Posts Tagged “feature”

Fresh Produce Spending for 2017 is Up, But Trails Food Spending

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While consumer spending on fruit and vegetables increased in 2017, it still trailed the percentage hike in overall spending on food.

The data is found in the 2017 Consumer Expenditures report published by The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Overall total consumer spending increased 4.8 percent in 2017, following an increase of 2.4 percent in 2016. The report said the average annual expenditures by consumer units increased from $57,311 in 2016 to $60,060 in 2017. 

Spending on fruits and vegetables totaled $837 in 2017, an increase of 6.9 percent compared with 2016, which compares a 7.3 percent increase in spending on all food.

Food-at-home spending rose 7.3 percent to $4,363 while food-away-from-home spending rose 6.7 percent to $3,365, according to the CE report. The percentage of total expenditures on food was reported at 13 percent in 2017, the same share as the previous three years.

The mean average spending across all consumer units was $274 for fresh vegetables and $314 for fresh fruit. The share of fresh produce purchases compared to all consumer expenditures was 0.5 percent for fresh vegetables and 0.5 percent for fresh fruit.

By the age of consumers, for example, top spending consumers for fresh fruit were in the 45 to 54 age bracket, with mean expenditures of $378 or 2017. That compares with just $176 spend on fresh fruit for consumers aged under 25.
For fresh vegetables, the 35 to 44-year-old age group was top rated, with 2017 mean expenditures of $329 compared with $138 for consumers under age 25.

Not surprisingly, the report said that top spenders on fresh produce were top earners. Consumers making more than $200,000 per year spent an average of $529 on fresh vegetables, compared with $140 for those making less than $15,000. But consider the consumer making less than $15,000 was spending 0.6 percent of income on fresh vegetables, compared with 0.3 percent for the consumer making more than $200,000.

There is more micro-analysis where that came from. The report shows spreadsheets for spending by income before taxes by quintile, decile, and range; age of the reference person; size of the consumer unit; composition of the consumer unit; number of earners; housing tenure (homeowner or renter) and type of area (urban or rural); region of residence; occupation; highest education level of any consumer unit member; race; Hispanic or Latino origin; and generation of reference person.

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USDA is Predicting 2019-20 Season Apple Shipments to be up 4 Percent

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A 4 percent increase in U.S. apple shipments is forecast by the USDA for the upcoming 2019-20 season.

The 2019 crop — fresh and processing crops — is forecast at 10.6 billion pounds, or 252.4 million (42-pound) cartons. An increase of 4 percent from a year ago.

“Washington growers reported favorable summer growing weather, contributing to a crop with excellent quality and finish,” the USDA reported in its forecast.

New York growers also reported good growing conditions. In Michigan, a wet spring hampered pollination. Below normal fruit counts in Michigan were partially offset by good fruit sizing, according to the report.

The USDA forecast for the major apple shipping states are:

  • California: 300 million pounds, up 20 percent from 250 million pounds last year;
  • Michigan: 1.05 billion pounds, unchanged from a year ago;
  • New York: 1.25 billion pounds, down 10 percent from 1.4 billion pounds last year;
  • Pennsylvania: 500 million pounds, up 2 percent from 488 million pounds in 2018;
  • Virginia: 185 million pounds, down 9 percent from 204 million pounds a year ago; and 
  • Washington: 7.2 billion pounds, up 7 percent from 6.7 billion pounds in 2018.

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Church Brothers, FiveStar Gourmet partner to Expand Items, Logistics, etc.

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A partnership has been completed between Church Brothers Farms of Salinas, CA and FiveStar Gourmet Foods of Ontario, CA. The latter has value-added salads and packaged snacks for retail and a range of fresh-cut items for foodservice operators.

The move will allow FiveStar to offer bagged salad kits and other convenience items beyond its Simply Fresh salad line in plastic containers, with conventional and organic products.

Through the agreement, the companies expand product offerings in the retail and foodservice arenas, but also will collaborate on resources, infrastructure, logistics, food safety and facilities, according to a news release from the companies. 

The partnership is effective immediately. There is no change in ownership or personnel, and the companies continue to operate separately.

For several years, FiveStar has purchased product grown by Church Brothers for its Simply Fresh line of salads.

