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UK market pushes Spanish onions away

“Challenge to increase efficiency and adapt to market’s needs”
UK market pushes Spanish onions away

How can a small firm find a place within such a competitive market? According to Fermín Utrilla, of Allium Integral, the key is in differentiation and the search for niche markets.

“I tried to differentiate myself by looking for markets where the big companies did not arrive; that is how I developed red onion microbulbs to cover niche markets in the UK and extra early grano type microbulbs in Spain, which allow you to enter the market one month in advance. The key is to use the varieties and growing techniques, adapting to situations and specific market demands. Small firms like ours have a better capacity to adapt to changing markets, as big companies are generally occupied handling larger volumes.”

Fermín Utrilla is an agronomist with plenty of experience as a consultant at horticultural companies in the processes of production, processing, packing, preservation and implantation of quality management systems. Such businesses fell as a result of the recession, which led him to found Allium Integral 4 years ago; a firm devoted to the production, processing and selling of onions from Albacete, Spain’s largest production area.

Allium Integral produces red and Grano type yellow onions, with its own varieties created through hybridisation and later breeding of microbulbs.

“Our techniques for the creation and development of varieties through microbulbs are so interesting for onion producers that we felt compelled to open our own onion seed company as an associated firm to Allium Integral.”


The result of such work includes the red variety Red Emperor, which usually enters the market in August. “Our production from microbulbs can be harvested now, in late June. This way we can fill the gap that there was in the British market between the end of New Zealand’s red onion season and the start of the European campaign,” explains Fermín Utrilla.

“This, however, was only interesting until they allowed Egypt to enter Europe with rock bottom prices, and from there onwards the niche was no more,” he explains. “European supermarkets have double standards in the purchase of their products, demanding all sorts of quality and good agricultural practice certificates to EU producers, but nothing at all to third countries like Morocco, Turkey or Egypt, which offer prices against which nobody can compete.”


As for Grano type onions, European trends, according to Fermín, are increasingly more price-oriented. “Demand is so fragile that, even in a context of low supply, prices rise up to a certain point, and from there onwards they do not slow down gradually, as they used to, but they plunge.”

“The one factor that European producers can take advantage of is the decadent situation of Southern Hemisphere onion imports. The off-season supply from countries like New Zealand, Argentina and Chile keeps falling as a result of the high logistic costs. This is not felt as much in products with more value added, but the price differences are still noteworthy. For this reason, a country like Argentina exports most of its production to Brazil.”


The main market for Allium Integral is still the UK, where the program “Local for Local” has pushed Spanish onions away from supermarkets. “Spanish onions have always held a good position and superior prices in the Premium segment, for their mild flavour and characteristics that make them suitable for fresh consumption, unlike British onions, whose quality is much inferior.”

This, however, has been changing in recent years and supermarkets are replacing Spanish onions with the British counterpart, selling them at the same price as the former, which could be considered consumer fraud.”

For this reason, Fermín is finding more interesting markets to be able to adapt. “We have started in Algeria, which we find quite interesting, as they do not demand such high quality standards as the UK, allowing us to offer lower prices. Brazil is another interesting market for smaller calibres.”

“I believe the only way to survive nowadays is to adapt to the new market demands, which require us to reduce costs in order to reduce prices. For this it is necessary to be greatly efficient in all processes to obtain a quality that equals the cost,” concludes Fermín Utrilla.


For more information about Allium Integral:
Fermín Utrilla
T: +34 967245160
M: +34 670333363
[email protected]

Publication date: 6/25/2013


FreshPlaza.com

Home and away in center store categories

Thirty-one percent of overall consumers and 43% of Millennials are entertaining more in the home to save money, according to IRI. So it’s no surprise that sales of beer (5.4%), wine (3.7%) and salty snacks (4.2%) posted solid growth during the 52 weeks ending June 15, 2014. When busy Americans weren’t hosting guests at home, they were fueling up on-the-go with snacks like filled crackers and portable, high-protein nut butters, noted Susan Viamari, editor of thought leadership for …

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Supermarket News

Winn-Dixie, Bashas’ give away treats for Donut Day

Today is National Donut Day, and many retailers have chosen to celebrate by giving away doughnuts in stores.

