Archive For The “News” Category
International Paper’s North American Container business is putting Snoopy, Charlie Brown and other Peanuts characters on bulk bins.
Two product displays with the characters are available. Both are corrugated bulk bins, with one featuring Snoopy and watermelons and the other with Snoopy, Linus and Charlie Brown under the words “it’s the great pumpkin.”
“This powerful combination is a standout, drawing customer attention and increasing sales by making shopping a fun experience,” said Scott Dillon, director of marketing, said in a news release. “Peanuts has a multi-generational appeal, and this is a solid way to capture the consumer sentiment around this iconic brand.”
The bins are available at International Paper’s five bulk facilities.
Kroger, Fresh Encounters win Marsh stores at auction
Marsh Supermarkets, at one time a leading Midwest supermarket chain based in Indiana, has recently accepted bids at auction for 26 of its remaining 44 stores. The move follows the company’s closure of 19 locations and bankruptcy filing in May.
Cincinnati-based supermarket powerhouse Kroger will acquire 11 Marsh stores for $16 million, and Fresh Encounter Inc., based in Findlay, OH, will buy 15 Marsh locations for $8 million.
Kroger currently has 2,800 stores nationwide, while Fresh Encounter operates 21 stores under the Community Markets, Great Scott Community Markets, Sack ‘N Save Supermarket and Chief banners. Earlier this year, Fresh Encounter purchased Remke Markets’ 10 stores in the Cincinnati area.
The transactions are subject to bankruptcy court approval. One possible obstacle to the sale is an objection by CVS Health, which purchased the pharmacy accounts from Marsh in April. As part of the agreement, CVS stipulated that 37 stores where Marsh operated pharmacies could not operate as pharmacies for five years.
Kroger and Fresh Encounters have said in court documents that it would proceed with the acquisition only if the restriction is removed. Marsh has countered that the agreement only bars Marsh from operating pharmacies at the stores, and that the language is not enforceable under the bankruptcy code.
The sale of the remaining locations would bring to an end Marsh’s 86 years in business. Ermal Marsh opened the first Marsh store in 1931 in Muncie, IN. The company went public in 1953, when it operated 16 stores.
WENATCHEE, Wash. – As the grower/marketer with the rights to University of Minnesota’s newest apple brand, Rave™, Stemilt Growers is set to harvest the apple’s first commercial crop and introduce this special early season apple to consumers in select regions come late August.
Rave™ is the brand name for the apple cultivar MN55, which is a cross between Honeycrisp and an unreleased variety called MonArk. It was first developed through natural cross-pollination 20 years ago by David Bedford as part of the apple breeding program at the University of Minnesota. Bedford is also the breeder behind the popular Honeycrisp and its successor, SweeTango® apples.
Last fall, the University of Minnesota chose Rave™ as the brand name for the apple and then Stemilt got to work on designing a logo, PLU sticker, and packaging ahead of the apple’s introductory year. The company played off people’s common use of the word rave to praise things they like and messaging “the apple you’ll rave about.” Stemilt used fun, bold colors in order to attract shoppers to the brand, and will use #RaveApples to promote social buzz around Rave™ this season and beyond.
The parentage of the apple gives Rave™ the ability to fracture when bitten, just like Honeycrisp. Rave™ has its own special flavor that’s best described as “outrageously juicy with a refreshing snappy zing.” It will also have the unique position of harvesting and going to market before any other apple variety in Washington State, due to its ability to color and ripen during the summer heat.
“Rave™ not only allows retailers to get a jumpstart on apple season each year, but do so with an apple that is stunning to look at, and incredible to eat,” said Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager.
While volume will be limited this season, volumes are predicted to grow quickly following this introductory year as new acreage comes into production, Stemilt will be sharing Rave™ with media and social media influencers this season. The company will look to build knowledge and excitement of Rave™ through a kick-off event, on its blog, The Stem, and via its social channels with #RaveApples.
