The average total compensation for a chief executive officer working in the produce industry reached $388,000 in 2013, according to a salary survey from United Fresh Produce Association. That scored about $75,000 per year more than the average total compensation for the chief operating officer, according to the United Fresh survey.

The survey found that expected increases in executive compensation were 2.9% in fiscal year 2013 and 2.3% in fiscal year 2014, according to the report. Expected increases in management pay were rated at 2.7% for 2013 and 2.9% for 2014, according to the report.

In other findings, the United Fresh Produce Association’s 2013 Produce Industry Compensation & Benefits Report said chief executive officers in grower/shipper/packer companies averaged $409,000 in total compensation, compared with $207,900 for CEOs of fresh-cut/value added operations and $398,015 for CEOs of wholesalers/distributors.

CEOs for firms with produce sales less than $15 million averaged $175,000 in total compensation, while CEOs in firms with produce sales between $15 million and $50 million averaged total compensation of $269,000. Topping the pay scale, CEOs in companies with produce sales more than $300 million averaged more than $912,000 in total compensation, according to the survey.

United Fresh published its first salary survey in July 2011 and published the most recent survey in mid-year 2013. Another edition of the salary survey is anticipated in 2015, said Ray Gilmer, vice president of issues management and communications at United Fresh.

Utilizing responses from 98 completed survey forms submitted by April last year, the survey’s results were tabulated in June by research firm Industry Insights. The survey measured industry compensation and benefit data for more than 30 full-time positions and included three new positions: regional sales manager, marketing manager and manager of food safety/quality assurance. The report also includes an expanded section on employee benefit practices, according to a news release from United Fresh.

The compensation report allows produce companies to compare salaries and benefits for full-time positions across several business sectors, in addition to distinctions for ownership type, produce sales volume, geography and number of full-time employees, according to the release.

The survey revealed the average total compensation for the position of director of food safety and quality assurance in the fresh produce industry was $89,693, while the average total compensation for the position of manager of food safety and quality assurance was $64,756.


According to the release, 31% of the responses came from companies with fewer than 50 full-time employees and 26% from companies with 100-249 full-time employees. About a quarter came from companies with sales from $100 million to $300 million in annual volume, according to the release.

The 130-page report is available for purchase online for $495 for United Fresh members and $695 for non-members. For more information, call Backer at 202-303-3408.