Posts Tagged “fresh produce”
Californa 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 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.
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 initiative 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.
Over 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.”
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.
NEW 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.
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.
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.
Supermarkets remain a “powerhouse in fresh,” despite an ever-growing variety of food shopping outlets, especially fresh produce, which resides as a “supermarket stronghold” among 68 percent of shoppers.
According to Anne-Marie Roerink, who reviewed the results of the Food Marketing Institute’s second annual Power of Produce report, Supercenters (16 percent) are the second most popular outlet for fresh produce purchases, followed next by warehouse clubs (5 percent).
Highlights of this year’s produce shopper study found nearly 25 percent of shoppers switch outlets when purchasing fresh produce versus the bulk of groceries, primarily to full-service supermarkets, farmers’ markets/produce stands and specialty organic stores.
Roerink, principal of 210 Analytics, which prepared the “mega trends” produce study, warned that younger generations are drawn to alternative channels. She sees this as “a red flag for traditional retailers, as losing the produce basket may result in losing additional spending in center store.”
Ringing up a whopping $61 billion in annual sales, fresh produce is in hot demand with no signs of a slow down. Powered by a 4 percent growth rate, the category is a lucrative and influential element for grocery baskets, which average nearly $30 more with fresh produce than one without.
Beyond price, the most successful incremental produce purchase drivers, per the Power of Produce study, include:
- Eye-catching displays, which are extremely influential
- Produce cross-merchandised in other parts of the store
- Impulse through ideation, including recipes, serving ideas and sampling
- Education/information, especially nutrition call-outs that are relevant to the audience
Notably, consumers are placing increased value on transparency – how and where the crop was grown – as evidenced by how support for the local farmers/economy overtook perceived freshness as the top reason for buying locally-grown. This sentiment also applies double-digit sales gains for organic fresh produce and an expressed need for “free-from” products. Still, organic remains a niche segment to date, according to the Power of Produce consumer research study, reflecting 8 percent of total produce sales, with usage skewing to the more affluent shoppers and families with children.
The finishing touches are being added to the new San Antonio Wholesale Produce Market, but plans are already in place for the second phase of construction in 2017.
Last January, construction of the 30 storage units in each of two buildings was completed. The facility operates much like a condominium complex. Tenants buy or lease the units, and pay dues for maintenance and other services. Office on the second-floor are still under construction.
In July, about two dozen companies will be operating out the market, with most of them handling fruits and vegetables However there also will be companies handling meat, floral and frozen foods.
The need for a new market in San Antonio was overdue, and some companies also operate similar facilities in McAllen, Texas, and Cancun, Reynosa, Veracruz, and Monterrey, Mexico.
San Antionio is considered by many as a hot spot for distribution, with high demand for fresh produce.
Trucks will be arriving primarily from the Pharr-Reynosa bridge near McAllen, where some of the market tenants have their headquarters. But trucks also will be entering the U.S. at ports in El Paso, Eagle Pass and Laredo.
San Antonio is considered an important point of consolidation and distribution for Texas. It is located at the corner of Loop 410 and I-37, which provides easy access to and from the market.
The 80-acre site’s two buildings have docks on the front and back to provide for easier loading of both light cargo and truckloads of fresh produce from Mexico. Construction of a new building with larger units and dry goods storage space is scheduled to start in 2017.
Palomino Produce LLC on the market is headquartered in Aguascaliente, Mexico. This is the company’s first facility in the U.S., and it was one of the first three companies to sign on to the new market. While Palomino Produce is looking at first to distribute in Texas, it has done some direct exporting in California.
As consumers continue to search for fresh produce that offers the healthiest fare available, they are increasingly turning to berry consumption.
And this trend also confirms that inclusion of berries as an active ingredient in a host of food items at home continues to grow: they are a do-not-disregard ingredient.
One of the rock stars of the berry category is the blueberry, which today is only surpassed by strawberries among consumer berry purchases. Due to their undeniable presence as a superberry and superfood, blueberries have been equally embraced by Millennials who are writing their own formulas for physical fitness as well as seniors, the generation of consumers that continues to embrace food as vehicles of nutrition carefully and naturally packaged to deliver a one-two punch.
According to Josh Borro, author of The Upshot, information released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that blueberry consumption increased 411 percent from 2000 to 2012. Strawberry consumption increased 60 percent during this time frame, and fresh raspberry consumption increased 475 percent.
Borro said that advances on the supply side, which have resulted in delivery of a superior piece of fruit farmed under optimum conditions, give consumers exactly the kinds of berries they are craving.
While the total percent increases show that Americans are loving their berries, there is a sacrificial side to the equation. According to Burro, increases in berry consumption are reflected in decreases in consumption of other fruit such as apples and bananas.
One of the factors influencing increased — and increasing -– availability of berries is the fact that these categories have been strengthened through increased plantings of superior strains in ever-growing locations around the globe. The berry industry is a global category, and consumers are able to enjoy their berries of choice regardless of the time of year as larger export volumes make their way into the United States during the domestic off-season.
Another factor that has driven berry sales is the fact that they are a perfect fruit to eat “as is.” According to the 2015 State of the Plate report issued by the Produce for Better Health Foundation, 83 percent of all fruit is eaten “as is.”
Crowley Maritime Corp. has started clearing certain produce requiring cold-treatment from more South American countries at the Port of Charleston, S.C.
This has become possible due to expansion of the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) cold treatment pilot program.
“We’ve worked diligently with the Florida Perishable Trade Coalition to make the cold-treatment program a reality,” Nelly Yunta, vice president, Customized Brokers, a subsidiary of Crowley, said in a press release. “Each time the program expands to another port of entry or an additional commodity, it’s a huge win for consumers looking to have fresh produce on their tables throughout the year.”
As early as this spring, Crowley will be able to accept those items such as: Peruvian citrus, blueberries, grapes; Uruguay blueberries, grapes; Argentinean blueberries, apples and pears.
The cold treatment process eliminates harsh chemical fumigation, but still ensures that foreign insect and larvae are eradicated from the cargo, according to the release. The program has previously been rolled out in both Savannah, GA and South Florida.
As with previous implementations, containers that do not pass cold treatment will be prohibited from entering the port without being offloaded from vessels. If containers do fail, they will be allowed transit by sea to a Northeastern port for retreatment, or will be re-exported to the country of origin.
This expansion not only serves to filter the import process, but also helps to lower transportation costs, prolong shelf-life by shortening the shipping distance, and help lower grocery prices for those items for southern-based consumers.