The 1970s brought an explosion of new produce items from the United States and around the world. No longer was the produce director at the chain stores considered a stepchild. His department now was the most important in the store. Suddenly, eating more fresh fruits and vegetables was the thing to do. Consumers became more nutrition-minded as experts advised them produce was healthy.
Certainly, some luck was involved in the boom at PMA and THE PACKER during the 1970s and early 1980s. On the other hand, the two organizations were prepared to capitalize on the situation.
Foodservice became more important to both organizations beginning in the mid-1970s, and eventually THE PACKER gave Produce Man of the Year awards to foodservice gurus Joe Stubbs of Sunkist and Joe Brennan of Marriott Corp.
As usual, and most importantly, the No. 1 thing the produce industry has going for it is that it offers good, healthful products. You can't beat that for a public relations tool.