Blog Archives

Wakefern Food Corp. announces $14.7 billion in retail sales

Joseph S. Colalillo, Wakefern Food Corp.’s chairman and chief executive officer, and Joe Sheridan, president and chief operating officer, had good news for Wakefern’s shareholders, store management and staff at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in East Brunswick, NJ, Oct. 30.

The company reported that the cooperative had reached a record sales level of $ 14.7 billion in retail sales for the fiscal year ending Sept. 27, a 4 percent increase from the same period last year, and $ 11.9 billion in Wakefern sales. The cooperative opened six new ShopRite stores, five new Price Rite stores and six The Fresh Grocer stores during the same period. In addition, the company expanded its ShopRite from Home services to include 214 stores.

At the meeting, it was announced that four members have retired from the company’s board of directors: Rocco Cingari of Grade A Market Inc.; Bernard Kenny of Delaware Supermarkets Inc.; Joel Perlmutter of Perlmart Inc.; and James Sumas of Village Super Market Inc.

Four new members have been added to the board of directors, effective immediately: Jordan Coe of Waverly Markets LLC; Harry Garafalo of Milford Markets LLC; Nicholas Sumas of Village Super Market Inc.; and David Zallie of Somerset Stores LLC.

“The strength of our cooperative lies in the strength of our family businesses and their enduring commitment to their customers, which is handed down from generation to generation,” Colalillo said in a press release. “The decades of service, wisdom and expertise that Rocky, Bernie, Jim and Joel have brought to Wakefern will continue to guide us as we move forward as a company. They will remain active in their own companies and at the Wakefern committees on which they serve. We welcome our new members and look forward to their new perspective on our businesses and their contributions to future successes.”

“Year after year, Wakefern continues to grow and adapt to meet the needs of an ever-changing industry and an increasingly demanding customer,” Sheridan said. “After more than 65 years in this business, we rely on the lessons from past successes while always looking to the future for new and better ways to help our members succeed.”

Wakefern shareholders re-elected the following members to the board of directors: Joseph S. Colalillo as chairman and CEO; Larri Wolfson and Irv Glass as vice chairmen; Lawrence Inserra Jr., treasurer; Richard Saker, Jeffrey Brown and Kenneth Capano as assistant treasurers; Dominick J. Romano as secretary;  Ned Gladstein and Steven Ravitz, assistant secretaries; as well as Robert Clare, Lawrence Collins, Jon Greenfield, Charles Infusino, Vincent Lo Curcio III, Leonard Sitar, Richard Tully and Richard McMenamin.  Joe Sheridan was also re-elected as president and COO.

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

Boycott costs the EU 5 billion per year

Boycott costs the EU 5 billion per year

The EU proposed to supply additional funds for the promotion of boycotted products, which will have to be used to gain access to new markets. Statistics show that the boycott is costing the Union a total of 5 billion Euro per year. Spanish melon growers would also be eligible for the compensation and Czech growers are pleased with the increase in the country’s school budget for vegetables. Russian customs intercepted a considerable consignment of fruit and vegetables from Poland. The trucks had to turn around. In Kaliningrad, the market is slightly under pressure as import products become available; additionally, Russia continues to look to Asia as a supplier. India sees opportunities and wants to invest in a stronger relationship between both countries. 

Yesterday the NATO member countries met in Wales, with the crisis in Ukraine on the agenda. Regarding the cease-fire that Ukraine announced a couple of days ago, Putin says he is no party to the conflict, so he cannot agree to a cease-fire; however, he presented a seven-point plan that should lead to a solution and which is to be discussed between Ukraine and the separatists in Minsk. 

EU: Cost 5 billion, 30 million additional budget 

EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Dacian Ciolos, announced that the EU will supply 30 million Euro up front for promotional campaigns in response to the Russian boycott. The sum will be used to find alternative markets and can be increased to up to 60 million Euro. The money comes on top of the CAP budget of 60 million Euro for 2015, half of which is funded by the EU. Consequently, Ciolos affirms, up to 120 million Euro may be invested; 60 million from EU funds and another 60 million from private parties. 29% of the EU’s fruit and vegetable exports went to Russia, for cheese and butter that was 33% and 28% respectively. The money comes on top of the measures already announced and will be available in 2015.

Spanish melon prices down 55% 

Since the start of Russia’s boycott, export melon and watermelon prices have dropped sharply, between 40 and 55%; this is caused by the loss of the Russian market, as well as by oversupply. Overall fruit prices have dropped because of the boycott, and as a result consumers have access to a wide choice of cheap fruit. 

Recently, Proexport informed the Government about this situation. The organisation wants the Ministry to urge the European Commission to grant melon growers access to the compensations. The authorities in Murcia and a group of international organisations support the proposal. 

