Posts Tagged “fresh produce”

Study Shows Fresh Categories Drive Almost 50% of Dollar Growth

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A98Fresh categories are driving nearly 49 percent of all dollar growth across fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), according to Nielsen’s latest Total Consumer Report, with fresh and perishable foods accounting more than $177 billion in sales.

Although fresh categories are performing well in Retail stores, the sector still has some room for improvement, according to the June 2018 report.

Some findings include:

  • Ecommerce is still maturing within food and beverage, but fresh perishables are an opportunity in stores today. Amazon and Whole Foods merged a year ago, and ecommerce within grocery continues to grow, but is still maturing. During the past year, online food and beverage sales represented 13 percent of the overall dollar volume seen online. Fresh and perishable foods generated sales nearly 14 times as high as all online food and beverage sales this year.
  • On-the-go fresh produce fails to keep pace with clean snacking.  Americans  are not rushing to on-the-go fresh produce opportunities although they rank eating more fruits and vegetables as the top factor for healthy eating. They often prefer other snack options. On-the-go fresh produce — pre-cut produce that has been portioned intentionally for snacking purposes — declined by nearly 2 percent in dollars and 6 percent in unit volume over the past year.  On the flip side, salty snacks are proof that consumers are seeking indulgence in their snacking purchases, too, as sales grew nearly $1 billion year over year.  Still, clean-label products represented more than 35 percent of salty snack dollars in the past year.

In the battle of the burgers, frozen is still winning, but fresh is catching up; meanwhile, alternative protein growth remains strong.   Frozen patties are still the staple in the burger category, as frozen meat-based burgers have seen 2 percent dollar growth from last year.  However, fresh meat burger patties (up 8 percent) and prepared burgers from the deli section (up 15 percent) are both growing and asserting their importance to the future of the category.  Within the past year, sales of alternative-protein burgers have experienced dollar sales growth of nearly 21 percent.  However, alternative-protein burgers represent just 6 percent of the overall burger category. Despite this, frozen alternative-protein burgers grew 17 percent year over year, which highlights an area for potential expansion.

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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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SeaLand’s Technology to Monitor Produce in Transit; CA Citrus Packing Acquisition

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Sealand-web-picRemote container management technology is being introduced by Sealand, providing exporters and importers the ability to monitor conditions of fruits and vegetables from inside the containers in which they are shipped.

SeaLand, Maersk Transport and Logistics division’s regional ocean carrier to the Americas, said in a news release the technology monitors temperature, humidity, oxygen levels and the location and ventilation of the containers in transit, whether on land or at sea.

“Moving fresh produce to and from markets in the Americas is an exciting and important business,” Sealand CEO Craig Mygatt said in the release. “Consumers today want access to fresh produce all year long. We’re making that possible whether it’s bananas and pineapples from Costa Rica and Panama to the U.S. or tropical and exotic fruits such as mangoes.

Porterville Citrus acquires packing operations of LoBue Citrus

Sunkist citrus shipments will increase this season, with a member of the cooperative acquiring another shipper.

Porterville Citrus of Terra Bella, CA is a Sunkist grower who has acquired the packing operations of LoBue Citrus of Lindsay, CA., according to a news release.

Under the terms, the LoBue family will continue to own and operate its 1,000-acre citrus farming operation.

“LoBue Citrus has a rich history in the industry, and we are pleased to be able to help them continue that legacy through our organization,” Jim Phillips, president of Porterville Citrus said. “The purchase also marks further growth for Porterville Citrus, positioning us for a strong season ahead.”

For the 2017-18 season, Porterville Citrus will integrate the LoBue Citrus packing facility in Lindsay into its operations and also add a large portion of the organization’s grower network. That will increase the navel orange, mandarin, lemon and specialty acreage of Porterville Citrus and the Sunkist cooperative as a whole”.

“It’s a great to start the season by adding more high quality volume to our mix,” Russ Hanlin, president and CEO of Sunkist Growers said.