Customers at Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo stores will be treated to a free jumbo doughnut hole today. The retailers promoted the giveaway on Facebook with comical videos.

Bashas’ ran a contest on its Facebook page to win three dozen doughnuts. The winner was announced yesterday.

At Big Y, customers can buy 12 doughnuts for the price of six.

Rather than do a giveaway, Coborn’s chose to highlight the origins of National Donut Day, which commemorates the Salvation Army “donut lassies” who brought doughnuts to American soldiers during World War I. Coborn’s plans to donate $ 1 from the purchase of every 8-count box of doughnuts to the Salvation Army.

“Donut Days is a fun opportunity for each of us to make a difference,” Rebecca Kurowski, communications manager at Coborn’s, said in a media statement. “Not only are we raising awareness of the ongoing funding needs for programs that help families in need, but we’re also giving our customers a fun and easy way to make an impact when they purchase these sweet treats to share.”

Coborn’s also made a humorous video to promote the event.

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Supermarket News

Sunkist Growers launches national ‘Peel Away the Pounds’ promotion with ‘The Biggest Loser’

Sunkist Growers is kicking off 2014 with a promotion to help consumers “peel away the pounds.”sunki

Teaming up with NBC’s hit series “The Biggest Loser,” Sunkist is launching a national sweepstakes offering consumers a chance to win one of two trips to The Biggest Loser Resort, an award-winning immersive weight-loss program with locations in Chicago, Ivins, UT, Malibu, CA, and Niagara, NY.

The agreement between Sunkist and “The Biggest Loser” was licensed by NBCUniversal Television Consumer Products and Shine America.

“The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to commit to healthier choices,” Julie DeWolf, director of retail marketing for Sunkist Growers, said in a press release. “Sunkist is excited to be joining forces with ‘The Biggest Loser’ this year to offer consumers motivation to live a healthier lifestyle and help curb the obesity epidemic in our country.”

The sweepstakes, which runs through May 21, will be promoted with specially marked Sunkist lemon and grapefruit packaging featuring “The Biggest Loser” logo and information about the health and wellness benefits of citrus. Consumers can enter the sweepstakes online at www.PeelAwayThePounds.com, access information on healthy living and find a forum to connect with other like-minded individuals for support, motivation and ideas for living a healthier lifestyle.

The promotion is focused on Sunkist lemons and grapefruit, varieties known for their versatility and weight-loss benefits.

Squeezing fresh lemon into water adds flavor and vitamin C, helping one stay hydrated and healthy. Replacing high-calorie drinks with lemon water enables one to cut back the number of calories consumed, which can aid weight loss. As a result, Sunkist has branded lemon water “The Ultimate Diet Drink.” Find out more about using fresh lemons in water at http://www.sunkist.com/healthy/ultimate-diet-drink.aspx.

Grapefruit is a nutrient-packed superfood, providing antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that promote heart health, healthy skin and may reduce the risk of certain cancers. Studies have shown that this superfruit also plays a supporting role in healthy weight loss. For more information about the health and weight loss benefits of grapefruit, check out Sunkist’s online brochure: http://www.sunkist.com/pdfs/sunkist_grapefruit_brochure.pdf.

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

Smithfield, Tyson Encouraging Transition Away From Gestation Crates

Major pork producers Smithfield Foods and Tyson Foods have both announced plans this week to develop animal welfare improvements within their facilities, including moving away from the practice of using sow gestation crates, small metal enclosures that hold pregnant female pigs for most of their adult lives.

Gestation crates have come under heavy criticism as inhumane for their use in large-scale animal farming, with the Humane Society of the United States leading efforts to have the practice discontinued.

Smithfield’s announcement put in place incentives for contract pork growers to shift to “group housing systems” for pregnant sows before 2022. After that, the company will only renew contracts with growers who have switched to the new system.

According to the announcement, the company has already transitioned 54 percent of sows on company-owned farms to the new system.

The Humane Society praised Smithfield’s move, saying that it put pressure on other major growers to do the same.

“The top producer is telling the world that a transition away from gestation crates is not just an aspiration, but is in the works, is economically viable, and is likely to be achieved in the near term. And we continue to help major food retailers commit to switching their purchasing to crate-free producers,” wrote Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle.