According to estimates by growers in Murcia, Spanish melon and watermelon exports in the last week of August reached 65,000 tonnes and 80,000 tonnes respectively. Proexport calculated a loss of 20.5 million for melon growers and 4.4 million for watermelons. The organisation does not understand why melon growers are not eligible for compensations, as they are clearly affected and the season is not over yet.

Spain is the EU’s largest melon exporter. In 2013, the country exported 410,537 tonnes of melons, 48% of which were shipped by Murcia. For watermelons, export volumes reached 542,243 tonnes, with Murcia’s produce accounting for 27% of the total. Based on these figures, Murcia is considered to be the most affected by the situation. 

Russian apple prices rise 

Since 2010, apple prices in Russia have steadily declined. In 2012, after the country joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the downward trend strengthened. In 2010-2011, the price stood at $ 1.43 per kilo; in 2013-21014, it dropped to 89 cents per kilo. The main reason for this was the WHO’s requirement to reduce taxes. Half of the apple imports came from Poland and the domestic production covered only 20% of the market, thus having a limited effect on prices. 

Due to the boycott of European and Moldovan apples, this downward trend has been broken and prices are expected to rise. How much they will increase will also depend on the volume of apples from Poland and Moldova which will manage to enter Russia through other countries. 

Russian frozen products 

According to BusinesStat, the volume of frozen products sold in Russia has increased by 36% between 2009-13. In 2013, sales reached 315,000 tonnes. For the coming years, up to 2018, an average annual growth of 5% is expected. Compared to 2013, this would entail a 25% increase in sales by 2018.

In 2009-13, the retail sector was responsible for 60.3% of these sales; the industry sold an average of 14.4% and the catering sector accounted for the remaining 25.3%. It remains to be seen whether these growth rates will be achieved. The frozen food market is largely dependent on imports; 74% in 2013. 

Russian retail was growing before the boycott 

The Russian retail in the Nizhny Novgorod region, east of Moscow, was growing before the boycott. In 2013, the retail sector in this region had a turnover of 202 billion Rouble ($ 4 billion) from foods; an increase of 8% compared to 2012.

Throughout Russia, the share of food sales by retailers is of 25.9%, with an increase of 8% over the year. In July 2014, retail chains accounted for 24.1% of total food sales, compared to 22.9% a year earlier. The largest chains in the region are X5, Spar and Seven. The boycott could change the market.

Mushrooms and limes considerably more expensive 

In the Rostov-on-Don region, in the south near the Black Sea, prices for some products have increased, including those of mushrooms, peaches, limes, kiwis, fish, turkey and cheese. Prices for mushrooms increased from 120 to 200 Rouble per kilo (from 2.40 to 4 Euro). Most mushrooms were imported from Poland.

For other products, prices in August remained stable, and for some seasonal products, such as potatoes, onions, carrots and apples, prices even dropped slightly, In general, food prices in the region have increased by 7.8% and the inflation over this period was 6%. 

Yakuti invests in production and storage 

In the Russian republic of Yakuti, a large province in the northeast, a five-year plan has been adopted for the agro-industry, which will lead to an expansion of the storage and processing facilities for local agricultural products. By 2018, the new facilities should be operational in all areas with an annual harvest of 2,000 tonnes of vegetables and potatoes.

India expanding trade relations with Russia 

The Indian ambassador in Russia said that Russia is seen as a major trading partner and that the country intends to invest in a long-term cooperation. According to the ambassador, trade between large countries should not be limited to a select group of products. Indian growers would like to export to Russia and the country has a lot to offer. As the demand for agricultural products in Russia increases, they see many opportunities for export. 

The biggest challenge lies in logistics, as goods must travel a distance of over 4,000 km. Both countries are investing in collaboration with a number of other international partners in the development of a new transport route. Additionally, India is interested in deepening economic cooperation with the customs union, and even a free trade area could be considered.

Chile supplying nuts and prunes 

According to Andres Rodriguez, representative of the Chilean walnuts and prunes organisations, there are only two obstacles for export: “the willingness of the Russians to pay international prices and the availability of the products.” Rodriguez added that Russia has always been an important market for Chilean plums, accounting for 15% of the exports. In the current situation, he expects demand from Russia to increase; however, prices are currently high and the Russian Rouble is weak. Regarding nuts, it is believed that the ban on American almonds will boost the export of Chilean nuts. 

Asia, main suppliers of fruit and vegetables for Russia? 

