Consumer Media

OPMA News Releases

  • The Ontario Produce Marketing Association Announces Seven New Board Members

    Toronto, ON – June 10, 2021 – The Ontario Produce Marketing Association (OPMA) announces the appointment of seven new board members at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on June 9, 2021. The newly elected Directors will serve three-year terms from 2021 to 2024. The Directors joining the OPMA’s board are: Ryan Goad from Loblaw Companies; Dan Tukendorf from the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association; Madison Hopper from Equifruit; Andrew George from EarthFresh Farms. Marc Wall from Sandy Shore Farms; Amanda Knauff from Taylor Farms; and Matthew Quiring from Nature Fresh Farms. Ryan Goad is the Senior Category Director of Fresh Procurement at Loblaw Companies. Goad has 17 years of experience in Canadian retail produce ranging from store-level operations and employee training/development, as well as 12 years of experience in produce procurement. Dan Tukendorf is the Program Manager of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association. His career has spanned across the produce industry value chain. Past roles have included farming vegetables and growing floral crops, quality assurance inspection, retail grocery produce procurement, and category management. Madison Hopper is the Marketing Manager for Equifruit, the Canadian market leader in Fairtrade bananas. She has extensive board experience, most notably serving on the board of Fairtrade Canada for three years. She currently serves on the OPMA’s Young Professionals Network Committee as the Secretary. Andrew George got his introduction to the produce world by spending summers sorting, grading and hauling potatoes at the old EarthFresh production facility on Browns Line. Currently, with eight years experience, he is now leading the Canadian Sales Team as the Senior Director of Sales at EarthFresh Farms. Marc Wall is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Sandy Shore Farms. He joined the family business in 2013 and assumed his current role leading sales and marketing programs in 2018. He also serves on the board of the Asparagus Farmers of Ontario and the Agriculture Advisory Board of Norfolk County. Amanda Knauff detoured from the CPG world into the produce industry three years ago, starting as a business development manager for Taylor Farms, where she built a sales and marketing strategy for the Canadian marketplace.  Recently, Taylor Farms bought a facility in Vaughan and she is now Director of Sales leading a local Ontario team. Matt Quiring is the Director of Sales at Nature Fresh Farms. He has spent over 10 years in the greenhouse farming sector developing smart business strategies and fostering sales partnerships. At the meeting, Steven Dimen, the Chair of the OPMA welcomed the new board members. Dimen said “An election was held electronically with a record number of votes. Congratulations to the newly elected Directors.” Dimen also recognized the retiring directors, “Thank you to the seven departing directors for their many years of voluntary service to the OPMA.” The seven Directors retiring from the board are: Sarah Taylor from Gambles Produce; Chris Streef from Streef Produce; Frank Spagnuolo from Loblaw Companies; Carleigh White from WalMart Canada; Jason Verkaik from Carron Farms; Sarah Marshall from the Ontario Tender Fruit Growers’ Association; and Fiona McLean from DelFresco Produce. In addition, three current Directors whose terms had ended were voted back onto the Board: Steve Moffat from North American Produce Buyers; Adam Donikian from Sobeys; and Julian Sarriano from Fresh Taste. A key priority for the Board will be providing greater value to members. The OPMA will be conducting a review and working with experts, with input from members to accomplish its strategic objective to build the Association. About Ontario Produce Marketing Association: The Ontario Produce Marketing Association is a member-funded, not-for-profit organization whose primary objective is to connect people and information from field to plate. -30- For more information contact: Rochelle Roye Marketing and Communications Manager rochelle@theopma.ca

  • New Annual Market Report shows Dramatic Increase in Produce Sales at Retail in 2020

    Toronto, ON – March 10, 2021 – Citrus, Asian and Indian vegetables including cooking roots such as garlic, ginger and turmeric, lead the way in year-on-year growth during 2020 in Ontario retail produce departments. The report, produced by the Ontario Produce Marketing Association (OPMA) shows an overall increase of 8.3% in produce sales growth compared to 5.2% in 2019 and an 8.1% increase in tonnage growth compared to a 2% reduction in 2019.Vegetables took the lead with an 11% increase in sales compared to their fruit counterparts which saw a 6.1% growth in sales. Growth can be attributed to more at-home cooking during the pandemic and possibly consumers replicating their favourite restaurant meals at home. Resulting in a bump in vegetable sales and a desire to try non-conventional produce items. “The findings of this report indicate increased grocery spend on fresh produce,” noted OPMA President, Michelle Broom. “Whether it’s being driven by a desire to build immune defenses in the face of a pandemic, or wanting to experiment with different flavor profiles, Ontario consumers are spending more time than ever in the produce aisle.” Tomatoes, potatoes and peppers saw the highest growth in sales while potatoes, onions and carrots experienced the largest tonnage increase in the vegetable category. When it came to fruit, oranges, strawberries and cherries were the top commodities in sales growth, while avocados, watermelon and oranges led the way in tonnage growth.“This research points to unique opportunities for both suppliers and retailers,” said Mike Mauti, Managing Partner at Execulytics Consulting. “While consumers are still doing a lot of their cooking at home, it’s a good time for suppliers to diversify with a larger variety, perhaps adding specialty or multicultural vegetables into their offering. Retailers can capitalize on the growing desire for exotic fruits and look at in-store merchandising changes to strengthen this category.”Fruits that saw a decline in tonnage growth include cut fruit, grapes, apples and pears. On the vegetable side, salad greens and Italian vegetables underperformed in total vegetables and total produce both in sales and tonnage. A decline in these commodities can be explained by the consumer’s desire to experiment more with their home cooked meals.This report is based on NielsenIQ MarketTrack data for fresh produce sold in Ontario grocery banner, mass merchandiser and drug channels for the 52 weeks ending October 3, 2020.  Additional analysis was conducted by Execulytics Consulting. Access to the full report is available to OPMA members on the OPMA’s website.-30-About the Ontario Produce Marketing Association: The Ontario Produce Marketing Association is a member funded, not for profit organization whose mission is to connect people and information from field to plate.For more information contact:Emilia De SousaMarketing and Communications Manageremilia@theopma.ca