“This legal partnership creates a vertically integrated program for FiveStar Gourmet Foods and we are extremely excited to work with such a well-known, established company like Church Brothers Farms,” Tal Shoshan, CEO of FiveStar, Ontario, Calif., said in the release. “A grower-direct supply helps further our new product innovation especially within packaged salads like blends and kits, which FiveStar plans to impact in a big way, similar to how we impacted the salad bowl category.”    

Church Brothers CEO Brian Church said the company plans to use the partnership to enter the bagged salad category.

“This partnership allows us to expand into regional processing with FiveStar’s state-of-the-art facilities in California and Florida, and quickly scale up to create new, innovative value added-items for our customers,” Church said in the release. “FiveStar will leverage our strong land base of more than 40,000 conventional and organic crop acres to expand into the bagged salad category.”

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NW Pear Shipping Estimate is Increased by 8 Percent

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By Pear Bureau Northwest

PORTLAND, Ore. – Northwest pear growers have released their latest crop estimate for pear shipments in the 2019-20 season. The estimate is based on data reported from Washington’s Wenatchee and Yakima districts and Oregon’s Mid-Columbia and Medford districts.

While the initial season estimate – reported in May – came in at 17.3 million standard box equivalents, the current estimate is around 18.6 million standard box equivalents, or 408,800 US tons. This marks an 8 percent increase from the initial crop estimate, coming in 1 percent higher than the 5-year average and 1 percent less than the 2018 harvest.

“The increase from the initial estimate is due to the fruit sizing up very well in the last two months. Growers are reporting large, beautiful fruit on the trees with sizes that are in demand from retailers in the U.S. and Canada. With ample larger sized pears, there will also be plenty of smaller fruit to fill the demand for bagged pears and for the export markets that prefer smaller fruit,” stated Kevin Moffitt, President and CEO of Pear Bureau Northwest (PBNW).

Picking is just about to begin throughout the four growing regions of the Northwest and will continue throughout August and September. Pick dates for the 2019-20 season are later than last season, but close to the historical average. Starkrimson harvest is beginning this week in most districts, with the Bartlett picking starting this week in Mid-Columbia and next week in the other districts. Later in the month, harvest of Comice, Bosc, Forelle and Seckel will begin along with Anjou harvest, with harvest completed by late September.

Based on the current estimates for this season, Green Anjou will be the leading variety with 9.5 million standard boxes (about 51 percent of total Northwest fresh pear crop), with Green Bartlett following at 4.8 million standard boxes (about 26 percent of the total crop), and Bosc with 2.5 million (about 13 percent of the total crop). There will be 1.1 million standard boxes of Red Anjou, representing about 6 percent of the crop.

Organic pear numbers are included in the overall estimate and their numbers continue to grow with more acres in transition. This year’s organic estimate is 1.9 million standard boxes (42,000 tons), making up 11 percent of the total Northwest crop. Looking at the entire organic crop, growers project 705,350 standard boxes of Green Anjou, with the Green Bartlett and Bosc crops sizes projected at 700,550 and 273,400 standard boxes, respectively.

About Pear Bureau Northwest

Pear Bureau Northwest is a non-profit marketing organization established in 1931 to promote the fresh pears grown in Washington and Oregon, home to 88 percent of the US commercial fresh pear crop. The Bureau represents close to 900 grower families and partners with outlets throughout the world in an effort to increase overall success with the pear category. The organization provides marketing and merchandising expertise that is customized specifically for each retail organization, using its pear consumer research findings as well as individual store analysis using an in-house data system that measures pear category performance nationwide and third-party research to show retailers how they perform versus their competition.

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Stemilt Peach and Nectarine Shipments are Well Underway

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Stemilt Growers of Wenatchee, WA was in the third week of harvest of Artisan Organics peaches and nectarines in early August and will be shipping well into September.

“It’s been a strong start to our all-organic peach and nectarine season thanks to ideal temperatures in southeastern Washington state,” Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager, said in a news release.

Peak loading season for Artisan Organics peaches and nectarines is until mid-September, according to the release.

Stemilt has a new pop-up bin display for retailers featuring Stemilt fruit with the Artisan Organics logo, according to the release.

“Display bins are an effective merchandising tool, but especially helpful with organic fruit,” Shales said. “Retailers can build larger displays of organic peaches and nectarines with these bins in order to drive impulse sales.”

Stemilt differentiates themselves with organic peaches and nectarines through their ten-year partnership with the Douglas family.

“The move to organics was a move to produce fruits with complex flavors,” Shales said. “Flavor is what consumers crave, and we’re confident that we’ll keep delivering on that promise with our Artisan Organics peaches until season’s end.”   

