2019 Convention Education

With 127 speakers in over 40 sessions including workshops, keynotes, and discussion groups, education at United Fresh 2020 gave a comprehensive look into the produce industry's most important issues. Below are a sampling of presentations available for download.


Monday - Marketing Workshop - Understanding the Competitive Food Landscape

New research from IRI outlines emerging challenges for fresh and fresh-cut produce items, with competitive foods fighting to take market share from produce. Following IRI’s data presentation, the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions and share their strategies to fight back and drive consumer loyalty.


Barb Dan, Senior Vice President, Innovation, Dole Fresh Vegetables
Mark DeAngelis, Principal Produce, IRI

Monday - Technology Workshop - Automating and Operating the Intelligent Warehouse

Learn how you can achieve the lowest cost of ownership for a temperature controlled warehouse from leading warehouse automation expert, Swisslog. This presentation will discuss the most important factors in building design, automation, and operations/maintenance to achieve the highest energy efficiency, capacity and throughput.


Grant Beringer, Vice President, Americas Technology Center, Swisslog
Rudi Groppe, President, Heinzen Manufacturing International

Monday - Technology Workshop - Tantalizing the Taste Buds

The science of flavor is important for distinguishing one produce variety from another. Consumers have also become increasingly loyal to new flavor profiles that delight their sense of discovery. And, value is added as these flavor profiles can have important ties to nutrition, health, and wellness. What cutting-edge research might be applied to produce to create the next consumer sensations?


John de la Parra, Ph.D, Research Lead, Open Agriculture Initiative, MIT Media Lab
Rudi Groppe, President, Heinzen Manufacturing International

Monday - Technology Workshop - Building an Energy Efficient Environment

Learn from an industry leader who has built and re-purposed integrated food storage and processing facilities. Session will focus on utilizing a wholistic systems approach to incorporate energy-efficient designs, new technologies, and work-flow optimization to increase the clients day-to-day efficiencies and improve the bottom line.


Mark Rice, Program Director, Hansen-Rice, Inc.
Rudi Groppe, President, Heinzen Manufacturing International

Monday - Business Management Workshop - Compensation and Benefits Survey Overview

United Fresh’s Compensation & Benefits Research Portal provides users with valuable tools to identify compensation/benefits practices in the fresh produce industry. In this session Industry Insights, the independent research company that conducted the United Fresh Produce Industry Compensation & Benefits Survey, will provide an overview of the results of the study and current compensation trends experienced across all industries. Industry Insights will also provide guidance on how to best understand and utilize the results to analyze your company against the industry norms.


Michael Becher, CPA, Vice President, Industry Insights  

Main Stage

Tuesday - Main Stage - Winning in Today's Food Media

In today’s oversaturated media environment where consumers have an endless array of recipes, food shows and social media channels sharing what to eat, how can your brand capture the attention of key media influencers? In this panel, hear from leading food media outlets as they debate what’s truly driving food influence in today’s culture. Join the dialogue!


Carla Hall, American Chef, TV Personality and Best-selling Author
Debra Puchalla, Senior Vice President, Digital Programming & Video, Food Network, Genius Kitchen & Cooking Channel for Discovery
Melanie Hansche, Deputy Editor, Food & Wine Magazine
Chadwick Boyd, Food & Lifestyle Expert, TV Host & Brand Consultant, L&D Enterprises, Inc.
Kristen Hartke, Food Writer, Washington Post/NPR The Salt 

Tuesday - Main Stage - Reacting to Trends: The In Store Consumer Experience

With the proliferation of online shopping and consumers increasingly pressed for time, brick and mortar retailers need to create a memorable and compelling in-store experience. In this session learn how top retailers are winning in-store.


Kevin Sprague, Designer, Hillphoenix Design Center
Tony Mitchell, VP of Sales and Business Development, Vision Import Group
Kim Camp, Manager, Marketing Communications and Learning Center Programs, Hillphoenix  

Tuesday - Main Stage - Produce at the Center of the Plate: A Chef’s Perspective

Why strive for “Half your plate” when produce can play a starring role? Join sweetgreen’s Director of Culinary Experience Chef Michael Stebner for this eye opening presentation.


Chef Michael Stebner, Director of Culinary Experience, sweetgreen
Chris Keany, National Sales Executive, Keany Produce Company  

Stage Next

Tuesday - Stage Next - Leveraging Technology to Improve Produce Safety and Quality

The fresh produce industry is continuously evaluating innovative tools to promote food safety and quality. In this session, we’ll explore the types of products that may benefit from the use of UV light and cold plasma, and how genetic sequencing can uncover the secrets of microbial ecology that will help inform food safety and quality efforts going forward.


Angela Anandappa, Ph. D, Executive Director, Alliance for Advanced Sanitation and University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Dr. Kathiravan Krishnamuthy, Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago
Cheryl Enlow, Vice President of Quality Assurance & Food Safety, Renaissance Food Group  

Tuesday - Stage Next - The Future of Foodservice

From foams to edibles (flowers of course), what does the future of foodservice look like? In this panel, we’ll dive into the top menu trends that are driving menu development and introducing diners to new and unique flavor experiences. Learn how you can take advantage of these trends and what it takes to translate them into your own product profiles.


Brad Saylor, Regional Chef, Historic Landmark State Street Macy's and Water Tower Place
Mimi Mostofi, Personal Chef, Friend That Cooks
Zoe Schor, Chef, Split-Rail
Lamar Moore, Partner & Executive Chef, The Swill Inn
Nirvana Chapman, Senior Account Manager, Datassential  

Wednesday - Stage Next - Blockchain in Real Life

You’ve heard the pitches and read the news. Blockchain will solve all your problems! Hear from two company representatives about the challenges they needed to address before they could even begin using Blockchain, and their sense about whether or not the effort was worth it.


Jennifer McEntire, Vice President, Food Safety & Technology, United Fresh Produce Association
Natalie Dyenson, Vice President, Food Safety & Quality, Dole Food Company, Inc.
Zoe Schor, Chef, Split-Rail
Jonna Thomas, Food Scientist, Subway 

Wednesday - Stage Next - Future of Packaging: Tomorrow’s Solutions to Today’s Challenges

Whether it’s an upcharge for a plastic bag at checkout or the obliteration of plastic straws, plastic is feeling the repercussions of its perceived lack of sustainability. Retailers, growers and other supply chain partners are rethinking their use of packaging materials to meet consumers’ desire for earth- friendly solutions.


Nico Shaut, Technical Sales & Service, Next Generation Films 

Wednesday - Stage Next - Uberization Real Time, On-Demand Produce and Production

From a ride to the airport to tonight’s dinner, consumers are getting what they want when they want it. Growth in online ordering continues to rise. How does the produce industry capitalize on different food production methods and what are the implications of uberization within the industry?


Bahige El-Rayes, Partner, A.T. Kearney
Susan Reimer-Sifford, Fresh Connect  

School Foodservice Forum


Prioritizing Produce: Texas Takeover

School foodservice leaders from Austin and Dallas share innovative ways they are procuring, presenting and promoting fresh fruits and veggies in their foodservice programs, helping to create a culture of health in their schools and the community.

Presentation 1

Presentation 2

International Focus on Fruits and Vegetables in Schools: Commonalities, Challenges, and Learnings from Different Cultures

Dayle Hayes (School Meals that Rock) and Betty Izumi PhD, MPH, RD (Oregon Health & Science University) share personal observations, best practices and research on fruit and vegetable consumption in Japanese, Swedish and US schools. Their presentation will focus on some universal questions in school nutrition programs: What can we learn from each other to enhance the nutrition and well-being of all children? How can classroom lessons and cafeteria procedures help students learn lifelong habits that increase produce consumption, reduce waste and promote environmental sustainability? How can school nutrition programs support and expand larger community food system changes?