Archive For The “News” Category

Del Monte Fresh Produce Announces Acquisition of Mann Packing Co.

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DSCN0441By Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. Inc.

Coral Gables, FL. – Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. (“Del Monte”) entered into a definitive agreement on February 5th, to acquire Mann Packing Co., Inc. (“Mann Packing”), an award-winning innovator and leading grower, processor and supplier of a broad variety of fresh and value-added vegetable products in North America.  Mann Packing’s annual sales were approximately $535 million in 2017.

Del Monte will acquire Mann Packing for an aggregate consideration of approximately $361 million. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other conditions that are customary for transactions of this type and is expected to close during the first quarter of 2018.

“We are extremely pleased about our acquisition of Mann Packing, a leader in the fresh and value-added vegetable category,” said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fresh Del Monte.  “Mann Packing’s strength in the vegetable category, one of the fastest growing fresh food segments, will provide us with synergies, enhancing our ability to better serve our combined customers and address consumers’ needs for healthier products.  This acquisition is a significant step toward our goal to be the world’s leading supplier of healthful, wholesome and nutritious fresh and prepared food and beverages for consumers.”

“Everyone at Mann is excited with this development” said Lorri Koster, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Mann Packing. “We share Del Monte’s values and commitment of providing fresh, high-quality produce based foods that are nutritious and delicious. Both our companies have been successful in their own right with their superior quality, service and value to our customers and consumers in all channels throughout North America. This will only be enhanced by combining the business expertise and skills of two of the industry’s premiere organizations.”

About Del Monte Fresh Produce

Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. is one of North America’s leading marketers and distributors of high-quality fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables.  Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. markets its products in North America under the Del Monte® brand (as well as other brands), a symbol of product innovation, quality, freshness and reliability for more than 125 years.

About Mann Packing Co.

Mann Packing, established in 1939 and based in Salinas, California, is a leading grower and supplier in North America of fresh vegetables, including washed and ready to eat fresh-cut vegetables, snack packs and party trays, and washed and trimmed lettuce products for the food service and retail markets.

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Arctic Fuji Apple Receives Approval from Canada

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ArcticFujiBy Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.

Summerland, B.C., Canada – Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.’s (OSF) third nonbrowning Arctic® apple variety, Arctic® Fuji, has been approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada (HC). The CFIA and HC announced recently that the Arctic® Fuji variety “did not pose a greater risk to human health than apples currently available on the Canadian market. In addition, Health Canada also concluded that the Arctic® Fuji apple would have no impact on allergies, and that there are no differences in the nutritional value of the Arctic® Fuji apple compared to other traditional apple varieties available for consumption”.  Arctic® Fuji trees will join the growing commercial orchards of Arctic® Golden and Arctic® Granny apples in spring 2018.

The company shipped the golden delicious slices to about 400 retail locations in the Midwest last fall.

“Canadian approval of the nonbrowning Arctic® Fuji is great news for our company and even more exciting for families looking to add another favorite apple variety to their healthy diets and lifestyles,” explained Neal Carter, President of OSF. “There has been very strong interest from retailers as we launched our first product – fresh, preservative free Arctic® Golden slices – and we look forward to introducing additional Arctic® nonbrowning varieties into Canada and U.S. markets soon.”

Arctic® apples have a unique trait that prevents enzymatic browning even when apples are bitten, sliced, or bruised. Through biotechnology, the enzyme in apples responsible for browning has been turned off. The resulting nonbrowning advantage benefits every sector of the supply chain, reducing food waste and boosting product appeal.

“It’s an exciting time at OSF. For a very long time, apple lovers have been looking forward to enjoying nonbrowning Arctic® apples as a convenient and healthy snack option. With this past  fall’s U.S. launch we were finally able to deliver just that,” stated Carter. “This latest announcement allows us to continue looking ahead toward providing new nonbrowning varieties and additional value-added fruits and vegetables. Arctic® apples are just the beginning for OSF.”

The announcement follows approval by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) of the Arctic® Fuji variety, granted September 23, 2016. Arctic® apples will be available commercially in select U.S. cities this fall and in additional areas of North America over the coming years as fruit availability increases.

About Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.

Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. (OSF) is a dynamic biotechnology company based in Summerland, British Columbia, Canada. Founded in 1996, and acquired by Intrexon Corporation (NYSE: XON) as a wholly owned subsidiary in April 2015, OSF specializes in developing tree fruit varieties with novel attributes that benefit fruit producers and consumers alike.

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Index Fresh & Tippmann Innovation Cut Ribbon For New Facility In Pharr, TX

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DSCN0438by Ti (Tippmann Innovation)

PHARR, Texas — Index Fresh, based out of Riverside, CA, along with Ti (Tippmann Innovation) of Fort Wayne, IN, are proud to announce the ribbon cutting of the new Index Fresh avocado distribution facility in Pharr, TX.  The Ceremony, held on January 9th, completes the nearly yearlong project which will continue to help Index Fresh expand their growing market presence both in the U.S. and in Mexico.

The new 60,000+ sf building designed and built by Ti (Tippmann Innovation) is now in full operation with the facility serving all aspects of Index Fresh Avocado business. The fully expandable state-of-the-art plant allows for ripening, storage and distribution all under one roof.  The multi temperature facility has varying temperature zones to accommodate fresh perishables which allows Index Fresh to satisfy the growing demand for Fresh Product.

The new Index Fresh facility was built in the city-backed Pharr Produce Park at 1100 W. Capote Central Ave., Pharr, TX 78577.  With close access to the border it allows Index Fresh and other companies positioned in the park to more efficiently move product in and out of Mexico.

“Produce is an economic driver for the City of Pharr, especially given our geographical proximity and ideal location near the U.S.-Mexico border,” said Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D. “Pharr International Bridge has been the leader when it comes to produce trade, accounting for nearly 60 percent of all fresh produce imported from Mexico crossing into the U.S. through our bridge,” Hernandez continued. “We have a long relationship with Index Fresh and are happy to have solidified our partnership through their investment in opening their first facility in Texas, right here in Pharr.”

Ti (Tippmann Innovation), a leader in the planning and building of cold storage facilities, worked with Index Fresh to design a modern, efficient facility that has the capacity and the flexibility to provide refrigerated service as the needs arise, using the most advanced technology in the industry.

About Ti (Tippmann Innovation)

Ti is an award winning, specialty commercial and industrial cold storage contractor that develops buildings around a business plan, ensuring that an investment becomes a profit center. Ti utilizes time-honed expertise and advanced technology solutions to create efficient buildings that scale with a business, and are designed to maximize profitability through fully integrating operations and supply chain, by design. Ti provides a full suite of cold storage construction services, including quick freeze, blast freezing, master site planning and operations, and maintenance guidance. Ti’s innovations include the Patented QuickFreeze in-rack freezing system that takes blast freezing to the next level, QuickTemper in-rack tempering system, and T2 spacer system. Ti has offices in Indiana, Illinois and Florida and operates internationally.

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Imports: Shelf Life of Okra is Extended; The First Shipment of Sweet Sapphire Grapes

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AA7New technology extending okra shelf life should help reduce waste and claims.  Also, Shappire grapes from Peru are now arriving at U.S. Ports.

A company specializing in products to enhance the shelf life of fresh produce has a partnership with a company that grows specialty produce in the Dominican Republic and Honduras.

The partnership initially is on a product from Hazel Technologies Inc. to extend the shelf life of okra grown by Agritrade Farms LLC. The postharvest technology, Hazel Okra, will be used on shipments of the vegetable from Honduras shipped to North America and Europe.

Okra is a difficult item to ship at peak quality, according to a news release, but trials with Hazel products and okra shipments have had positive results. The first commercial shipment of okra with the technology was in December.

Hazel Technologies has a line of packaging inserts designed for different items including tomatoes, melons, tree fruit, avocados and some specialty vegetables.

Sapphire Grapes

by Melissa’s Produce

Los Angeles, California – Melissa’s announces the first shipment of the season of fresh Peruvian Sweet Sapphire Grapes! The unusual two-inch tubular shape is not the only unique characteristic of this sweet table grape.  Sweet Sapphires have a dark purple, almost black, skin that protects its translucent green and seedless fruit. With a sugar content that exceeds all other fresh grape varieties, the grape has an extremely sweet flavor balance reminiscent of a delicate dessert wine. Surprisingly, each grape is so firm it can be snapped in half and large enough to be stuffed!

Through natural cross-pollination, a tedious process done by hand over many generations of grape seasons, the variety offers both taste and versatility like no other. Serve Sweet Sapphire grapes stuffed as an interesting party platter finger food, as the base for a full-bodied reduction sauce or simply as a tasty sweet out-of-hand snack fruit. Available for a short time during the months of late January – March, Sweet Sapphires are great with cheese, crackers and wine.

Melissa’s Produce is the leading U.S. variety distributor of specialty and organic fresh produce.  The company imports exotic fruits and vegetables from around the world.


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“Cool Port” is Part of Record Cargo Volumes Projected for Oakland

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OaklandPortRecord Cargo volume in the coming years is projected for the Port of Oakland in Oakland, CA with one of the key projects being construction of a $90 million “Cool Port.”

Officials at the Port of Oakland have several construction projects designed for attracting additional business and reaching record cargo volume starting this year.

Additional containerized cargo in 2018 is predicted and continuing through 2022, a news release states.

“I’m forecasting growth because of the development that’s going on here,” said Maritme director John Driscoll.  “It won’t be dramatic, but it will be steady and will result in more cargo volume than we’ve ver had before.”

Driscoll said three international shipping lines are considering making Port of Oakland their first call due to recent port improvements.  Any of them making the switch would increase cargo volume, according to the press release.

Projects drawing the most interest, according to the news release:

  • Cranes: Four ship-to-shore cranes at the Oakland International Container Terminal are being lifted by 27 feet to accommodate megaship loading and unloading, at a cost of $14 million to $20 million. The second crane was lifted by the end 2017, with work on the other two finishing up in mid-2018;
  • Cool Port Oakland: Cool Port will process beef and poultry exports in a 280,000-square-foot refrigerated distribution center that is expected to handle 27,000 20-foot equivalent units of meat each year. The $90 million facility should open next August;
  • Seaport Logistics Complex: Construction of a $52 million, 440,000-square-foot transloading facility is expected to start in late 2018; and
  • Truck service center: An 8-acre facility with food stops, fueling stations and overnight parking for harbor drivers is still in the negotiation stage.

The Port of Oakland reported total volume of 2.37 million 20-foot equivalent units in 2016, and in 2017earlier this year projected it would handle 2.6 million containers by 2022, according to the news release.

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Costa Rica is Expecting Another Increase in Produce Exports

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By Procomer

Portrait of sweet young woman eating blackberries at home - Indoors

Building on several years of increasing produce exports, Costa Rica foresees a strong 2018 as exporters continue to offer an increasingly diverse supply of produce items as well as the capacity to meet new regulatory requirements.

Statistics thru October 2017 (the latest officially available) show Costa Rica exported close to US$2.4 billion in agricultural exports to the world, a growth of 4% compared to the same period in 2016. The United States remains the main destination country with US$1.09 billion from January to October of 2017.

“Costa Rica remains a strong, reliable and versatile exporter of produce,” says Pedro Beirute, CEO of Procomer (Costa Rica’s trade promotion agency).   “We expect to close out 2017 with over US$2.7 billion in ag exports.”

Led by the banana and pineapple industry, Costa Rica’s exports to the world continue to grow and diversify and include strong offerings in yucca, melons, chayote,  and other fruits. Procomer export statistics indicate banana export volume increased over 25% from 2015 to 2017, pineapple by almost 14%, yucca by 12%, watermelon by 57%, and chayote by 33%.   “We expect growth in these highly demanded products to continue in 2018,” says Beirute.

Costa Rica looks to tropical and exotic product growth in 2018.  “The U.S. marketplace continues to demand new and unique products due to the increase in ethnic diversity in the population as well as U.S. consumers expanding pallet,” says Beirute.  “As consumers seek out more tropical, exotic and ethnic items, Costa Rica will play a key role in providing some of this high quality, reliable supply. With more than 145 varieties of fruits and vegetables and more than 365 exporters shipping to the U.S., Costa Rica represents a wealth of potential products for any market.”

Particularly on the future radar for greater development in export offerings are ginger, rambutan, a variety of specialty melons, beets, cabbage, carrots, pumpkin, root products, and more organics. “Costa Rican exporters have long been characterized as serious, trustworthy, professional partners,” says Beirute.  “It only makes sense for U.S. buyers to look a country with our track record of reliability and quality as they seek more and new products.”

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The Four Hottest Specialty Produce Trends of 2017

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muscatoGrapesby Carol Bareuther,

Seasonal fruits, emerging specialty vegetables, convenience or pre-cooked ingredients and chile peppers are the four hottest produce trends in 2017, according to Robert Schueller, director of public relations at Melissa’s World Variety Produce, a specialty produce purveyor based in Los Angeles.  Schueller should know. He’s 20-plus year industry veteran and Melissa’s is the leading distributor of more than 1,200 specialty and organic produce products in the United States, selling nationwide and to the top 20 U.S. retailers.  In fact, Schueller’s trends report for 2017 is based off sales of the company’s produce in the marketplace for the 365 days ending October 18, 2017 compared to the year prior.  The produce items that had the largest percentage of increased distribution at retail and foodservice is what created the four trends categories.

1) Seasonal Fruits:

* Green Dragon Apples.  Schueller calls sales of this sweet non-tart cross between a Golden Delicious and Indo variety from Japan one of the biggest trends in specialty fruit.  This yellow skin apple doesn’t store well and is only sold fresh during its short-season from October to December.

* Muscato Grapes. This proprietary variety available July to October from the United States and February and March from Peru, is notable for its high brix or sugar content of 22 compared to 16 for the average grape.

* Winter/Christmas Crunch Grapes. October to December harvested California-grown fruit extends the season from the customary May to September. These are packaged for seasonal merchandising.

* Passion Fruit. Nearly all distribution in the United States is the purple-skin variety, sourced nearly year-round from Florida and California as well as New Zealand. A short supply gap occurs in December and January.

* Jackfruit. New-found interest stems from use of the fruit’s fiber as a vegetarian protein substitute. Eye-catching to sell whole at retail due to its size, more convenient pre-cut jackfruit as a product is currently challenged by short-shelf life issues.

* Rambutan. Closely related to the lychee, this fruit is now available almost year-round multisourced from Central America and Hawaii.

2) Emerging Specialty Vegetables:

* Organic Ginger.  Now its annual availability, rather than for only six months, is driving sales.

* Turmeric.  Interest in East Indian cuisine, as a substitute for ginger in juicing and its health benefits has sparked recent sales of this spice.  Turmeric was the top trending functional food according to the report, ˜Think with Google: Food Trends 2016.”

* Pee Wee Potatoes. Once composted for not meeting grade size, the marble-size of these potatoes is now in demand for its short cooking time.

* Tatuma Squash. Similar in appearance to zucchini, this squash’s staple use in Latin cooking drives its placement in-store.

* Indian Eggplant. A tomato-sized version of a traditional globe eggplant, attributes are an edible skin and short cooking time.

* Tomatillo Milpero. Baby vegetables are big, and this bite-sized tomatillo is riding this trend.

* Petite Baby Bok Choy. This product leads sales in the Asian ethnic category, and demand has become cross-cultural. The small size means no chopping required.

* White Asparagus. Labor intensive to grow since it must be protected from sunlight-producing chlorophyll that customarily colors this vegetable green, white asparagus is more expensive to produce yet is finding widespread favor from fine dining chefs.

3) Convenience / Pre-Cooked Ingredients:

Technology in France not yet introduced to the United States enabled Melissa’s to introduce its steamed line of vegetables 13 years ago with beets first, followed by lentils.  The idea is to take items with relatively long prep times, pre-cook and package ready to eat with a preservative-free shelf life of two months.  New this year, the company has added Gold Baby Beets, Organic Steamed Lentils and Parisienne Potatoes.

4) Chile Peppers:

* Shishito Peppers. This kid-friendly pepper is all about flavor rather than heat, says Schueller.  Popular in Japanese restaurants where its roasted and seasoned with sesame oil and served as an appetizer.

* Hatch Chiles. The mountainous 4,000-feet plus elevation and near 50-degree difference between day and nighttime temperatures in Hatch, NM, produces this thick, meaty, mild-tasting chile. Popularity beyond the Southwest and a short August to September season stems from the pepper’s ability to be roasted, frozen and used all year long.

* Thai Chiles. Small and hot, with a heat-rating between a jalapeno and habanero, this chile first loved in Asian cuisine is now cross-cultural thanks to finding favor in Latin dishes.

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Amazon Produce Network Introduces New Pack for Mangoes

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DSCN0450by Amazon Produce Network

Amazon Produce Network has introduced its 60cm x 40cm (24in x 15-3/4in)  5-Down Display Box for mangoes with minimum 24-Lb net product weight.   Although 60x40cm 5-Down boxes are the industry standard for many commodities, most mangoes are currently packed in 34cm x 25cm  (13-1/2in x 10in) 14-Down box.   The 60x40cm Display box is intended to resolve issues that retailers have shared as impediments to the mango commodity’s enormous growth potential.

This design provides greatly increased pallet stability versus the 14-down box, therefore accelerating loading/unloading and warehouse movements.   It also reduces transportation damage claims and the need for airbags and bracing.

At the DC and store level, labor is significantly reduced in picking product with each movement of the 5-Down Display Box equaling almost three of the regular box.   This allows partial pallet store orders to be filled faster at the DC and large displays to be built with ease in the store.   This larger box will not sink down and sit on other product causing bruising as smaller boxes tend to do when stacked on top of other commodities in mixed pallets.

The increased airflow possible with this design helps to have more consistent pressures when using ripening rooms.  The display is very attractive and results in a larger footprint for mangoes within the produce department.

About Amazon Produce Network

Amazon Produce Network is an importer and distributor of mangoes and other produce with a mission to be the most efficient distribution channel in the United States for our customers and growers.

To us, being the most efficient distribution channel means providing the customer with the product, price, service, logistics and information he or she needs to be successful in the dynamic and complex world of produce while also providing the best possible returns to the growers who entrust us to market their crops.

Success is not achieved simply by selling the fruit at the highest price available in the market on any given day. Our success is achieved by obtaining the best average return for the grower’s crops over time through excellent stewardship of the product and service to our customers

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Chilean Cherry Exports Set a Record of Over 150 Million Tons

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cherriesSANTIAGO, CHILE — The Chilean cherry industry has reached a milestone as an industry,  overtaking the historic cherry export limit of 20 million cartons, by shipping more than 30 million cartons during the current 2017-18 season; a figure that is expected to keep rising as exports continue.

“Up until last week we had reached more than 27 million cartons exported, but with the shipment that went out at the weekend, the industry has now overtaken 30 million cartons, the equivalent of 150,000 tons of cherries,” announced Cristian Tagle, President of the Cherry Committee of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX).

According to Tagle, the volume reached to date has now surpassed the record 2014-15 campaign, when Chile exported over 21.7 million cartons or 103,081 tons of cherries.

“We estimate that Chilean cherries will continue to supply the Chinese market past Chinese New Year, which takes place on 16 February,” he said.

Tagle noted that the record exports have only been possible thanks to growers receiving favorable climatic conditions, particularly at the start of the season. However, he added that the achievement was also the result of hard work by producers and exporters, which had led to a greater planted area and an emphasis on better-tasting, more productive varieties, as well as the implementation of technologies that have enabled improved management and care of orchards.

ASOEX President Ronald Bown commented:   “As we reach the record volume that we forecast, we have planned an important and intensive promotional campaign. The good news is we are ready and investing to boost consumption of these high volumes that are now a reality, particularly through promotional actions in China, which is the principle market for Chilean cherries.”

Of the 150,000 tons of Chilean cherries exported to date, some 89.1% was shipped to Asia, with China accounting for 94% of this total. In terms of other export destinations, the U.S. received 4.8% of the total volume, followed by Europe (2.4%), Canada (0.4%) and the Middle East (0.1%).

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Container Capacity is Increasing at Port of Savannah

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SavannahThe Port of Savannah will soon see its container capacity increase with the addition of four cranes to help move those containers.  The port is the largest single container facility in the U.S.

The four Neo-Panamax cranes arrived in late November, bringing the total number of the cranes at the facility to 30. Six more cranes are scheduled to arrive in 2020, and when all are operational, the port will be able to move 1,300 containers an hour, according to a news release.

“(As) we reflect on all the success we’ve enjoyed, we also look forward to the new era of prosperity these cranes will help usher in,” Georgia Ports Authority board chairman Jimmy Allgood said in the release.  “Our considerable investments today ensure Georgia’s ports reputation for excellence.”

Upgrades to the Mason Mega Rail Terminal will double the Port of Savannah’s annual rail capacity to 1 million container lifts, expanding the port’s access to the Midwest.

The Neo-Panamax cranes can lift containers 152 feet above the dock and the booms reach out 192 feet. Each crane can lift 72 tons. The cranes operate over nine berth spaces.

All of the new cranes, a $47-million investment, will be operational by April.

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