Archive For The “News” Category

Mangos the Size of Soccer Balls are Harvested in Colombia

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Photographs of mangos as big as soccer balls that were harvested in the department of Santander, Colombia went viral last week.

A local news source said that Liliana Garnica Ruíz has the giant mango crops on her farm and that the fruit was from organic crops that use a process based on soil improvement.

“These mangoes have been a blessing, they are not only healthy, but they are also large,” she said. Her farm also produces lemons, tangerines and oranges.

Garnica entered the agricultural world only five years ago when she bought land and completed a three year apprenticeship. The other two years she has been collecting the fruits of her efforts that have good quality and are based on clean production.

Last year, Colombia reached a new record by registering the world’s heaviest mango in the ‘Guinness World Records’, which was grown in Boyacá and weighed 4.25 kilograms, or about 9.4 pounds.

“I know my mango surpasses that record which surprised me and I wanted to register it, but I stopped myself. I first want to see how these fruits reach maturity and what their flavor is like,” she said.

“These mangos still need time to ripen because they were cut early, so now I’ll wait to see and let them ripen without the tree’s nutrition.”

“Organic fruit is much better than conventional agriculture and my trees are fortified with minerals and many nutrients.”

Garnica said that if she continues her production techniques and the results are the same, next year she can decide to apply and achieve that worldwide recognition. “I would be proud as a Colombian.”

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Avocados From Mexico Returns to Super Bowl with New Television Spot

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Former New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees will star in Avocados From Mexico in the National Football League’s biggest game of the year on February 13th at SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles. The group’s 30-second television spot and play the feature role in consumer retail promotions.

After its absence from Super Bowl ads for 2021, Avocados From Mexico has announced it again will be a part of the select group of advertisers for the Super Bowl in February 2022.

The brand, which has previously had six “Big Game” television advertising campaigns, will produce a 30-second spot on advertising’s biggest night and execute a 360-degree integrated campaign to support the No. 1 consumption period for avocados, according to a news release.

With nearly 2.5 billion avocados imported from Mexico every year, the Super Bowl remains the No. 1 occasion for avocados and guacamole, according to the release. During the Feb. 12-13 Super Bowl weekend, AFM is responsible for 95% of avocado sales in the U.S., according to the group.

“The Big Game has always been an effective way for us to connect with avocado-obsessed consumers,” AFM president and CEO Alvaro Luque said in the release. 

“Not only did we first introduce our brand seven years ago at the Big Game, but we’ve innovated year after year to continue to engage and excite avocado fans.”

For this year’s Super Bowl, Luque said AFM will launch what is expected to be the most sales-effective campaign ever from the group. The campaign will integrate shoppers, digital and the brand, he said.

“I’m proud of the brand we’ve built from the ground up – a highly visible brand in a brandless category,” Luque said in the release. 

“This next ‘Always Good’ evolution will allow us to take the brand even farther – driving even more innovation, more digital focus and more ways to truly connect with consumers’ hearts and minds, because AFM really does spark good times all the time.” 

Along with a highly visible TV ad and breakthrough digital execution, AFM said the integrated campaign will include a national shopper program featuring Brees to get fans ready for the ultimate “Guac Zone.”

With the promotion, consumers can connect directly with Brees when they scan the QR code on the Avocados From Mexico Big Game displays, according to the release.

Beginning in January, the QR code will lead consumers to the “Get in the Guac Zone” digital landing page where they have the chance to win a $100,000 Smart Home Makeover and get a digital selfie with Brees.

Brees said Nov. 3 that his family loves avocados.

“We use (them) for a lot of different things as we cook and prepare meals around the house, and we always trusted avocados from Mexico,” he said. 
Brees said he has always been a big fan of the Avocados From Mexico brand.

“When the opportunity came to work with them, I was really excited about that,” he said, promising great consumer promotions and incentives for retailers with the Super Bowl campaign.

In just seven years, AFM has doubled the volume of Mexican avocados imported to the U.S., more than doubled the brand preference during the same time period, and the brand is on track to continue this impact, according to the release.