Russia aims to replace American and European food imports with products from South America and Asia. South-east Asian countries are particularly encouraged to export exotic gourmet and other food products to Russia. The Minister of Economic Development, Alexey Ulyukayev, made ​​this proposal to the ASEAN countries. According to Ulyukayev, the country needs especially fresh fruits and vegetables.

Alexey Kanevsky, President of the Committee of Economic Affairs in Moscow, believes that Asian fruit and vegetables have a very different taste to that Russians are accustomed to. At the moment, this Asian produce is still very focused on a specific part of the Russian market. Apples, oranges and bananas: no problem; but passion fruit and Indian jackfruit would entail problems to adapt for the majority of Russian consumers. It should be emphasised that Asian apples, pears, raisins, grapes and cherries could be easily sold in Russia. 

Russia-Georgia highway closed 

The Verkhny Lars mountain pass has suffered damages; as a result, the road will have to be closed for 10 to 12 days. The Armenian Minister of Agriculture, Sergo Karapetyan, reported on Friday, 22 August, that the incident would not hinder the export of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Czech growers welcome additional budget 

The European Commission has increased the budget for school fruit programmes in the Czech Republic from 5.2 million Euro last year to 6.1 million. The fruit is made ​​available to a large group of children from pre-school to elementary school. Czech producers affected by the Russian boycott see this as a positive development, as the Czech Republic can suffer losses of up to 50 million Euro.

Kaliningrad finds new suppliers 

Russia’s Kaliningrad region was hit hard by the boycott. The region is enclosed by Europe and therefore completely dependent on imports. After the news about rising prices and shortages, the first fruits and vegetables from Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Macedonia, Belarus, Serbia, Argentina and Costa Rica have arrived in the region. Besides this, the region relies on its own production and imports from the Russian regions of Rostov and Krasnodar.

Potatoes from Gurievsky, Russia, cost 11 Rouble (22 cents) per kilo; Belarusian tomatoes reach 30 Rouble (60 cents); aubergines from the Russian Volgograd cost 25 Rouble (50 cents) and peaches from Azerbaijan reach 65 Rouble (1.30 Euro). 

Russia intercepted Polish produce 

The Russian authorities intercepted a total of 93 tonnes of fruit and vegetables from Poland that the country was smuggling through Belarus. Eleven trucks, including apples, carrots, potatoes and plums, were intercepted on the Russian highways M-1 and M-13; the route Minsk-Moscow and Bryansk-Gomel, respectively. Poland was identified as the country of origin and the trucks had to return to Belarus.

Publication date: 9/5/2014
Author: Rudolf Mulderij
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Drought in California expected to cost $2.2 billion

Drought in California expected to cost $ 2.2 billion

A University of California, Davis, report suggests California’s drought could cause $ 2.2 billion in economic losses and 17,100 job losses, apart from affecting ground water levels.

River water supplies in California’s Central Valley are down by 33 percent, and surface water use is being replaced by pumped groundwater, which will affect future crops if the drought persists, according to the report.

The report also says 428,000 acres of irrigated cropland in Central Valley, Central Coast and southern California will be out of use due to the persistent drought.

The study by the Center for Watershed Sciences shows that groundwater could replace as much as 75 percent of the roughly 6.6 million acre-feet of lost surface water, taking the state’s usage of groundwater from 31 percent to 53 percent.

Excessive use of groundwater will affect the water table, which could be worrisome considering drought-like conditions are expected to continue well into 2015. Failure to manage groundwater and plan for future dry spells will be a “slow-moving train wreck,” said Richard Howitt, a professor emeritus of agricultural and resource economics at UC Davis.

“California’s economy runs on energy, information and water, and we need to get by with one-third less water than normal,” said Howitt. “We’re acting like the super rich who have so much money they don’t need to balance their checkbook.”

California produces about half of all fruit, nuts and vegetables grown in the US, and approximately one-fourth of the nation’s milk and cream, according to the report.

“We have to do a better job of managing groundwater basins to secure the future of agriculture in California,” said Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. UPI

Source: presstv.ir

Publication date: 7/16/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Grocery Outlet may sell for more than $1 billion

The sale of another retail chain may be on the horizon. Berkeley, CA-based Grocery Outlet, a third-generation family-run discount chain, is exploring a sale valued at more than $ 1 billion, according to a Reuters report

The article, which cited people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because it is not public, noted that Grocery Outlet has about $ 100 million in earnings and Barclays and Goldman Sachs were hired to run the sale.

The chain currently has more than 200 independently operated stores in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington. Most stores are independently operated by locally based families.

The company was founded by Jim Read in 1946, at which time it sold military surplus at a discount. Since that time it has evolved to provide its customers with a wide variety of offerings, including fresh produce and organics.

