Industry Media

OPMA News Releases

  • Produce industry to mark the World Fruit and Vegetables Day

    September 30, 2021, (Ottawa, ON) – The Canadian produce industry is excited to join with sector partners from around the world to celebrate World Fruit and Vegetables Day, which will be held on October 15, 2021. World Fruit and Vegetables Day is an international initiative that highlights the many benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. This year, World Fruit and Vegetables Day is even more special as its goals align perfectly with those of the United Nations’ International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV) campaign. Launched in December 2020, IYFV is an all-year-round campaign which aims to raise awareness about the importance of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition, food security, and health. From October 8-15, the Canadian produce industry will feature several activities, including: Recipes showcasing fruits and vegetables from different continents; Contests on social media where consumers can participate and win prizes; Recipe demonstrations from renowned Canadian chefs, and more. The produce industry invites all its members to join it and celebrate the diversity of fruits and vegetables, and the people who produce them, and share knowledge about fruits and vegetables with consumers on this special occasion. To learn more about fruits and vegetables from around the world, consult the following resources: Half Your Plate, the Canadian Horticultural Council, Produce Made Simple, and J’aime les fruits et légumes. -30- For more information, please contact:   Canadian Produce Marketing Association Micken Kokonya 613-878-3312   Canadian Horticultural Council Cole Christensen 306-321-7533   Quebec Produce Marketing Association Sophie Perreault 514 -777-6319   Ontario Produce Marketing Association Rochelle Roye 416-519-9390, Ext. 234   British Columbia Produce Marketing Association Margie Schurko 604-785-0765   About the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) Based in Ottawa, Ontario, CPMA is a not-for-profit organization that represents a diverse membership made up of every segment of the produce industry supply chain who are responsible for 90% of the fresh fruit and vegetable sales in Canada. CPMA is fortunate to represent a sector that is both a significant economic driver for communities and that also improves the health and productivity of Canadians. About the Canadian Horticultural Council The Canadian Horticultural Council is an Ottawa-based voluntary, not-for-profit, national association that represents fruit and vegetable growers across Canada involved in the production of over 120 different types of crops, with farm cash receipts of $5.4 billion in 2017. Since 1922, CHC has advocated on important issues that impact Canada’s horticultural sector, promoting healthy, safe, and sustainable food, and ensuring the continued success and growth of our industry. About the Calgary Produce Marketing Association The Calgary Produce Marketing Association is a volunteer board of directors and professionals across the produce industry, representing the prairie provinces: Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. We support our members through the membership program, enabling the interchange of information with other businesses in the produce industry. About the 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. About the Quebec Produce Marketing Association Founded in 1947, the Quebec Produce Marketing Association is a non-profit organization that brings together active members from every sector of the fruit and vegetable industry, working in close synergy with them and with its various industry partners. In carrying out its mission of creating a favourable environment for the development of fruit and vegetable marketing in Quebec, the QPMA plays a leadership role in representing and promoting the best interests of its members with government and industry. About the British Columbia Produce Marketing Association The British Columbia Produce Marketing Association is a proud advocate and congregation of BC produce suppliers, grocers, and growers.  

  • 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

  • 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

Latest Industry News

  • Register as a Blue Box producer by October 1, 2021

    As of October 1, 2021, all brand holders based in Canada who provide packaged product to consumers in Ontario will be required to pay an annual fee to the Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority (RPRA). This fee goes towards the administration of oversight and compliance of the new Blue Box recycling program. Brand holders are required to register and report their 2020 supply data to the Authority on or before October 1, 2021. Brand holders will also be required to pay their 2021 Registry fee when submitting their 2020 supply data. Brand holders must complete this Registration Form and email it as an attachment to by the October 1 deadline. Brand holders who fail to meet this deadline will be out of compliance with the Blue Box Regulation and may be subject to enforcement actions by the Authority. A few FAQs that may help you get started: Am I a Brand holder / producer under the new regulation? The Blue Box Regulation applies to producers of products and packaging supplied to consumers in Ontario. Most stewards in the current Blue Box Program administered by Stewardship Ontario will be obligated as producers under the new regulation. For more information on who is obligated as a producer, visit the RPRA website. I already reported my 2020 supply data to Stewardship Ontario through the WeRecycle Portal. Do I have to report again to the Authority? Yes. If you previously reported your 2020 supply data to Stewardship Ontario through the WeRecycle portal, you must also report your 2020 supply data to the Authority in order to meet your requirements under the Blue Box Regulation. Read more in the FAQ. When do I need to sign up with a PRO? There are no deadlines for a producer to sign up with a Producer Responsibility Organization (or PRO), and producers are not required to have a contract with a PRO prior to the October 1 registration deadline. Learn more about PROs. While selecting a PRO is not required to fulfill your registration and reporting requirements, producers who want to ensure that they are represented through the rule creation process should have a representation agreement in place with a PRO. The rule creation process will determine how producers will be assigned collection requirements through an allocation table. The rules may be submitted to the Authority as early as January 1, 2022. 2021 Fees To understand if your company is required to pay the fees, and to learn more about the program visit the RPRA website or view a recording of the recent information session available here. The OPMA has asked RPRA to provide answers to several questions specific to the produce industry. Reponses can be found here. We are also planning a webinar in the Fall on the changes to the Blue Box program.