This year’s decision to return to the Super Bowl comes as AFM announces some big, bold brand updates, alongside a digital overhaul of the brand look and feel with a refreshed brand logo and even a new avocado color.

With recognizable brand assets such as the memorable jingle, “Avocados From Mexico” – AFM has now added “Always Good” to its logo and revamped its look, according to the release.

The brand has created its very own color – “avocado glow” — a unique yellow-green gradient color consumers see when they open a perfectly ripe avocado. 

AFM will now showcase how the fruit is “Always Good.” Avocados boast great taste, nutrition (good fats and nearly 20 vitamins and minerals) and fun times, the release said.

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Keeping It Fresh: Strawberries, on Ice!

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It’s getting colder out, but you knew that already. So, as you don your parka, when you might once have used a windbreaker, we venture out to do one of the most human things we’ve come to know: get all our groceries in one swoop from the store!

Now, you may have a specific diet, you may be a super-foodie, or a junk-food-junkie(may Larry Groce have mercy on you)! Either way, we’re going to set out to get a balanced list of beverages, meats, grains, vegetables, nuts, and fruits. Maybe, you’ve noticed something a bit different this year? Fruits(among many other commodities) have gone up in price, year over year for decades. In this particular day and age, we’re also mixing in supply chain disruption, tougher seasons on our farmers, and an ever-increasing demand for healthier foods. According to the USDA, the top six fruits per price by weight are blackberries, raspberries, cherries, blueberries, apricots, and strawberries. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus on strawberries, as they meet the lowest price point and among the others aforementioned on this list, are the most commonly consumed by consumers and businesses. 

But, what does it look like when you get to the store? In my personal experience, I couldn’t find strawberries anywhere at my local grocer for weeks. But, I found a quick fix that has become a staple for my household: frozen strawberries(and pretty much anything else I wanted to grab that I couldn’t find fresh). In fact, they had access to fruits that are almost never available fresh such as papaya, dragon fruit, passionfruit, acai berries, and much more!

Frozen fruit always comes in at a much more affordable price than its fresh counterparts. After taking my bag of frozen berries home, I discovered a second surprise: beautiful, vibrant, deep red, and delicious strawberries! It took some time to get used to thawing them out, but nine times out of ten, I have a superb batch of strawberries.

Frozen foods get a bad reputation for being processed; possibly having ingredients along the lines of “unnatural”. Throw this bias right out of the window! “Scientists from Leatherhead Food Research and the University of Chester, carried out 40 tests to measure nutrient levels in produce that had been sitting in a fridge for three days, compared to frozen equivalents. They found more beneficial nutrients overall in the frozen samples”. You may find this hard to believe, based on everything we’ve been taught growing up.

There’s a pretty big factor that comes into play for frozen fruit, that fresh fruit just can’t match! Here at the Allen Lund Company, we haul fresh produce daily, on tight schedules. Produce growers and farmers often pick fruit just before it’s ripe, to time it to ripen perfectly for delivery and consumption. The harvest comes in, then the clock starts counting down. If the produce doesn’t get from A to B in a certain amount of time, it’s likely going to be unfit to sell. So, eventually, a way around this schedule crunch was found: blast/instant quick-freezing fruits and vegetables. What’s the benefit you ask? Well, the freezing has a bit of a better schedule. Frozen fruits are picked at optimal ripeness and frozen immediately to preserve peak nutrition, flavor, and shelf life.

Having the ability to keep products at the perfect quality for double, triple, or greater shelf life allows growers to open a market for year-round sales, both in season and out of season. Consumers see huge savings on purchasing these goods, but where it really comes into play is supply chain management. Plus, keeping a bag or two of frozen goodies in the freezer comes into play for when you take a nasty spill on the way to the office!

More and more investments have been made in efforts to perfect packaging, create/lease cold storage centers, and erase supply gaps during off seasons for businesses. The proof is in the pudding, or should I say, the sorbet. Studies show that the Global Frozen Fruit market is a $4.65-billion-dollar industry, expected to grow at 1-2% annually CAGR to reach a peak of $5 billion dollars in 2026.

