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North America continues to be the largest market for Chile

If a retailer is selling blueberries, grapes or stone fruit — such as peaches, plums and nectarines — during the winter months, chances are the fruit is from Chile, said Karen Brux, managing director of the San Carlos, CA-based Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, North America. “As the largest fruit exporter in the Southern Hemisphere, Chile exports more than 800,000 tons of fruit to the U.S. annually, and over half of that is supplied during our winter months. Consumers expect their retailers to have year-round supplies of their favorite fruits, and Chile makes it possible.”

Brux explained that Chilean cherries are available from November through January. Blueberries run from November through March. The Grape movement from Chile runs from December through May, and peaches, plums and nectarines arrive in the U.S. from December through April.

“Chile exports around 400,000 tons of grapes to the U.S. each year,” said Brux. “This represents about half of Chile’s entire export volume to the U.S. The Chilean Fresh Fruit Association has unique retail marketing programs for each of these products, and we work with retailers across the U.S. and Canada to develop in-store and online promotions to drive sales. Often, these are focused on a particular holiday, such as Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day. Occasionally we’ll participate in promotion for organizations, like Heart Health Month in February.”

The Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, North America has a variety of point-of-sale cards and posters for every major commodity available from Chile during the winter months. An order form is available on the fruitsfromchile.com website. Brux noted that the website also provides numerous recipes and usage ideas, along with accompanying images for all the various Chilean fruits available throughout the year.

“In terms of promotions that are offered to retailers, during the 2013-14 season, the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association launched a very successful trial of a promotion called the ‘Great Grape Giveaway,” said Brux. “Retailers loved it. A total of 298 stores from 17 retail chains across the U.S. participated in the promotion. I think we had such strong support because it was fun and easy to enter, and it was a nice incentive for produce managers. We hope to expand on it in 2015, and hopefully double the number of stores participating.

“Most importantly, we work with retailers on custom point-of-sale promotion programs for their stores,” she continued. “In early 2014, for example, we designed a large 22-inch by 28-inch co-branded blueberry poster that reinforced some key blueberry health messages. The Chilean Fresh Fruit Association has also sponsored numerous health and wellness programs developed by specific retailers. You can’t be an effective marketer without tailoring your programs to fit your customers’ needs.”

Social media, she explained, is of huge importance to the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, and it has strongly changed the way its merchandisers work with retailers. For the past few years the organization has placed a strong emphasis on giving retail marketing staff — whether supermarket registered dietitians, social media or marketing managers — the information and images they need to reach their customers on their Facebook pages or other social media outlets.

“This has become a key component of our retail marketing programs and probably one of the most cost-effective means of reaching consumers with compelling information about fresh fruits from Chile,” said Brux. “Working with retailers on social media typically involves sending sound bites on usage ideas or nutrition info to whoever is responsible for social media within a retail chain. Retailers will often post this on their Facebook pages, blogs or websites, or even use it in in-store printed communication. Retailers of all types are on board with social media. We recently saw a small North Dakota chain take our information and turn it into a simple Facebook promotion where their customers could name their favorite way of eating Chilean oranges. It was so simple, and they had a few hundred responses.”

Supermarket registered dietitians often play a key role in retail social initiatives, and the association works directly with them on more nutrition-related info. It has sponsored numerous Produce for Better Health programs that bring together produce organizations and supermarket registered dietitians across the country.

“We encourage supermarkets to reach out to the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association merchandiser in their area and discuss promotion opportunities,” Brux shared. “We want to support everyone interested in promoting Chilean fruit.”

Volume in tons of Chilean fruit imports has been stable over the years. But Brux explained that 2013-14 was a very “off” year.

“Chile suffered the worst drought in 80 years, and the country also had a three-week port strike,” she said. “Export volume to the U.S. has been quite stable over the years. With Chile continually expanding its global presence and selling to more international markets, one might expect to see decreasing volumes to the U.S., but clearly that is not the case. Some commodities, like grapes, have seen decreased volumes, but others, like blueberries and citrus, have witnessed huge growth. North America is the largest market for Chile, and growers and exporters want to know what they can do to better serve this market.”

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

Chile looking forward to better year for fruit exports

ANAHEIM, CA — An early-October freeze in fruit-growing regions in Chile is not expected to have a significant impact on export volume, according to officials at the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association and the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association, known commonly by the acronym ASOEX.