Once it hits produce shelves, Rave™ will be another chapter in Stemilt’s story of bringing innovative products to market. The company successfully introduced its signature apple Piñata!® to the marketplace back in 2009, introduced Skylar Rae® brand cherries in 2016, and also supplies the West Coast with the popular SweeTango® apple.
“The apple category is changing quickly with so many options available to consumers today. That means that each new apple must have attributes that will make it stand out. Rave™ is an apple with star power, and we are excited to start sharing it this season,” said Shales.
Stemilt Growers is a leading tree fruit growing, packing and shipping company based in Wenatchee, Washington. Owned and operated by the Mathison family, Stemilt is the leading shipper of sweet cherries and one of the nation’s largest suppliers of organic tree fruits.
The ports of Manatee and Oakland are having record-setting years, with much of that success coming from produce imports.
Port of Manatee
The Port of Manatee’s container volume already has handled as volume in 10 has it has totaled in a record setting 12-month year..
The Florida-based port has moved 32,907 20-foot-equivalent (TEU) container units since October 1st, surpassing the full-year record of 30,431 TEUs, which was set in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2010.
A news release from Port Manatee points out the record-setting container volume represents a 47 percent increase over the first 10 months of the preceding fiscal year.
The increase is primarily attributed to Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. switching from breakbulk shipping to containers for imports of Central American pineapple and bananas, as well as to the success of World Direct’s weekly shipping service which transports refrigerated produce from Mexico.
“We are excited to have already set a new container record for Port Manatee and are further encouraged this favorable trend is anticipated to be sustained for a long time,” Carlos Buqueras, Port Manatee’s executive director, said in the release.
The port’s tonnage also increased in the first 10 months of its fiscal year, topping last fiscal year’s numbers by 17 percent.
Port of Oakland
A record for import cargo in July has been set by The Port of Oakland.
The port handled 84,835 loaded 20-foot import containers in July, which tops the previous record of 84,023 containers set in March 2015.
A press release from the California port shows import volume through the first seven months of the year was also up 3.7 percent over the same time last year.
Looking ahead, Port of Oakland leaders believey they foresee a five-year period of record cargo volume beginning in 2018.
That prediction comes from the recently released Strategic Maritime Roadmap. The roadmap forecasts a record volume of 2.4 million cargo containers in 2018.
The roadmap also predicts greater volumes arriving on larger ships driven by Northern California’s robust freight market along with new distribution and freight transfer centers. The document predicts ships will be 35 percent larger within 15 years.
“We’re serving a thriving area and developing new services for our customers,” Oakland’s maritime director John Driscoll said. “The combination should be positive for everyone who relies on the port for their business or their job.”
Wal-Mart will build a distribution center for fresh produce and other perishable items with land acquired from Port Canaveral in Florida.
A budding new relationship with a medical marijuana company Village Farms International Inc. is resulting in plans to grow 25 acres of greenhouse cannabis to start.
Emerald Health Therapeutics Inc. and Village Farms announced recently they’re forming a joint venture for large-scale, “high-quality, low-cost” cannabis production in one of Village Farms’ British Columbia greenhouses.
Village Farms will initially contribute a 25-acre greenhouse facility in Delta, British Columbia under the terms of the agreement. It will be a 50-acre parcel of land, which will be converted to marijuana production for medical use and — where law allows — the recreational market, the companies said in a news release. Emerald Health Therapeutics is a Health Canada-licensed producer of medical cannabis.
Each company will have a 50 percent ownership stake in the venture.
The partners said they are planning for 1.1 million square feet of initial potential greenhouse marijuana production, estimated to yield more than 75,000 kilograms of product per year upon completion of full licensing and greenhouse conversion.
The deal also allows for an option to add two more greenhouse facilities in the future.
Mike DeGiglio, CEO of Village Farms, said the partnership is a “transformational opportunity for their company,” which grows vegetables in greenhouses at several sites in Texas and British Columbia. He said the partnership with Emerald Health is a chance to grow “a substantially more profitable agricultural product.”
“This is a tremendously exciting and potentially lucrative opportunity for Village Farms,” he said on a conference call announcing the venture.