Read’s grandson, MacGregor Read, has been a co-chief executive officer since 2006. Prior to working at Grocery Outlet, MacGregor worked at Lucky Stores and Del Monte Foods.

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

Billion dollar choices for Hillshire Brands

Processed-meat supplier Hillshire Brands has some deciding to do. After Pilgrim’s Pride offered $ 6.4 billion to purchase Hillshire earlier this week, Tyson Foods threw its hat in the ring with a bid valued at $ 6.8 billion.

“Our proposal provides Hillshire shareholders with an immediate cash premium for their shares that we believe is both greater and more certain than what can be attained in the near term by the Company either on a standalone basis or in combination with any other food processing company,” said Donnie Smith, Tyson Foods president and Chief Executive Officer said in a media statement on Thursday.

On top of choosing whether to accept one of the two bids, Hillshire must consider whether it’s willing to give up its agreement to buy Pinnacle Foods (parent company of Birds Eye, Hungry-Man and Vlasic) for $ 4.2 billion. USA Today reported that Hillshire — maker of BallPark hotdogs and Jimmy Dean sausage products — was looking to merge the two companies’ complimentary convenience foods.

The cost of dropping that commitment would be $ 163 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal also suggests that it’s those same packaged, high-margin products that are attracting Tyson and Pilgrim’s Pride.

The fact that Hillshire is a hot commodity right now likely doesn’t come as a surprise to the company, reported the New York Times:

Hillshire has known it was a target for some time. A few months before it made its offer for Pinnacle, Pilgrim’s Pride privately approached the company about a merger but was rebuffed.

No matter what direction Hillshire goes in, it’s clear we’re in for future consolidation in the meat industry.

The big players in the meat supply chain are looking to diversify their portfolios. Tyson, for instance, has long prioritized its cross-protein and prepared foods offerings. The company has also invested in product innovation in its Discovery Center to develop those higher margin value-added products. This move has helped Tyson weather the storm of high feed prices and a tight supply for a rotating array of proteins over the last few years.

After Pilgrim’s Pride made its bid, Forbes addressed the instability of commodity meat companies right now.

Fresh chicken products (pieces or whole) make up ~60% of its [Pilgrim’s Prides’] sales. The business is fraught with inherent problems such as volatile feed costs (mostly corn and soybeans) and negligible pricing power. In the meat processing business, EBITDA margins are generally around 7-10% depending on feed costs and meat prices.

It’s also important to note that the companies being pursued in this cross fire of bidding both sell convenience foods. In the food industry we can shout that the consumer interest around cooking and fresh foods is strong, but that interest is not at odds with the shopper’s desire to make meals quickly.

Supermarket News

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.

Mango supplies could top 1 billion pounds this year

The mango industry continues to marvel at how supplies continue to increase yet the market remains strong. The numbers tell the story. According to the National Mango Board, mango consumption per capita in the United States increased by about one-third from 2005 to 2012, which is the last year that per capita consumption numbers were available.

In 2012, more than 800 million pounds of mangos were imported into the United States. Last year, the number of imports topped 900 million pounds. With similar growth this year, 1 billion pounds is within reach… or at least on the near horizon.mexataulfoAccording to the National Mango Board, mango consumption per capita in the United States increased by about one-third from 2005 to 2012.

Ronnie Cohen, vice president of sales and one of the founding partners of Vision Import Group, River Edge, NJ, believes growth in the category will continue unabated for the next decade. And he believes the potential is there for more than 20 years of continuous growth as long as the industry gets creative and comes out with some new packs and some value-added products.

Larry Neinkerk, president of Splendid Products LLC, in Burlingame, CA, and another longtime mango importer, is just as bullish. He said the National Mango Board has done a “fabulous job” of promoting mangos and coordinating the top promotional efforts with the heavy shipping periods.

This year again has gotten off to a good start as heavier-than-usual supplies from Peru during the first two months of the year were met with strong marketing opportunities. And that situation has continued. Transitioning into the Mexican season in March, importers were expecting lighter supplies and a very good market. Bill Vogel, president of Vision Produce Co., in Los Angeles, and the current chairman of the National Mango Board, said in late February that Mexico was running about two weeks behind normal. So he expects a strong market throughout March. He said heavier supplies in April should lead to good promotions, good movement and good prices.

Vogel said that one of the secrets to increased sales is to give the consumer a top-quality product. In fact, he believes it was Peru’s top quality that led to higher prices this winter despite higher volumes. “That’s a testament to the good eating quality of the fruit,” he said.

Gary Clevenger, managing member and co-founding partner of Freska Produce International Inc., Oxnard, CA, was also anticipating a drop in supplies from Mexico in March but expects that to be followed up by increased supplies throughout the rest of the summer.

