United Fresh Retail Produce Manager Awards Program Solicits Nominees as Deadline Approaches

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Thu. December 15th, 2016 - by Robert Schaulis

WASHINGTON, DC - Looking to honor the unsung heroes of the produce industry, the United Fresh Retail Produce Manager Awards Program is gathering more nominations for its 2017 Awards before the fast-approaching early-January deadline.

Jeffery Oberman, Vice President of Trade Relations, United Fresh Produce Association“The holiday season is an important and very busy time for retailers, yet it can also provide the opportunity to reflect on store-level personnel who have made a difference in the past year,” says Jeffery Oberman, United Fresh Produce Association’s Vice President of Trade Relations, and he urges retailers: “Take a moment to honor these key individuals by nominating them for the Retail Produce Manager Awards Program as the deadline for nominations is fast approaching on Friday, January 6th, 2017.”

Each year the awards honor 25 outstanding produce managers. Nominees must be currently employed as “Produce Managers” working in a retail environment (grocery, supermarket, commissary, etc.). Previous award winners cannot win a second time. Anyone can submit a nomination, but the nomination must be approved by the Produce Manager’s Corporate Produce Director or a designated company representative.

On a United Fresh visit to congratulate Tops’ Winner, pictured Left to Right: Mike Patti, Tops Friendly Markets, Jeff Cady - Tops Friendly Markets, Paul Alphonse - Dole, Ted Elliott – 2016 Produce Manager of the Year Winner, Jeff Oberman – United Fresh, Rick Wright - Tops Friendly Markets, Jim Gibson - Tops Friendly Markets.

So, what are some of the best practices for the program and the process for nominating? The program receives hundreds of nominations every year, and it offers nominators guidelines to steer them through the process and answer common questions. United Fresh suggests the following general guidelines:

  • Nomination forms must be completed in their entirety.
  • All nominees require advance corporate approval from their company to participate in the program should they be selected as winner. Nominations must be approved by a corporate produce representative.
  • Winners must be accompanied to the convention by a corporate produce executive from their company’s headquarters office.
  • Nominations must be received by the January 6, 2017 deadline.

United Fresh also has suggestions to make your nomination stand out from the competition:

  • Answer ALL of the questions in each category as thoroughly as possible. Candidates are score in each of the four areas, so don’t leave any sections blank.
  • Include examples that demonstrate the nominee’s work as it relates to fresh produce.
  • Photos, while not mandatory, can help illustrate the work that the nominee has done.
  • Be specific and as detailed as possible. Avoid generalizations. The more information the better.

Winners are selected by a committee and evaluated with the following criteria in mind: 

  • Innovative merchandising: utilizing special displays and sampling programs, holiday and seasonal commodity promotions, etc.
  • Produce-related community service or outreach: participation in programs such as adopt-a-school programs, school tours, and community service projects.
  • Recognition and performance with their company: examples of produce managers’ awards, accolades, increased volume or sales, increased responsibility within their company, etc. 
  • Commitment to customer satisfaction and promoting fresh produce: indicators of positive customer feedback, online reviews, store manager insights, etc.  

Award winners will be announced in early spring and will receive an all-access registration package to United Fresh 2017, roundtrip airfare to Chicago, two nights lodging, and recognition at the United Fresh Produce Celebration Dinner. Five Grand Prize Winners will be announced at the convention and each will receive a $1,000 cash prize.

United Fresh 2017

Nomination forms can be downloaded at the United Fresh website, here. All nominations must be received no later than January 6, 2017.

For more news on United Fresh 2017, stay tuned to AndNowUKnow.

United Fresh Produce Association