Archive For The “News” Category

Del Monte Optimistic About Blueberry Season; Monsanto is Seeking Sweeter Strawberries

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A12Optimism abounds at Del Monte Fresh Produce as the domestic blueberry shipments progress.  Also, Monsanto is looking to genetically alter strawberry to get a sweet taste and longer shelf life.

Del Monte Fresh

By Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. Inc.

Coral Gables, FL – Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc. (Del Monte) is optimistic about the domestic blueberry season that spans between March and September.  It began in the south and eastern states, continued to California in April, and later into British Columbia.

Del Monte’s Chilean import blueberry season finished with increased volumes over the prior years and it continues to expand to meet the growing interest from retailers and food service customers. 

“The demand for fresh blueberries in the United States has grown steadily over the past decade. Per capita consumption more than tripled since 2005, exceeding 1.5 pounds per person,” said Dennis Christou, VP Marketing N.A. “Del Monte has been a key player in growing and shipping premium blueberries in Chile for more than 25 years and we continue to expand our operations to meet this growing demand. A major advantage we have is our Del Monte Fresh Cut business which these products support.”

The Mexico blueberry season will begin in early fall.

About Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A., Inc.  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.

 Sweeter Strawberries

by Erin Brodwin, Business Insider

In a move aimed at securing a place in the rapidly evolving food technology scene, the agricultural giant Monsanto has invested $125 million in a gene-editing startup called Pairwise.

The alliance could tee up Monsanto, long known for its controversial dealings with farmers and its role in popularizing genetically modified organisms, to introduce some of the first produce made using the blockbuster gene-editing tool Crispr. Sweeter strawberries with a longer shelf life could be among the earliest offerings.

The tool allows scientists to accurately target specific problem areas within the genome of a living thing, opening up the potential to tweak the DNA of everything from row crops like corn and soy to produce like apples and asparagus to make the produce taste sweeter, last longer on the shelf, and even tolerate drought or flooding.

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Green Giant Fresh Launches New Fresh Vegetable Meal Bowls Line

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A2By Green Giant

Salinas, CA – Green Giant™ Fresh has launched a new line of fresh vegetable Meal Bowls with six distinct world flavors. All bowls are microwave-safe and ready in just minutes making them a convenient meal option for time-starved consumers and people who are on the go but don’t want to forego nutrition or flavor for fast foods or quick meals. Just heat, stir in included sauce/seasoning packet and enjoy!

Plans for expanding this line are already in the works, while the original Meal Bowl flavors include:

  • Burrito Bowl
  • Fried Rice Bowl
  • Pad Thai Bowl
  • Rancheros Bowl
  • Buddha Bowl
  • Ramen Bowl

The bowls are comprised of different Green Giant Fresh value-added vegetable mixes and blends including items from their Cauliflower Crumbles® line—the original chopped cauliflower product that kicked off the riced/chopped veggie craze in 2016—and items from their 2017 Vegetable Noodles line.

Each vegan-friendly meal bowl comes with a sauce/seasoning packet that’s full of flavors ranging from sweet and tangy to zesty and savory. Other bowl additives include roasted chickpeas (Buddha Bowl) and dry roasted edamame (Ramen Bowl).  Other protein preferences (e.g. chicken, shrimp, beef, tofu, egg) can also be easily added to any of the bowls, delivering the versatility to customize bowls to any palate, or to create a complete rounded meal.

“We know consumers are on the go and looking for healthy and nutritious foods, swaps and meal alternatives,” said Jamie Strachan, chief executive officer, Green Giant Fresh. Continuing, “Our meal bowls line was developed in response to this demand, then refined and perfected with our premium vegetable products, along with desirable flavors that give each bowl its distinctive personality.”

About Green Giant™ Fresh

Green Giant™ Fresh is an industry-leading fresh vegetable brand in the U.S. with a full line of commodity vegetables, as well as many first-to-market products. Their comprehensive line of fresh vegetables – covering every major commodity and vegetable category – is complemented by their extensive line of unique and innovative value-added items.

