PMA Announces Impact Award Finalists

WHAT: PMA Impact Award Presentation WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 13, 7:30-9:20 a.m. WHERE: George Bush Grand Ballroom The produce industry has long viewed packaging as simply another added cost, but with a wealth of new innovations that impact everything from traceability to the way a product can be merchandised and marketed, that perception is changing rapidly. In recognition of this growing role that packaging

WHAT: PMA Impact Award Presentation

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 13, 7:30-9:20 a.m.

WHERE: George Bush Grand Ballroom

The produce industry has long viewed packaging as simply another added cost, but with a wealth of new innovations that impact everything from traceability to the way a product can be merchandised and marketed, that perception is changing rapidly.

In recognition of this growing role that packaging plays in the produce industry, the Produce Marketing Association this year launched its PMA Impact Award.

“PMA's Packaging Council saw a real opportunity for the produce industry to take better advantage of the trends that were going on in packaging in the center of the store — the way the cereal aisle makes use of the images of sports figures, for instance,” explained Becky Roberts, PMA's director of volunteer leader relations. “They wanted to showcase the ideas and concepts that are out there in the industry, being used to promote the consumption of fresh produce.”

Entries were submitted in five categories: food safety/traceability; functionality/technology; marketing design/messaging; sustainability, and merchandising/transportability. And, in alphabetical order, the 2007 award finalists are Apio; Blue Lake Citrus Products; Desert Glory-NatureSweet Tomatoes; Earthcycle Packaging; Hawaii State Department of Agriculture; Imagination Farms; Kraft Foods; Mann Packing; Mastronardi Produce; Melissa's/World Variety Produce; Monterey Mushrooms; Perfection Fresh Australia; PWP Industries; Red Blossom Farms; Stemilt Growers; Sunkist; The Oppenheimer Group; YottaMark Inc.; and Z&S Fresh.

“We were overwhelmed with the number of entries this year,” said PMA President Bryan Silbermann, expressing the association's excitement about the new award.

Roberts agreed, noting that “we saw a lot of packaging targeted at kids; we definitely saw a lot of new products that emphasized convenience, but really it was a very diverse, very wide field of entries.”

An expert panel of judges — Joann Hines, Packaging University; Steve Lutz, Perishables Group; Jim Prevor, Perishable Pundit; Sher Paul Singh, Michigan State University School of Packaging; and Devon Zagory, NSF International/Davis Fresh — will select one winner for each of the five competitive categories. Those winners will be officially announced at the 2007 PMA Fresh Summit during Saturday's Breakfast General Session on Oct. 13, from 7:30-9:20 a.m.