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Belleharvest, Michigan Fresh Join Forces to Ship Apples

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Two Michigan apple markets have combined sales staffs and represent about 150 growers, which will result in around 3 million bushels of Michigan apple shipments due to the union.

Joining forces are Belleharvest Sales Inc. and Michigan Fresh Marketing.

The merger creates a sales alliance, resulting in the second-largest apple shipping operation in Michigan, according to a news release. In 2018, 10 million to 11 million of the state’s 24 million bushels were sold on the fresh market.

The apples will be packed at 7 facilities owned by Belleharvest of Belding, MI., and Michigan Fresh Marketing of Grand Rapids.

“This move is being made to take full advantage of both companies’ strengths and abilities,” Milt Fuehrer, Belleharvest CEO, said. “By merging the offices into one company there will be a robust sales department along with a wider distribution footprint.”

Michigan Fresh CEO Joe D’Ottavio said the partnership allows for innovation.

“The growth potential these two organizations bring to the market is exponential,” D’Ottavio said. “We have an experienced sales team, diverse varieties, and the ability to pack orders quickly and efficiently.”

The Belleharvest/Michigan Fresh partnership follows other changes in the Michigan apple industry. In January, Applewood Fresh Growers LLC of Sparta, formed to market apples from more than 11,000 acres in Michigan and other states.

Also in January, Riveridge Produce Marketing, a Sparta apple grower-shipper-marketer, acquired Sparta apple company Jack Brown Produce’s sales operation.

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Wisconsin Potato Shipments Expected to be Good This Season

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While we haven’t seen any estimate for Wisconsin potato shipments, reading between the lines it appears a fairly normal season is expected.

While some diggings got underway the last week of July, the main crop, which is russets, is just now starting.

The Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association reports a decent crop with adequate rain.

Alsum Farms & Produce Inc. of Friesland reports Wisconsin has been shipping reds and gold potatoes since the first week of August.

Alsum is just starting to dig its new crop russets this week and will immediately start shipping its new-crop of fingerlings.

Alsum apparently avoided heavy rains in late July, despite other regions of the state being heavily impacted by strong storms.

Bushmans’ Inc. of Rosholt reports spring rains delayed planting schedules, but the crop has been rapidly catching up during the summer. However, the company notes it was catching up due to favorable weather and is cranking up its packing shed this week with russets. It has been shipping reds and round whites since late July.

Okray Family Farms of Plover reports too much rain put the harvest behind about 10 days for the normal starting date of August 1st.

A similar report comes from RPE Inc. of Bancroft, WI although it is reporting a great looking crop, although its about 7 to 10 days late.

Farmers Potato Exchange Inc. of Antigo reports a similar situation.

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The Launch Of Wonderful Seedless Lemons is Coming this Fall

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By The Wonderful Company

LOS ANGELES, California – The Wonderful Company, known for its dedication to harvesting health and happiness around the world through its iconic consumer brands today announced the introduction of a new produce brand, Wonderful Seedless Lemons, a naturally seedless, Non-GMO Project Verified variety of lemon that will debut this fall 2019. The Wonderful Company owns the exclusive rights to this new, premium quality seedless lemon variety available in North America.

“As the leading grower, shipper, packer, and distributor of citrus in North America, Wonderful is uniquely positioned to offer this new and innovative variety of seedless lemons,” said Adam Cooper, senior vice president of marketing at The Wonderful Company. “As consumers’ appetite for seedless varieties in produce continues to grow, Wonderful Seedless Lemons will disrupt the industry and become a top category driver for branded produce.”

Wonderful is no stranger to the citrus category, with Wonderful Halos quickly rising through the ranks to become America’s No. 1 mandarin brand in less than five years. Lemon category growth and consumer consumption for lemons is second only to mandarins, and has nearly doubled in the last five years, with even more room to grow, according to IRI data. According to a third-party study commissioned by The Wonderful Company, 83 percent of lemon buyers state they are likely to purchase a seedless lemon, and 81 percent cite the inconvenience of seeds as a key reason. Ease and efficiency were two of the top benefits of purchasing a seedless lemon stated by lemon buyers who participated in the study.

“We’re encouraged that lemon buyers have expressed their willingness to pay a premium price for seedless lemons,” added Cooper. “This is a game-changer for lemon buyers and will transform how they use and eat lemons in their everyday life. Wonderful has a history of bringing unique and healthy products to market by building trust and brand love with consumers through our $1 billion investment in brand building for Wonderful Pistachios, Wonderful Halos, and POM Wonderful.”

The Wonderful Seedless Lemons’ marketing campaign will introduce new branded packaging creating a bigger marketplace for bagged lemons, as well as eye-catching in-store point-of-sale (POS) displays to capture consumer attention while shopping. Retailers who have carried The Wonderful Company POS have experienced more than two times lift in velocity growth versus those without. Additional marketing campaign initiatives will roll out during the brand’s debut this fall.

About The Wonderful Company Headquartered in Los Angeles, The Wonderful Company is a privately held $4.6 billion global company dedicated to harvesting health and happiness around the world through its iconic consumer brands. The company’s 10,000 employees worldwide are committed to bringing consumers everywhere the freshest, most wholesome pistachios, almonds, citrus and pomegranates; bottling the finest water and wines; and creating colorful bouquets that are sure to touch the heart. This commitment is reflected in the company’s market share: Wonderful Pistachios® is America’s No. 1 tree nut brand and America’s fastest-growing snack; Wonderful® Halos® is the No. 1 mandarin orange in America; POM Wonderful® is the No. 1 100% pomegranate brand in America; FIJI® Water is America’s No. 1 premium imported bottled water brand; JUSTIN® Wine has the No. 1 Cabernet Sauvignon in California; and Teleflora® is the world’s leading floral delivery service.

The Wonderful Company’s connection to consumers has health at its heart and giving back in its DNA. The company has a longstanding commitment to corporate social responsibility, including more than $300 million invested in environmental technologies and sustainability research, $50 million in charitable giving and education initiatives every year, $100 million toward the construction of two charter school campuses in California’s Central Valley, and innovative health and wellness programs, including two new, free primary care clinics for employees and their dependents.

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Duda is Importing Citrus to the U.S. for the 17th Season

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OVIEDO, FL– After concluding a successful domestic citrus season in the United States, Duda Farm Fresh Foods launched its imported citrus program for the 17th consecutive summer.

Beginning mid-May through October, Duda imports citrus to the U.S. from the southern hemisphere.

During the 2019 season, Duda introduced Argentinian lemons. Available in stores now, Chilean easy-peeler clementines display vibrant colors and a premium sugar-to-acid ratio, which results in a sweeter flavor perfect for late summer snacking. Duda’s line of imported citrus, sold under the Dandy® label, includes clementines, lemons, navels and Cara Cara oranges.

“Preserving our relationships with growers in the southern hemisphere for over 17 years now is a great accomplishment and one we are very proud of,” said Alberto Cuellar, vice president of global business at Duda Farm Fresh Foods. “As consumer demand for citrus in the summer increases, we will continue to meet that need through our citrus import program.”

Once the domestic market is out of the citrus growing season, Duda ensures their customers receive fresh-tasting fruit year-round by maintaining its long-lasting relationships with growers in the southern hemisphere. The brand primarily has sourced fruit from Chile, Peru and Uruguay, and looks to continue bringing high-quality products with new additions from Morocco and Argentina.  

“At Duda Farm Fresh Foods, we are constantly improving our citrus variety to provide quality fruit for our customers year-round,” said Dan Duda, president of Duda Farm Fresh Foods. “Importing citrus from our growers in the southern hemisphere allows us to provide a solution to seasonal gaps in the U.S. market.”

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Minnesota’s First Kiss Apple Shipments Return in Limited Volume

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Introduced in 2018 First Kiss is an apple variety being shipped in greater, but still very limited supply.

For the first time, First Kiss will ship to select retailers nationwide, according to a news release. The variety was introduced by Honeybear Brands of Elgin, MN. It is grown exclusively in Minnesota.

“Our orchards are maturing each season and producing more and more of this amazing new fruit, so we’re able to ship — still in very limited supply — to a few retail partners outside of Minnesota who really want to try something that will wow their apple-loving customers,” Don Roper, Honeybear Brands vice president of sales and marketing, said.

First Kiss is a descendent of Minnesota’s Honeycrisp. The result is a tart and juicy apple with a firm, crisp bite and a deep, scarlet skin.

“It’s an early season apple … so it really now marks the opening of the premium apple season,” Kristi Harris, Honeybear Brands brand manager, said.

In Minnesota, Lund’s and Cub stores will sell First Kiss apples. 


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