Educational Micro Sessions

Wednesday: 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Jacob Javits Center Hall 1C
Educational Micro-session Stage


10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Understanding Demand Along the Supply Chain for New Fruit Cultivars

Brad Rickard

Associate Professor Extension Specialist in the School of Economic Sciences,Washington State University
and Co-Director, The Impact Center

Karina Gallardo

Associate Professor,
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

A plethora of studies has been conducted to estimate consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for different aspects of food quality, including eating quality of fresh fruits. However, fruit producers’ ideas for a successful cultivar do not always coincide with consumers’ desires. To enhance the marketplace success of a fruit crop cultivar, it is crucial to meet the dynamic demands from crop producers and consumers, as well as other supply chain members.

Plant breeding programs typically seek to develop and commercialize cultivars with improved productivity and quality characteristics that are more desirable, available, affordable, and safer, which benefit the entire supply chain. Knowledge of the relative values of fruit traits to different stakeholders can greatly improve breeding programs’ efficiency, by enabling breeders to focus on improving traits most desired by the market.


11:30 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.

Advertising in the New Age: The Case Study of Sweet Onions

Ben Campbell

Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics,
University of Georgia

One of the biggest issues facing the produce industry is the ever-changing consumer. Given the multitude of ways consumers can access information, it is essential to understand how consumers of various generations are getting information about produce. Using Vidalia onions as an example, we evaluate which advertising methods are being remembered by consumers throughout the U.S., while also attempting to better understand how these methods are impacting purchasing. Finally, we examine how increasing a consumer’s distance from the Vidalia onion growing region in Georgia impacts awareness of Vidalia onions.

We also look at the advertising impact associated with Vidalia onions. Results from this session can be applied across the produce industry as we find that different aged consumers are relying on different advertising while the distance from the production region can impact product awareness. This session will discuss Vidalia onions as an example but will focus on the broader context of how the results can be used across the produce industry.


12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Economics of Food Waste: Measurement, Trends, and Drivers

John Bovay

Assistant Professor and Extension Economist, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

The “food-waste problem” has been recognized by scholars for over a century and is gaining tremendous traction in academia as well as popular attention. And yet, the magnitude of food waste has never been consistently measured. As a result, one cannot satisfactorily answer the seemingly straightforward question of whether a century’s attention to food waste – or, viewed differently, a century of economic growth that has caused changes and shifts in the extent of food waste – has resulted in a more acute or mild problem. In this article, we review the economics of food waste, provide historical evidence on the extent of the problem with a focus on the United States, and draw conclusions about how various drivers have affected the amount of food wasted at various stages of the supply chain over the decades.


1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Improving Health Through Brighter Bites

Lisa Helfman

Founder & Board Chair, Brighter Bites

Shreela V. Sharma

Co-Founder, Brighter Bites

Brighter Bites is a nonprofit that creates communities of health through fresh food with the goal of mitigating food waste and changing behavior among children and their families to prevent obesity and achieve long-term health. Brighter Bites procures primarily donated, reclaimed fresh fruits and vegetables by partnering with food growers, distributors and food banks nationwide, and then channels this produce along with hands-on nutrition education at no cost to low-in.come families in the form of a school-based food co-op.

Once a week at participating preschools and elementary schools, parents and their children pick up 20–25 lbs of a variety of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, receive healthy recipes and nutrition education, and participate in a healthy recipe tasting. To our knowledge, Brighter Bites is the only evidence-based program that reduces food waste at the food production, distribution, and consumption level, while concurrently addressing the public health issues of childhood obesity and food insecurity by increasing access to healthy food and nutrition education among underserved children and their families.

Results of our studies have demonstrated statistically significant improvements in child and parent intake of fruits and vegetables, two-fold increase in cooking behaviors at home, improved home nutrition environment among families participating in Brighter Bites, and a remarkable increase in fruit and vegetables servings consumed after families have left the program. We expect a significant reduction in obesity prevalence over time. Since 2012, Brighter Bites has provided more than 18 million pounds of produce and more than 100,000 of nutrition education materials to more than 265,000 individuals (including teachers!) at more than 125 sites in Houston, Dallas, Austin, New York City, the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and Southwest Florida.


2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Intelligent Packaging – A New Tool for Quality and Safety Management in the Fresh Produce Supply Chain

Paul Takhistov

Rutgers University

There is a strong consumer demand for new and healthy foods. Fresh produce is recognized as an essential component of a healthy diet because of high content of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. A large portion of this produce is consumed raw, and the number of fruit and vegetables associated outbreaks has increased. There is a critical need to develop a better technology to improve the microbial safety and quality of fresh and fresh-cut produce.

New developments in sensing technologies and inexpensive computing devices create new business opportunities for development and implementation of the next generation data-driven food safety system for post-harvest agricultural value chain, based on ubiquitous sensing, IoT (Internet-of-Things) devices, intelligent packaging and cloud computing. These new technologies allow faster and safer delivery of perishable food products. In this presentation we will discuss current developments in intelligent packaging technology and its use as an element of decision support systems.