Sep 12, 2023
Industry members sought for Viva Fresh expo clean eating challenge

The Texas International Produce Association (TIPA) is inviting industry members to apply for this year’s Viva Fresh Clean Eating Challenge.

In its fifth year, the health initiative is scheduled to kick-off in mid-October and planned to culminate at the 2024 Viva Fresh Expo in Houston.

Last year, 11 produce industry participants completed the challenge. Since 2020, the challenge has captured the attention of the produce industry as participants challenge themselves to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their daily routines. Participants have collectively lost more than 1,000 pounds and gained other positive changes, according to a news release.

Viva Fresh“What does it take to be a part of the Clean Eating Challenge? It takes perseverance, commitment, a willingness to be raw and open with where you are and where you want to be in your health journey,” TIPA officials said in the release. “The challenge is not a diet or a weight loss competition – it is the start of a new way of life with a focus on personal wellness by adopting a healthier lifestyle that includes eating fruits and vegetables and moving more. It is simply a catalyst for people to make meaningful, long-term changes.”

The program is not about weight loss, but instead focuses on making changes in pursuit of longevity, Jen Velasquez, challenge committee chair and director of marketing at FullTilt Marketing, said in the release. “Over the past four years we have asked industry members who are looking to regain control of their lives to join us in what has sometimes been a life-changing challenge,” she said in the release. “At the core of that search is putting fruits and vegetables at the forefront of our everyday meals. This is ultimately what our industry is asking the world to do, so who better to set an example than us?”

Spots are limited and chosen participants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a member of the produce industry
  • Be able to express what is driving them to compete in the challenge
  • Be willing to share progress online and at the Viva Fresh Expo
  • Show willingness to commit to the six month challenge
  • Commit to engaging with their mentors and peer groups on a weekly basis for the duration of the program

Participants will receive mentorship and nutrition coaching and will also be eligible to win a Peloton Bike. Registration deadline is Sept. 28.

“There is something special about being surrounded by likeminded individuals in your industry who are ready to take the next steps in addressing their overall health and wellness,” Megan Jacobsen, vice president of sales and marketing with Gills Onions and former challenge participant and now program mentor, said in the release. “I promise you it is not easy, however, it is an absolutely rewarding six months to watch yourself make small changes that will truly make a difference in how you feel. And, as an extra bonus, you’ll have a great team of mentors and fellow participants from the fresh produce industry cheering you on every step of the way.”

“The Clean Eating Challenge has become an event that I look forward to every year,” challenge mentor Jimmy Bassetti, president and chief operating officer of Little Bear Produce, Edinburg, said in the release. “Being able to work with and learn from the new class of participants is always an uplifting experience for all those involved in the CEC and I believe it brings a sense of inspiration and motivation to other VIVA Fresh attendees.”

For more information on the Clean Eating Challenge, visit

The 2024 Viva Fresh Expo is scheduled for April 13.

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