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Fresh Valley Foods and A.J. Letizio Sales announce partnership

Fresh Valley Foods Corp., based in Haverhill, MA, announced it has entered into a retail brokerage partnership with A.J. Letizio Sales & Marketing Inc., based in Windham, NH. Under this new agreement, A.J. Letizio will become Fresh Valley Food’s exclusive retail broker in New England and New York for the processor’s full line of fresh-cut fruit and vegetables.

“We’re all very excited about this new partnership,” Bob Tessitore, senior vice president for A.J. Letizio, said in a press release. “Fresh Valley’s full line of fresh-cut produce is the perfect complement to our current line of fresh foods.”

“With our superior level of quality and customer service, and A.J. Letizio’s outstanding reputation and ability to represent us in the marketplace, we will bring extra savings to our retailers and greater value to our retail customers,” Fresh Valley Foods General Manager C.J. Gangi added in the press release.

Founded in 2010, Fresh Valley Foods Corp. offers a full line of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables for retail and foodservice accounts under the “Freshen Ready,” “All Natural,” “Fresh 21″ and “Fresh Valley” labels.

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Albertsons, Boise State announce stadium agreement

Albertson’s LLC has committed $ 12.5 million over 15 years to Boise State University for the naming rights to the school’s famous stadium.

The agreement secures Albertsons Stadium through 2028, subject to approval by the Idaho State Board of Education on June 18. This is a first for both Boise State’s stadium and for Albertsons.

“Since the 1930s, when Boise State and Albertsons each began just a couple of miles away from each other, the two institutions have shared a passion for the community and for improving opportunities in higher education,” Boise State President Bob Kustra said in a press release. “It’s appropriate that in the year we celebrate the anniversary of the Albertsons Library, we announce this new partnership that also will benefit Boise State students for many years to come.”

Boise State Director of Athletics Mark Coyle said the money from this naming agreement will come in over the life of the contract and will help the athletic department provide a first-class experience for more than 400 Bronco student-athletes.

The deal will make Albertsons the most prominent sponsor at the stadium. The transformation will be complete before the first home game in 2014. A final stadium logo and signage plan will be released this summer.

“It is our privilege to support Boise State,” Bob Miller, chief executive officer of Albertson’s LLC, said in the press release. “Albertsons has chosen to link our name with Boise State because we admire and share their commitment to the values of becoming part of the community, integrity, hard work, developing leadership and continuously learning and improving. This July marks our 75th year as a company, and growing our partnership with Boise State is a wonderful way to celebrate that accomplishment and extend our reach as the official grocer of Boise State athletics.”

This is not the first time Albertsons and Boise State have partnered in improving opportunities for Boise State students. In 1990, Albertsons CEO Warren McCain announced the company and its founding family would donate $ 6 million toward a $ 10 million expansion of the Boise State library. Five years later, when the renovations were completed, the library was renamed the Albertson Library and the Warren McCain Reading Room was dedicated. The library is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Albertson’s LLC also gave a generous land donation that helped Boise State secure the Ron & Linda Yanke Family Research Park.

Boise State thanked its multimedia rights partner Bronco Sports Properties, a property of Learfield Sports, for its help and cooperation in securing this agreement.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Albertsons, Boise State announce stadium agreement

Albertson’s LLC has committed $ 12.5 million over 15 years to Boise State University for the naming rights to the school’s famous stadium.

The agreement secures Albertsons Stadium through 2028, subject to approval by the Idaho State Board of Education on June 18. This is a first for both Boise State’s stadium and for Albertsons.

“Since the 1930s, when Boise State and Albertsons each began just a couple of miles away from each other, the two institutions have shared a passion for the community and for improving opportunities in higher education,” Boise State President Bob Kustra said in a press release. “It’s appropriate that in the year we celebrate the anniversary of the Albertsons Library, we announce this new partnership that also will benefit Boise State students for many years to come.”

Boise State Director of Athletics Mark Coyle said the money from this naming agreement will come in over the life of the contract and will help the athletic department provide a first-class experience for more than 400 Bronco student-athletes.