Meeting with The Produce News during the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Convention & Exposition, here, Ronald Bown, chairman of ASOEX, said he expects a full recovery after last year’s challenging season, when a freeze severely limited export volume and strikes at Chilean ports further exacerbated difficulties in the fruit trade.ChileRonald Bown, chairman of ASOEX, with U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Edward Avalos, at the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association booth.

“We expect a much better year this year,” said Bown. “Every year it is something, but the recent freeze was not as bad as last year, and we don’t expect the same difficulties with the strikes at the ports.”

The freeze last year was the biggest in 50 years, according to Bown, and it was the main factor in the 11.4 percent decrease in fruit exports, affecting mostly grapes, kiwifruit, stone fruit and cherries. Bown believes Chilean growers can make up for last year by virtue of the planned 5-15 percent increase in production.

Further, he said, “We are working very hard with the [Chilean] government to analyze problems in the past related to the port strike, and we expect to solve those problems, which were mostly labor issues.”

ASOEX is ramping up its efforts to reach additional markets, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Bown. It also wants to ship more product to Russia and other European markets. But he said the North American market remains a key destination for fruit exports.

“Global markets are increasingly more important for us, but the North American market remains the largest by far,” he said. For example, “70 percent of our blueberries go to North America.”

For its part, ASOEX does a good deal of outreach to maintain its preferred status among retailers in North America.

“Reliability and consistency are the key aspects that retailers seek,” said Bown. “Chile has been working with the trade for many years to establish solid relationships, and it has paid off. One of our strengths is that we have an excellent marketing staff to reach out to our customers. We meet with retailers of all sizes — from 10-store chains to 1,000-store chains — and they appreciate that we can offer the quality and volume they need.”

Prior to the wide acceptance of fruit from Chile, Bown recalled that there was pushback when shipments began to increase.

“But as we gained acceptance in the marketplace, people came to realize that more fruit on the market had the positive benefit of offering an opportunity to increase consumption,” he said. “Also, we offer a wide range of products that spans the entire fruit category, not just one or two items.”

Growth potential for kiwifruit

One area of focus for Chilean fruit exports this season is kiwifruit, according to Carlos Cruzat, president of the Comité del Kiwi, which promotes Chilean kiwifruit. His main quest is to offer preconditioned fruit that is sweet, flavorful and ready to eat.

“Growers and importers need to work together to give consumers a good eating experience so they come back to buy more,” he said. “It is important that consumers receive fruit that is ready to eat within one to two days.”

He cited a decline in consumption of green kiwifruit, as many countries have switched to gold-flesh fruit to meet the rising demand, especially in the Asian markets.

“Global volume of green kiwi is declining and will continue to do so,” he said. “So we have a challenge of maintaining that business, and to do that we need to add value, not just increase production. Offering preconditioned fruit is one way to add value.”

He said that it is important to please consumers in order to increase the category.

“We see big potential for green kiwi, but we need everyone to be on the same page,” said Cruzat. “We have been convincing growers that they should invest in green kiwi again, since it is not as labor-intensive and can be stored for a while, so the season can be extended. Virtually no other country is planting new green acreage. While it is not the most profitable item, it is good overall for the category and is a stable product for the entire ‘fruit basket.’“

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

Chile looking forward to better year for fruit exports

ANAHEIM, CA — An early-October freeze in fruit-growing regions in Chile is not expected to have a significant impact on export volume, according to officials at the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association and the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association, known commonly by the acronym ASOEX.

Meeting with The Produce News during the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Convention & Exposition, here, Ronald Bown, chairman of ASOEX, said he expects a full recovery after last year’s challenging season, when a freeze severely limited export volume and strikes at Chilean ports further exacerbated difficulties in the fruit trade.ChileRonald Bown, chairman of ASOEX, with U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Edward Avalos, at the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association booth.

“We expect a much better year this year,” said Bown. “Every year it is something, but the recent freeze was not as bad as last year, and we don’t expect the same difficulties with the strikes at the ports.”

The freeze last year was the biggest in 50 years, according to Bown, and it was the main factor in the 11.4 percent decrease in fruit exports, affecting mostly grapes, kiwifruit, stone fruit and cherries. Bown believes Chilean growers can make up for last year by virtue of the planned 5-15 percent increase in production.

Further, he said, “We are working very hard with the [Chilean] government to analyze problems in the past related to the port strike, and we expect to solve those problems, which were mostly labor issues.”

ASOEX is ramping up its efforts to reach additional markets, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Bown. It also wants to ship more product to Russia and other European markets. But he said the North American market remains a key destination for fruit exports.

“Global markets are increasingly more important for us, but the North American market remains the largest by far,” he said. For example, “70 percent of our blueberries go to North America.”

