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Ruiz Sales looks forward to a year of excellence in 2019

As 2019 begins, the Ruiz Sales team remains committed to moving forward in excellence while maintaining a focus on American consumers.

Now, more than ever before, consumers (especially millennials) are becoming more informed and educated about the foods they buy and eat. They know that premium quality produce ultimately saves them money, because premium quality produce has less spoilage. But more importantly, they know the health and safety benefits of buying premium quality produce.

“I truly believe that premium quality fruits and vegetables are God’s gift to man for their health,” said Richard Ruiz, president of Ruiz Sales, an Edinburg, TX-based distributor of Mexican produce items, with an emphasis on limes. “A recent article in a local newspaper reported that eating fruits and vegetables combined with exercise is a good way to lower your risk of diabetes and it really helps to control the disease. Diabetes is a very big problem in the Rio Grande Valley. In fact, over 25 percent of adults in the Rio Grande Valley have been diagnosed with diabetes and another 28 percent of the RGV population is pre-diabetic. The article discusses that choosing foods that are high in fiber but low in calories, such as many types of vegetables, measurably improve our body’s ability to fight diabetes. Ruiz Sales encourages our produce industry to join us in working hard together to meet the health and safety needs of our consumers. Together, we can make diabetes a forgotten disease.”

Ruiz added that health care is the nation’s largest expenditure, and that can be reduced significantly by providing premium quality produce to consumers.

“We need to inspire Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables, so that Americans can live healthier and live longer,” he said. “If more American ate more produce, we could not only save money on health care, but also use those savings to substantially reduce or even pay-off the national debt!”

Health and safety are the main reasons the demand for organic produce has become widespread over the last recent years, Ruiz said, and consumers see organic food as premium quality produce. In fact, many believe that only organic produce can provide the health and safety benefits for their families. What many consumers don’t know is that non-organic produce can be just as good, or even better, than its organic counterpart, and just as safe as well.

“The difference between organic and non-organic produce is not quality, it’s the hard work and effort that goes into creating premium quality produce,” said Ruiz. “This is why Ruiz Sales has partnered with and invested in our own grower-partner relationships in Mexico, in order to ensure that we run tight quality control on the produce that we import. This means that we can produce organic quality foods at a non-organic price, and it ensures that we meet all state and federal standards for food safety and traceability. Even more importantly, Ruiz Sales premium quality Mexico produce meets our own internal standards for food safety and traceability, which is often higher than the industry-mandated standards. We have a 100-percent PTI Databar system, which can trace an individual piece of produce from a consumer’s fork back to the farm on which it was grown.”

Ruiz Sales’ hard work is paying off, said the company president. In 2018, its business increased, especially the sales of its primary product — Ruiz Sales Premium Quality Mexico Bagged Limes, which come in the two-, three- and five-pound options. Additionally, sales of its Fresh Health brand stickered limes went up significantly.

“We have been able to sustain this growth thanks to our amazing traceability system,” said Ruiz. “We work hard to provide premium quality, safe produce to all of our customers using our traceability system. Every Ruiz Sales Premium Quality Mexico stickered lime has its own individual traceability number, which we can use to trace the lime back to the farm from which it came in Mexico. Our Ruiz Sales Premium Quality Mexico bagged limes each has its own traceability numbers on the bags, which can also be used to trace each bag back to the farm from which it came. This ensures a high degree of accountability and safety, which our customers really appreciate. A satisfied customer is a repeat customer, and word-of-mouth advertising from our customers is often the best and strongest form of advertising. More repeat business of our product means more repeat business for our retail and wholesale customers.”

With border security a central focus of the current administration, Ruiz believes it is not a choice but rather a requirement.

“This is something that should not be a partisan issue, because many people in this country are being badly hurt by the crime and drugs that come into our country illegally through the southern border,” he said. “This is why we need a wall and we need to increase our border patrol operations all across the border. Walls work, and they are nothing new. Gated communities exist in every city and in every country. The Vatican had walls and the Great Wall of China protected the Chinese nation for hundreds of years. I have lived in the Rio Grande Valley all of my life, and I have personally witnessed people crossing the border illegally. I support and believe in smart immigration reform, and I believe that there are plenty of people in Mexico who have a lot to offer our country. People who follow U.S. laws, pay U.S. taxes and support U.S. communities should be given a chance to become U.S. workers and citizens, but before we can have immigration reform, we must have border protection.”

Another topic Ruiz considers to be crucial is transportation, which has undergone dramatic change in recent years with the implementation of electronic logging devices for trucks. He said this has drastically increased the price of all interstate freights across the country for almost every industry.

Although many shippers, producers, retailers and drivers are unhappy with the new regulations, the real loser is the consumer, since these freight cost increases the costs in the industry, and sadly, the costs are passed on the to the consumer.

“Because of the new higher freight costs, the Rio Grande Valley is in a prime location to take advantage of the situation,” said Ruiz. “Even before the ELD regulations took effect, freights to the East Coast or Canada were thousands of dollar cheaper going through the Texas than going through any other southern port of entry. These increases in freight costs guarantee that the Rio Grande Valley will become the prime center for the increasing Mexico imports into the United States going to the East Coast or Canada, because freight has become more expensive and importers, producers, shippers and distributors are looking to cut costs wherever they can. Moving their operations to the Rio Grande Valley is a very quick cost-control measure that can have immediate results for anyone looking to ship to the East Coast.”

Finally, Ruiz is eager to recognize the Produce for Better Health Foundation for its efforts to help the produce industry.

“This wonderful organization helps our industry by educating and connecting retailers with the consumers and by raising awareness for our industry,” he said.

“It helps deliver information about all the great health benefits of eating more produce directly to the consumer. No organization is doing more to help the industry achieve the industry wide goals of getting consumers to buy and eat more produce. PBH does an amazing job helping the industry, and I really encourage anyone who is not a member to join this wonderful organization.”