Consumers are steadily following this trend as their purchases shift. Many trade shows now include frozen goods being marketed, displayed, and packaged. Every year as the category expands, growers are getting better, and better at retaining color, nutrients, taste, and lower prices.

The next time you’re hankering for some produce and feeling adventurous, check out the frozen section. You’ll find that no matter what time of the year, you’ll always be able to afford juicy, nutritious, and gorgeous strawberries.

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Mexico produces 1 out of Every 50 Tons of Onions Consumed in the World

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Onion is the third most cultivated vegetable in the country. Onions account for 9.3% of all the vegetables produced in the country and, in 2020, the country produced 1,499,740 tons of onions, i.e. 1 out of every 50 tons of onions consumed in the world, stated the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Sader).

Mexican sweet onions begin crossing the border in South Texas in March.

The federal agency highlighted that, in 2020, Chihuahua produced 21.6% of all the country’s onions, and that state’s onion sales amounted to nearly 2,881 million pesos.

It was followed by Guanajuato with a production of 210,255 tons, Zacatecas with 182,212 tons, Tamaulipas with 134,962 tons, Baja California with 103,603 tons, and Puebla with 94,157 tons of onions.

The country will produce nearly 1,432,922 tons of onions in 2021, according to estimates from the Agrifood and Fisheries Information Service (SIAP).

Exports increase
Between January and August of this year, Mexican fresh or chilled onion and garlic exports grew by 6.8% over the same period of the previous year, totaling 347 million dollars.

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2022 Reefer Container Rates to Exceed Dry Cargo

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Driven by efforts to catch up on North-South routes, reefer container rates have risen sharply through 2021, but in contrast to dry cargo rates, are forecast to rise further in 2022. Conclusions are found in Drewry’s recently published Reefer Shipping Annual Review and Forecast 2021/22 report.

Drewry’s Global Reefer Container Freight Rate Index, a weighted average of rates across the top 15 reefer intensive deep-sea trade routes, rose 32% over the year to 2Q21 and by the end of 3Q21 these gains are expected to reach as much as 50%.

But these advances are dwarfed by the recent surge in dry container freight rates which have seen average container carrier unit revenues more than double over the same period.

The resurgence in reefer freight rates has not been uniform across all trades. Pricing recovery has been particularly strong on the main East-West routes, where vessel capacity conditions have been noticeably tight. But North-South trades have generally seen less price inflation, particularly on export routes from WCSA, Central America and Southern Africa.

“In contrast to dry container freight rates which are expected to decline in 2022 as trade conditions normalise, reefer container freight rates are forecast to continue rising as price inflation feeds into North-South routes when long term contract rates are renewed,” said Drewry’s head of reefer shipping research Philip Gray. “Most reefer cargo on these trades moves on long term contracts.”

The key driver of reefer freight rate inflation has been capacity related, as perishables shippers have competed with higher paying dry freight BCOs for scarce containership slots, despite ample reefer plug capacity provision. Meanwhile, continued disruption across container supply chains has led to acute shortages of reefer container equipment, already challenged by the particularly imbalanced nature of reefer trades.

“We believe that these conditions are short term and will self-correct as trade normalises from mid-2022,” added Gray. “However, we expect reefer container equipment availability to remain an issue for certain trades during their peak seasons, as the global fleet is not expected to keep pace with rising cargo demand, despite record output of newbuild containers.”

These conditions have provided short term reprieve to specialized reefer vessels, as some BCOs have returned to the mode seeking relief from congested container supply chains. But despite these developments Drewry estimates that the specialized reefer vessel’s share of the perishables trade fell to 12% in 2020 and is expected to decline further into single figures over the next few years.

Hence, despite a 0.4% decline in global seaborne perishables trade in 2020 to 132 million tons, containership reefer liftings advanced 0.3% to 5.4 million tons. Further modal share gains and buoyant cargo demand will see containerized reefer traffic expand at a faster pace than dry cargo trade from 2022.