For its part, ASOEX does a good deal of outreach to maintain its preferred status among retailers in North America.

“Reliability and consistency are the key aspects that retailers seek,” said Bown. “Chile has been working with the trade for many years to establish solid relationships, and it has paid off. One of our strengths is that we have an excellent marketing staff to reach out to our customers. We meet with retailers of all sizes — from 10-store chains to 1,000-store chains — and they appreciate that we can offer the quality and volume they need.”

Prior to the wide acceptance of fruit from Chile, Bown recalled that there was pushback when shipments began to increase.

“But as we gained acceptance in the marketplace, people came to realize that more fruit on the market had the positive benefit of offering an opportunity to increase consumption,” he said. “Also, we offer a wide range of products that spans the entire fruit category, not just one or two items.”

Growth potential for kiwifruit

One area of focus for Chilean fruit exports this season is kiwifruit, according to Carlos Cruzat, president of the Comité del Kiwi, which promotes Chilean kiwifruit. His main quest is to offer preconditioned fruit that is sweet, flavorful and ready to eat.

“Growers and importers need to work together to give consumers a good eating experience so they come back to buy more,” he said. “It is important that consumers receive fruit that is ready to eat within one to two days.”

He cited a decline in consumption of green kiwifruit, as many countries have switched to gold-flesh fruit to meet the rising demand, especially in the Asian markets.

“Global volume of green kiwi is declining and will continue to do so,” he said. “So we have a challenge of maintaining that business, and to do that we need to add value, not just increase production. Offering preconditioned fruit is one way to add value.”

He said that it is important to please consumers in order to increase the category.

“We see big potential for green kiwi, but we need everyone to be on the same page,” said Cruzat. “We have been convincing growers that they should invest in green kiwi again, since it is not as labor-intensive and can be stored for a while, so the season can be extended. Virtually no other country is planting new green acreage. While it is not the most profitable item, it is good overall for the category and is a stable product for the entire ‘fruit basket.’“

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

Chile looking forward to better year for fruit exports

ANAHEIM, CA — An early-October freeze in fruit-growing regions in Chile is not expected to have a significant impact on export volume, according to officials at the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association and the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association, known commonly by the acronym ASOEX.

Meeting with The Produce News during the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Convention & Exposition, here, Ronald Bown, chairman of ASOEX, said he expects a full recovery after last year’s challenging season, when a freeze severely limited export volume and strikes at Chilean ports further exacerbated difficulties in the fruit trade.ChileRonald Bown, chairman of ASOEX, with U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Edward Avalos, at the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association booth.

“We expect a much better year this year,” said Bown. “Every year it is something, but the recent freeze was not as bad as last year, and we don’t expect the same difficulties with the strikes at the ports.”

The freeze last year was the biggest in 50 years, according to Bown, and it was the main factor in the 11.4 percent decrease in fruit exports, affecting mostly grapes, kiwifruit, stone fruit and cherries. Bown believes Chilean growers can make up for last year by virtue of the planned 5-15 percent increase in production.

Further, he said, “We are working very hard with the [Chilean] government to analyze problems in the past related to the port strike, and we expect to solve those problems, which were mostly labor issues.”

ASOEX is ramping up its efforts to reach additional markets, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Bown. It also wants to ship more product to Russia and other European markets. But he said the North American market remains a key destination for fruit exports.

“Global markets are increasingly more important for us, but the North American market remains the largest by far,” he said. For example, “70 percent of our blueberries go to North America.”

For its part, ASOEX does a good deal of outreach to maintain its preferred status among retailers in North America.

“Reliability and consistency are the key aspects that retailers seek,” said Bown. “Chile has been working with the trade for many years to establish solid relationships, and it has paid off. One of our strengths is that we have an excellent marketing staff to reach out to our customers. We meet with retailers of all sizes — from 10-store chains to 1,000-store chains — and they appreciate that we can offer the quality and volume they need.”

Prior to the wide acceptance of fruit from Chile, Bown recalled that there was pushback when shipments began to increase.

“But as we gained acceptance in the marketplace, people came to realize that more fruit on the market had the positive benefit of offering an opportunity to increase consumption,” he said. “Also, we offer a wide range of products that spans the entire fruit category, not just one or two items.”

Growth potential for kiwifruit

One area of focus for Chilean fruit exports this season is kiwifruit, according to Carlos Cruzat, president of the Comité del Kiwi, which promotes Chilean kiwifruit. His main quest is to offer preconditioned fruit that is sweet, flavorful and ready to eat.

