Viva Fresh Expo Wants YOU: Join the Second Annual Clean Eating Challenge!

Mission, Texas:  Many in the produce industry kept up with participants from this year’s Viva Fresh Clean Eating Challenge as they lost more than 160 pounds collectively from November 2019 to March 2020 by putting fruits and vegetables center plate. Their results were something to be proud of, particularly when you realize they achieved this during the holidays and a worldwide pandemic.

And now, the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) is inviting industry members to register for the second annual Clean Eating Challenge starting on October 1 and culminates at the 2021 Viva Fresh Expo in Dallas next March. Those interested in joining the challenge have the option of joining one of two tracks: a featured contestant and a regular contestant. Featured contestants will have their progress highlighted online and as part of the reveal at the Viva Fresh Keynote reveal next March. All featured participants will also receive a FitBit and Fit Scale to better track their progress. Featured contestant spots are limited so interested parties are encouraged to act fast. But all contestants on all paths will receive peer mentorship and a chance to win a Peloton bike complete with year-long subscription (a $2,500 value) for completing the challenge.

Launched in 2019, Viva Fresh’s first-ever health and wellness campaign followed four produce industry professionals who changed their diets and as a result, changed their lives. Since the inception of the Viva Fresh Expo, health and wellness has been a cornerstone of the program. The committee created the challenge to not only improve the contestants’ health, but also to inspire others and raise the profile of the importance of fruits and vegetables to a healthy lifestyle.

“As leaders in the produce industry, we need to be at the forefront of health and wellness in order to set an example for the consumers we are trying to reach every day,” remarked Dante Galeazzi, President & CEO of Texas International Produce Association (TIPA).  “As new health fads come and go, fruits and vegetables are the foundation on which we should focus every journey to better health. We are so excited to continue the Clean Eating Challenge for the second year in hopes of inspiring even more people to change their eating habits for the better.”

The 2020 Challenge was sponsored by SunFed, Grow Farm Texas, Coast Tropical, Rio Fresh Inc. and J&D Produce; several participants from last year’s challenge and some new faces will serve as mentors who will offer peer support newcomers as they join the path to better health:

  • Ed Bertaud, IFCO
  • James Bassetti III, Little Bear Produce
  • Michelle Cortez, Vision Imports
  • TJ Flowers, Lone Star Citrus Growers
  • Tommy Wilkins, Grow Farms Texas

Besides peer support, contestants will receive healthy recipes and cooking tips and demos from professional chefs helping them move fruits and vegetables to center plate as they make healthy lifestyle changes.

One of last year’s participants said it best, “The changes I learned to make during my time as a participant were truly life changing,” said Michelle Cortez, Clean Eating Challenge Committee Chair. “I want to help others find the same success I have found which will allow them to live their best lives and reduce their health complications.”

Contestants are welcome to follow any plan they wish during the challenge but are encouraged to do so in coordination with a health care professional. The Clean Eating Challenge is not a diet but a way of life with a focus on health and wellness that asks participants to adopt a healthier lifestyle that includes eating more fruits and vegetables and moving more.*

Last year, Dr. Ian Smith, a best-selling author whose books havehelped hundreds of thousands of people reduce bad sugars from their diet, lose weight, lower blood sugar levels, and cut the cravings, worked closely with each of the participants to tailor a plan based on their goals, health challenges and the results of their physicals that showed exciting progress during the spring reveals.  To close out the 2021 Challenge, Dr. Smith will once again join TIPA to deliver the keynote speech during the Viva Fresh Welcome Luncheon. He will highlight the new challengers success stories, along with updates from the year one participants.

Viva Fresh began in 2015 as a small regional tradeshow with the goal of shining a light on the importance of the Rio Grande Valley as an emerging trade corridor and production zone. Now, the show consistently draws sold out crowds, and buyer attendance alone has increased by over 110%.  

For more information or to register for the Clean Eating Challenge visit

*Disclaimer: TIPA acknowledges they are not in the business of diet and weight loss and they are not qualified to offer health or fitness advice. TIPA is in the business of advocating for the increased consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. TIPA will provide access to a variety of resource tools and support, but each participant will be responsible for seeking the necessary medical and expert advice related to their own health and well-being.

About the Viva Fresh Produce Expo

The Viva Fresh Produce Expo was established in 2015 by the Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) in order to create meaningful networking and educational opportunities for its members while shining a light on the importance of the Rio Grande Valley as an emerging trade corridor and production zone for healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables available all year long. For more information, please visit

About the Texas International Produce Association

The Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) was founded in 1942 and represents over 330 member companies as they educate, advocate, promote and represent the fresh produce industry of more than $8 billion dollars that is either produced in Texas or considers Texas its first point of arrival for domestic distribution. For information, please visit