Taking on cannabis production won’t come at the expense of Village Farms’ established tomato and cucumber production; it assures that end of the business will grow from its current 240 acres of production, DeGiglio said.
“I want it to be very clear that Village Farms remains steadfastly committed to our produce business and to provide our customers with the same quality and surety of supply and old-world experience they have come to know and expect over our three decades in business,” he said. “We fully expect to continue to expand capacity in our produce business to meet customer demand by exploring consolidation opportunities, as we have successfully done in the past, and through organic initiatives at our U.S. operations.”
The Delta greenhouse is expected to begin cannabis production by late 2018. which includes options for Emerald Health to lease or purchase from Village Farms additional 25- and 60-acre greenhouses adjacent to the first facility.
“Demand in the medicinal market is forecast to grow tenfold by 2024,” he said, noting that the new business has a potential for $9 billion in revenues.
DeGiglio said Village Farms production costs for cannabis will be less than $1 per gram, compared with an industry average of more than $2.
“We are confident we can be the low-cost provider in the industry,” he said.
The Village Farms/Emerald Health partnership has the potential to expand to up to 4.8 million square feet of greenhouse cannabis production — estimated to yield more than 300,000 kilograms of product annually — which would supply a considerable portion of the expected future cannabis demand in Canada or for export abroad, DeGiglio said.
“Based on our conservative market pricing forecasts and yield projections, conversion of our Canadian greenhouse facilities to cannabis production could generate revenue of 10- to 15-times that of our current Canadian vegetable production with EBITDA margins potentially expanding to more than 50 percent compared with our current Canadian vegetable margins,” DeGiglio said.
by Next Big Thing, A Growers’ Cooperative
Albion, NY – An abundant crop of excellent quality SweeTango apples is coming this fall from member-growers of NBT Cooperative.
This premium apple variety is known for its outstanding sweet flavor with a lively touch of citrus, honey and spice. Its texture is unmatched; biting into this remarkably crisp apple produces a loud crunch and satisfying burst of delicious juice. Harvested in the early fall, SweeTango is an early-season category leader and consumer favorite, having been developed by the University of Minnesota and introduced in 2009 to feature the very best characteristics of the Honeycrisp and Zestar! apple varieties.
Theron Kibbe of NBT Cooperative notes that retailer success with the best-selling SweeTango is due in part to its unique position as an early-season variety. “Nielsen data shows that opportunities for SweeTango are especially strong in the early season, when it’s one of the first premium apple varieties to come on in the fall,” he said. Kibbe referenced Nielsen data dated Aug. 7 – Oct. 29, 2016 that shows SweeTango weekly volume averaging 54 lbs per store and a weekly sales average of $233 per store. “Our eye-catching packaging redesign, and the 2-lb pouch in particular, has been well received with high demand from consumers and retailers alike,” he added.
Harvest is expected to begin in late August. While Washington’s harvest is behind 2016, Midwestern crops are a few days ahead. New York, Quebec and Nova Scotia crops will complete the harvest on schedule and consumers will enjoy SweeTango soon after Labor Day.
Despite weather events — including early frost affecting some orchards in Michigan and a number of hail events in Washington, Michigan, and New York — the 2017 crop has potential to be slightly larger than that of 2016. Kibbe commented, “growers are expertly managing and thinning another fine crop of SweeTango with a good range of sizes. We’re excited to start another season.”
Retailers are urged to place orders now and can find their regional sales representative at http://sweetango.com/about/for-retailers/sales-desk/.
ABOUT NEXT BIG THING, A GROWERS’ COOPERATIVE
Next Big Thing, A Growers’ Cooperative is a 47-member cooperative of family growers, spread from Nova Scotia to Washington State, that grows and markets managed varieties of apples, beginning with SweeTango. You can find more information on SweeTango at http://www.sweetango.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sweetango.
by The Corrugated Packaging Alliance
ITASCA, IL – A new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) published by IFCO, a provider of reusable plastic containers (RPCs), attempts to discredit the corrugated packaging industry for having the highest recovery rate of any packaging system in America.