As the only fresh produce brand featuring Box Tops for Education™ clips, Green Giant Fresh has contributed over $2 million to this worthy cause, which benefits America’s K-8 schools nationwide. Box Tops clips can be found on over 100 of their products. Related website:  GreenGiantFresh.com

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Study Shows Fewer, but Larger Produce Farming Operations

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applepixA new study shows the size of fruit and vegetable farming operations is steadily increasing.

While the report does not address it, does this mean more loading opportunities for produce haulers at fewer locations?

“Three decades of consolidation in U.S. agriculture,” a U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service report said that the midpoint acreage (half of farms are below the midpoint acreage and half the farms are above it) for fruit, nut and berry operations increased in 19 of 20 crops between 1987 and 2012, with the average increase pegged at 110 percent. Except for lemon farms, which declined in size 16 percent from 1987 to 2012, all other fruit operations grew in size, the report reads.

The report was written by James MacDonald, Robert Hoppe and Doris Newton.

There has been evidence that average farm size has been slowing in the last decade, MacDonald said, but he added the long-term trend has been large and persistent across all crops.

For vegetable and melon crops, there has been a “clear slowing” of consolidation from 2007 to 2012 for vegetable and melon crops.  Midpoint acreage declined in six of 20 crops, and the average increase was 10 percent over that five-year period, compared with previous five-year gains averaging 20 percent.

Technology has been a driver in larger farm sizes, MacDonald said.

For fruit and vegetable crops, Florida has faced urbanization pressures that have held down average farm sizes. Over the past 30 years, California has seen growers move out of field crops such as grains and into almonds, fruits, vegetables and other specialty crops.

Across all crops, the USDA reported 51 percent of the value of U.S. farm production came from farms with at least $1 million in sales, up from 31 percent in 1991.

Land consolidation in fruits and vegetables and nuts, 1987-2012

Midpoint for harvested acreage (half of operations larger, half of operations smaller)

1987             2012         Change

Almonds       203                547           169 percent

Apples            83                179           116 percent

Asparagus    160                200            44 percent

Avocados        40                  50            25 percent

Blueberries      50                100           100 percent

Cantaloupe    400                350            -12 percent

Grapes           205                420            105 percent

Grapefruit       320                573               79 percent

Lettuce           949              1,275              34 percent

Pistachios      465                  926              99 percent

Potatoes        350                1,054             21 percent

Strawberries    24                   180             650 percent

Tangerines       55                    336           511 percent

Tomatoes        400                   930           133 percent

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News Briefs: Idaho Potatoes; Temperature Recorders Introduced; and Oakland Port has New Plan

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A23In the news, Idaho potato crop value soars, while temperature recorders are introduced at Wal-Mart distribution centers. Finally, the Port of Oakland announces 5-year growth plan. 

The value of the 2017 Idaho potato crop was 22 percent more the previous year as it  hit a record $1.2 billion, according to the USDA.

However, harvested acreage in the state was down 5 percent and yields were down 1.2 percent.  Half those potatoes — whether fresh, frozen or dehydrated — end up on restaurant menus and at other foodservice operations, says the Idaho Potato Commission, which accounts for 13 billion pounds.

“Consumers are demanding a broader variety of creative and ethnic foods that would often be too challenging, costly and time consuming to prepare at home,” Don Odiorne, the commission’s vice president of foodservice/website, said in a release.  “A variety of Idaho potatoes products and recipe options help operators meet that demand.”

Temperature Recorders

 Cargo Data temperature recorders have been approved by Wal-Mart distribution centers for use by their inspectors and receivers.  The instruments are provided in self-hanging protective plastic pouches for protection from moisture and other contaminants.  The pouches are also bright orange, which makes it easier for the Inspectors/Receivers to find the instrument within your shipment.  Cargo Data’s Wal-Mart approved temperature recorders are $8.50/ea plus shipping, packed in cases of 20.

Port of Oakland has New 5- Year Plan

A new five-year strategic plan has been announced by The Port of Oakland (Calif.) which will serve as a blueprint for expansion.