Tyson, in a letter to its pork suppliers sent Wednesday, said that it was asking all suppliers to improve “quality and quantity of space” for sows in any new or redesigned barns beginning in 2014.

“We believe future sow housing should allow sows of all sizes to stand, turn around, lie down and stretch their legs,” Tyson wrote.

The language of Tyson’s letter, however, does not mandate any such changes.

Tyson’s letter also urged growers to install video surveillance systems to “improve human behavior and animal handling,” alluding to incidences of animal abuse. The letter also discourages the continued use of blunt force to kill sick or injured piglets, referring to the practice of slamming piglets head-first into the ground.

“We recognize that this practice has been historically acceptable in the industry but may not match the expectations of today’s customers or consumers,” Tyson wrote.

Animal rights group Mercy for Animals said that Tyson’s move was in the right direction, but urged the company to fully mandate its suggestions.

“The pork industry’s use of gestation crates is one of the worst forms of institutionalized animal abuse in existence and we praise Tyson for acknowledging that this cruel system must be phased out,” the organization wrote.

More than 60 major food companies, including McDonald’s, Burger King, Safeway and Costco have demanded pork suppliers phase out gestation crates. Another major supplier, Cargill, has said it has gotten rid of 50 percent of its crates.

Gestation crates are banned in Arizona, California, Florida and Rhode Island, and five other states are requiring growers to phase them out. They are also banned in Sweden, Denmark and the United Kingdom, and will be banned in New Zealand by 2015 and Australia by 2017.

Food Safety News

Fear of predators drives honey bees away from good food sources

Oct. 2, 2013 — Most of us think of honey bees as having a bucolic, pastoral existence — flying from flower to flower to collect the nectar they then turn into honey. But while they’re capable of defending themselves with their painful stings, honey bees live in a world filled with danger in which predators seize them from the sky and wait to ambush them on flowers.

Such fear drives bees to avoid food sources closely associated with predators and, interestingly, makes colonies of bees less risk-tolerant than individual bees, according to a study published in this week’s issue of the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

“This strategy of colonies collectively exhibiting significantly more caution than the riskier individual foragers may help honey bees exploit all of the available food sources, with some intrepid foragers visiting more dangerous food while the colony judiciously decides how to best allocate its foraging,” says James Nieh, a professor of biology at UC San Diego.

Nieh worked with scientists at Yunnan Agricultural University in China to study the impact on foraging Asian honey bees of the monstrous-looking Asian Giant hornet, Vespa tropica, and a smaller hornet species known as Vespa velutina, which has invaded Europe and now poses a threat to European honey bees.

“The Asian Giant hornets are dangerous, heavily armored predators,” says Ken Tan, the first author of the paper, who also works at the Chinese Academy of Science’s Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden. “Bee colonies respond by forming balls of defending bees, encasing the hornet and, in some cases, cooking it to death with heat generated by the bees.”

The researchers found that bees treated the bigger hornet species, which is four times more massive than the smaller species, as more dangerous. In a series of experiments, they presented bees with different combinations of safe and dangerous feeders — depending on their association with the larger or smaller hornets — containing varying concentrations of sucrose.

“Bees avoided the dangerous feeders and preferred feeders that provided sweeter nectar,” says Nieh. “However, predators are clever and can focus on sweeter food, ones which bees prefer. So we also tested how bees would respond when sweeter food was also more dangerous. What we found was that the individual bees were more risk-tolerant. They avoided the giant hornet at the best food, but continued to visit the lower quality food with the smaller hornet.”

Other scientists involved in the research were Zongwen Hu, Weiwen Chen, Zhengwei Wang and Yuchong Wang, all of the Eastern Bee Research Institute of Yunnan Agricultural University.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Fear of predators drives honey bees away from good food sources

Oct. 2, 2013 — Most of us think of honey bees as having a bucolic, pastoral existence — flying from flower to flower to collect the nectar they then turn into honey. But while they’re capable of defending themselves with their painful stings, honey bees live in a world filled with danger in which predators seize them from the sky and wait to ambush them on flowers.