He said mango sales have been increasing every year and he sees no reason for that to stop anytime soon. Despite the lower volume from Mexico in March, Clevenger expects those shippers to make that up as the season moves forward.

“Beginning in late March and all through April, May, June and July we should see great volume from Mexico and great opportunities for promotion,” he said. “Every year Mexico seems to set a new record (for mango shipments to the United States) and I think it will be the same this year.”

The Mexican mango season typically begins in February with shipments from the states in the most southern region, including Oaxaca, Chiapas and Guerrero. The yellow-skinned Ataulfo typically dominates the early shipments with red-skinned mango varieties following behind by a couple of weeks.

As it gets deeper into spring and throughout the summer, the harvest moves north. First into Michoacán than Jalisco and Nayarit. Finally, Sinaloa checks in in late spring with fruit throughout the summer.

By the end of the summer and into September, Los Mochis, in the northern reaches of Sinaloa, is the last major Mexican production area to produce mangos and send them to the United States.

Of course, there are several other sources of mangos to the U.S. market over the next few months including the Central American countries of Costa Rica, Honduras, and Guatemala.

The market price for mangos was as much as $ 8.50 per flat in late February before Peru reached its peak week during the later stages of the month. With that peak, came a drop in price, but importers were expecting it to spike again once Peru winds down.

March could see strong pricing throughout the month, but to a person, each exporter predicted promotional pricing levels once April showed up on the calendar.

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.

Sobeys to Buy Safeway Canada for $5.8 Billion

TGF-FruitImageSTELLARTON, Nova Scotia — Empire Cos., parent of the Sobeys chain here, said Wednesday it would buy Safeway Canada for $ 5.8 billion (Canadian).

The acquisition of 213 stores would provide Sobeys with a leading position in Western Canada and grow Sobeys overall sales to around $ 24 billion. Safeway Canada, a division of Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway, had sales of around $ 6.7 billion and a profit of $ 428 million (Canadian) in the 12 months that ended March 23.

Safeway said proceeds from the transaction are expected to be used to pay down around $ 2 billion of debt, with the majority of the remainder to be used to buy back stock. In addition, some of the proceeds may be used to invest in growth opportunities.

Robert Edwards, Safeway’s new chief executive officer, in a statement Wednesday said the deal allowed Safeway to take advantage of high multiples for Canadian retailers.

“The substantial cash proceeds from this transaction will allow us to create value for Safeway stakeholders and contribute to the growth of the ongoing business,” he said.

Sobeys said it intended to pay for the transaction using a combination of a $ 1.5 billion Empire stock offering; around $ 1 billion through the sale and leaseback of the acquired facilities; a term loan of $ 1.825 billion, and the issuance of $ 800 million in new Sobeys debt.

The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to close in the fall. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval in Canada.

Supermarket News

Wakefern Sales Top $14 Billion

KEASBEY, N.J. — Wakefern Food Corp. posted retail sales of $ 14.1 billion for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 28, a 3.9% increase, the ShopRite cooperative said at its annual meeting Thursday.

Wakefern said its consolidated sales totaled $ 11.4 billion.

The cooperative added 10 new ShopRite stores, four PriceRite discount stores and one new Fresh Grocer store during the year, and expanded its ShopRite from Home service to 172 stores. The cooperative also added three new members during the year.

Read more: The Fresh Grocer Joins Wakefern


CONNECT WITH SN ON TWITTER

Follow @SN_News for updates throughout the day.


“Since its founding 67 years ago, Wakefern has continued to thrive in an ever-evolving and rapidly changing marketplace,” Joseph Colalillo, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “As our customers’ needs continue to change, it is no longer enough for our stores to have the same logo to deliver a unified shopping experience. We will — and must — unite in a shared purpose and commitment to our communities, our customers and our associates to build upon past successes and achieve the next level of excellence.”

Also at Thursday’s meeting, Wakefern shareholders re-elected Colalillo to the board of directors as well as: James Sumas, Larri Wolfson and Irv Glass as vice chairmen; Lawrence Inserra Jr., treasurer; Richard Saker, Jeffrey Brown and Kenneth Capano as assistant treasurers; Dominick J. Romano as secretary; Ned Gladstein, Joel Perlmutter and Steven Ravitz, assistant secretaries; Rocco Cingari, Robert Clare, Lawrence Collins, Jon Greenfield, Charles Infusino, Bernard Kenny, Vincent Lo Curcio III, Leonard Sitar, Richard Tully and Richard McMenamin were all re-elected to the board of directors.

Joseph Sheridan was also re-elected as president and chief operating officer.