Dubbed “Growth with Care,” the plan outlines projections for record business volumes for aviation and maritime businesses, capital investments for major projects and an emphasis on sustainability.

“We can grow, but we want our neighbors to grow with us,” Port of Oakland Executive Director Chris Lytle said in a news release about the 21-page document.

Cargo volume should reach 2.6 million 20-foot-equivalent containers (TEUs) by 2022, according to the plan, an increase of 8 percent.

Two projects will help with that increase:

  • Cool Port Oakland, a 283,000-square-foot refrigerated distribution center that is set to open this summer, and
  • A 440,000-square-foot distribution center planned at the nearby Seaport Logistics Complex.

Curbing diesel emissions is also a part of the strategic plan, and truck emissions at the port have been cut 98 percent since 2009, and vessel emissions have declined 76 percent.

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The Appeal of Electric Trucks; Acquisition of Mann is Completed by Del Monte

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A34The appeal of big rig electric trucks may be even bigger than thought….Plus, Del Monte completes its acquisition of Mann Packing.

Electric Trucks

Testla Inc. is the maker of the long-distance class-8 electric trucks scheduled to be introduced in 2019.  Now some fans of the new truck believe they will pay off the difference between electric and diesel trucks in as little as 18 months.  Jim Monkmeyer, president of DHL Supply Chain, who is one of the first to order the electric trucks, recent told Reuters the new trucks could pay for themselves this fast because of energy usage and low maintenance costs.  Engines for electric trucks are said to be much simpler in relation to the number of parts and complexities of the parts.

Additionally, based on the assumption diesel fuel costs will remain high, plus costs are projected to decrease for electric trucks, the saving could be even more than originally anticipated. anticipated.

Sysco Corp. of Houston already contracted to by 50 tractor-trailers,  while Meijer Inc. of Grand Rapids, MI is set up for an electric truck test drive.

Del Monte/Mann Acquisition

 Fresh Del Monte Produce of Coral Gables, FL  has finalized its acquisition of Mann Packing Co. Inc. of Salinas, CA for about $361 million.

Del Monte has been for years associated primarily with bananas, but more recently has been diversifying its business.  Purchasing Mann accelerates its efforts to become more invested in fresh-cut.  Its sales in the segment for 2017 were $607.8 million, up 18 percent from the previous year.

Mann’s product offering is roughly 50-50 between bulk vegetables and fresh-cut.   Del Monte recently spelled out some of its plans to incorporate Mann into its operations.  It was noted Mann is mainly on the West Coast with much less of a presence in the Northeast, but has little activity in the Southeast and Southwest of the U.S.  Thus, Del Monte is looking to develop new business in those regions.  It also is looking leverage its infrastructure across the U.S. to improve marketing and distribution of Mann Packing products.

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Shipping Updates for Springtime Strawberries, Avocados and Apples

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DSCN0444Here are updates on strawberry, avocado and apple shipments.

As of April 7th California strawberry shipments had totaled around 17.5 million trays, which is over 3 million fewer trays than at the same time in 2017.  Likewise, at the same time two years ago  27.4 million trays of strawberries had been shipped.  Factors ranging from heavy rains to cold weather have been blamed for the lighter volume thus far this season.  Assuming improved growing conditions are ahead with the arrival of spring, California shipments are expected to increase soon to over 5 million trays per week and eventually exceed 8 million trays on a weekly basis.

Ventura County strawberries and vegetables – grossing about $7500 to New York City.

Avocado Shipments

If estimates hold about 60 million pounds of avocados will be shipped weekly during the month of April  Over 80 percent of the volume will be imports from Mexico.  With this kind of volume, avocado shipments leading up to Cinco de Mayo (May 5) will comparable to those weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.  The “Big Game” last February resulted in  200 million pounds of the fruit shipped in the four weeks leading up to the football game.

Mexican is in it second half of the season for shipping avocados.  More No. 2 product, is typically shipped this time of the season, but no significant quality issues are being reported.. California’s new season is well underway.

Mexican avocado and vegetables crossing through South Texas – grossing about $5800 to New York City.

