Posts Tagged “California Giant”
By California Giant Berry Farms
Watsonville, CA – California Giant has been building their year-round berry shipments over the past several years in response to customer demand for increased volume of all four berry types. This year the company reports a milestone with fresh blueberries.
The company expects the summer blueberry crop to begin just in time for July holiday promotions both in retail and foodservice. Availability of fresh California Giant organic and conventional blueberries will continue throughout the summer and into the fall when the season moves to Mexico & South America. Again, the company has developed long term relationships with farming partners in those regions as well enabling a smooth transition from one region to another allowing promotions to continue.
Due to higher demand over the past 5 years, fresh California Giant blueberry volume has increased each year by anywhere from 15 to 30 percent.
However, summer volume from the Pacific Northwest in 2019 will increase by 45 percent over just last year. The conventional program will increase by 25 percent over last year, and the organic blueberry volume is expected to increase by 90 percent over 2018. The significant increase in California Giant brand blueberries is due to efforts in building grower partnerships, specifically in Oregon, allowing the company to ship most of their summer blueberries domestically reducing food miles.
California Giant is looking forward to this new program addition as the company will provide good volume of both conventional and organic blueberries now on a year-round basis.
“We have worked together at California Giant to develop long term partnerships with our blueberry farming partners and are excited to see these relationships come together to benefit both of us. We look forward to sharing details with our trading partners about our expended blueberry program and the volume we will bring to the table with both conventional and organic fruit just in time for summer,” says Markus Duran, North American Blueberry Operations Manager.
By California Giant Berry Farms
WATSONVILLE, CA – It’s been a year full of development and expansion at California Giant Berry Farms.
Not only has the berry company turned into a year-round powerhouse supplier of berries, but they also kicked off their newly implemented winter cross-docking collaboration in November with Mann Packing in Yuma, Arizona.
“We launched this cross-docking consolidation collaboration to provide customers with a one-stop-shop,” explains California Giant Director of Foodservice, Tom Smith. “The duration of the Yuma season typically runs from late November through mid-March – during this timeframe we can approximate cross-docking 15,000-20,000 cartons of fruit per week, resulting in a much more efficient consolidation process. Customers can reduce the number of stops on their trucks, therefore reducing time on the road and adding shelf life to the berries when they arrive to the consumer. We plan to return to the Salinas Valley in Spring 2019 to further this partnership as we continue to service our customers.”
In addition to their one-stop-shop approach – they are essentially bringing the ‘shop’ to their partners so they can also load their vegetable orders while in the desert. The continuation of collaborating with vegetable shippers is certainly on their radar as they explore freight-forwarding opportunities in the future.
As much needed rainfall swept California a couple of weeks ago and brought the Salinas-Watsonville season to an end, berry volume remains strong and steady for California Giant as Mexico, Florida and South America contribute to the fall-winter months with an abundance of fresh, quality berries.
This year, the berry company has expanded their raspberry program, providing year-round availability of the crop, while adding consistency to their 4-berry program. The key word for California Giant is consistency: in quality, consumer messaging, and production – they are now able to supply their partners and consumers with all their berry needs, all the time.
The company’s evolving and rapidly expanding Mexico raspberry program has grown 10-fold within the last year alone. The program has already resulted in well-received feedback from their partners – not to mention the impressive growing methods and techniques behind the Mexico winter crop. In addition to this, the incredible raspberry variety – the Adelita – bred from Planasa, can arguably stand up to any other variety or label on the market.
“This expanding raspberry program has been pivotal for us,” says California Giant Director of Retail Sales, Nick Chappell, who recently visited their Central Mexico operations covering over 1,300 miles of terrain and met with multiple growers and field personnel. “Our raspberry operations in Mexico are both advanced and progressive, and ultimately, the gap we once had in the winter months where our raspberry supply had fallen short has now been filled. We look forward to offering year-round availability of all four berries and offering a smooth transition from our Mexico season all the way through the start of our California season.”
Wendy’s International plans to buy almost 10% of the blackberry crop for a new seasonal salad the restaurant chain is scheduled to launch in summer 2016, based on federal numbers for domestic shipments.
California Giant Berry Farm is one of the suppliers for the 2 million pound deal, which has been in the works since 2014.
Statistics from the USDA show wholesale channels shipped almost 21.2 million pounds of U.S. blackberries in 2014. California shipped about 18 million pounds through wholesale channels in 2014.
California Giant has since started ramping up its blackberry production with many of its growers ripping out raspberries and planting blackberries. Other growers are using different pruning techniques to maximize production from existing plants.
California Giant also plans to source blackberries from the Southeast U.S., including Georgia, to meet Wendy’s demand.
The timing of the Wendy’s 2016 blackberry salad is expected to come just as the Mexican deal winds down and U.S. growers begin shipping. Supplies from California usually begin peaking in late July and continue with good volumes through the end of October.
Ultimately Wendy’s officials decided to go with California Giant and one other supplier for the blackberries. For most fresh produce commodities the chain uses two to five companies to supply its 22 distribution centers across the U.S.
Wendy’s has about 6,700 locations in North America and has introduced seven new salads in the past two years. One of those, the strawberry fields chicken salad, proved so popular in 2014 that the company brought it back this year.
The company plans to continue developing fresh produce menu items, saying consumer trends are being driven partly by celebrity chefs and cooking shows that promote healthy eating including fresh fruits and vegetables.
California Giant Berry Farms of Watsonville, CA is tapping into the growing network of food bloggers by hosting a contest which will ultimately result in gaining a new set of brand ambassadors. By hosting a contest specific to food bloggers California Giant hopes to extend their reach to consumers continuing to build brand loyalty and participate in new exciting recipes created by foodies at home in their own kitchens.
The Food blogging universe has become a great way to gain access to amazing home cooks with their own set of fans making recipes that they want to share while providing step by step instructions on how to recreate each recipe in your own home. The casual formats provided by food bloggers today makes cooking interesting, interactive and very inviting to those that might be intimidated by creating recipes in the kitchen.
“Food Blogging has become a great platform for innovative cooks at home to share their recipes, ideas on entertaining, and be part of a larger network, or community of people focused on similar interests,” says Cindy Jewell, Director of Marketing for California Giant. “We are excited about building new relationships with bloggers that want to work with us and help tell our story through their own eyes and their own kitchens”, she adds.
The contest will run between July 10, 2013 and September 18, 2013 with the winner receiving an all expense paid trip to a blogger conference in 2014. In addition, the winner of the contest will be appointed as a California Giant Berry Farms Official Brand Ambassador for six months and represent the company and its products at the blogger conference they attend.