Archive For The “News” Category

Shipping Across Borders: International Payments

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A29When shipping any produce across borders whether from the USA to Mexico or Canada or the other way around, it is always good to consider the topic of international payments. While this may appear as a miniscule and rather technical area, it is in fact can get very expensive when paying or being paid through foreign currency.

Why can cross-border payments take a bite into a business’ bottom line? The reason for that is the exchange rate you’re getting for your foreign currency. Let’s take the Canadian Dollar to USA rate as an example. For December 13, 2018, the interbank official exchange rate stands at 0.748. If you are due for a payment of US $10,000, it means you should be charging $13,361.85 Canadian. In practice, U.S banks will never exchange foreign currency for the official exchange rate – they offer a much lesser rate than that. So, if your bank currently offers a rate of 0.723 (which is within range for what most U.S banks offer) you would trade that 13,361.85 Canadian to $9,660 US – netting a loss of $340 US against your original goal of $10,000 just because you were willing to accept foreign currency payments.

There’s a better way to deal with inbound and outbound international money transfers, though. The fact some banks may be overly expensive or demonstrate abusive behavior should not deter you from international business. Of course, it is preferable that whomever you engage in business will pay you in US Dollars but in some cases that may just not be possible. There are third party providers who are able to transfer and receive money from abroad in foreign currency and exchange it to dollar for much better rates.

These companies are named money transfer companies or FX providers. There aren’t particularly known or popular in North America, but as many as 50% of the internationally trading small businesses in the UK and Australia use them. In spite of the fact that these companies have limited success to date in the North American markets in comparison with the rest of the world, they maintain a strong presence. Take OFX for example, one of the top rated for online transfers – they have offices in San Francisco with a large staff, while their headquarters are in Sydney, Australia. The firm employees more than 700 employees worldwide and is traded in the Australian stock exchange so you know that not only you are going to get better rates, your money is safe too.



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Big Boost in Produce Departments is Seen Coming to Aldi

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A14Bringing fresh produce center stage is a goal of discount retailer Aldi, which is in the midst of its $5 billion US expansion program.

The expansion includes building new stores and remodeling existing ones.

The new focus on produce includes a 40 percent expansion in the amount of product lines carried, with the produce department located at the front of the store.  Most supermarket chains are investing more in produce departments, which are considered key components in stores.

In a move a couple of decades ago, there was a trend to make produce front and center and the first department shoppers see when entering a supermarket.  With produce as an anchor in stores, many chains then look to improve their other in-store departments.

Aldi’s motion to move produce to the front and center suggests the retailer wants to be known as well-stocked store with everything the shopper needs. Additionally, once the fresh produce department is a strong anchor, stores have a tendency to follow through with other departments.

It appears that Aldi  with fresh produce, will follow trends of having clean, conventional and organic products that are conveniently packaged.  Aldi will likely add even more organic and clean options, in an effort to attract younger shoppers from 18 to 40 years old, who are after more affordable organic options.  Whether Aldi will stock more value-added products remains to be seen.

Aldi already offers attractions for Gen X and Millennial shoppers and many of their center-store products have specialty claims, be it free of artificial colors or antibiotic-free meat.

Greater emphasis on fresh often come from higher income households.  Will an expanded produce selection beyond basics higher-income shoppers at Aldi? One study shows that 93 percent of Aldi shoppers said pricing/value drove them to the format and 77 percent purchased fresh produce.  One-third of shoppers expect to shift much more of their shopping to Aldi.

On price, Aldi will remain a discount retailer, so if the

If other supermarkets want to compete with Aldi, which will remain a discount retailer, those competitors will have to lower their price or invest in other areas of the store to maintain a ‘premium’ on Aldi as well as other discounters by offering a higher level shopping experience.

Studies have shown that 60 percent to 70 percent of markets experienced price declines  of 1 to 3 percent when an ALDI opened.  Some retailers will also increase service levels, emphasize quality, organic offerings, local items and more choices in general to increase their own competitive advantage.

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Avocados From Peru Closes Out Record-Breaking 2018 Season

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A13by Peruvian Avocado Commission

Washington, DC. – This season, Peru reached record-breaking sales numbers by exporting over 726 million pounds of avocados worldwide, of which 182 million pounds were shipped to the United States.  Peru is the second largest exporter of avocados in the world, the second largest supplier to the U.S., and the largest supplier to Europe. Avocados from Peru (AFP) supported this significant distribution through various strategic and unique retail, trade and consumer marketing activations that proved to be essential components to this season’s success.