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The Produce Mom Annnounces Rebranding and New Name

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ProduceMomINDIANAPOLIS  — The Produce Mom®, a passionate advocate for the fresh produce industry lead by Lori Taylor, announces a rebrand and name change to The Produce Moms.

What started five years ago, as a blog and consumer brand of the Indianapolis Fruit Company, has evolved into an educational media brand that is owned, authored and lead by Taylor. Under her leadership, The Produce Mom has grown in its aspiration and aims to serve three specific audiences: moms, children and school professionals with inspirational content and action-oriented materials that are ultimately geared to increasing the consumption of fresh produce in America.

“I believe that if we are going to change the way America eats and establish a preference for fresh produce, we have to start at the source and build a community of moms, children and school professionals that want to see positive change. This community of Produce Moms will be comprised of the people that will ultimately lead and shape change in their local homes, schools and communities,D” said Lori Taylor, CEO of The Produce Moms.  “We intend to provide our community of Produce Moms with access to educative content on a regular basis, as we have done for the past two years. In addition, it is my goal to provide tools and turnkey solutions that The Produce Moms’ army can access and use to shape change in their own communities around the country.”

Working as the sole-source provider of a grant awarded to the state of Indiana by the USDA Team Nutrition program, The Produce Mom has led a two-year crusade across the state hosting special events at schools geared to introduce students to fresh produce varieties and encourage foodservice professionals to choose fresh form fruits and vegetables. The grant project continues for the next year and includes the publication of a national digital curriculum and continuing education program for school foodservice professionals in all 50 states. “The work that Lori and her team have conducted in K12 schools over the past two years has been transformational. I’m grateful to be a part of this movement as we’ve witnessed first-hand how children react positively to healthier food choices by making it exciting, available and delicious,” said Chef Todd Fisher, celebrated culinary veteran and spokesperson for Duda Farm Fresh Foods.  “Through public-private partnership between the USDA and Duda Farm Fresh Foods, I had the great opportunity to collaborate with The Produce Moms and educate over 200 school foodservice professionals.”

Earlier this year, school foodservice professionals in the Midwest attended three days of live training, focused on culinary skills training, Smarter Lunchrooms strategies, and recipe development to promote the under-consumed vegetable subcategories. The live training impacted over 1 billion annual school meals, and was only possible through the support of The Produce Moms, Duda and the USDA.

The work being conducted by The Produce Moms is work that will ultimately benefit the fresh produce industry as a result of increased consumption and demand of the products that are grown and distributed by producers in our industry.  In addition, The Produce Moms provides fresh produce brands with the opportunity to reach consumers in a way that is purposeful and puts fresh fruit and vegetable products at the forefront.  A plethora of fresh produce brands have been partners, supporters and advocates of The Produce Mom since its inception.

The Produce Moms provides Wada Farms with an engaged and evolving resource for on-trend marketing discussions, both with The Produce Moms consumer community, and the other well-respected brands of The Produce Moms and â Family of Partners,” said Kevin Stanger, president of Wada Farms.   “Wada Farms believes in The Produce Moms and has benefitted greatly from our two-year association with the brand.”

For more information about how to join Lori and The Produce Moms visit  http://www.theproducemoms.com/.

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California Prune Shipments to Soar; Lipman Expands Farming Network

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DSCN0191Californa prune shipments are expected soar by nearly 100 percent this season.  Meanwhile, a significant expansion involving two produce companies is taking place in North Carolina.

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service believes the 2017 California prune harvest will total 105,000 tons, a 99 percent increase over 2016’s 52,851-ton crop.

This year, the industry is returning to a more normal size harvest.  Harvest concluded about a month ago.  Weather in recent years has created challenges for prune growers, but growers say the trees are rebounding this year.  California is the world’s largest producer of prunes, accounting for 40 percent of the world’s supply and nearly of all the supply in the U.S.

