Markon Wins Joe Nucci Innovation Award at New York Produce Show

New York City – With over 1,500 industry votes cast this year and fierce competition among 10 finalists of the 3rd Annual PRODUCE BUSINESS Innovation Award program, Salinas, CA-based Markon Cooperative reigned victorious, receiving the prestigious Joe Nucci Award for Product Innovation at the 10th Annual New York Produce Show and Conference, the four-day, multi-faceted event held last week in New York City.

Markon’s president Tim York accepted the award from Jim Prevor, president and editor-in-chief of PRODUCE BUSINESS, and Joe Nucci’s sisters, Lorri Koster and Gina Nucci, eliciting a standing ovation at the packed iconic Thought Leader Breakfast to kick off the Main Trade Show.

The Joe Nucci award is the overall finale to the 2019 Innovation Awards competition, which features the top 10 finalists in a special cover story in the November issue of PRODUCE BUSINESS magazine. The competition focuses on items having intrinsic properties that may move the overall industry in new directions, whether that is in new technologies, packaging, food safety measures, shelf-life enhancement or new varieties never before seen on the market.

Markon’s Ready Cycle Strawberry Clamshells is the first of a new line of packaging intended to move the produce industry away from plastic clamshells, beginning with its strawberry cartons. The attractive, sturdy cardboard boxes, developed in collaboration with Watsonville, CA-based Sambraillo, have been field tested with Watsonville, CA-based California Giant Berry Farms.

By converting the plastic strawberry clamshells to cardboard, which features vegetable-based printing and is fully recyclable, nearly 30 tons of plastic will be saved from going into landfills or oceans, according to Markon.

“The innovation in the produce industry at this juncture is nothing short of extraordinary,” says Ken Whitacre, publisher/editorial director of PRODUCE BUSINESS. “It was almost an impossible task to keep the award winners down to 10,” further exemplifying Markon’s ultimate achievement. “Our goal was to judge the intrinsic value of the product itself and ask whether a consumer-and the industry at large-would truly value the innovation.”

About the Joe Nucci award:

To provide a perpetual living memorial to innovation giant, Joe Nucci, the CEO of Mann Packing Company, who passed away at the age of 40, The Joe Nucci Award for Product Innovation was established in 2011. The award is presented each year at a “Thought-Leader” Keynote Breakfast of The New York Produce Show and Conference.


Celebrating its 35th Anniversary in 2020, the monthly magazine is the only publication in the produce industry written exclusively for high-volume buyers at retail, foodservice and wholesaler operations around the world. Founded by 5th Generation Produce Industry Iconoclast, Jim Prevor (the “Perishable Pundit”), the magazine covers merchandising, marketing, management and procurement issues that help “Initiate Industry Improvement.”