Suggested Categories More from Supermarketnews

Supermarket News

Russian import agrarian products: 40 billion dollar

Brazil most important supplier
Russian import agrarian products: 40 billion dollar

Russia is an enormous sales market for agrarian products. In 2012 agrarian products to the value of 40 billion dollar were imported. There was still a 3% growth in value in 2012, but there is clearly talk about a decreasing growth. Although in the first half of 2013 the imports grew again by 5%.

Meat and fruit at the top
Meat and fruit are the most important groups of products with an import of 7.4 billion and 6.3 billion respectively. Product groups with an import value of about 3 billion dollar are dairy products and beverages. Then follow vegetables and fish with about 2.5 billion dollars.
 
Brazil is the most important supplier of agrarian products to Russia. Last year the import from that country decreased a great deal from 4 to less than 3 billion dollar. That decrease in 2012 can be attributed in total to sugar products. Brazil changed its sugar exports to other countries, such as Indonesia and India in 2012. Meat, however, is the most important and has a share of more than 60% of the imports from Brazil.

In the first half of this year the import from Brazil showed a slight recovery (+3%). Germany is the second supplier of agrarian products. The product from Germany is more extensive than that from Brazil, but meat is the most important product as well supplied to Russia by Germany. In 2012 imports from Germany decreased somewhat. This decrease continued in the first half of this year (-9%).

The United States are the third supplier of agrarian products to Russia. In 2012 the import was a lot bigger than in previous years and rose to about 2 billion dollar. Dairy products are about half of the total and determine the general trend. In the first half of this year the good growth of 2012 came to absolutely nothing (-15%). In the fourth and fifth places followed the Ukraine and White Russia. The import from the Ukraine stabilized in 2012. Cacao- and dairy products are important products. White Russia was shown for the first time in 2012 in the Russian import statistics with an amount of 1.8 billion dollar. However, the White Russian export statistics show a much higher value. In 2012 White Russia showed an amount of 4 billion Euro of exports to Russia (see appendix). This is mainly about re-export of products from,
amongst others, Turkey, Italy, Spain, France and possibly the United States as well. In the first half of 2013 the most important increase was shown with imports from Turkey (+38%). Turkey supplies a lot of fruit and vegetables to Russia.

The Netherlands sixth; ornamental plants most important group of products. The Netherlands is sixth on the list. In 2012 the import amounting to 1.8 billion dollar and remained somewhat behind that of 2011. Ornamental plants are the most important product group for import from the Netherlands followed closely by vegetables and dairy products. The share of the Netherlands in the total Russian imports of agrarian products has been 4 to 5% for years already. The Netherlands is good for 40% of the import of ornamental plants. In the first half of this year the import from the Netherlands showed a slight improvement (+3%). Other countries with an import of more than 1 billion dollar are: China (1,6), France, Turkey, Spain, Poland, Italy, Ecuador and Norway.

Click here for market analysis prepared by Jan Kees Boon

For more information:
Fruit & Vegetable Facts
Jan Kees Boon
+31 6 54 687 684
www.fruitandvegetablefacts.com
[email protected]

Publication date: 9/30/2013


FreshPlaza.com

Existing cropland could feed four billion more by dropping biofuels and animal feed

Aug. 1, 2013 — The world’s croplands could feed 4 billion more people than they do now just by shifting from producing animal feed and biofuels to producing exclusively food for human consumption, according to new research from the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota.

Even a smaller, partial shift from crop-intensive livestock such as feedlot beef to food animals such as chicken or pork could increase agricultural efficiency and provide food for millions, the study says.

“We essentially have uncovered an astoundingly abundant supply of food for a hungry world, hidden in plain sight in the farmlands we already cultivate,” says graduate research assistant Emily Cassidy, lead author of the paper published in Environmental Research Letters. “Depending on the extent to which farmers and consumers are willing to change current practices, existing croplands could feed millions or even billions more people.”

Demand for crops is expected to double by 2050 as population grows and increasing affluence boosts meat consumption. Meat takes a particularly big toll on food security because it takes up to 30 crop calories to produce a single calorie of meat. In addition, crops are increasingly being used for biofuels rather than food production. This study sought to quantify the benefit to food security that would accrue if some or all of the lands used to produce animal feed and fuel were reallocated to directly produce food for people.

To get at that question, Cassidy and colleagues first mapped the extent and productivity of 41 major crops between 1997 and 2003, adjusting numbers for imports and exports and calculating conversion efficiencies of animal feed using U.S. Department of Agriculture data. The researchers assumed humans need an average of 2,700 calories per day, and grazing lands and animals were not included in the study. Among the team’s findings:

  • Only 12 percent of crop calories used for animal feed end up as calories consumed by humans.
  • Only 55 percent of crop calories worldwide directly nourish people.
  • Growing food exclusively for direct human consumption could boost available food calories up to 70 percent
  • U.S. agriculture alone could feed an additional 1 billion people by shifting crop calories to direct human consumption.
  • When calculated on the basis of protein rather than calories, results were similar. For instance, of all plant protein produced, 49 percent ends up in human diets.

