Fresh vegetable industry leader Taylor earns UA Honorary Doctorate degree

May 8, 2024
Congratulations Bruce Taylor, 2024 UArizona Honorary Doctor of Science Degree

When it comes to putting farm-fresh produce on America's dining tables, Bruce Taylor may just be the salad king. He serves as chairman and CEO of Taylor Fresh, also known as Taylor Farms, the largest producer of salads and fresh-cut vegetables in North America.

Taylor was raised in the heart of California's Salinas Valley, the third generation of an agricultural family. After graduating from UC Berkeley and Harvard Business School, he joined Fresh Express in 1981 and led the growth of food service fresh cut salads and the retail bagged salad category. In 1995, Taylor and his financial partners founded Taylor Fresh Foods/Taylor Farms, creating what is now the largest vegetable company in the world. The company today has 24,000 employees, partners with 280 growers across North America, and provides 265 million servings of fresh food weekly to consumers.

Taylor Farms opened its first Arizona-based salad plant in Yuma in 1997. The company was one of the original industry partners to help launch the University of Arizona's Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture (YCEDA).

Taylor has prioritized philanthropy throughout his career and has been a strong supporter of UArizona, specifically the Arizona Experiment Station, YCEDA, Steele Children's Research Center, Ag100 Council and endowed chairs for Cooperative Extension faculty.

Taylor will be awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Arizona May 11 during Spring Convocation. He was nominated by the faculty of the School of Nutritional Sciences and Wellness. 

“The next generation and our industry are a critical part of the solution to change the trajectory of human health in America,” Taylor said. “It is incumbent on all of us to lead, learn and clear a pathway for more fresh produce in people’s lives so we can all thrive. The University of Arizona College of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences offers invaluable education and research that empowers the next generations of leaders in the agricultural space. I am honored to be part of this community.”

Taylor Fresh Foods introduced pre-cut, pre-washed and ready-to-eat fresh vegetables in consumer-friendly bags to the marketplace. The company has grown exponentially over the past three decades through investment in technology and innovation. Taylor has led the company into vertical integration with strategic investments in farming, harvesting, processing, packaging, dressing manufacturing, and distribution of freshly cut produce and healthy fresh foods to restaurants, grocery stores, and convenient stores.

The company has received recognition over the years from customer partners, the communities where it operates, and vendor partners. Most recent accolades include the 2023 Rabobank Award for Excellence in Corporate Leadership, 2023 Gordon Foodservice Excellence in Service award, 2023 Yum! Food Safety Award, and 2022 Food Supplier of the Year by Walmart. Taylor has also earned numerous awards for his work, notably the Forbes Impact Award and the Robert Carey Leadership Award in 2015.

In addition, Taylor Fresh Foods has prioritized investment in energy and water efficiency, including $100 million in onsite renewable and alternative energy installations, including solar panels and wind turbines. The organization has also developed and invested in innovative water conservation practices on its farms, including high-efficiency drip irrigation and conservation tillage. 

Taylor Fresh Foods has supported numerous charitable initiatives targeting youth development, health and wellness, and food accessibility while donating millions of pounds of produce to community organizations.

“Mr. Taylor is an industry leader in the U.S. bioeconomy and one of the world’s leaders in producing a nutritious, sustainable, and affordable food supply,” Shane Burgess, Vice President for the Division of Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences and Charles-Sander Dean of the College of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Sciences said. “I believe his accomplishments are richly deserving of this recognition by our university.”  

Taylor is married to his college sweetheart, Linda, with whom he has four sons and now four "daughters" and eight grandchildren. 


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