The contraction in overall seaborne perishables trade in 2020 was much milder than for dry cargo, demonstrating the stronger resilience of reefer trades to economic shock. The trade was particularly impacted by a shuttered hospitality sector which reduced demand for deciduous fruit, fresh vegetables and frozen potatoes, while Covid-19 containment measures cut crop production and fish catches.

Meanwhile, an outbreak of fusarium TR4 disease in the Philippines weakened growth in banana trades. But cargo demand was supported by a booming pork trade, owing to African Swine Fever driven imports into China.

Seaborne reefer traffic picked up through the first half of 2021, expanding 4.8% over the previous year, led by meat, citrus and exotics trades but is not expected to expand at the same pace as dry cargo through the remainder of the year as it is not recovering from as deep a contraction in 2020.

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haulproduce.com is Now 10 Years Old and Counting!

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During my 47 years involvement with the trucking and produce industries, it has been my privilege to work with men and women, who are dedicated, hard-working and mostly good, down-to-earth honest folks. Without either industry it would be impossible to bring the finest fruits and vegetable to a hungry nation every single day.  This is why I’ve been so proud to be part of these dynamic Industries.

And nothing is more important to the supply chain than trucks and truckers. Without you our great country would come to a halt.

I launched my career in September 1974 and was soon heavily involved in the most drastic change of the trucking industry, its deregulation. From this point on it has been a dynamic and exciting ride; one which I have never regretted.

haulproduce.com was formally launched in January 2012 and I “retired” nearly three years later. Over the past decade I’ve posted over 3,150 news and feature stories. Hopefully a few of the things I’ve learned over the past half century are beneficial.

May this special time of the year bring you peace, good health, and happiness.   And may 2022 bring us hope, resilience and a belief the human race will become better.

I sincerely thank you for your loyalty and kindness.

-Bill Martin-

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U.S. Fresh Vegetable Imports From Mexico and Canada Continue to Surge

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The United States receives fresh vegetables from more than 125 different countries, but most imports originate from Mexico and Canada.

In 2020, Mexico accounted for 77 percent of U.S. fresh vegetable import volume, and Canada represented 11 percent. An analysis of domestic census and trade data shows Mexican and Canadian producers have dominated the U.S. import market by offering protected culture—or greenhouse—imports as well as organic options, which increased choices for consumers.

While conventional and field-grown fresh vegetables still account for most imports, organic and greenhouse vegetables are expanding market reach.

U.S. consumers have pushed for greater consistency in supermarket produce and expanded demand for year-round availability of virtually all fresh vegetables. Between 1998 and 2020, the volume of fresh vegetable imports increased nearly 200 percent, and the value of fresh vegetable imports grew to exceed fresh exports by $7.6 billion, more than double the same figure a decade earlier.

Market Window Creep in Fresh Vegetable Imports

Market window creep is an extension of seasonal demand and refers to the increasing volume of fresh vegetable imports entering during the start or end of the traditional domestic production seasons.

Over time, the categorization of vegetables into summer and winter categories has dwindled as near year-round imports of both categories of produce proliferated. Many traditional domestic market windows have eroded as importers have found their own market windows expanding, according to trade data.

From 2008 to 2020, imports entered the market earlier than usual (entering the traditional domestic market window), and shipping seasons were extended into the following season.

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Wishing You a Happy and Prosperous 2022

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Keeping It Fresh: The Critical Link in the Supply Chain

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By Kenny Lund, ALC, Corporate

The Supply Chain has never been more appreciated or misunderstood than in the past year. This is a good time to give a reminder of the most important person in this wonderful chain of supplies traversing this great country: THE DRIVER. Yes, the driver!

They are the ones who make the whole system work. They work day and night to make sure the store shelves are stocked and ready for sales each and every day. They are the heroes of the road and must be recognized and appreciated or we are doomed to see them dwindle in numbers, leading to even more expensive transportation prices.