The deal will make Albertsons the most prominent sponsor at the stadium. The transformation will be complete before the first home game in 2014. A final stadium logo and signage plan will be released this summer.

“It is our privilege to support Boise State,” Bob Miller, chief executive officer of Albertson’s LLC, said in the press release. “Albertsons has chosen to link our name with Boise State because we admire and share their commitment to the values of becoming part of the community, integrity, hard work, developing leadership and continuously learning and improving. This July marks our 75th year as a company, and growing our partnership with Boise State is a wonderful way to celebrate that accomplishment and extend our reach as the official grocer of Boise State athletics.”

This is not the first time Albertsons and Boise State have partnered in improving opportunities for Boise State students. In 1990, Albertsons CEO Warren McCain announced the company and its founding family would donate $ 6 million toward a $ 10 million expansion of the Boise State library. Five years later, when the renovations were completed, the library was renamed the Albertson Library and the Warren McCain Reading Room was dedicated. The library is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Albertson’s LLC also gave a generous land donation that helped Boise State secure the Ron & Linda Yanke Family Research Park.

Boise State thanked its multimedia rights partner Bronco Sports Properties, a property of Learfield Sports, for its help and cooperation in securing this agreement.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Chiquita and Fyffes announce $1 billion merger

Chiquita Brands International Inc. and Fyffes plc announced that the boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved a definitive agreement under which Chiquita will combine with Fyffes to form ChiquitaFyffes. The agreement creates a global banana and fresh produce company with approximately $ 4.6 billion in annual revenues. Chiquita and Fyffes plan to complete the transaction before the end of 2014.

Ed Lonergan, Chiquita’s chief executive officer, will serve as chairman; David McCann, executive chairman of Fyffes, will become CEO of the combined company.

The transaction unites two companies that share a strong brand history and a commitment to advancing sustainability and increasing access to healthy foods, as well as leading food-safety standards. ChiquitaFyffes will have an operating presence in more than 70 countries and a workforce of approximately 32,000 people around the world.

The senior leadership team will comprise of Tom Murphy, chief financial officer; Coen Bos, chief operating officer – fresh fruit; Brian Kocher, chief operating officer – salads and healthy snacks; Kevin Holland, chief administrative officer; James E. Thompson, chief legal officer; and Manuel Rodriguez, corporate responsibility officer. The senior executives will be located in corporate offices in Charlotte and Dublin. The combined company’s board of directors will reflect an equal combination of directors from both companies and one mutually agreed upon director.

The stock-for-stock transaction is expected to result in Chiquita shareholders owning approximately 50.7 percent of the combined company. Fyffes shareholders will own approximately 49.3% of ChiquitaFyffes.

“This is a milestone transaction for Chiquita and Fyffes that brings together the best of both companies, which we believe will create significant value for our shareholders and offer immediate benefits for customers and consumers worldwide,” Lonergan said in a press release. “This is a natural strategic partnership that combines two complementary companies of long history and great reputations that have built upon an unwavering commitment to exceed our customers’ expectations. We will maintain our brands, all of which are valued by both customers and consumers. The combined company will also be able to provide customers with a more diverse product mix and choice. We know Fyffes well, and our shared heritage will help to ensure a smooth integration as we work to bring best practices across geographies and business units to achieve substantial operating efficiencies.”

“This deal will be transformative and offer exciting opportunities for the new business,” McCann said in the release. “We are looking forward to working with the Chiquita team to build a combined company that is well positioned to succeed in our highly competitive marketplace and which will create significant value for our shareholders. Our outstanding employees will benefit from working for a larger, more diverse business that offers opportunities for growth. We believe we will be able to use our joint expertise, complementary assets and geographic coverage to develop a business that can run smoothly and efficiently to better partner with our customers and suppliers.”

Chiquita is a leading international marketer and distributor of nutritious and high-quality fresh food products, including bananas, packaged salads and healthy snacks. It has a global presence with operations in 70 countries, a sizable presence in the U.S. market and widely recognized brands, including “Chiquita Bananas” and “Fresh Express.”