In addition to the global findings, the research team looked at allocation of crop calories in four key countries: India, China, Brazil and the U.S. They found that while India allocates 90 percent of calories to feeding people, the other three allocate 58 percent, 45 percent, and 27 percent, respectively.

Noting the major cultural and economic dimensions involved, the researchers acknowledged that while a complete shift from animal to plant-based diets may not be feasible, even a partial shift would benefit food security. Quantifying the impact of various strategies, they found that a shift from crop-intensive beef to pork and chicken could feed an additional 357 million people, and a shift to nonmeat diets that include eggs and milk could feed an additional 815 million people.

The researchers emphasized that they are not making diet prescriptions or recommendations, just pointing out opportunities for gains in food production. They noted that humans can completely meet protein needs with plant-based diets, but that crop systems would need to shift (e.g., toward more production of protein-rich legumes) to meet human dietary needs.

“The good news is that we already produce enough calories to feed a few billion more people,” Cassidy says. “As our planet gets more crowded or we experience disasters like droughts and pests, we can find ways of using existing croplands more efficiently.”

In addition to her role as Global Landscapes Initiative graduate research assistant with the Institute on the Environment, Cassidy is a graduate student in the Natural Resources Science and Management program in the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

Existing cropland could feed four billion more by dropping biofuels and animal feed

Aug. 1, 2013 — The world’s croplands could feed 4 billion more people than they do now just by shifting from producing animal feed and biofuels to producing exclusively food for human consumption, according to new research from the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota.

Even a smaller, partial shift from crop-intensive livestock such as feedlot beef to food animals such as chicken or pork could increase agricultural efficiency and provide food for millions, the study says.

“We essentially have uncovered an astoundingly abundant supply of food for a hungry world, hidden in plain sight in the farmlands we already cultivate,” says graduate research assistant Emily Cassidy, lead author of the paper published in Environmental Research Letters. “Depending on the extent to which farmers and consumers are willing to change current practices, existing croplands could feed millions or even billions more people.”

Demand for crops is expected to double by 2050 as population grows and increasing affluence boosts meat consumption. Meat takes a particularly big toll on food security because it takes up to 30 crop calories to produce a single calorie of meat. In addition, crops are increasingly being used for biofuels rather than food production. This study sought to quantify the benefit to food security that would accrue if some or all of the lands used to produce animal feed and fuel were reallocated to directly produce food for people.

To get at that question, Cassidy and colleagues first mapped the extent and productivity of 41 major crops between 1997 and 2003, adjusting numbers for imports and exports and calculating conversion efficiencies of animal feed using U.S. Department of Agriculture data. The researchers assumed humans need an average of 2,700 calories per day, and grazing lands and animals were not included in the study. Among the team’s findings:

  • Only 12 percent of crop calories used for animal feed end up as calories consumed by humans.
  • Only 55 percent of crop calories worldwide directly nourish people.
  • Growing food exclusively for direct human consumption could boost available food calories up to 70 percent
  • U.S. agriculture alone could feed an additional 1 billion people by shifting crop calories to direct human consumption.
  • When calculated on the basis of protein rather than calories, results were similar. For instance, of all plant protein produced, 49 percent ends up in human diets.

In addition to the global findings, the research team looked at allocation of crop calories in four key countries: India, China, Brazil and the U.S. They found that while India allocates 90 percent of calories to feeding people, the other three allocate 58 percent, 45 percent, and 27 percent, respectively.

Noting the major cultural and economic dimensions involved, the researchers acknowledged that while a complete shift from animal to plant-based diets may not be feasible, even a partial shift would benefit food security. Quantifying the impact of various strategies, they found that a shift from crop-intensive beef to pork and chicken could feed an additional 357 million people, and a shift to nonmeat diets that include eggs and milk could feed an additional 815 million people.

The researchers emphasized that they are not making diet prescriptions or recommendations, just pointing out opportunities for gains in food production. They noted that humans can completely meet protein needs with plant-based diets, but that crop systems would need to shift (e.g., toward more production of protein-rich legumes) to meet human dietary needs.

“The good news is that we already produce enough calories to feed a few billion more people,” Cassidy says. “As our planet gets more crowded or we experience disasters like droughts and pests, we can find ways of using existing croplands more efficiently.”