The LCA posits that since corrugated boxes for produce only have an average recycled content of 38.4 percent, excess recovered fiber collected for recycling displaces production of virgin fiber, which results in apparently higher greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for corrugated.
“This assumption and LCA methodology used by IFCO mischaracterizes the complexities of a balanced fiber production system,” said Dennis Colley, Executive Director of the Corrugated Packaging Alliance. “The corrugated packaging industry uses both virgin and recovered fiber for optimal and maximum production – and a high level of recycling should never be discounted.”
Recovery of old corrugated containers reached a record 92.9 percent in 2015. Around the country, 95 percent of Americans have access to community-based curbside and/or drop-off corrugated recycling programs.
Paper recovery for recycling helps extend the useful life of paper and paper-based packaging products, making it an integral part of the industry’s sustainability story. Nearly 52 percent of the recovered fiber collected for recycling in the U.S. is used to make containerboard for more boxes. Additionally, 11.5 percent is used to make boxboard for primary packaging like cereal boxes, more than 32 percent is exported to other parts of the world where virgin fiber is scarce and the remainder goes to other products like tissue and printing and writing papers.
By preventing paper from being sent to the landfill, paper recovery avoids GHG emissions. More than twice as much paper and paper-based packaging is recycled than is sent to landfills.
The IFCO LCA, “Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Reusable Plastic Containers and Display- and Non-Display Ready Corrugated Containers Used for Fresh Produce Applications,” was conducted by Franklin and Associates and evaluated three types of containers, RPCs, Display and Non-Display Corrugated Containers across ten large-volume produce commodities.
For more information about the sustainability of corrugated packaging, visit www.corrugated.org.
The Corrugated Packaging Alliance (CPA) is a corrugated industry initiative, jointly sponsored by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), AICC – The Independent Packaging Association, the Fibre Box Association (FBA) and TAPPI. Its mission is to foster growth and profitability of corrugated in applications where it can be demonstrated, based on credible and persuasive evidence, that corrugated should be the packaging material of choice; and to provide a coordinated industry focus that effectively acts on industry matters that cannot be accomplished by individual members. CPA members include North American corrugated manufacturers and converters.
by The New Jersey Peach Promotion Council
Sharpen up your senses, New Jersey peaches have hit the market, and is there anything closer to heavenly than a perfect peach? Bounteous supplies are available this season, with near-perfect color and sweetness; you can hardly find more delicious …and they’re nutritious — like dessert with health benefits.
Jersey-grown peaches are being celebrated with peach events and peach pie contests at community farmers markets, on-farm markets, restaurants and supermarkets. So, come on, get going and get lots. They’re only in season from late June through mid-September.
“The weather gods shone on us this year,” says Santo John Maccherone, chair, New Jersey Peach Promotion Council and a major south Jersey grower. “My crop is coming in very strong, I’ve started picking and public demand is healthy. It’s very rewarding to have people expressing appreciation for a product.”
At Holtzhauser Farms in Mullica Hill, the first two varieties of yellow (Desiree and Early Star) and white (Spring Snow and Manon) peaches are being picked, and Tom Holtzhauser is packing overtime to meet public demand, smiling all the while. His crop was decimated last year by frost. “I started picking June 20th, and customers are lining up to get my peaches,” he says. “My hours are 8am -6pm, and even at 6pm, I have customers waiting.” Holtzhausers grows 30 peach varieties and sells mainly retail from his farm.
Ron Thomas of Sunny Slope Farm in Hopewell is also a happy grower. “Our crop is clean, sweet, pretty and perfumes the air,” he says. We have a full crop and so far, no thunder storms have knocked fruit off the trees.” He’s picking and selling Sentry yellow variety now, and will have more varieties in a couple weeks.
At Melick Town Farms in Oldwick/Califon, pick-your-own peaches will be available July 4th, “Aand there are plenty,” says John Melick. “Our peaches look wonderful this season, as compared to last year when we had a thin crop. We’ll have more than enough for the entire season, through Labor Day and beyond,”
Gary Mount of Terhune Orchards in Princeton says they began picking yellow and white varieties. “We have a terrific crop” he says. Our early yellows, Flamin Fury, are some of the best.”