Apple Shipments

Significantly more apples remain in U.S. storages as of early April than at this time a year ago.  About 61.3 million (42-pound) cartons of fresh apples were stored as of  April 1st, up 16 percent from 2017 when there were 53.1 million cartons remaining to be shipped, which is 18 percent greater than the five-year average of 51.8 million cartons.

Gala apples remaining is storage were 10.76 million cartons, up 11 percent from 9.6 million cartons in 2017 and 62 percent greater than 6.67 million cartons in 2016.

Fresh Honeycrisp available was at 3.38 million cartons, more than double the 1.45 million cartons in 2017 and 1.61 million cartons on hand two years ago.

Red delicious remaining to be shipped  were pegged at 15.65 million cartons, down 23 pecent compared with 20.2 million cartons in 2017 and up 7 percent from 14.6 million cartons two years ago.

Granny smith apples available were 10.1 million cartons, more than double the 4.8 million cartons in 2017 and 13 percent higher than 7.8 million cartons two years ago.

Yakima Valley apples – grossing about $6700 to New York City.

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Eating Vegetables and Fruit May Also Reduce Risk of Depression

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A3by American Academy of Neurology

MINNEAPOLIS — People who eat vegetables, fruit and whole grains may have lower rates of depression over time, according to a preliminary study released recently will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 70th Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, April 21 to 27, 2018.

The study found that people whose diets adhered more closely to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet were less likely to develop depression than people who did not closely follow the diet. In addition to fruit and vegetables, the DASH diet recommends fat-free or low-fat dairy products and limits foods that are high in saturated fats and sugar.

Studies have shown health benefits such as lowering high blood pressure and bad cholesterol (LDL), along with lowering body weight.

“Depression is common in older adults and more frequent in people with memory problems, vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or people who have had a stroke,” said study author Laurel Cherian, MD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “Making a lifestyle change such as changing your diet is often preferred over taking medications, so we wanted to see if diet could be an effective way to reduce the risk of depression.”

For the study, 964 participants with an average age of 81 were evaluated yearly for an average of six-and-a-half years. They were monitored for symptoms of depression such as being bothered by things that usually didn’t affect them and feeling hopeless about the future. They also filled out questionnaires about how often they ate various foods, and the researchers looked at how closely the participants’ diets followed diets such as the DASH diet, Mediterranean diet and the traditional Western diet.

Participants were divided into three groups based on how closely they adhered to the diets. People in the two groups that followed the DASH diet most closely were less likely to develop depression than people in the group that did not follow the diet closely. The odds of becoming depressed over time was 11 percent lower among the top group of DASH adherers versus the lowest group.

On the other hand, the more closely people followed a Western diet—a diet that is high in saturated fats and red meats and low in fruits and vegetables—the more likely they were to develop depression.  Cherian noted that the study does not prove that the DASH diet leads to a reduced risk of depression; it only shows an association.

“Future studies are now needed to confirm these results and to determine the best nutritional components of the DASH diet to prevent depression later in life and to best help people keep their brains healthy,” said Cherian.

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Grimmway Farms’ Georgia Facility Has a Grand Opening

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A2By Grimmway Farms

SPARKS, GA — The grand opening of the Grimmway Farms’ new Southeast Regional Packing Facility and Warehouse in Sparks, Georgia was held recently. 

Grimmway Farms, the largest grower, producer, and shipper of carrots in the world, is opening the new facility to better serve the company’s East Coast customers. The new packing and warehouse center will bring with it both permanent and seasonal jobs to the region. 

“We are proud to welcome Grimmway Farms to Georgia,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black. “With further processing of raw agricultural products historically lacking in the Southeast, Georgia is honored to be the home of this unique facility which has the potential to have significant impacts on our rural and agricultural economies in both the state of Georgia and entire Southeast.” 

The new facility also will bring positive economic impact. Grimmway Farms made approximately $5 million in capital investment to bring the new Georgia facility online and expects its Southeast operating budget to be more than $2.5 million. Additionally, the company will bring four permanent, full-time jobs and 50 seasonal jobs to Cook County. 

