Last updated on June 19th, 2015 at 03:00 pm
The United Fresh Produce Association named the winners of the 2015 New Product Awards in five categories from a record 45 fresh fruit and vegetable innovations finalists during its annual convention in Chicago earlier this month.
“We’re excited to announce the winners of the 2015 New Product Awards. Of the record 45 finalists, the five winners exemplify exceptional ingenuity in fresh produce,” said John Toner, United Fresh’s VP of convention and industry collaboration.
Added Tom Stenzel, United Fresh president and CEO, “New products like these are an essential element of the success of the fresh and fresh-cut produce industry. Our member companies bring foresight about market trends and emerging technologies, and then apply creative ideas to capitalize on those trends, which contributes to the growth and profitability of our entire industry.”
The 2015 New Product Award winners are:
• Best New Food Safety Solution: GO Lux, Locus Traxx Worldwide
• Best New Fruit Product: Naturipe’s New “On-the-Go” Fresh Blueberry Mix, Naturipe Farms LLC
• Best New Packaging: ReadyRipe Watermelon Pouch, Maglio & Co.
• Best New Packing/Processing Equipment: Watermelon Peeler Chunker, ABL
• Best New Vegetable Product: Sunset Flavor Bombs Cherry Tomatoes, Mastronardi Produce/ Sunset
The New Product Awards were voted on by attendees throughout the two days of United Fresh 2015. The winner in each category was determined by total votes received as of 2 p.m. June 10 and announced at the United Fresh membership booth at 3 p.m.
In other United Fresh Produce Association news, the group donated 39,019 pounds of produce and 207 pounds of assorted dry food to the Greater Chicago Food Depository at the conclusion of United Fresh 2015 last week. Volunteers helped collect donations from the convention floor to benefit those in need serviced by Greater Chicago Food Depository partner agencies such as food pantries, soup kitchens and other emergency feeding centers.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository is a member of the Feeding America network of food banks. This year’s total donation of 39,226 pounds continues a United Fresh tradition of supporting the Feeding America network after the annual convention.
“The generosity of the United Fresh Produce Association, its exhibitors and partners comes at a time when more than 812,000 people in Cook County need help putting food on their table,” said Kate Maehr, executive director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “The rescued produce from United Fresh 2015 makes an immediate impact on hunger in our community. We are thankful for United Fresh and Feeding America for supporting our commitment to providing nutritious food for our neighbors in need.”
The Food Depository, founded in 1979, makes a daily impact across Cook County with a network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, mobile programs, children’s programs, older adult programs and innovative responses that address the root causes of hunger. Last year, the Food Depository distributed 67 million pounds of shelf-stable food, fresh produce, dairy products and meat—the equivalent of 154,000 meals every day.
“Feeding America is extremely grateful to the United Fresh Produce Association, their exhibitor donors, Freeman Co., and all food bank staff and volunteers for their efforts to rescue thousands of pounds of fresh produce from United Fresh 2015,” said Don Harris, director of produce at Feeding America. “Fresh and nutritious produce is really prized by our food banks and those we serve, so we are really pleased with the great effort everyone has made to provide this donation to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.”
Added United Fresh’s Toner, “United Fresh and exhibitors at the show are proud to support the Feeding America network of food banks. Fresh produce is an important part of a healthy diet and the donation highlights how the industry is helping those in need each and every day.”
With a network of 200 member food banks across the country, Feeding America supplies more the 3 billion pounds of food and grocery products annually. In all, the nationwide Feeding America Network serves about 37 million people in need.