promote party foods for the Super Bowl. The 2007 Retail Produce Manager Awards were sponsored by Ready Pac.