LIPMAN EXPANDS FARMING NETWORK

By Lipman

TABOR CITY, N.C. — As a part of its commitment to sustainability and high-quality farming, Lipman Family Farms, North America’s largest field tomato grower, has partnered with North Carolina-based Table Fare Farms.  Lipman will be the exclusive marketer for the farm, which currently grows watermelons in Tabor City, N.C., and is owned by Larry and Tammy O’Ferrel.

Currently affiliated with more than 50 local farmers in more than 20 states, Lipman partners with growers around the country through its Lipman Local program in order to bring its customers local, quality produce year-round.

“We are very excited to partner with Larry and Tammy O’Ferrel,”  said Scott Rush, director of Lipman Local.   “Table Fare Farms will be a great addition to the Lipman family and will allow us to expand our local produce offerings to our customers.”

Lipman plans to expand this partnership to include other commodities in the future.

“Working with Lipman is the ideal next step for us” said Table Fare Farms owner Larry O’Ferrel.   “We are looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship.”

About Lipman

Based in Immokalee, FL., Lipman is the largest open-field tomato grower in North America, providing  year-round fresh produce through an integrated network of research and development, farming, processing, and repacking.  Farms in Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, California and Mexico are totaling tens of thousands of acres, allowing Lipman to grow and ship fresh produce 365 days a year. For more information, visit www.LipmanProduce.com.

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Organic Produce Sales are Showing Strong Increase

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014Organic produce sales displayed a strong increase in 2016 after sales had cooled a bit the previous year.
The Organic Trade Association’s 2017 Organic Industry Survey showed an 8.4 percent increase compared with the previous year as organic fruit and vegetable sales increased to $15.6 billion in 2016.
In a comparison, organic fruit and vegetables sales in 2015 were $14.4 billion, up 10.5 percent.  The fruit and vegetable sector accounted to nearly 40 percent of all organic food sales in 2016, and the 8.4 percent growth rate compares with the overall 3.3 percent gain for total fruit and vegetable sales.
Fresh produce has generally accounted for about 90 percent of the organic fruit and vegetable sales.  The balance of  sales is with canned, frozen, or dried organic fruits and vegetables.
The OTA survey, produced in February and March by Nutrition Business Journal for the Organic Trade Association, noted organic fruits and vegetables now make up almost 15 percent of the produce that Americans eat.
The OTA survey places overall organic food sales at $43 billion, up $3.3 billion or 8.4 percent higher compared with the previous year. That is well above the nearly flat 0.6 percent growth in total food sales, according to the release. The survey shows organic food now accounts for 5.3 percent of total food sales.
“The organic industry continues to be a real bright spot in the food and ag economy both at the farm-gate and check-out counter,” Organic Trade Association CEO and executive director Laura Batcha said in a news release.
Batcha said there are challenges to the category’s growth.
“We need more organic farmers in this country to meet our growing organic demand, and the organic sector needs to have the necessary tools to grow and compete on a level playing field,” she said. “That means federal, state and local programs that help support organic research, and provide the organic farmer with a fully equipped tool kit to be successful.”
The survey numbers from the organic association differ widely from the United Fresh Produce Association’s FreshFacts on Retail report, which pegged organic produce sales at retail (not including processing or foodservice outlet sales) at $4.46 billion in 2016, up 13.2% from 2015. Additionally, the United Fresh numbers — from Nielsen Fresh — said organic sales in 2016 accounted for 9% of all fresh produce sales. The 9% organic market share number from FreshFacts is 40% below the OTA’s 15% estimate for organic’s share of the produce market.

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Over 22 Million Polymer Logistics Wood-Look Crates Shipped In 2016

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PolymerCratesby Polymer Logistics

Riverside, CA – Polymer Logistics supplied over 22 million Wood-Look crates in 2016, introducing the product to major retailers in both the US and Europe. The introductory year for these crates has proven very successful, with retailers registering substantial sales increases in their produce departments and a study in Italy indicating a 94% consumer preference for Wood-Look crates.