  • Loblaw partners in first of its kind food waste diversion program

    August 20, 2021 Loblaw Companies Limited is partnering with the Toronto Zoo and EnerFORGE in an innovative project that turns food waste and zoo manure into energy fit for the grid. The ZooShare Biogas Project is the first of its kind in Canada and an example of the circular economy in action. The project aims to convert 15,000 tonnes of food waste from grocery stores, restaurants and other businesses in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and 2,000 tonnes of zoo manure into enough renewable power for approximately 250 homes while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 20,000 tonnes per year. Additionally, after the incoming material has been processed it can be spread on nearby farm fields to support the growth of food the following season. ZooShare says the project is also a natural fit for Loblaw, in the fight to eliminate food waste. Keenly aware of the role the Canadian grocery industry plays in the issue, Tonya Lagrasta, senior director of corporate social responsibility at Loblaw, says the company has reduced the amount of food waste sent to landfill from its corporate retail operations by more than eighty per cent since 2016. Loblaw credits innovative thinking and strategic partnerships, such as these, with their success to date. “As food retailers, we know that the grocery industry plays a significant role in the creation of food waste and that’s why it’s incredibly important to us to be a part of the solution,” says Lagrasta. “Our priority is to make sure food ends up where it’s supposed to be – on people’s plates. But when that’s not possible, we’re proud to work with partners like ZooShare to find new and innovative opportunities for food that may have otherwise ended up in the landfill.” Source: Grocery Business

  • North American Produce Industry Sounds Warning Bell re Pallet Shortages Putting the Supply of Fresh Produce at Risk

    May 2021 Although conversations are occurring within the North American (and global) industry relative to the current acute pallet shortages, we believe that many do not yet realize the factors impacting the situation and the potential scope of the issue, including the availability of produce to consumers. A multitude of issues are impacting pallet availability including: Efforts of wholesalers, distributors and retailers to ensure sufficient inventory of non-perishables given previous pandemic-related impacts. The availability of lumber to repair and build new pallets. The escalating price of lumber when it is available. Non-perishable inventory dwell time increase. Lack of available trucks to relocate pallets. The lack of pallets is adding stress to a supply chain that is already facing significant challenges which include a lack of available trucks and shipping containers, ongoing labour challenges, fluctuating fuel costs, pandemic-related challenges and a pending shortage of resin used to make reusable containers and pallets.  At this time expectations are that the pallet shortage will continue for months, perhaps for the balance of 2021 – all at a time when many North American produce items are just beginning seasonal harvests and shipments. To give a sample of the scope of the issue, we’ve compiled the following information: The shortage of lumber and wood products has increased the cost of raw lumber 200% to 350% and is making the cost of wood pallets increase incrementally. In one example, it was noted that over the past few weeks, pallet costs have increased more than 400%, IF the pallets are even available, and often they are not. One farmer was told by one pallet supplier that they are not taking any new customers due to an inability to fill even existing customer demand. Companies are forced to bring pallets from other jurisdictions thereby incurring border and transportation costs. Pallets are being held in-house due to delayed and cancelled orders from pallet services, leading to higher storage charges and increased congestion within operations. Working together, the supply chain must balance organizational goals relative to overall availability of goods with availability of food.  If there is not a concerted effort across the supply chain to ensure pallet availability for shipment of produce, there is little doubt that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for the grower/shipper community to meet buyer, and ultimately consumer, demand for produce.  Simultaneously, growers and shippers are working hard to remain compliant with pallet requirement specifications where they can, but this is proving challenging.  Temporary modifications or exceptions to pallet requirements, as long as they do not jeopardize safety, would prove advantageous until this pallet shortage is resolved. This news is intended, in part, to act as a catalyst for industry awareness and should be shared with all stakeholders to ensure a consistent understanding of the issue and to encourage discussions and efforts towards a path forward.  All partners in the supply chain should have regular conversations with their pallet suppliers to understand the situation and pallet inventories/availability. We welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with all parties within the supply chain to mitigate the impacts of the current shortages and will reach out to stakeholders to identify a path forward that provides solutions to this increasingly disruptive threat and enables the continued flow of goods. Click here to see more industry news

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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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