Posts Tagged “fresh produce”

Dollar General Passes 5,000 Stores Offering Fresh Produce

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GOODLETTSVILLE, TN – Dollar General has exceeded its latest milestone, now offering fresh produce options in more than 5,000 stores across the country.

The retailer now has more individual points of produce distribution than any other U.S. mass retailer or grocer. DG stores that carry produce provide consumers with a curated assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, onions, apples, strawberries, potatoes, sweet potatoes, lemons, limes, salad mixes, and more.

First announced in the Company’s Q4 2022 earnings last March, DG has continued to make strides toward reaching this milestone and now, more than 5,000 DG stores also carry the top 20 items typically sold in traditional grocery stores which cover approximately 80 percent of the produce categories most grocery stores traditionally provide.

“We are constantly looking for ways to better serve our customers and one of our top priorities is to ensure the communities we call home have access to fresh, affordable, and convenient food options,” said Emily Taylor, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at Dollar General. “We have exceeded our goal of having 5,000 total stores with fresh produce by January 2024. We’re proud to leverage our footprint to meet the need for healthy food options in more communities than any other retailer across the U.S.”

The Company has also recently invested in a partnership with Shelf Engine, an AI company providing retailers with technology to improve perishable food forecasting and ordering.

The partnership will evolve Dollar General’s process to optimize in-stock produce levels, helping automate the ordering process while providing customers with the freshest food possible. As this tool continues to roll out, it will support the Company on its meaningful produce growth journey while improving operational efficiency.

Approximately 80 percent of Dollar General stores serve communities of 20,000 or fewer people, and residents in these communities often rely on the retailer for their everyday essentials including components of a nutritious meal. Every Dollar General provides customers with healthy food options such as milk, eggs, bread, cheese, frozen and canned vegetables, grains, lean proteins and more, including Dollar General’s exclusive Good & Smart® private brand.

As part of the Company’s commitment to provide convenient and affordable access to foods, in 2023 it announced its “Food First” initiative, which includes the customer feedback-driven expansion of its private label brand, Clover Valley, welcoming over 100 new items to shelves including a wide range of entrees, sides, sauces, condiments, snacks and more at affordable price points.

Additionally, Dollar General partners with local and national nonprofit organizations, including food banks, as part of its on-going efforts to help alleviate food insecurity. DG’s operational partnership with Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, provides in-kind food donations from stores and distribution centers across the country with a goal to contribute up to 20 million meals each year. To date, Dollar General has donated more than 23 million meals and over $3 million to Feeding America.

Explore local stories of how Dollar General has brought fresh produce to underserved communities here. To learn more about Dollar General’s produce and healthy food options, including recipes using ingredients sourced from DG stores, visit Find a store with produce near you by filtering for fresh produce on the online store locator.

About Dollar General Corporation

Dollar General Corporation (NYSE: DG) is proud to serve as America’s neighborhood general store. Founded in 1939, Dollar General lives its mission of Serving Others every day by providing access to affordable products and services for its customers, career opportunities for its employees, and literacy and education support for its hometown communities. As of November 3, 2023, the company’s 19,726 Dollar General, DG Market, DGX and pOpshelf stores across the United States and Mi Súper Dollar General stores in Mexico provide everyday essentials including food, health and wellness products, cleaning and laundry supplies, self-care and beauty items, and seasonal décor from our high-quality private brands alongside many of the world’s most trusted brands such as Coca Cola, PepsiCo/Frito-Lay, General Mills, Hershey, J.M. Smucker, Kraft, Mars, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble and Unilever. Learn more at

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Big Boost in Produce Departments is Seen Coming to Aldi

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A14Bringing fresh produce center stage is a goal of discount retailer Aldi, which is in the midst of its $5 billion US expansion program.

The expansion includes building new stores and remodeling existing ones.

The new focus on produce includes a 40 percent expansion in the amount of product lines carried, with the produce department located at the front of the store.  Most supermarket chains are investing more in produce departments, which are considered key components in stores.

In a move a couple of decades ago, there was a trend to make produce front and center and the first department shoppers see when entering a supermarket.  With produce as an anchor in stores, many chains then look to improve their other in-store departments.

Aldi’s motion to move produce to the front and center suggests the retailer wants to be known as well-stocked store with everything the shopper needs. Additionally, once the fresh produce department is a strong anchor, stores have a tendency to follow through with other departments.

It appears that Aldi  with fresh produce, will follow trends of having clean, conventional and organic products that are conveniently packaged.  Aldi will likely add even more organic and clean options, in an effort to attract younger shoppers from 18 to 40 years old, who are after more affordable organic options.  Whether Aldi will stock more value-added products remains to be seen.

Aldi already offers attractions for Gen X and Millennial shoppers and many of their center-store products have specialty claims, be it free of artificial colors or antibiotic-free meat.

Greater emphasis on fresh often come from higher income households.  Will an expanded produce selection beyond basics higher-income shoppers at Aldi? One study shows that 93 percent of Aldi shoppers said pricing/value drove them to the format and 77 percent purchased fresh produce.  One-third of shoppers expect to shift much more of their shopping to Aldi.

On price, Aldi will remain a discount retailer, so if the

If other supermarkets want to compete with Aldi, which will remain a discount retailer, those competitors will have to lower their price or invest in other areas of the store to maintain a ‘premium’ on Aldi as well as other discounters by offering a higher level shopping experience.

Studies have shown that 60 percent to 70 percent of markets experienced price declines  of 1 to 3 percent when an ALDI opened.  Some retailers will also increase service levels, emphasize quality, organic offerings, local items and more choices in general to increase their own competitive advantage.

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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

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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.


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

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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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