“2016 was the year of our Wood-Look crate solution,” says Gideon Feiner, Polymer Logistics CEO. In response to growing demand, Polymer Logistics opened two new wash plants in the U.S. in the same year, now totaling five in number. The company also appointed a well-known executive in the produce industry – Fred Heptinstall, as CEO of Polymer Logistics North America to support its expansion, with the company achieving growth of more than 35% in 2016. It continues to make investments and anticipates continued corporate growth in the high 20% in the years ahead.

To complement the success of the Wood-Look crates, Polymer Logistics developed an in-store Wood-Look display fixture to create a unified store appearance. The innovative modular Wood-Look display stand is featured at Fruit Logistica 2017 at Hall 21 / C-04. The easily assembled stand can be customized to meet the needs of specific locations and is fully compatible with 600×400 mm as well as 400×300 mm RPCs. The display stand can also accommodate a combination of various industrial style crates from other suppliers as well as cardboard containers to boost overall produce aisle appearance.

With fresh produce often placed at the front of stores, appealing displays draw in more foot traffic and boost overall store sales. The distinctive “fresh from the field” appearance provides a memorable shopping experience while delivering crucial benefits such as hygiene, as well as lower cost and environmental impact. Visitors to Fruit Logistica 2017 are encouraged to see how the new combination of Polymer Logistics eye-catching products can transform both store appearance and operation.

About Polymer Logistics:

Polymer Logistics is a leading provider of One-Touch/Retail Ready Reusable Packaging (RRP) solutions. Since 1994, it has been helping retailers worldwide simplify supply chain management by offering them precisely what they need in terms of logistics services and display products – from the factory to the retail floor. The strength of the brand comes from the Company’s consistent track record in helping clients cut overall costs by up to 60% while simultaneously increasing in-store product availability. Add to that an innovative and flexible approach, expertise in materials handling and logistics management, and a focused commitment to superb service. Polymer Logistics numbers 17 service centers and wash sites with dedicated local teams in the USA and Europe.

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United Foundation Has Grants to Increase Kids’ Produce Consumption

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The United Fresh Start Foundation is launching a new community grants program to help advance the organization’s mission to increase children’s access to fresh fruit and vegetables.

The new inDSCN4085itiative will provide $25,000 in grants to local community organizations and groups that share the United Fresh Start Foundation’s commitment to increasing kids’ access to fresh produce, ensuring they develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime. This effort extends the foundation’s work beyond the school day and will provide children with fresh fruit and vegetables after school, on weekends and during summer breaks.

“Food insecurity and obesity are major challenges for millions of children across the country,” Tom Stenzel, United Fresh president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “We are proud of the work we have done in schools to increase fresh fruits and vegetables, but we know that many children need access when school is out. The program is designed to ensure kids have access throughout the day and the year.”

During a recent Produce Legends Dinner in New Orleans, the foundation announced the plans to launch the Community Grants Program. The foundation is committing $25,000 to the 2017 Community Grants Program. Grants will be available in various amounts up to $2,500. Applications will be accepted this spring and the recipients will be announced during the United Fresh Show this June in Chicago.

The United Fresh Start Foundation is focused on one core mission — to increase children’s access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

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IFCO Wood Plastic Reusable Containers a Hit with Wal-Mart

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ifcocontainersOver 11 million wood-grain reusable plastic containers have been shipped by IFCO since entering the market in January.

More than 300 growers have placed orders that are destined for Wal-Mart stores with fresh produce, according to a news release.

“We are proud to partner with Wal-Mart and its fresh produce suppliers to provide them with innovative, efficient, cost-effective and sustainable reusable packaging that transitions easily to in-store display,” Daniel Walsh, president of IFCO North America, said in the release. “Surpassing the 11 million wood-grain RPC threshold so quickly is an impressive accomplishment made possible through strong collaboration between Wal-Mart, the grower community and IFCO.”