Demarest Farms in Hilldale has a bountiful, flavorful crop of yellow and white varieties, with pick-your-own starting the last week of July.
Greg Donaldson of Donaldson’s Farms in Hackettstown concurs with growers throughout the state. “A warm January and February delayed ripening,” says Greg, “which encouraged large and flavorful fruit.”
Jersey peaches come in yellow-flesh, white-flesh and flat/doughnut varieties. They’re rich in nutrients, each peach contains Vitamin A (570 IU per peach): orange-yellow skin indicates large amounts of beta-carotene Potassium (333 mg per peach, Fiber (2.6 grams per peach), magnesium, calcium, vitamin C and more – all packed into just 60 calories.
They’re sweetened by natural sugar, and packed with vital nutrients (Vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium fiber and more) — like dessert with health benefits. They’re also low in calories (just 60 in a medium-size peach), no saturated fats and packed with …But don’t just associate them with dessert; they’re great in green salads, cooked with pork, chicken and fish, even in chili.
The following calendar shows special peach events currently. Additional events will be added as they are planned. The calendar and other peach information can be found on www.jerseypeaches.com and facebook.com/newjerseypeaches. Watch for Jersey Peach ads on facebook’s News Feed page.
LAKEVILLE-MIDDLEBORO, Mass. – The stage is set to expand the 87-year-old Ocean Spray® brand — with many sweet things to come.
In a natural extension of the relationship formed in 2003 to market Ocean Spray fresh cranberries, Oppy and its partner berry growers are now shipping fresh strawberries and blueberries from California under an Ocean Spray® brand.
Ultimately, a range of berries, including blackberries and raspberries, will join strawberries and blueberries as part of the Family Farmer Owned™ brand of fresh produce. The program expands and elevates Oppy’s berry offerings, delivering fruit of high quality and great flavor in a familiar and trusted label. This expansion also establishes a year-round fresh berry presence for the Ocean Spray® brand.
“Ocean Spray was founded by three cranberry growers looking to expand the market for their fruit,” said Clark Reinhard, vice president of innovation for Ocean Spray. “The brand is well known across multiple grocery aisles but our presence in produce has been limited to just a few months of the year. The perimeter of the grocery store is growing fast and by collaborating with Oppy our brand will be on fresh, high quality produce from family farms year round.”
The Ocean Spray® brand bolsters Oppy’s strategic push in the berry category, according to James Milne, vice president of marketing. “We conducted extensive research throughout North America over the past year and discovered a genuine enthusiasm for berries. There is a clear opportunity for a strong brand like Ocean Spray® to enter the market and capture people’s imaginations. This new innovation will disrupt an established category and offer a surprising new berry experience to the trade and consumers alike.”
Following California strawberries and blueberries, the Ocean Spray® Family Farmer Owned™ brand will feature fruit produced by Oppy domestic berry growers in the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and its international network of family farmers.
“Consumers should ultimately understand that when they see the Ocean Spray logo anywhere in the world they are supporting family farms- the same way they do buying at their local farmer’s market,” said Reinhard. “While cranberries remain at the heart of what we do, bringing other berries to market under the same brand will be a huge benefit to growers, retailers and ultimately the consumer.”
“Partnering with Ocean Spray enables us to simultaneously deliver new value to our grower partners and our retail customers,” said David Smith, Oppy president and chief marketing officer. “Berry growers everywhere understand the stature of the Ocean Spray® brand and are engaging with the opportunity. Meanwhile we’re providing our retail partners the exciting option of high quality strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries packed in a label of high consumer awareness and appeal.”
Smith notes that the timing is advantageous for all, with berry category sales at retail elevating 15 percent in the last two years, while also realizing average-price-per-pound gains. IRI data shows that berry sales volume has increased throughout the U.S., while branded produce is earning greater dollar share throughout the category.