Years ago, when I was brokering loads from California to the Southeast, I had a favorite shipper. I moved two refrigerated loads a week to Atlanta for a small bakery operation. I never had trouble finding a carrier to take the loads. In fact, I had drivers call to see if those specific bakery loads were available and even had a few wait a day or two until they could take a load of pastries.

I assumed drivers liked the loads because they were one pick – one drop loads that were easy to haul, as they were very light weight. I could cover those loads for less per mile rates than just about any other loads available. That small shipper almost always paid the lowest rates around – often $100-$200 less than the going rate.

One day I asked a driver why they liked these loads so much. The driver gave me an answer that I have never forgotten. He told me that they treated the drivers very well and gave each one a case of their confectionary creations. They asked that they take good care of the load and deliver it in good order. The drivers were always appreciative and I never remembered a claim on any of those loads. I have often reflected on that shipper.

An inexpensive box of pastries was a genius move that spoke well of the bakery. I am sure their employees were also well taken care of in that kind of culture. They gained so much just by being decent to the drivers and sharing a box of goodies with them. In turn, their loads were well taken care of and they saved on their transportation costs.

Those pastries teach a great lesson. Treat people well and they will give you better service. Be decent and they will go out of their way to make sure your loads are protected. I have heard many good and bad stories of drivers’ treatment on the docks. The shippers and receivers who take good care of and appreciate the drivers will always do better.

In the produce world this is even more important, as the drivers must take extra care when handling perishable products. Take time to talk to the drivers and give them the information they need to take care of the product loaded into their trailers. Drivers are key and we must take care of them and recognize their role in this amazing supply chain. God bless the drivers!

****

Kenny Lund graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Business Administration and managed the refrigerated transportation division in Los Angeles for eight years, before shifting full-time into managing the Information and Technology Department in 1997; becoming the Vice President of the department in 2002. Lund was promoted to Vice President – Support Operations in 2005. In 2014, Kenny, in the position of VP of ALC Logistics, began working with that division of ALC to sell their software solution (TMS). In 2019, Lund was promoted to Executive Vice President of ALC Logistics.

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Imported Mexican, Peruvian Organics Showing Big Growth in U.S.

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U.S. imports of organic fresh produce from Mexico and Peru are growing fast, U.S. Department of Agriculture trade numbers reveal.

U.S. trade statistics from September 2020 through August 2021 showed Mexican organic avocados topped all organic produce exports to the U.S. in value for the most recent 12-month period.

U.S. imports of Mexican organic avocados totaled $150.8 million from September 2020 to August 2021, up 23% from a year ago and up 29% from two years ago.

Running a close second, U.S. imports of Mexican organic blueberries totaled $143.8 million in 2020-21, up 55% from a year ago and almost three times as much as $50 million two years ago.

Mexico’s organic banana shipments to the U.S. totaled $83.3 million, up 10% from $77.8 million in 2020 and more than 60% higher than two years ago.

U.S. imports of Mexican organic greenhouse bell peppers have exploded in the past five years, rising from $13.3 million in 2016 to $81.5 million in 2021.

Meanwhile, U.S. imports of Mexican organic mangoes rose from just $8 million in 2016 to more than $45 million in 2021, according to the USDA.

U.S. imports of Mexican organic squash totaled $19 million in 2021, up from less than $1 million in 2017.

Mexican organic lemons shipments to the U.S. totaled $7.6 million in 2021, up 18% from last year and nearly three times more than $2.8 million in 2018.

Organic fresh strawberry shipments to the U.S. totaled more than $2 million in 2021, up from zero in 2020.

Peru’s blues

Peru also has been rising fast as a supplier of organic produce.

U.S. imports of Peruvian blueberries totaled $64.7 million in 2021, up 14% from last year and more than twice the value of two years ago.

U.S. imports of Peruvian organic bananas totaled $38.8 million in 2021, down 6% from 2020.

Peruvian organic ginger shipment to the U.S. totaled $29.4 million, up 47% from 2020 and more than twice 2019 level of $12.8 million.

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