Fyffes is a leading international marketer and distributor of high-quality, healthy tropical produce, marketed under a variety of brands, including “Fyffes” and “Sol.” It is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, with operations in Europe, the United States, Central America, South America and Asia.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Chiquita and Fyffes announce $1 billion merger

Chiquita Brands International Inc. and Fyffes plc announced that the boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved a definitive agreement under which Chiquita will combine with Fyffes to form ChiquitaFyffes. The agreement creates a global banana and fresh produce company with approximately $ 4.6 billion in annual revenues. Chiquita and Fyffes plan to complete the transaction before the end of 2014.

Ed Lonergan, Chiquita’s chief executive officer, will serve as chairman; David McCann, executive chairman of Fyffes, will become CEO of the combined company.

The transaction unites two companies that share a strong brand history and a commitment to advancing sustainability and increasing access to healthy foods, as well as leading food-safety standards. ChiquitaFyffes will have an operating presence in more than 70 countries and a workforce of approximately 32,000 people around the world.

The senior leadership team will comprise of Tom Murphy, chief financial officer; Coen Bos, chief operating officer – fresh fruit; Brian Kocher, chief operating officer – salads and healthy snacks; Kevin Holland, chief administrative officer; James E. Thompson, chief legal officer; and Manuel Rodriguez, corporate responsibility officer. The senior executives will be located in corporate offices in Charlotte and Dublin. The combined company’s board of directors will reflect an equal combination of directors from both companies and one mutually agreed upon director.

The stock-for-stock transaction is expected to result in Chiquita shareholders owning approximately 50.7 percent of the combined company. Fyffes shareholders will own approximately 49.3% of ChiquitaFyffes.

“This is a milestone transaction for Chiquita and Fyffes that brings together the best of both companies, which we believe will create significant value for our shareholders and offer immediate benefits for customers and consumers worldwide,” Lonergan said in a press release. “This is a natural strategic partnership that combines two complementary companies of long history and great reputations that have built upon an unwavering commitment to exceed our customers’ expectations. We will maintain our brands, all of which are valued by both customers and consumers. The combined company will also be able to provide customers with a more diverse product mix and choice. We know Fyffes well, and our shared heritage will help to ensure a smooth integration as we work to bring best practices across geographies and business units to achieve substantial operating efficiencies.”

“This deal will be transformative and offer exciting opportunities for the new business,” McCann said in the release. “We are looking forward to working with the Chiquita team to build a combined company that is well positioned to succeed in our highly competitive marketplace and which will create significant value for our shareholders. Our outstanding employees will benefit from working for a larger, more diverse business that offers opportunities for growth. We believe we will be able to use our joint expertise, complementary assets and geographic coverage to develop a business that can run smoothly and efficiently to better partner with our customers and suppliers.”

Chiquita is a leading international marketer and distributor of nutritious and high-quality fresh food products, including bananas, packaged salads and healthy snacks. It has a global presence with operations in 70 countries, a sizable presence in the U.S. market and widely recognized brands, including “Chiquita Bananas” and “Fresh Express.”

Fyffes is a leading international marketer and distributor of high-quality, healthy tropical produce, marketed under a variety of brands, including “Fyffes” and “Sol.” It is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, with operations in Europe, the United States, Central America, South America and Asia.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Safeway and Albertsons announce $9 billion merger

Safeway Inc. and Albertsons announced a definitive agreement under which AB Acquisition LLC, the owner of Albertsons, will acquire all outstanding shares of Safeway for $ 40 a share, totaling $ 9 billion.

The merger agreement was unanimously approved by the board of directors of Safeway. It will create a diversified network that includes over 2,400 stores, 27 distribution facilities and 20 manufacturing plants with over 250,000 dedicated and loyal employees. No store closures are expected as a result of this transaction.

Bob Miller, Albertsons current chief executive officer, will become executive chairman. Robert Edwards, Safeway’s current president and CEO, will become president and CEO of the combined company.

“This transaction offers us the opportunity to better serve customers by adapting more quickly to evolving shopping preferences in diverse regions across the country,” Miller said in a press release. “It also brings together two great organizations with talented management teams. Robert Edwards and his team have done an outstanding job in positioning Safeway’s core business for success, by investing in its stores and creating innovative strategic marketing programs that contribute to shareholder value. Working together will enable us to create cost savings that translate into price reductions for our customers. Together, we will be able to respond to local needs more quickly and deliver outstanding products at the lowest possible price, more efficiently than ever before.”

