(Oct. 16) HOUSTON — After being honored with The Packer’s Global Produce Marketer of the Year award, Victor Moller was quick to credit others who helped him succeed.

“I’m so happy and proud of this recognition and grateful to all the friends and partners that have helped me over the years and the relationships we’ve established,” said Moller, president of Santiago, Chile-based Hortifrut SA and a partner in Naturipe Farms LLC, Naples, Fla.

“To develop a global company, alliances and partnerships that share values and vision are the most important thing and the best way to achieve objectives,” he said.

Moller received the award from The Packer Editor Lance Jungmeyer on Oct. 14 during the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit 2007 in Houston.

Friends and colleagues lauded Moller for his approach to business. Don Harris, former vice president of produce and floral for Wild Oats Markets Inc., served on PMA’s board of directors with Moller in 1998 and also served with him on the association’s retail board.

“Victor is the epitome of professionalism,” Harris said. “He had the global vision before we all did. He’s collaborative. He’s always willing to listen and always looking for a new idea to try.”

Moller, a fourth-generation grower, founded Hortifrut in 1983, and the company was one of the earliest shippers of Chilean raspberries, blackberries and blueberries to the Northern Hemisphere. By 1994, the company commanded 53% of fresh berry exports from Chile.

In 2000, Hortifruit joined with MBG Marketing, Grand Junction, Mich., to form Global Berry Farms, Naples. Naturipe Berry Growers, Salinas, Calif., joined Global as a partner in 2002, and the company was renamed Naturipe Farms LLC in 2006.

Hortifrut also established Euroberry Marketing, Huelva, Spain, in 2003.

“Victor has always been noted by his peers and competitors for being a visionary,” said Naturipe president and chief executive officer Bruce Peterson, who joined the company in August after 15 years at Wal-Mort Stores Inc., Bentonville, Ark.

“He’s an interesting guy. He blends an understanding of the products he sells with an understanding of who’s buying those products,” Peterson said. “One of the reasons I’m at Naturipe Farms is Victor. He’s an incredible thinker.”

Hortifrut founder garners global marketing award
On Oct. 14, Lance Jungmeyer, Editor of The Packer, presented Victor Moller (right) of Santiago, Chile-based Hortifruit SA with the Global Produce Marketer of the Year award at the Produce Marketing Association’s 2007 Fresh Summit in Houston.