“At Grimmway Farms, we are always looking for fertile regions to grow carrots and further develop our year-round program,” said Jeff Huckaby, company president and CEO. “We found Cook County to be a great location to expand our operations. We are committed to providing customers with unparalleled service and this new packing facility in Sparks will allow us to load six days a week from February to May, ensuring timely delivery to our regional customers.“ 

The new plant has already begun shipping Grimmway Farms’ popular cello and jumbo carrots, packed under the Grimmway Farms, Bunny-Luv, and Premier labels. 

About Grimmway Farms

Family-owned and headquartered in Bakersfield, California, Grimmway Farms traces its roots to a produce stand opened by the Grimm brothers in the early 1960s. Grimmway is a global produce leader and the world’s largest producer of carrots. Grimmway supplies more than 65 organic, USAgrown crops year-round. Brands include Cal-Organic Farms and Bunny-Luv.

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Allen Lund Company Announces Passing of President & CEO Allen Lund

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AllenLund1By Allen Lund Company

La Cañada Flintridge Calif. – With very heavy hearts the Allen Lund Company (ALC) announces the passing of their leader for the past 42 years, Mr. D. Allen Lund.

Just recently diagnosed with a very rare and fast moving cancer, Allen was surrounded by family and friends as he said his good byes.  Allen founded his company in 1976 and was able to see the company grow to a nationwide presence and leader in the transportation, logistics and software industries. In 2017, the company became a 500M force, which was one of Allen’s goals.

A true leader within the produce and transportation industries, Allen held multiple positions with important associations. While he was passionate about the produce industry, his true passions were family and faith.  More information about Allen and his many accomplishments will be forthcoming.

The funeral mass for Allen will be Saturday, April 14, 2018, 5:00 p.m., at the Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels.

About Allen Lund Company:

Specializing as a national third-party transportation broker with nationwide offices and over 450 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 selected as 2017 Supply & Demand Chain Executive 100, 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 managed over 310,000 shipments in 2015, and received the 2013 “Best in Cargo Security Award.”  In 2011 the company received the TIA 3PL Samaritan Award, and the NASTC (National Association of Small Trucking Companies) named Allen Lund Company the 2010 Best Broker of the Year.  More information is available at www.allenlund.com.

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J&J Family of Farms Introduces Sunny Sweet Peppers: A New Pepper Variety

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AA10By J&J Family of Farms

Westlake, FL:  J&J Family of Farms is pleased to announce a new, one of a kind pepper variety: Sunny Sweet™ Peppers.

Like no other sweet pepper in its category, Sunny Sweet™ Peppers have a much sweeter taste than mini sweet peppers due to their higher BRIX1. The unique proprietary field-grown variety pepper also has a very small seed cavity located at the very top of pod, making it easier to enjoy as a bite size snack, easily stuffed, or cut up in a salad.

“We really wanted the packaging to reflect the true uniqueness of this pepper by creating a fun brand that will make an impact among our customers and their consumers,” said Angela Gamiotea, Marketing Manager. “We are excited to introduce this new Sunny Sweet™ brand, as this is just a glimpse of what’s to come in terms of product innovation at J&J Family of Farms.”

Sunny SweetTM Peppers are currently grown only in Florida and J&J is harvesting through the entire Florida growing season. The peppers are currently all yellow, but next year J&J is looking to provide other colors such as red and orange. Sunny Sweet™ Peppers are available in a 1lb. resealable bag.

“With the mini sweet pepper category growing in retail, we are thrilled to offer a product that isn’t in the marketplace yet,” said Lynn Rundle, Chairman and CEO. “Our growers also love it, because it has a great yield and grows beautifully on the plant. We are confident that once consumers taste this pepper, they will want to get their hands on it.”

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About J&J Family of Farms:  Established in 1983, J&J Family of Farms specializes in growing cucumbers, bell peppers, squash, tomatoes and eggplant. J&J manages over 14,000 acres of production from its own farms and partners and has operations in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas, Arizona and Mexico. For more information, visit www.jjfamilyoffarms.com or SunnySweetPeppers.com

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