“This was a season of firsts for us,” said Xavier Equihua, President & CEO of the Peruvian Avocado Commission. “We conducted over 10,000 demos nationwide in Walmart, Costco and Sam’s Club in 60 days, launched the first partnership between two superfoods (Peruvian Avocados and California Walnuts), aired the first ever avocado TV spots during the World Cup and Major League Baseball All-Star Games, launched the first “Peru at the Zoo” activation at the Maryland Zoo and introduced Cuzco, Avocados from Peru’s new mascot.”

This season’s robust marketing campaigns spanned across all channels including social, digital, radio, broadcast, mobile, print, retail initiatives and consumer activations –all pointing to the quality, taste, nutritional benefits, and versatility of Peruvian avocados.

Avocados from Peru Completes 10,000 Demos in 60 Days & Participates in Walmart’s Wellness Week

Avocados from Peru completed 10,000 demos in 60 days at Walmart, Costco and Sam’s Club’s nationwide –a record-breaking number for the category. AFP also participated in this year’s Walmart Wellness Week, the largest health event in the world. Peruvian avocados are the only produce items to ever be included in this prestigious event and contributed demos at 997 locations throughout the week and served a consumer favorite recipe –Avocado, Walnut and Peach Salad.

Avocados from Peru and California Walnuts

This season, consumers had the opportunity to taste and see the versatility of both Peruvian Avocados and California Walnuts in a first ever superfood demo collaboration at Costco, Sam’s Club and Walmart. The activations were supported by both demo partners through social, digital, PR, geo-targeting and website landing pages.

First Ever Avocado Sponsorship at World Cup and MLB All Star Games

This year AFP became the first in its category to sponsor two of the world’s most prominent athletic events –The World Cup and the MLB All Star Games. AFP ran TV spots celebrating World Avocado Month during the games as well as on morning and evening news programs. This initiative was also supported through digital and social promotions in partnership with Fox 5.

First Ever Produce Item to Partner with CBS and New York Yankees Baseball

AFP partnered with CBS to bring the ‘Avo-Dog’ promotion to one of the nation’s most iconic baseball parks over Labor Day weekend, offering baseball fans a free topping of Peruvian avocado with the purchase of any food item during the New York Yankees vs. Oakland Athletics games at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, New York.


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Two New Television Commercials Feature the Big Idaho Potato Truck

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A12by The Idaho Potato Commission

Eagle, Idaho  – The Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) kicked off another year of marketing activations by launching one of its two new television commercials during ESPN’s live broadcast of the Boise State University (BSU) versus Oklahoma State University (OSU) football game on Saturday, September 15th. The IPC is a longtime sponsor of BSU and has made it a tradition to debut its new commercial during a nationally televised game.

This year marks the first time the IPC has created two commercials in one year for the Big Idaho® Potato Truck series. The spots feature Farmer Mark, the Big Idaho® Potato Truck along with two other fan favorites…the “Spud Hound” and the 1955 Studebaker. The commercials will air concurrently beginning October 22nd through the beginning of April 2019 on national networks including CNN, Fox News, CNN Headline News and the Food Network. Like last year, they will stream on HULU – reaching folks who prefer to watch TV shows and movies online. The commercials will also air for the first time ever on Access Hollywood, Live with Kelly, The Price is Right and CBS All Access.

“Every year we evaluate the effectiveness of our “Missing” advertising campaign, and it’s evident that the popularity of the commercials and the Big Idaho® Potato Truck is still growing exponentially,” said Frank Muir, President and CEO, IPC. “This is an especially unique year for us. We’re launching two new commercials and airing them on programs we’ve never advertised on before allowing us to reach millions of new consumers.”

While both commercials continue to center on the farmer’s ongoing search for the Big Idaho® Potato Truck, they have very different storylines. “First Bite” insightfully recognizes that whenever a meal is served with Idaho® potatoes, the first bite is always the potato. In “Secret Weapon” the farmer uses a Wile E. Coyote-like tactic to try to catch the Big Idaho® Potato Truck.

About The Idaho Potato Commission 

Established in 1937, the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC) is a state agency responsible for promoting and protecting the famous “Grown in Idaho” seal, a federally registered certification mark that assures consumers they are purchasing genuine, top-quality Idaho® potatoes. Idaho’s growing season of warm days and cool nights, ample mountain-fed irrigation and rich volcanic soil, give Idaho® potatoes their unique texture, taste and dependable performance, that differentiates Idaho® potatoes from potatoes grown in other states.

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Organic Grower Summit announces CannaBus Tour

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 A29It may not be a Magic Bus tour, but how about a CannaBus Tour!

Would you believe a produce industry convention is offering a tour of marijuana growing operations as one its programs.

At the Organic Grower Summit 2018 in Monterey, CA the organization has announced the 2018 CannaBusTour, created in collaboration with the Monterey County Cannabis Industry Association.  It will take place on Wednesday, December 12th.

The 2018 OGSCannaBusTour is an opportunity to take a behind-the-scenes look at the Monterey County cannabis industry. This limited tour includes visits to a state-of-the-art, indoor cannabis growing operation and Indus, a vertically integrated cannabis extraction and manufacturing facility. With the growing, production and consumption of cannabis now legal in California, Monterey County is poised to be a leader in the growing and manufacturing of cannabis and cannabis related products. And as California moves to regulated organic growing of cannabis by 2021, OGS wants to be at the forefront of providing attendees with information and education overview of this burgeoning industry.

The 2018 OGSCannaBusTour is described as an opportunity to connect organic growers and allied service providers with all aspects of the cannabis industry. This is a unique opportunity to give OGS attendees a platform to learn about the future of the cannabis industry, according to the Monterey County Cannabis Industry Association.

The 2018 CannaBusTour is $99 per ticket and attendees must be registered for the Organic Grower Summit.  Registration is available on a first-come, first serve opportunity for OGS attendees and there are no refunds.  OGS will be held Dec. 12-13 at the Monterey Conference Center in Monterey, CA . Attendee registration is $499, with discounts available for CCOF members and government and educational members. Attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase a ticket to the CCOF Foundation Dinner on Wednesday, Dec. 12.

Registration to OGS includes admittance to the opening reception, educational sessions, keynote presentations, breakfast, lunch and trade show floor. Over 40 sponsors have confirmed their support of OGS.

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Allen Lund Company Welcomes Another Year of Giving with Navidad En El Barrio

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A30By Allen Lund Company

La Cañada Flintridge Calif. – Since 2004, the Allen Lund Company has participated in Navidad en el Barrio. Over 75,000 people are served annually through the efforts of Navidad, which was established in 1972 by Danny Villanueva, former NFL kicker. “It is overwhelming to watch and read about the increasing homelessness in Southern California. The efforts of Navidad en el Barrio makes a small dent in the assistance to the most under-served families,” said Nora Trueblood, Director of Marketing at the Allen Lund Company.

Kenny Lund, Vice President adds, “My mom and dad instilled in us the value and importance of giving back and we as a company completely embrace that concept. Navidad en el Barrio is such an important effort and one that we are able to actually see the impact, by participating in the distribution of the dinners and meeting the grateful families. We plan to continue our commitment to Navidad en el Barrio for years to come.”

Navidad accepts and utilizes donations to assemble food baskets containing chicken, cheese, canned goods and various produce items for a hearty and healthy family holiday meal. ALC provides logistical support as well as produce donated by customers. The process of organizing donations of perishable products or food items from growers/shippers for the annual holiday food baskets has already started.

ALC is reaching out to shippers in the Western U.S. that often ship items which could be used to complete a meal for these families’ Christmas dinner. The logistics and transportation of the donations during the week of December 10-15, 2018 will be provided by the Allen Lund Company with meals being delivered on Saturday, December 15th. Donations are delivered via ALC to a warehouse location in Los Angeles and then delivered to agencies throughout Southern California for distribution to families. All donations must be usable beyond the date of distribution.

About Allen Lund Company:

Specializing as a national third-party transportation broker with nationwide offices and over 500 employees, the Allen Lund Company works with shippers and carriers across the nation to arrange dry, refrigerated (specializing in produce), and flatbed freight; additionally, the Allen Lund Company has a logistics and software division, ALC Logistics, and an International Division licensed by the FMC as an OTI-NVOCC #019872NF. If you are interested in joining the Allen Lund Company team, please click here.

Established in 1976, the Allen Lund Company was recognized by Logistics Tech Outlook for our software division ALC Logistics as a 2018 Top 10 Freight Management Solution Providers, 2018 Food Logistics’ Top 3PL & Cold Storage Providers list, 2017 Supply & Demand Chain Executive Top 100, 2017 Food Logistics 100+ Top Software and Tech Provider, a 2016 Top IT Provider by Inbound Logistics, 2015 Coca-Cola Challenger Carrier of the Year, 2015 Top Private Company in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal, 2015 Top 100+ Software and Technology Providers, 2015 Top 100 Logistics IT Provider by Inbound Logistics, a 2014 Great Supply Chain Partner, and was placed in Transport Topics’ “2014 Top 25 Freight Brokerage Firms.” The company manages over 365,000 loads annually, and received the 2013 “Best in Cargo Security Award.” In 2011, the company received the TIA 3PL Samaritan Award, and NASTC (National Association of Small Trucking Companies) named Allen Lund Company the 2010 Best Broker of the Year. More information is available at

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Thanksgiving, a Celebration of Our Blessings

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A35Prayers of thanks and special Thanksgiving ceremonies are common among almost all religions after harvests and at other times. The Thanksgiving holiday’s history in North America is rooted in English traditions dating from the Protestant Reformation. It also has aspects of a harvest festival, even though the harvest in New England occurs well before the late-November date on which the modern Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated.

In the English tradition, days of thanksgiving and special thanksgiving religious services became important during the English Reformation in the reign of Henry VIII  and in reaction to the large number of religious holidays on the Catholic calendar. Before 1536 there were 95 Church holidays, plus 52 Sundays, when people were required to attend church and forego work and sometimes pay for expensive celebrations. The 1536 reforms reduced the number of Church holidays to 27, but some Purtians wished to completely eliminate all Church holidays, including Christmas and Easter.

The holidays were to be replaced by specially called Days of Fasting or Days of Thanksgiving, in response to events that the Puritans viewed as acts of special providence. Unexpected disasters or threats of judgement from on high called for Days of Fasting. Special blessings, viewed as coming from God, called for Days of Thanksgiving. For example, Days of Fasting were called on account of drought in 1611, floods in 1613, and plagues in 1604 and 1622. Days of Thanksgiving were called following the victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588 and following the deliverance of Queen Anne in 1705.  An unusual annual Day of Thanksgiving began in 1606 following the failure of the  Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and developed into  Guy Fawkes Day on November 5.

Pilgrims and Puritans who emigrated from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England. The modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is traced to a to a well-recorded 1619 event in Virginia and a sparsely documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. The 1619 arrival of 38 English settlers at Berkeley Hundred in Charles City County, Virginia, concluded with a religious celebration as dictated by the group’s charter from the London Company, which specifically required “that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned … in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.” The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest.

Wishing all of you a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving.

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Mexican Tomato Border Crossings Average 9.4 Million Pounds a Day

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A18I you have loaded produce at one of the border crossings in California, Arizona or Texas then odds are those loadings have included Mexican tomatoes.  The tomato is big business.

A new study by the University of Arizona points out Mexican tomatoes crossing the U.S. border contributed an estimated $4.8 billion in total economic activity to the American economy in 2016.

Even though Mexican tomatoes are grown and harvested south of the U.S. border, it supports economic activity jobs and income in the U.S. through forward and backward links in the supply chain.

A hypothetical decrease in the supply of fresh tomatoes from Mexico made by suppliers found a decrease as small as 5 percent could have a negative impact on consumers well-being, ranging in to hundreds of millions (of dollars) per year.  Researchers for the study considered U.S. wholesale activity,  grocery activity, foodservice sales and transportation.

According to the study, the $4.8 billion in total sales was generated through:

  • $1 billion in direct wholesale activity;
  • $816 million in direct grocery retail activity;
  • $145 million in direct foodservice activity;
  • $30 million in in-bound shipments to Canada;
  • $2.8 billion from indirect and induced economic multiplier effects.

The study found that U.S. imports of Mexican tomatoes in 2016 were valued at $1.9 billion, while Canada’s tomato imports from Mexico totaled $255 million.

 About 9.4 million pounds of tomatoes arrived daily to the U.S. from Mexico in 2016, with 90 percent of those imports coming through Nogales, AZ:  Pharr, TX and Otay Mesa, CA.

U.S. imports from Mexico in 2016  included 1.7 billion pounds of round tomatoes, 1.5 billion pounds of roma tomatoes, 167 million pounds of grape tomatoes and 61 million pounds of cherry tomatoes, according to the study.

Those imports added $4.8 billion in economic activity, supported nearly 33,000 full and part-time jobs earning $1.4 billion in employee compensation.

In total, $2.9 billion in U.S. gross domestic product was directly and indirectly supported by the value chain delivering imported fresh tomatoes from Mexico to Canada and to U.S. consumers through grocery retail and foodservice industries.  This resulted in over $400 million in federal tax revenue and roughly $350 million in state and local tax revenues.

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Church Brothers to Open Mexico Facility; Earth Blend Opens in Nogales

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A5A processing/packing facility is opening by Church Brothers Farms and its processing company, True Leaf Farms.  It is located  just across the U.S. border in Mexico to increase year-round supplies.

The plant, in San Luis Rio Colo., south of Yuma, Ariz., will be growing whole leaf lettuce, broccoli florets, iceless broccoli and green onions with an opening anticipated by the end of the year.

The plant, at almost 111,000 square feet, will handle vegetables grown in Mexico and the U.S.

“The new facility will allow us to produce during the summer months, where in the past we were limited to only green onions and other seasonal items,” the company said in a news release. “Now we will be sourcing from Mexico year-round to meet our U.S. customers’ growing needs.”

The facility, known as CB Mexico, will be Custom Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) certified, allowing trucks to enter the U.S. faster. CB Mexico is 29 miles south of Church Brothers’ two Yuma facilities.

Other U.S. companies with facilities in the area include Kenworth, Gulfstream and Honeywell.

Earth Blend

Agrocir, a Hermosillo, Sonora, has created a Nogales sales and distribution company.  The vegetable grower has been in business since the mid-1960s.  The new firm is EarthBlend LLC, which expects to handle almost 4 million cases of Mexican produce this season.

EarthBlend started shipping a variety of vegetables in the October to December timeframe, running into May. These vegetables include a wide variety of hard and soft squash, green Bells, elongated red Bells, tomatillos and a handful of hot pepper varieties.

In the fall and spring seasons, EarthBlend plans to ship seedless and mini-watermelons, honeydew and cantaloupe.

The majority of EarthBlend’s production will be coming from Agrocir’s Hermosillo and Guaymas, Sonora farms. Independent growers are located throughout Sonora and Sinaloa.

Agrocir’s cucumbers and Bell peppers will be produced in shade houses. The squash varieties and melons are produced in open fields.

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Freight Rates are Affecting Idaho Potato Delivered Price Contracts

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A19Playing the spot market with freight rates on fresh produce is common with owner operators and small fleet owners.  However, refrigerated fleets for years have often negotiated seasonal, if not year around rates.

The fleets see advantages to having more predictable produce rates with higher rates in the slower winter months, but lower ones during the peak shipping seasons of spring and summer.

However, record produce rates this past year has changed ways of doing business, not only for the fleets, but the produce shippers.  For example, uncertainty surrounding freight rates has resulted in some Idaho grower-shippers of potatoes to shy away from quoting delivered prices for potato price contracts.

Sun-Glo of Idaho Inc., in Sugar City, has chosen not to take on the risk of volatile transportation rates by quoting delivered prices.  The company has found trucking companies refusing to quote set rates, because of the uncertainties in trucking.  If those fleets are unwilling to take the risk of contract rates, then the grower-shippers are not going to risk giving delivered prices.

Much higher truck rates have occurred, at least in part, by the implementation of electronic logging device (ELD) regulations last year.  Higher truck rates is one of the biggest complaints of grower-shippers.  Instead, companies such as Sun-Glo are quoting prices for their potatoes, something which they are in control.

Other shippers are doing business in a similar fashion.  Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC of Idaho Falls, ID has indicated it may lose some customers this shipping season because Wada no longer is offering a delivered price contract.  It has some contracts with trucking companies to haul potatoes, but it is on a month-to-month contract basis.  Six month to one year contracts with truckers has become a rarity.  Since Wade Farms cannot get seasonal or yearly contracts with trucking companies, it is avoiding offering delivered price contracts to customers.

Wade Farms has even inserted some flexibility clauses into contracts.  For example. if there is an extreme shortage of trucks or holiday overages, it is not locked in to the same price.

Shippers have long complained of retail chains driving down prices on the produce they purchase.  Potandon Produce LLC of Idaho Falls, ID has pointed out in the current truck rate environments, some retailers are looking to drive down f.o.b. prices to maintain delivered costs.

In a effort to cut shipping costs Potandon say if offers potato buyers a premium Idaho potato, or it can source spuds from 16 other states which may be closer to their customers.  The company continues to seek alternative shipping methods to cut costs.

Potandon is still offering customers delivered prices and says it has the advantage of an in-house transportation department which is in constant contact with freight carriers to get the amount of trucks needed.

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