After reaching an agreement with Wal-Mart in October of 2015, IFCO designed the RPCs to the retailer’s specifications and also took into account feedback from growers.

“Wal-Mart chooses to use wood-grain RPCs to deliver produce for a variety of reasons,” Shawn Baldwin, senior vice president of produce, floral and global food sourcing for Wal-Mart USA, said in the release. “They have better ventilation, they’re ergonomically designed and very easy to use, and our customers really like the new wood-grain RPCs because they look more like a farmers market or roadside fruit stand, which provides a level of comfort during the shopping experience.”

About IFCO

IFCO Systems North America, Inc. designs, develops, and manufactures reusable plastic containers for fresh products, including fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs, and bananas to grocery retailers in North America. IFCO Systems North America, Inc. was formerly known as PalEx, Inc. and changed its name to IFCO Systems North America, Inc. in March 2000. The company was founded in 1996 and is based in Houston, Texas. As of March 22, 2000 IFCO Systems North America, Inc. operates as a subsidiary of Ifco SYSTEMS N.V.

IFCO offers the complete RPC solution, managing all aspects of container logistics:  pool management, inventory, tracking, repair, sanitation and transportation.

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Appearance Important When Buying Produce

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007NEW YORK, N.Y. –  Appearance.  No matter how many times we’ve been told not to judge a book by its cover, waiting to pass judgement on something until after we get past its outside has never been an easy task for people to accomplish. Whether it’s what we’re reading or who we’re meeting, people have a tendency to set expectations based on surface assessment. But does the same hold true for what we eat? According to a recent Harris Poll, about eight in ten Americans (81%) confirm that appearance (i.e., not blemished or misshapen in any way) is at least somewhat important to them when shopping for fresh produce (i.e., fruits and vegetables), with 43% saying it is very or extremely important.

When listed alongside other fresh produce descriptors, appearance proved to be more important than provenance (i.e., locally grown or sourced), the retailer’s food waste practices, and organic. However, the price and seasonality are more likely to be important to a purchaser than appearance.

“Whether ‘ugly’ or not, produce is on the rise, up 5% in U.S. dollar sales in the latest 52 weeks ending July 30, 2016,” said Jen Campuzano, Director Fresh Perishables at Nielsen. “Choosing healthier and more natural products has become a priority for households across the country. For some, this means transparency in labeling, opting for foods with basic ingredient lists or embracing fruits and vegetables, blemishes and all.”

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,025 U.S. adults aged 18+ and surveyed online between August 10 and 12, 2016.

Ugly produce

Despite the weight Americans place on appearance, more than three in five adults (62%) say they would be at least somewhat comfortable eating “ugly produce,” that is, fruit or vegetables that may be misshapen but otherwise taste the same. Moreover, three quarters of adults (76%) would expect to pay less for “ugly produce,” while a fifth (20%) could see paying the same as usual.

Despite professed comfort with eating ugly produce, fewer than three in ten Americans (28%) recall buying “ugly produce” in the past year, compared to 51% who are sure they did not and 21% who are not sure either way. And of those who bought “ugly produce,” six in ten (61%) did so for the price discount.

Food waste

While the primary reason Americans bought “ugly produce” was price, the runner up answer from more than a fifth (22%) of purchasers was that they wanted to reduce food waste. Americans estimate that, typically, 10% of the groceries they buy are wasted, that is, spoil or go bad before they can be eaten. Over eight in ten Americans (84%) are at least somewhat concerned about the issue of food waste, primarily because they would like to be less wasteful (62%).

So how do Americans believe we can reduce household food waste? Nearly half (46%) of adults believe better storage for fresh produce is the key to waste reduction, followed closely by more than 2 in 5 (42%) who advocate buying less food, more frequently. Another 38% believe the solution is better meal planning, while 35% say it would help if smaller package sizes were available in the grocery store.

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