Following up an announcement earlier this year, the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) and United Fresh Produce Association in 2022 plan to launch the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA), a joint trade group for the produce and floral industries.
PMA and United Fresh unveiled the International Fresh Produce Association in a press conference yesterday after reporting plans for a new trade organization in late March. At the time, no name had been announced for the new association, which is slated to begin operation on Jan. 1.
On its website, IFPA is described as “the largest and most diverse international association serving the entire fresh produce and floral supply chain.” PMA and United Fresh said that by merging into one global trade group, their organizations can combine their resources and expertise to bolster member services, step up government and public advocacy, better help members grow their businesses, and spur consumption of and demand for fresh produce and floral products.
Plans call for PMA CEO Cathy Burns and United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel to serve as IFPA co-CEOs during 2022, with Burns becoming the sole CEO thereafter.
“There is no question that with these two organizations coming together, we will be better together,” Burns said in the media event.
“It’s been a tremendous journey the last six months,” Stenzel said. “But also I want to thank the boards of directors of our two associations, who had the vision and the spirit to help us put this together.” He also thanked PMA’s and United Fresh’s members, adding that they “voted overwhelmingly for us to come together and create something new.”
The IFPA Executive Committee is led by IFPA Chairman Bruce Taylor, CEO of Taylor Farms. Laura Himes, divisional merchandise manager for produce at Walmart, serves as chair-elect and Patrick Vizzone, head of food, beverage and agribusiness at ANZ Banking, serves as secretary-treasurer. Past chairs include United Fresh Chairman Danny Dumas, president of Courchesne Larose USA Inc., and PMA Chairman Dwight Ferguson, president and CEO of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation. Martha Hilton, vice president produce and floral merchandising at Wegmans Food Markets, serves as IFPA Foundation chair.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to lead and collaborate with this board of directors,” Taylor said in a statement. “This group, in partnership with staff, will help set the strategic tone and direction as we deliver against the seven strategic priorities shared when the new organization was announced in March. I can’t wait to get started.”
Developed by board leaders from PMA and United Fresh, IFPA’s priorities include commitments to serve all sectors of the fresh produce and floral supply chains; provide expertise and business solutions in food safety, new technology, supply chain management, sustainability, leadership and talent development, business operations, marketing and other areas; enhance business-to-business sales and marketing connections across the produce and floral supply chains; and spur demand creation to inspire consumers to embrace produce and floral products as essential parts of their lives and in turn increase profitable sales of members’ products.
In addition, the new association aims to drive government advocacy and leadership to build and maintain a positive business climate in the United States and the North American market; engage globally with international bodies and allied organizations to promote free and fair trade, international harmonization of standards, and worldwide growth in consumption; and united all sectors of its diverse supply chain to better understand its interconnections and support efficiency and profitability.
“Because the new organization will reflect global fresh produce and floral communities, the new board is organized to represent the many businesses we’ll serve in coming years as we work together to help our members prosper,” Ferguson commented.
Among the members of IFPA’s board, directors representing market segments include Jeff Huckaby, CEO, Grimmway Enterprises Inc. (Grower-Shipper); Melissa Ackerman, president and operations director, Produce Alliance (Foodservice); Raina Nelson, president U.S., Westfalia Fruit Marketing USA (Fresh-Cut Processor); and Tom Brugato, president, Pacific Coast Fruit Co. (Wholesaler-Distributor). The appointment of the Retail market segment director is pending.
Appointed as industry expertise directors were Michael Castagnetto, president, Robinson Fresh (Finance & Business Management); Cheryl Enlow, vice president of QA and food safety, Renaissance Food Group (Food Safety); Drew Zabrocki, general manager, value chain insights and interoperability, Semios (Supply Chain Logistics); Abby Prior, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Bright Farms (Marketing & Merchandising); Nikki Cossio, founder and CEO, Measure to Improve LLC (Sustainability); and James Rogers, CEO, Apeel Sciences (Technology).
Brian Kocher, president and CEO of Castellini Cos., has been named as U.S. government relations director. Representing floral as directors are Carlos Oramas, CEO of Gems Group Inc., and Debora Steier, vice president of floral at Albertsons Cos.
“In assembling this board of directors, we sought to strike a balance of those individuals who had strong prior experience from serving on United and PMA volunteer groups as well as emerging leaders who will bring new perspectives and insights to drive the new organization forward and create solutions to address industry challenges,” Dumas stated.
IFPA’s board also includes a range of at-large directors, including representatives from Whole Foods Market, Food Lion, SpartanNash, United Natural Foods Inc., HelloFresh, Sysco and Darden Restaurants, among others.