In addition to her role as Global Landscapes Initiative graduate research assistant with the Institute on the Environment, Cassidy is a graduate student in the Natural Resources Science and Management program in the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences.

ScienceDaily: Agriculture and Food News

US: Greenhouse produce market to grow over $4 Billion by 2020

US: Greenhouse produce market to grow over $ 4 Billion by 2020

Though still in its early stages, the US greenhouse industry has been steadily growing over the past decade. This growth, driven in part by the need for more intensive production due to limited land, water and labor, has pushed sales over $ 3 billion and is estimated to reach over $ 4 billion by 2020. This is according to Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory (FAR) group. The report titled, “The Growing US Greenhouse Produce Niche – Capitalizing on High Tech Quality and Consistency”, goes on to point out that reducing the cost of high-tech greenhouse installations and differentiating from lower cost Mexican shadehouse and low-tech greenhouse competition will be the key to future growth.

The report, authored by Karen Halliburton Barber, Senior Analyst -Produce at FAR, addresses a variety of opportunities for the industry as it grows. “There is a growing preference among US Retail and Foodservice buyers for greenhouse produce,” said Barber. “These buyers are seeking the quality and reliability of supply that greenhouse products provide.”

Although greenhouse produce is estimated to only represent 1 to 2 percent of overall US fresh fruit and vegetable production there are important trends to keep an eye on. Greenhouse tomatoes today account for as much as 70 percent of sales. This concentration in business is an indication that the key challenges noted in the report, costs and competition, are not insurmountable.

The report concludes noting that growth in greenhouse production is likely to continue in the near term. A core challenge to that growth will be educating the consumer while differentiating high-tech greenhouse products from lower-tech products. Stricter labeling laws as well as greater awareness of certification programs already in place in the US and Canada can aid in this education as well. Success in the niche is expected to continue to favor the most efficient, reliable and experienced producers with advantages in marketing, geography and technology.

A full copy of the report is available to the media upon request. Please note that the report is for informational purposes only and may not be reproduced, distributed or published in whole or in part, for any purpose, except with prior written consent by Rabobank, N.A.

Source: www.marketwatch.com

Publication date: 7/29/2013


FreshPlaza.com

Kroger acquires Harris Teeter in $2.5 billion deal

The Kroger Co. and Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc. announced a definitive merger agreement July 9 under which Kroger will purchase all outstanding shares of Harris Teeter for $ 49.38 per share in cash.

Included in the deal are Harris Teeter’s 212 stores in the southeastern and mid-Atlantic markets and in Washington, DC. The stores are located primarily in high-growth markets, vacation destinations and university communities in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Maryland, Tennessee, Delaware, Florida, Georgia and the District of Columbia.

Harris Teeter also operates distribution centers for grocery, frozen and perishable foods in Greensboro, NC, and Indian Trail, NC, and a dairy facility in High Point, NC. Harris Teeter had revenues of approximately $ 4.5 billion for fiscal year 2012.

“We are excited to welcome Harris Teeter to the Kroger family,” David B. Dillon, Kroger’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Harris Teeter is an exceptional company with a great brand, friendly and talented associates, and attractive store formats in vibrant markets run by a first-class management team. They share our customer-centric approach to everything we do — from store format and merchandising to innovative loyalty programs. This is a financially and strategically compelling transaction and a unique opportunity for our shareholders and associates. We look forward to bringing together the best of Kroger and Harris Teeter while continuing to operate and grow the Harris Teeter brands. Together, we can continue to deepen our connections with customers across all of our markets.”

“Harris Teeter has a long track record of creating shareholder value, and this merger is the culmination of those efforts over many years,” Thomas W. Dickson, chairman and CEO of Harris Teeter, said in a statement. “We are excited about becoming part of The Kroger Co., one of the best food retailers in the U.S., while maintaining the Harris Teeter banner, our management teams, our new store growth plan, our distribution and manufacturing facilities in North Carolina as well as our headquarters in Matthews, NC. As part of Kroger, Harris Teeter will be well equipped to continue to provide our customers outstanding quality and customer service as well as excellent value in an increasingly competitive market.”

Kroger will finance the transaction with debt. Kroger also intends to assume Harris Teeter’s outstanding debt of approximately $ 100 million.

Following the acquisition, the company will operate 2,631 supermarkets and employ over 368,300 associates across 34 states and the District of Columbia. Following closing, Harris Teeter will continue to operate its stores as a subsidiary of The Kroger Co. and will continue to be led by key members of Harris Teeter’s senior management team. There are no plans to close stores, and associates will continue to have employment opportunities with both companies. Kroger headquarters will remain in Cincinnati, and Harris Teeter will keep its headquarters in Matthews, NC.

Kroger currently operates its 2,419 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines