Archive For The “News” Category

Love Beets celebrates 10th anniversary

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Ready-to-eat beet brand, Love Beets USA, celebrates its 10-year anniversary this month.

With a robust product line, notable distribution, and beloved branding, they took what was formerly thought of as a polarizing vegetable and created delicious, modern, and versatile offerings that revitalized how Americans view beets.

Love Beets began as a true labor of love by husband-and-wife team, Guy and Katherine Shropshire.  Recognizing there was a gap in the U.S. market for tasty, ready-to-eat beet options, they debuted their family’s favorite recipes at the 2010 Fancy Food Show.  The response was overwhelmingly positive and virtually everyone who tasted their beets said they, “love beets!” 

Though they felt it could be hard to overcome the initial perception of “grandma’s beets” and antiquated canned beets in the U.S., after witnessing the excitement and reaction to their products at that first show, Shropshire said he never doubted the potential of Love Beets.

“It’s a real-life example of success by joining a genuinely great product together with talented, super hard-working people,” he said.

Consumers can now enjoy Love Beets items in more than 15,000 retail locations across the country.  Distribution has expanded to many prominent retail partners, including Costco, Whole Foods, Kroger, Wegmans, Sprouts, Target, and many more.

As beets biggest sponsor, Love Beets has had a substantial positive impact on the perception of beets nationwide, and they’ve made a name for themselves in both the produce industry and larger natural foods CPG space.

“We’ve been able to create a well-known and well-loved brand identity within the produce space, a department full of commodity and private label offerings with a lot of competition for shelf space,” said General Manager, George Shropshire. 

“Beyond that accomplishment, we’ve also worked hard to grow as a U.S.-grown and produced company. We’re proud of our made in the USA label that stands out among our competitors.”
 
Looking forward, Love Beets aims to drive growth through innovation, sustainability, and continuing to drive trial and consumption.  They will continue to provide consumers with healthy and convenient options that taste good, while working on an enhanced brand identity with updates to packaging and the introduction of new flavor offerings within their marinated baby beet line.

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Expansion of Pharr International Bridge is Approved by President Trump

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Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez, M.D., and City of Pharr, Texas, officials are excited to announce that on December 31, President Donald J. Trump issued a presidential permit for the expansion of the Pharr International Bridge,

The news comes after a brief yet influential period of impressing upon the federal government the urgency and need for the expansion by city leaders, U.S. senators, and other key stakeholders. The 2020 permit amends the current permit to allow for the addition of another bridge at the international port of entry.

This second span will give Pharr a competitive advantage by adding additional lanes to completely separate trucks and cars, dedicating specific lanes for empties, full cargo, certified cargo, and passenger vehicles, thereby adding capacity and reducing wait times. With this permit, Pharr will now have an official gate-to-gate FAST lane, or set of FAST lanes, from Mexico to the United States.

Typically, a permit process can take multiple years before approval; Pharr’s application was fast-tracked due to the dedicated efforts of city leaders and staff, consulting engineers Structural Engineering Associates, Inc., and others, who prioritized this project and worked diligently with U.S. and Mexican officials, despite the challenges of being in the midst of a global pandemic.

The City of Pharr worked with Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn and their staff on this project, which began in September 2019 with a meeting between Pharr’s team and the White House arranged by Senator Cruz. Senator Cornyn led efforts and coordinated meetings between Pharr and the U. S. Department of State, which led to the formal notification to the U.S. Department of State in April 2020 of Pharr’s intent to expand the international bridge. Between April and August of 2020, Pharr leaders and representatives consulted with major U. S. and Mexican stakeholders, culminating in more than 60 letters of support from elected officials at the local, state, federal, and international levels.

The project also received support from all major transportation and trade associations, border infrastructure groups, and private industry partners that utilize the bridge on a daily basis. The Pharr City Commission authorized the submission of the presidential permit amendment application to the U. S. Department of State, which was submitted on September 30, 2020, and just three months later, the permit was issued.

“It is unprecedented that a sitting President of the United States grants a Presidential Permit Amendment with record time, and we thank him for doing so,” said Mayor Hernandez. “This new year began on a positive note with the issuing of this permit for the expansion of the Pharr International Bridge,” Hernandez continued. “The City of Pharr is appreciative of the diligent efforts made possible by the government relations and bridge teams at the city level, in coordination with Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, which opened the doors of communication with our presidential administration and federal agencies to accomplish this goal with unprecedented speed due to the forthright and transparent communication regarding the need and urgency of this project,” he continued.

“This permit amends the current permit to allow for the expansion of the Pharr International Bridge, and will further support the record numbers of international trade and commerce that transpires on our port of entry,” Hernandez added. “It is a wonderful new year, indeed!” he continued.

“Pharr’s ports of entry serve as a gateway for billions of dollars in cross-border trade that benefits our state’s economy,” said Senator Cornyn.  “Expanding the Pharr International Bridge will enhance trade and travel and benefit all who use the facility,” he added.

Senator Cruz remarked, “Texas is home to some of the nation’s busiest border crossings and the Pharr International Bridge serves as an important port of entry to facilitate the United States’ trade and commerce with Mexico. I am grateful the Trump Administration recognized the importance of expanding the Pharr International Bridge to further enhance the U.S.-Mexico trade partnership and increase commerce between the two nations,” Senator Cruz said. “I’d like to commend the leadership of Mayor Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez, City of Pharr City Council, the staff at the City of Pharr, and community leaders for their diligent work on this project and working with our office to help ensure this project was permitted in record time. I was proud to support the Pharr International Bridge expansion project as millions of jobs, in Texas and across the country, depend upon trade with Mexico. I will continue working to ensure future trade opportunities benefit Texas and put American jobs first.”

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Zespri Adds New Fresh Carriers Vessel into Its Shipping Fleet

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The New Zealand kiwifruit industry will be boosted by three specialized reefer vessels following significant investment by operator Fresh Carriers, underpinned by their confidence in the kiwifruit industry and their longstanding relationship with Zespri.

The first of three vessels, MV Kowhai, arrived at the Port of Tauranga recently to begin loading 4,219 tons of Zespri Kiwifruit ahead of its maiden kiwifruit voyage bound for Japan. 

In recognition of the fact kiwifruit would be the main cargo transported, Fresh Carriers provided the kiwifruit industry with the opportunity to name the three new ships. Former grower Lynda Hawes’ suggestion of Kowhai was selected, symbolising the golden kiwifruit that continues to strengthen the bond between New Zealand and Japan, with the remaining two ships to be named Kakariki (Green) and Whero (Red), ensuring a full spread of Zespri’s portfolio of golden, green and red kiwifruit. 

“Each year Fresh Carriers transports around 190,000 tonnes of kiwifruit from New Zealand, and we’re pleased to deliver the first of our three brand new vessels that will ship fruit to some of Zespri’s top Asian markets,” says
Oceanic Navigation Director Bruce Nisbet. 

“The new vessels can ship more trays of kiwifruit through a higher deck, and the engines are built to the latest standards in fuel efficiency. New technology in the vessels also enable remote monitoring of fruit conditioning.

Fresh Carriers supplied 35 vessels to ship Zespri Kiwifruit to key North Asia ports this season, which is around 30 percent of this season’s fruit. 

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A Roundup of U.S. Imports of Fruits and Vegetables

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From January through September U.S. fresh vegetable imports totaled $7.56 billion, up 13 percent compared with the same period in 2019.

In contrast, U.S. fresh fruit imports (excluding bananas and plantains) totaled $8.99 billion from January through September, down 2 percent.

2020 U.S. imports of bananas and plantains during that period totaled $1.84 billion, up 2 percent compared with the same months in 2019.


Through the first six months of 2020, port volume , compared with a year ago, shows mixed trends, according to data from the USDA. 

Here are cargo trend highlights from selected ports.

Port of Seattle

Port of Seattle 2020 imports through June, compared with the same period in 2019:

  • Bananas: 58,301 metric tons, up 19 percent from 49,189 metric tons;
  • Pineapples: 1,366 metric tons, down 52 percent from 2,859 metric tons;
  • Deciduous fruit: 35,399 metric tons, up 9 percent from 32,490 metric tons;
  • Vegetables: 20,420 metric tons, up 27 percent from 16,035 metric tons;
  • Onions/shallots: 4,125 metric tons, up 135 percent from 1,231 metric tons.

Port of Seattle 2020 exports through June, compared with the same period in 2019:

  • Vegetables; 273,292 metric tons, down 16 percent from 326,183 metric tons;
  • Onions/shallots: 1,023 metric tons, down from 8,309 metric tons;
  • Deciduous fruit: 76,340 metric tons, unchanged from 76,364 metric tons; and
  • Berries: 2,396 metric tons, up 58 percent from 1,517 metric tons.

Port of Wilmington, Del.

Port of Wilmington 2020 imports through June, compared with the same period in 2019: 

  • Bananas: 774,459 metric tons, up 4.6 percent from 740,266 metric tons;
  • Pineapples: 139,911 metric tons, down 10 percent compared with 154,957 metric tons;
  • Vegetables: 11,629 metric tons, down 12 percent compared 13,090 metric tons;
  • Berries: 2,848 metric tons, up 44 percent compared with 1,975 metric tons;
  • Deciduous fruit: 128,876 metric tons, down 4 percent compared with 134,040 metric tons;
  • Mandarin oranges: 18,518 metric tons, up 67 percent compared with 11,094 metric tons; and 
  • Lemons: 953 metric tons, up 20 percent compared with 791 metric tons.

Port of Los Angeles

Port of Los Angeles 2020 exports through June, compared with same period in 2019:

  • Deciduous fruit: 8,074 metric tons, down 57 percent compared with 18,699 metric tons;
  • Vegetables: 8,373 metric tons, down 69 percent compared with 27,043 metric tons;
  • Oranges: 29,940 metric tons, down 22 percent compared with 38,372 metric ton;
  • Lemons: 6,503 metric tons, down 72 percent compared with 23,315 metric tons;
  • Edible nuts: 25,250 metric tons, down 60 percent compared with 63,343 metric tons; and
  • Cherries: 113 metric tons, down 62 percent compared with 294 metric tons.

Port of Philadelphia

Port of Philadelphia 2020 imports through June, compared with 2019:

  • Pineapples: 102,507 metric tons, up 39 percent compared with 73,665 metric tons;
  • Oranges: 42,980 metric tons, up 298 percent compared with 10,791 metric tons;
  • Onions/shallots; 10,774 metric tons, up 145 percent compared with 4,406 metric tons;
  • Mandarins: 15,528 metric tons, down 24 percent compared with 20,513 metric tons;
  • Lemons: 19,908 metric tons, up 59 percent compared with 12,504 metric tons;
  • Deciduous fruit: 350,412 metric tons, up 31 percent compared with 267,418 metric tons;
  • Berries: 46,647 metric tons, up 156 percent compared with 18,169 metric tons;
  • Bananas: 296,196 metric tons, up 42 percent compared with 207,522 metric tons; and 
  • Vegetables: 16,625 metric tons, down 37 percent compared with 26,239 metric tons.

Port of New York

Port of New York 2020 imports through June, compared with 2019:

  • Vegetables: 298,760 metric tons, up 17 percent compared with 254,456 metric tons;
  • Oranges: 16,375 metric tons, up 31 percent compared with 12,469 metric tons;
  • Onions/shallots: 26,270 metric tons, up 376 percent compared with 5,512 metric tons;
  • Mandarins: 1,217 metric tons, down 85 percent compared with 8,188 metric tons;
  • Lemons: 13,780 metric tons down 6 percent compared with 14,660 metric tons;
  • Deciduous fruit: 86,918 metric tons, down 5 percent compared with 91,534 metric tons;
  • Asparagus: 5,048 metric tons, up 386 percent compared with 1,037 metric tons; and 
  • Bananas: 62,489 metric tons, down 7 percent compared with 67,151 metric tons.

Port of Everglades, FL

Port of Everglades 2020 imports through June, compared with 2019:

  • Asparagus: 14,464 metric tons, up 226 percent compared with 4,428 metric tons;
  • Bananas: 170,861 metric tons, up 17 percent compared with 146,316 metric tons;
  • Berries: 94,693 metric tons, up 562 percent compared with 14,288 metric tons;
  • Deciduous fruit: 108,797 metric tons, down 40 percent compared with 180,496 metric tons;
  • Lemons: 3,897 metric tons, up 31 percent compared with 2,983 metric tons;
  • Onions/shallots: 3,125 metric tons, up 105 percent compared 1,522 metric tons;
  • Oranges: 2,897 metric tons, up 626 percent compared with 399 metric tons;
  • Pineapples: 26,156 metric tons, down 8 percent compared with 28,526 metric tons; and
  • Vegetables: 58,064 metric tons, up 7 percent compared with 54,320 metric tons

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Wishing All of You a Happy New Year!

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2020 has come to close and for many of us, and not too soon.

It proved to be a very challenging year for everyone. Few have been challenged more than the patriotic driver of the United States of America.

2021 has got to be better. Among the reasons for optimism is President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed (OWS), the public-private partnership to facilitate and accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.  Warp Speed program that resulted in vaccinations now becoming available in record time.

The trucking industry came through as never before during the past year delivering the vast majority of the nation’s freight to keep this great country moving.

For this reason, we are dedicating the New Year to America’s truck drivers. Despite the enormous challenges created by the China virus, you keep delivering us fresh fruits and vegetables, countless other perishables, as well as just about anything else one can think of.

Thank you for your dedication, professionalism, and perseverance during all of the adversity.

Wishing a prosperous 2021, full of success and good health for each of you and your family!

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Vegetables Per Capita Show Increase

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U.S. vegetable per capita availability increased 2.7 percent, excluding melons to 153.32 pounds in 2019, according to the USDA.

The increase in last year still left the total 2.5 percent lower than 2017, when per capita vegetable availability was 157.10 pounds.

By 2019 commodity per capita availability and percent change from 2018:

  • Asparagus: 1.75 pounds, down 0.12%;
  • Artichokes: 1.38 pounds, up 1.92%;
  • Snap/green beans:1.78 pounds, up 8.94%;
  • Broccoli; 6.14 pounds, up 3.59%;
  • Cabbage; 6.46 pounds, up 13.76%;; 
  • Carrot: 13.61 pounds, up 11.55%;
  • Cauliflower; 3.02 pounds, up 20.50%; 
  • Celery; 5.34 pounds, up 9.18%;
  • Sweet corn; 6.77 pounds, down 0.46%;
  • Cucumber: 8.01 pounds, up 0.23%;
  • Eggplant; 0.88 pounds, down 3.03%;
  • Escarole/endive: 0.17 pounds, down 1.17%;
  • Head lettuce: 12.72 pounds; up 3.15%; 
  • Romaine/leaf lettuce; 12.33 pounds; up 1.71%; 
  • Garlic; 1.92 pounds, down 19.90%; 
  • Onions: 20.39 pounds, down 0.54%;
  • Bell peppers: 11.31 pounds, up 1.31%; 
  • Pumpkin: 5.83 pounds, down 6.89%;
  • Radish; 0.54 pounds, down 1.26%; 
  • Spinach; 2.48 pounds, up 32.50%;
  • Squash; 5.87 pounds, up 3.98%; 
  • Southern Greens: 2.87 pounds, down 0.65%;
  • Tomatoes: 20.3 pounds; up 0.09%; 
  • Total without melons: 153.32 pounds, up 2.74%.

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Keeping It Fresh: Topo Chico: Bubbling Over Borders

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By Iyer Amruthur, Business Development Specialist, ALC San Antonio

The Legend of Topo Chico has a near and dear place in every Texan’s heart as the premier choice for natural sparkling mineral water. From an ancient story of an ailing Aztec princess whose father, Movtezum I Ilhuicamina, searched far and wide for a cure; wise priests told the king his daughter must bathe in the mystical waters to the north of them. The tribe embarked on a search, for health.


The king took his daughter to the springs by a mole-shaped hill called Topo Chico. After bathing in, and drinking the waters, legend has it that she was immediately cured. Now we see this same spring as one of the most popular sources of beverages in the world! Topo-Chico began selling its mineral water to the U.S. in the 1980s, with its primary market being the Mexican-American communities.


Texas was the biggest consumer of the Topo Beverage, and soon it developed a cult following which exploded in 2010. With retro-green-tinted bottles, and a mythical location in one of Monterrey, Mexico’s inactive volcanoes, they took the market by storm. That is until they closed one of the biggest deals in their history.


In 2017 Coca-Cola, the world’s largest soft drink company acquired Topo Chico for 220 Million Dollars. With the added supply chain, marketing, and business expertise they were able to expand their sales by 25% in the first quarter. Before the acquisition, 70% of all Topo Chico sales were in Texas but with Coke’s distribution network, they were able to easily reach areas they were unable to before. Soon they started to pop up in convenience stores, additional Walmart’s, and even Costco.


Coke understands the effect the supply chain can have on companies. One thing that the company recognized about Topo-Chico is that the following was cult-like, it was based in certain demographics, and it had a certain image people loved. As Kellam Mattier, a VP of innovation at Coke said, “It’s important for us to maintain the relevance with the core Topo Chico fan base while introducing the brand to new people.” This helps the original company, traditionally regional, to bring that same company feel to the whole nation.


Now with 2021 on the horizon, Coke will debut Topo Chico’s first Hard Alcoholic Seltzer in Latin American cities and will be launching in the U.S. in 2021. This shows the perfect synergy, and what happens between a loved brand, and an expert distributor. Logistics has a lot of the focus on trucks, but before trucks even hit the road, someone needs to make routes, orders, and deals. This is what Coke brings to the table, and why you may see Topo Chico in a store near you soon.


With the bottled-water industry booming to $16 billion in 2017, the market was shifting slightly away from soda. In this gap today, Topo-Chico fits perfectly and is growing just like the legend from long ago.

Iyer Amruthur is a business development specialist in the ALC San Antonio office and has two years of logistics experience. Iyer attended The University of Georgia where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, with a minor in Communications.

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U.S. Citrus Imports Soared in 3Q While Avocados Plunged

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U.S. citrus imports grew significantly during the third quarter of the year while volumes of other key fruits during the period such as avocados and bananas saw declines, according to the USDA.

Total imports of fresh citrus between June and September this year rose by 20 percent over 2019 to $682 million. Easily the largest increase in citrusy came from mandarins with imports soaring by 55 percent to $225 million.

Both Chile and Peru were responsible for the dramatic increase. Both have seen strong growth in soft citrus volumes in recent years. South Africa and Uruguay also increased shipments. Limes and oranges both rose by 10 percent to $134 million and $123 million, respectively, while lemons saw a 3 percent decline to $95 million.

Limes came almost entirely from Mexico, while the increase in oranges was driven by South Africa and partially offset by a decline from Chile.

Meanwhile, avocado imports experienced a huge decline of 26 percent to $531 million during the quarter. This decline was driven both by Mexico, whose volumes fell by 24 percent to $424 million, and Peru, whose shipments fell by 22 percent to $102 million.

Chilean imports in the third quarter last year were $20 million, just $1 million. Colombia, meanwhile, managed to roughly double its shipments from 2019 to $4 million. Banana imports fell by 7 percent to $457 million, driven by Guatemala’s volumes falling by 9 percent to $220 million.

Costa Rica and Ecuador saw declines of 11 percent each to $91 million and $43 million, while Honduras saw a 15 percent increase to $41 million. Blueberry imports remained stable at $183 million, with a sharp increase from Peru offset by an equally sharp decrease from Canada.

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WP Rawl Honors Veterans This Holiday Season

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Pelion, S.C. – WP Rawl, the premier grower, processor and shipper of leafy greens honored fallen military heroes by participating in Wreaths Across America Day this December.

WP Rawl’s dedicated truck and trailer traveled from Pelion, South Carolina to Columbia Falls, Maine to pick up thousands of fresh evergreen wreaths to be placed on the headstones of veterans – a symbol used for centuries to recognize and honor the fallen.

Each year National Wreaths Across America Day takes place in over 1,600 locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea, and abroad continuing the tradition by participating in annual wreath-laying ceremonies.

For the first time in five years of participating, the company picked up wreaths for two national cemeteries in their home state of South Carolina. Over 28,500 wreaths were delivered to Fort Jackson and Beaufort National Cemetery for the headstones of the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Beaufort National Cemetery held a parade on Saturday, December 19th where trucks were escorted into the cemetery with a crowd of cheering volunteers.  WP Rawl driver and Army veteran, Craig Ruff had the honor of delivering both loads of wreaths. “It was an honor as a peace time veteran to retrieve a load of wreaths from Maine and then to deliver them to the two national cemeteries,” said Ruff. “It was a humbling experience and great joy meeting all of the folks that want to honor our military heroes. I am grateful for WP Rawl for giving me the opportunity as an employee and veteran. Thank you! I am packed and ready for next year!”

“In a year of so many uncertainties, we were happy to be able to continue the tradition of supporting Wreaths Across America.” said Ashley Rawl, vice president of sales, marketing and product development. “What better way to support our local heroes then by showing our thanks to the many men and woman who are to thank for the many freedoms we have today.” 

WP Rawl has supported the Wreaths Across America organization throughout the years by donating services, sponsoring wreaths and sending employees who volunteered to lay wreaths on fallen veterans’ graves.

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About WP Rawl
Dating back to 1925, WP Rawl is a fourth generation family farm which has grown to become a grower/shipper/processor, specializing in year-round bulk and value-added leafy greens and vegetables in the Rawl®, Nature’s Greens® and Palmetto Gardens® brands.

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Merry Christmas!

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A huge shout to all of you truck drivers across America. As you cross this great nation through rain, shine and snow, you keep this country moving!

Wishing each of you a Merry Christmas and God’s blessings on you and your families.

Thank you for your service.

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