  • Ontario Consumer Produce Shopping Habits 2020

    A new consumer research study commissioned by The Ontario Produce Marketing Association (OPMA) reveals 44% of shoppers changed their produce shopping behavior during the pandemic in a variety of ways.One of the biggest shifts in shopper behavior was intention to purchase local produce, with 36% of shoppers reporting they are now looking for local more often. While the key driver of this decision is the desire to support the local economy, shoppers also believe Ontario produce is fresher, has fewer touch points and tastes better.The study also focused on shoppers’ location preferences during the pandemic, specifically when it comes to produce. While people continue to prefer to shop in-person for produce, one in four respondents indicated their produce shopping location had changed. Seven in ten respondents indicated that they buy produce in-person at conventional grocery stores, 56% shop at discount stores and 40% mentioned big box stores. “This research is unique as it is focused on the Ontario shopper and the attitudes that drive their produce purchases,” said Michelle Broom, OPMA President. “The research overwhelmingly indicates that given the opportunity, consumers want to support the local economy. It is important that we provide them with the right tools to do so.”The growing awareness of fair trade was evident with half of respondents reporting they seek out fair trade produce when shopping, particularly women. When it comes to conventional vs. organic produce, 14% of produce is purchased in the organic section, 85% of those who purchase organic say the amount of organic produce they purchase has not changed.“We were thrilled to see such high consumer interest in fair trade”, commented Jennie Coleman, President of Equifruit and OPMA member. “This study confirms that fair trade produce is a major opportunity for retailers. With 51% of respondents seeking produce certified Fairtrade, we know that we’re out of a niche and into the mainstream.”The findings indicate a small shift in frequency of shopping, with the average being five times per month, down from six times. Plastic packaging still remains a hot topic. Almost nine in ten shoppers believe it should be reduced while 66% think it should be eliminated altogether. Despite this, most agree that it’s important for food safety and reducing food waste. The OPMA partnered with Leger, the largest Canadian-owned market research and analytics company, to conduct the study on consumer shopping habits during the pandemic. The results were presented to members in a webinar by Lisa Covens, Vice-President, Communications and Public Affairs at Leger. Data was gathered through an online survey completed by 1001 grocery shoppers between October 28, 2020 and November 3, 2020 using Leger’s online panel.

Market Research

Ontario contributes over one third of Canada’s total fruit and vegetable production, contributing more than $4.2 billion and over 66,000 jobs to the economy. Approximately 43% of this value is field grown and 57% produced in greenhouse operations....Continue Reading

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Produce Made Simple 

Produce Made Simple is a highly-successful consumer facing platform. It features an extensive website filled with recipes and knowledge. The brand is active across multiple social media channels with the goal of encouraging millions of Canadians to enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables every day. In addition, under the Produce made Simple banner, the OPMA runs events to promote produce through an “ambassador partnership” featuring 10 inspirational social media influencers. In 2020 alone, the program garnered over 20 million impressions and had a total reach of 100,000 followers.

Produce Made Simple

OPMA in the Community

OPMA Christmas Foodshare

 
 

For the past 30 years, the OPMA, and it’s partners have worked together to procure, pack and deliver thousands of fresh fruit and vegetable boxes to families across the province.

Student Nutrition Ontario 
 

studentnutritionontario.ca

The OPMA’s partnership with SNO helps to nourish thousands of students from across the province by helping them gain access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Toronto Foundation for Student Success

tfss.ca

The OPMA’s partnership with TFSS fosters healthy eating habits and cooking skills among school aged children by contributing to their knowledge of the produce industry and helping them procure fresh fruits and vegetables for their after-school programs including the Junior Chef program.

Freggie 

Meet Freggie, the produce mascot! Contact our team at info@theopma.ca to find out how you can rent a Freggie costume to complement your program’s food nutrition activities.