Jose Merced ( Courtesy Bridges Produce )

Bridges Produce, Portland, Ore., has hired Jose Merced in sales and business development.

Merced, most recently the lead commodity buyer of organic produce for Kroger, will be based in the Nogales, Ariz., office of Bridges Produce. He will focus on managing and developing retail program business, according to the new release.

Merced started in the industry as a produce clerk in 2000 at QFC in Seattle, according to the release. In his 18-year career, he has worked in store management, warehouse inventory, local sourcing and as a replenishment and commodities buyer, according to the release.

“The role of chain store buyers and buying departments is evolving rapidly in the fresh produce industry which puts more responsibility on vendors to provide seamless programs for retailers,” Ben Johnson, Bridges Produce president said in the release. “Jose brings years of experience and knowledge in developing supply chains that work. Jose will be a great resource for both our grower partners as well as our customers.”

Merced and other members of Bridges Produce will be at booth No. 2189 at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Oct. 19-20 in Orlando, Fla.