Sustainability can be hard to define, but the fresh foods industry has applied its own meaning to the
practice by implementing a variety of initiatives to make a positive impact. BY LINDSEY WOJCIK
THE BIG EASY has its name for a reason. New Orleans has an inherent relaxed, laid back vibe, but this month the Crescent City will host a conference on an
important and serious topic: sustainability.
The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the
Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)’s
2016 Global Sustainability Summit, which
will be held Aug. 10-12 at the New Orleans
Marriott, aims to give companies the tools,
connections and solutions to take their sustainability programs and practices to the next
level, say show organizers.
The Sustainability Summit will cover education sessions on emerging issues, trends and
technology for measuring and managing sustainability, as well as increasing traceability
and transparency—topics that have become
important to fresh food producers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers alike.
Ahead of the event, Grocery Headquarters
connected with produce growers and fresh
food suppliers to discuss why the definition
of sustainability is tricky, what sustainability
practices their companies employ and the challenges that sustainability initiatives can present.
What does sustainability mean in the
produce/fresh food sector?
Sara Brinkley, Peri & Sons Farms: Sustainability
in produce is a verifiable commitment from
the grower to be dedicated and efficient with
respect to resources, with minimal environmental impact, social accountability and economic viability.
Carlos Visconti, Red Sun Farms: Sustainability
in the produce sector means innovating with
eco-friendly packaging materials to ensure
optimal shelf life with the most direct route
from farm to retailer to consumer. This
approach ensures that our consumers receive
the freshest possible produce with minimal
packaging from an environmental perspective.; Having packaging that is; recyclable or
that uses recycled materials is a way to preserve global resources for the future generations.; This methodology was the inspiration
for our Organic Grape fiber punnetts.
Steve Lutz, CMI: It is a long-term point of view
to maximize what you are doing within the
farm and packing plants over time. You have
to be good stewards of the land, but you also
have to be good stewards of water use, packag-
ing use, power resources and everything else.
It encompasses all aspects of farm-to-table.
Certainly there are economic incentives to
be more sustainable if you have the ability to
reduce materials, consumption of waterpower
SARA BRINKLE Y, director of food safety and organic
certification for Peri & Sons Farms, based in Yerington,
JOHN CHAMBERLAIN, director of marketing at
Limoneira Co., based in Santa Paula, Calif.
DION YSIOS CHRIS TOU, vice president of marketing at
Del Monte Fresh Produce, based in Coral Gables, Fla.
MICKI DIR TZU, director of marketing at North Shore
grower of North Shore Living Herbs and North Shore
Organic Living, based in Thermal, Calif.
KUR T M YERS, vice president of sales and marketing at
Clear Springs Foods, based in Buhl, Idaho.
S TEVE LU TZ, vice president of marketing at CMI, based
in Wenatchee, Wash.
JACOB SHAFER, communications specialist at Mann
Packing Co., based in Salinas, Calif.
NEERAJ SHARAMA, head of packaging at Apio, based
in Guadalupe, Calif.
CARLOS VISCON TI, COO at Red Sun Farms, based in
Kingsville, Ont., Canada.
GHQ FOCUS ON FRESH