Produce Industry Gives Big Executive Bonuses

United Fresh News Release, July 19, 2011; Contact: Patrick Delaney,, 202-303-3400 ext. 417

Bonuses a Major Part of Produce Executive Compensation Says United Foundation Survey

New Report Measures Compensation in Thirty Job Functions and Multiple Produce Industry Segments Nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bonuses account, on average, for 30 percent of C-suite executive (CEO, COO, CFO) compensation, according to a new survey of produce industry compensation and benefits released today by the United Fresh Foundation, through its Center for Leadership Excellence. The confidential survey of 119 produce industry companies measures employee compensation and benefit data for a wide range of full-time positions including sales and marketing, production and operations, quality control and assurance, administration, finance and accounting, and executives. The survey was open to U.S.-based produce industry employers including grower-shippers, brokers, wholesaler-distributors, importers, exporters and fresh-cut processors.

“This new report offers compensation data from multiple market segments across the nation,” said United Fresh Senior Vice President of Member Services Victoria Backer.  “This is a terrific yardstick by which produce companies can gauge their salary and benefit levels to ensure their competitiveness within the industry, increase profitability, and not only attract new talent, but also retain the valuable employees already on the team,” said United Fresh Senior Vice President of Member Services Victoria Backer.

United’s compensation survey shows detailed salary and benefits information on companies, sorted by ownership type, type of business, produce sales volume, number of full-time employees and geography.

The survey represents a wide range of the industry with regard to company size, with 32 percent of responses coming from companies with between 100 and 499 full time employees, and almost 17 percent coming from companies with fewer than 20 full time employees. Also represented is a large range of sales volumes, including 30 percent of responses from companies doing more than $100 million in annual volume, and 22 percent from companies doing less than $15 million in sales annually

Additional information in the compensation report includes:

  • Adjustments to  salary structure during the current fiscal year and anticipated adjustments for the coming year
  • Basic healthcare plans provided by companies
  • Retirement plans offered by companies

The survey concept was developed by the United Fresh Grower-Shipper Board, which identified an important need for a national compensation survey for the fresh produce industry.  To help ensure the broadest and most beneficial input for the produce supply chain, a task force with members from the United Fresh Grower-Shipper Board, Fresh-Cut Processor Board, and Wholesaler-Distributor Board was formed in December 2010. The Task Force reviewed and provided input to help determine the top 30 positions within the industry that would be most valuable to industry members.  In February 2011, the survey was sent to the industry and 119 surveys were completed. Industry Insights, an Ohio-based company that specializes in industry compensation research, administered the survey on behalf of United’s Foundation.

“The produce industry competes with other industries for attracting and keeping the best talent. United’s Grower-Shipper Board strongly supported the idea of conducting a national compensation survey to help industry employers stay competitive in the workplace,” said Fred Williamson, president of Andrew & Williamson Fresh Produce and chairman of United’s Grower-Shipper Board.

The final survey report is now available to members of United Fresh for $495 and non-members for $695. Companies who participated in the survey receive an additional discount. The survey can be purchased here, and more information is available by contacting Victoria Backer at 202-303-3400, ext. 408, or




Founded in 1998, the United Fresh Produce Association Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization committed to meeting the public’s needs for an abundant supply of healthy, safe and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. The Foundation is dedicated to increasing the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables to children as a critical step in combating childhood obesity and launching a lifetime of healthy choices. To assist industry members in meeting these goals, the Foundation offers educational programs, leadership development, public outreach, and industry training through four different Centers — Center for Leadership Excellence, Center for Nutrition and Health, Center for Food Safety and Quality, and Center for Global Produce Sustainability. For more information, visit or call 202-303-3400.

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