“This merger is one of several actions we have taken in recent months as a result of our strategic business review,” Edwards said in the release. “The combined value of the transactions described above is expected to deliver a premium to Safeway’s shareholders of 72 percent from one year ago, and 56 percent over the share price six months ago. Safeway has been focused on better meeting shoppers’ diverse needs through local, relevant assortment, an improved price/value proposition and a great shopping experience that has driven improved sales trends. We are excited about continuing this momentum as a combined organization. We look forward to working with Bob Miller and the rest of the Albertsons team as we proceed together on a path towards becoming an even stronger organization.”

Banners will include Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Albertsons, ACME, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw’s, Star Market, Super Saver, United Supermarkets, Market Street and Amigos.

The merger agreement includes a “go-shop” period, during which Safeway, with the assistance of Goldman Sachs, its financial advisor, will actively solicit, receive, evaluate and potentially enter into negotiations with parties that offer alternative proposals.  The initial go-shop period is 21 days.  For a 15-day period following the termination of the go-shop period, Safeway will be permitted to continue discussions and enter into or recommend a transaction with any person that submitted a qualifying proposal during the 21-day period.  A successful competing bidder who makes a superior proposal during the go-shop period would bear a $ 150 million termination fee.  For a competing bidder who did not qualify during the go-shop period, the termination fee would be $ 250 million.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

SPC to announce 2104 STEP-UPP class at fall conference

The Southeast Produce Council will be announcing those selected for the 2014 STEP-UPP class during the president’s dinner dance at its fall conference, scheduled for Sept. 26-28 in Myrtle Beach, SC. This program is available for retail and foodservice members of the Southeast Produce Council.

The objective of STEP-UPP is to provide an enriched learning experience for high potential retail and foodservice produce professionals so they can Step-Upp-GroupThe 2013 STEP-UPP class attending the Southeast Produce Council’s 2013 Southern Exposure conference. (Photo courtesy of SPC)develop a greater understanding of the industry through an emphasis on development of strategic orientation, personal leadership and hands on field experience. Each STEP-UPP class tours farms and facilities in the Southeast.

Each class consists of 12 individuals who have been selected through an application and interview process based on their leadership potential and interest in developing a career path in fresh produce.

The 10 members from this year’s class were accompanied by Faye Westfall, chairman (DiMare Fresh); Joe Watson, co-chairman (Rouses Supermarkets); Tom Page (Supervalu-retired) and Andrew Scott, president.

“Our recent growers tour was an awesome experience for all of us,” Westfall said in an Aug. 5 press release. “We would like to thank all those on the tour for their hospitality and Southern Specialties, who hosted the tour. We also visited J&J Produce, Pero Family Farms and J & C Tropicals, providing informative tours and fun times for the entire team. The last day for the educational workshop, the group was given a presentation from the Florida Department of Agriculture who were joined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Cargo Development from the port of Miami.”

The graduating class of 2013 consists of the following:

  • Anthony Wilson of Freshfield Farms in Orlando, FL.
  • Chuck Alexander of Lowes Foods in Winston Salem, NC.
  • Dave Williams of Rouses Markets in New Orleans, LA.
  • Jason Zellers of So Fresh Produce in Winter Haven, FL.
  • Jimmy Hyde of Delhaize in Salisbury, NC.
  • Joseph Bunting of United Supermarkets in Lubbuck, TX.
  • Daniel Smith of Harps Food Stores Inc. in Cabot, AR.
  • Ron Potter of K-V-A-T in Bristol, TN.
  • Rohil Shah of Winn Dixie in Jacksonville, FL.
  • Gary Baker Jr. of Merchant Distributors in Hickory, NC.

The Southeast Produce Council was formed in 1999 with six founding members. Today, the organization boasts more than 850 members throughout the United States, consisting of retailers, growers, farmers, distributors and additional produce-related companies doing business in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines