AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. — Florida’s fruit and vegetable growers thanked Ahold USA Inc. for innovation in merchandising the state’s produce.
Doug OhlemeierAhold USA Inc.’s Paul Francis (left), senior procurement manager of produce, and Chris Keetch, category manager for fruit, accept the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association’s Merchandiser of the Year award from Quentin Roe, president of Noble World Wide, Winter Haven, Fla., Sept. 24 at the association’s annual convention. During a Sept. 24 awards luncheon at the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association’s convention, the Maitland-based association honored Netherlands-based Ahold NV’s U.S. company as Merchandiser of the Year.
Quentin Roe, president of Noble World Wide, the sales division of the Winter Haven-based Wm. G. Roe & Sons Inc., said Carlisle, Pa.-based Ahold’s Florida citrus sales have increased more than 20% for two consecutive years.
That shared success is a testament to the partnership between suppliers and Ahold merchandisers who promote fruit through category planning and maintaining flexibility throughout the season, he said.
“Ahold has been a phenomenal partner to the entire Florida agricultural industry, the citrus industry in particular,” Roe said. “They are a very progressive company that’s doing a lot of unique things in their produce departments. If you go into them, you will see the changes they’ve been going through.”
Capitalizing on increasing demand for blueberries, Ahold expanded its assortment of pack sizes and worked with consumers, allowing the chain to “create additional value propositions while filling opportunity gaps in the marketplace,” Roe said.
Paul Francis, Ahold’s senior procurement manager of produce, and Chris Keetch, category manager for fruit, accepted the award.
“It’s a great honor to be recognized by an association such as this that represents the growers,” Keetch said. “We understand the value of products Florida supplies us and we recognize the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make that process as seamless as possible from your fields to our store shelves and ultimately to the end consumer.”
FFVA presents the award to recognize the role retail merchandisers play in the sale of Florida fresh produce.