Oct 25, 2023
IFPA honors global tree fruit CEO in women’s award winner

The International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) has named Raina Nelson, a well-known global tree fruit and produce industry figure, as the 2023 winner of the Frieda Rapoport Caplan Women’s Catalyst Award.

Nelson is president/CEO of Westfalia Fruit Marketing USA, a division of Westfalia Fruit, a global supplier of tree fruit and other fresh fruit.

Raina Nelson

The award, named after the industry legend in 2020, is given by IFPA to someone in the industry who serves as a catalyst for women’s success in the industry.

“In her approach to mentoring and leadership,” Mack said. “A nominator said that she ‘has enriched the lives of countless women in the produce industry through providing guidance for women trying to navigate a male-dominated industry; engaging speakers and thought leaders who inspire and empower women to think outside the box on their own path to leadership; and shared her own insecurities and vulnerabilities, and how she overcame them, to help women in the industry realize their leadership dreams.’”

The award was presented at the Oct. 19-21 IFPA Global Produce & Floral Show in Anaheim, California. Nelson was recognized on stage with a standing ovation right before the breakfast speaker’s address. In her remarks, she reflected on the honor of receiving the award and being associated with the award’s namesake.

“It is an incredible honor to be recognized as the 2023 recipient for the Frieda Rapoport Caplan Women’s Catalyst Award,” Nelson said in a news release. “Frieda’s legacy is a vibrant light that still radiates throughout this industry and beyond. She was a pioneer that created significant change through purpose-driven action. I am truly humbled to be considered someone that carries her light forward.”

IFPA Global Produce & Floral ShowThe award was announced by the previous year’s winner, Carrie Mack of Walmart, who welcomed Nelson into the cohort of Catalyst honorees during the Oct. 21 Women’s Fresh Perspectives Breakfast on at the global produce show.

Nelson has been described as a global produce industry trailblazer. Nelson was vice chairwoman for the Southeast Produce Council and was on the United Fresh Produce Association’s executive committee. Nelson worked as executive vice president of business development for Calavo Growers’ Renaissance Food Group Division and also for C.H. Robinson and Del Monte Fresh.

Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, Westfalia Fruit is a global supplier of fresh fruit and related products. Westfalia grows, sources, ripens, packs and processes avocados and other produce including apples, cherries, grapes, stone fruit, blueberries, mangoes, pomegranates and other fruit. Processed products include avocado oils, puree and guacamole, avocado pieces and dried fruit. Westfalia Fruit USA LLC is based in Oxnard, California.

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