Such fear drives bees to avoid food sources closely associated with predators and, interestingly, makes colonies of bees less risk-tolerant than individual bees, according to a study published in this week’s issue of the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

“This strategy of colonies collectively exhibiting significantly more caution than the riskier individual foragers may help honey bees exploit all of the available food sources, with some intrepid foragers visiting more dangerous food while the colony judiciously decides how to best allocate its foraging,” says James Nieh, a professor of biology at UC San Diego.

Nieh worked with scientists at Yunnan Agricultural University in China to study the impact on foraging Asian honey bees of the monstrous-looking Asian Giant hornet, Vespa tropica, and a smaller hornet species known as Vespa velutina, which has invaded Europe and now poses a threat to European honey bees.

“The Asian Giant hornets are dangerous, heavily armored predators,” says Ken Tan, the first author of the paper, who also works at the Chinese Academy of Science’s Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden. “Bee colonies respond by forming balls of defending bees, encasing the hornet and, in some cases, cooking it to death with heat generated by the bees.”

The researchers found that bees treated the bigger hornet species, which is four times more massive than the smaller species, as more dangerous. In a series of experiments, they presented bees with different combinations of safe and dangerous feeders — depending on their association with the larger or smaller hornets — containing varying concentrations of sucrose.

“Bees avoided the dangerous feeders and preferred feeders that provided sweeter nectar,” says Nieh. “However, predators are clever and can focus on sweeter food, ones which bees prefer. So we also tested how bees would respond when sweeter food was also more dangerous. What we found was that the individual bees were more risk-tolerant. They avoided the giant hornet at the best food, but continued to visit the lower quality food with the smaller hornet.”

Other scientists involved in the research were Zongwen Hu, Weiwen Chen, Zhengwei Wang and Yuchong Wang, all of the Eastern Bee Research Institute of Yunnan Agricultural University.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Fear of predators drives honey bees away from good food sources

Oct. 2, 2013 — Most of us think of honey bees as having a bucolic, pastoral existence — flying from flower to flower to collect the nectar they then turn into honey. But while they’re capable of defending themselves with their painful stings, honey bees live in a world filled with danger in which predators seize them from the sky and wait to ambush them on flowers.

Such fear drives bees to avoid food sources closely associated with predators and, interestingly, makes colonies of bees less risk-tolerant than individual bees, according to a study published in this week’s issue of the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

“This strategy of colonies collectively exhibiting significantly more caution than the riskier individual foragers may help honey bees exploit all of the available food sources, with some intrepid foragers visiting more dangerous food while the colony judiciously decides how to best allocate its foraging,” says James Nieh, a professor of biology at UC San Diego.

Nieh worked with scientists at Yunnan Agricultural University in China to study the impact on foraging Asian honey bees of the monstrous-looking Asian Giant hornet, Vespa tropica, and a smaller hornet species known as Vespa velutina, which has invaded Europe and now poses a threat to European honey bees.

“The Asian Giant hornets are dangerous, heavily armored predators,” says Ken Tan, the first author of the paper, who also works at the Chinese Academy of Science’s Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden. “Bee colonies respond by forming balls of defending bees, encasing the hornet and, in some cases, cooking it to death with heat generated by the bees.”

The researchers found that bees treated the bigger hornet species, which is four times more massive than the smaller species, as more dangerous. In a series of experiments, they presented bees with different combinations of safe and dangerous feeders — depending on their association with the larger or smaller hornets — containing varying concentrations of sucrose.

“Bees avoided the dangerous feeders and preferred feeders that provided sweeter nectar,” says Nieh. “However, predators are clever and can focus on sweeter food, ones which bees prefer. So we also tested how bees would respond when sweeter food was also more dangerous. What we found was that the individual bees were more risk-tolerant. They avoided the giant hornet at the best food, but continued to visit the lower quality food with the smaller hornet.”

Other scientists involved in the research were Zongwen Hu, Weiwen Chen, Zhengwei Wang and Yuchong Wang, all of the Eastern Bee Research Institute of Yunnan Agricultural University.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Fear of predators drives honey bees away from good food sources

Oct. 2, 2013 — Most of us think of honey bees as having a bucolic, pastoral existence — flying from flower to flower to collect the nectar they then turn into honey. But while they’re capable of defending themselves with their painful stings, honey bees live in a world filled with danger in which predators seize them from the sky and wait to ambush them on flowers.

Such fear drives bees to avoid food sources closely associated with predators and, interestingly, makes colonies of bees less risk-tolerant than individual bees, according to a study published in this week’s issue of the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

“This strategy of colonies collectively exhibiting significantly more caution than the riskier individual foragers may help honey bees exploit all of the available food sources, with some intrepid foragers visiting more dangerous food while the colony judiciously decides how to best allocate its foraging,” says James Nieh, a professor of biology at UC San Diego.

Nieh worked with scientists at Yunnan Agricultural University in China to study the impact on foraging Asian honey bees of the monstrous-looking Asian Giant hornet, Vespa tropica, and a smaller hornet species known as Vespa velutina, which has invaded Europe and now poses a threat to European honey bees.

“The Asian Giant hornets are dangerous, heavily armored predators,” says Ken Tan, the first author of the paper, who also works at the Chinese Academy of Science’s Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden. “Bee colonies respond by forming balls of defending bees, encasing the hornet and, in some cases, cooking it to death with heat generated by the bees.”

The researchers found that bees treated the bigger hornet species, which is four times more massive than the smaller species, as more dangerous. In a series of experiments, they presented bees with different combinations of safe and dangerous feeders — depending on their association with the larger or smaller hornets — containing varying concentrations of sucrose.

“Bees avoided the dangerous feeders and preferred feeders that provided sweeter nectar,” says Nieh. “However, predators are clever and can focus on sweeter food, ones which bees prefer. So we also tested how bees would respond when sweeter food was also more dangerous. What we found was that the individual bees were more risk-tolerant. They avoided the giant hornet at the best food, but continued to visit the lower quality food with the smaller hornet.”

Other scientists involved in the research were Zongwen Hu, Weiwen Chen, Zhengwei Wang and Yuchong Wang, all of the Eastern Bee Research Institute of Yunnan Agricultural University.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Former Texas Vegetable Association president passes away

David R. Peterson, a past president of the Texas Vegetable Association and a founding partner in Fresh Tex Produce and Tex Starr Distributing of Alamo, TX, passed away while out of the country Sept. 7.

Mr. Peterson started working for the family business, Starr Produce Co., out of Rio Grande City, TX, in 1975 after serving four years as a captain in the U.S. Air Force. He worked alongside his father, A.V. Peterson, at Starr Produce PetersonDavid R. Peterson— as did his brothers, Robert A. Peterson and James E. Peterson, and their friends and partners the Sheerin, LaGrange, and Bass families.

Mr. Peterson began his career as an assistant farm manager and worked his way up to president. He launched Starr Produce operations in Mexico, growing honeydews and seedless watermelons in Tecoman, Colima and Campeche.

In 2005 Mr. Peterson — along with son Lance Peterson and colleagues Cesar Ramirez Guerra and Nazario Rodriguez Guerra — bought the Tecoman, Colima operation and founded the company Red Starr.

Red Starr specializes in honeydews, personal watermelons and papayas. Under Mr. Peterson’s leadership, the company developed a special variety of papaya, the “Royal Star,” which has helped create a new category in the industry. Its smaller size and higher Brix levels make it unlike other varieties and it is categorized as a specialty fruit.

“David R. Peterson’s years of experience and vision were the catalyst that helped Red Starr become a major producer of honeydews, personal watermelons and “Royal Star” papayas out of Mexico,” said Lance Peterson.

Mr. Peterson was a loyal, lifelong supporter of Texas A&M University and actively involved in AgriLife extension projects in College Station, TX, and Weslaco, TX. He was also a board member of Sharyland I.S.D. School in Mission, TX.

A memorial service will be held Sept. 21 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in McAllen, TX. For further information contact TexStarr Distributing at 956/283-8014.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

CVS Turns Away Certain Doctors’ Prescriptions

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Just what the doctor ordered isn’t necessarily what CVS/pharmacy is willing to dispense. That’s because in an effort to curb drug abuse, the chain has revoked the dispensing privileges of three dozen clinicians who were found to be inappropriately prescribing highly addictive painkillers. “While this program is not a comprehensive  solution to prescription drug abuse, it is an important first step that is in line with the ethical duty …

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