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NEWARK, Del. --Through a sponsorship from Try-Foods International, Inc., up to 10 retailers will receive $1,000 towards their expenses to attend the 2006 PMA Retail Produce Solutions Conference (RPSC) to be held March 9 to March 11 in Houston.
The scholarship recipients to date include Larry Smidt, Albertsons, Inc.; James Spilka, Meijer, Inc.; Rick Scott, Safeway, Inc.; Andrew McGregor, Wild Oats Markets, Inc.; Peter Goulet, Hannaford Bros. Co.; and Paul Stuart Sr., Wegmans Food Markets.
The focus of the conference will be on today's "new" consumers in the Asian, Gen X, children's, and Hispanic markets and on increasing fresh produce sales in all distribution channels. PMA will provide a diverse learning and networking program examining the produce consumption and buying habits of these four high-growth markets.
There will be seven retailers who will lead discussions at RPSC this year, including Peter Goulet, Hannaford Brothers, Co.; Don Harris, Wild Oats Markets, Inc.; Mike O'Brien, Schnuck Markets; Jeff Patterson, BJ's Wholesale Club; Hugh Topper, HEB Grocery Co.; Bruce Peterson, Wal-Mart Stores; and Jay Schneider, Acme Markets.
Early registration for RPSC offering a reduced rate has been extended through Feb. 17. To register online for RPSC, visit PMA's Web site, www.pma.com/rpsc or call (302) 738 7100.
In other PMA news, the trade organization urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to apply the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans to school meal programs, stressing increased availability of fruits and vegetables.
Joining with other organizations that support this endeavor, PMA signed a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns from the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA).
Kathy Means, PMA's v.p. of government relations, said: "These recommendations are important ideas that are consistent with our call to have all federal food programs meet dietary guidelines. At the same time, they are a proactive response to our members' call for more efforts to become more involved on behalf of schoolchildren."
The letter commends USDA on its recent efforts with school foodservice and nutrition professionals in providing more nutritious meals to children, and urges the agency to continue these efforts and move quickly to develop and propose new regulations to help schools meet the congressional requirement that schools adhere to the dietary guidelines. The guidelines were developed jointly by USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.