(Nov. 27) The United Fresh Pro-duce Association, Washington, D.C., is accepting nominations for the 2008 Retail Produce Manager Awards Program until Jan. 15. The program, in its fourth year, recognizes retail produce managers at the store level.

The program, sponsored by Irwindale, Calif.-based Ready Pac Foods Inc., will award 25 winners for 2008 instead of 21 in 2007. Winners will be recognized at the United Fresh Marketplace show on May 4-7 in Las Vegas.

The award winners and their corporate produce directors will receive complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations and registrations to the food-marketing event. They will be honored at the annual United Fresh Awards Banquet on May 6. Four grand-prize winners will receive an additional $1,000 cash prize.

Nomination forms are available online at www.unitedfresh.org. Any member of United Fresh may submit nominations.

“We have a committee that’s made up of folks from throughout the supply chain, typically a retailer, a processor, a grower, a wholesaler and a grower/shipper/packer,” Amy Philpott, vice president of marketing and industry relations for United Fresh, said. “They go through all the nominations and rank them based on four criteria: merchandising and displays, produce-related community service or outreach, recognition within their own company and commitment to customer satisfaction.”

Philpott said United Fresh is hoping for 250 nominations this year. The organization received 197 nominations in 2007.