“Growers and importers need to work together to give consumers a good eating experience so they come back to buy more,” he said. “It is important that consumers receive fruit that is ready to eat within one to two days.”

He cited a decline in consumption of green kiwifruit, as many countries have switched to gold-flesh fruit to meet the rising demand, especially in the Asian markets.

“Global volume of green kiwi is declining and will continue to do so,” he said. “So we have a challenge of maintaining that business, and to do that we need to add value, not just increase production. Offering preconditioned fruit is one way to add value.”

He said that it is important to please consumers in order to increase the category.

“We see big potential for green kiwi, but we need everyone to be on the same page,” said Cruzat. “We have been convincing growers that they should invest in green kiwi again, since it is not as labor-intensive and can be stored for a while, so the season can be extended. Virtually no other country is planting new green acreage. While it is not the most profitable item, it is good overall for the category and is a stable product for the entire ‘fruit basket.’“

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

Chile looking forward to better year for fruit exports

ANAHEIM, CA — An early-October freeze in fruit-growing regions in Chile is not expected to have a significant impact on export volume, according to officials at the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association and the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association, known commonly by the acronym ASOEX.

Meeting with The Produce News during the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Convention & Exposition, here, Ronald Bown, chairman of ASOEX, said he expects a full recovery after last year’s challenging season, when a freeze severely limited export volume and strikes at Chilean ports further exacerbated difficulties in the fruit trade.ChileRonald Bown, chairman of ASOEX, with U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Edward Avalos, at the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association booth.

“We expect a much better year this year,” said Bown. “Every year it is something, but the recent freeze was not as bad as last year, and we don’t expect the same difficulties with the strikes at the ports.”

The freeze last year was the biggest in 50 years, according to Bown, and it was the main factor in the 11.4 percent decrease in fruit exports, affecting mostly grapes, kiwifruit, stone fruit and cherries. Bown believes Chilean growers can make up for last year by virtue of the planned 5-15 percent increase in production.

Further, he said, “We are working very hard with the [Chilean] government to analyze problems in the past related to the port strike, and we expect to solve those problems, which were mostly labor issues.”

ASOEX is ramping up its efforts to reach additional markets, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Bown. It also wants to ship more product to Russia and other European markets. But he said the North American market remains a key destination for fruit exports.

“Global markets are increasingly more important for us, but the North American market remains the largest by far,” he said. For example, “70 percent of our blueberries go to North America.”

For its part, ASOEX does a good deal of outreach to maintain its preferred status among retailers in North America.

“Reliability and consistency are the key aspects that retailers seek,” said Bown. “Chile has been working with the trade for many years to establish solid relationships, and it has paid off. One of our strengths is that we have an excellent marketing staff to reach out to our customers. We meet with retailers of all sizes — from 10-store chains to 1,000-store chains — and they appreciate that we can offer the quality and volume they need.”

Prior to the wide acceptance of fruit from Chile, Bown recalled that there was pushback when shipments began to increase.

“But as we gained acceptance in the marketplace, people came to realize that more fruit on the market had the positive benefit of offering an opportunity to increase consumption,” he said. “Also, we offer a wide range of products that spans the entire fruit category, not just one or two items.”

Growth potential for kiwifruit

One area of focus for Chilean fruit exports this season is kiwifruit, according to Carlos Cruzat, president of the Comité del Kiwi, which promotes Chilean kiwifruit. His main quest is to offer preconditioned fruit that is sweet, flavorful and ready to eat.

“Growers and importers need to work together to give consumers a good eating experience so they come back to buy more,” he said. “It is important that consumers receive fruit that is ready to eat within one to two days.”

He cited a decline in consumption of green kiwifruit, as many countries have switched to gold-flesh fruit to meet the rising demand, especially in the Asian markets.

“Global volume of green kiwi is declining and will continue to do so,” he said. “So we have a challenge of maintaining that business, and to do that we need to add value, not just increase production. Offering preconditioned fruit is one way to add value.”

He said that it is important to please consumers in order to increase the category.

“We see big potential for green kiwi, but we need everyone to be on the same page,” said Cruzat. “We have been convincing growers that they should invest in green kiwi again, since it is not as labor-intensive and can be stored for a while, so the season can be extended. Virtually no other country is planting new green acreage. While it is not the most profitable item, it is good overall for the category and is a stable product for the entire ‘fruit basket.’“

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

Retail Outlets Remove Chile Pepper Varieties From Sale Due to Potential Salmonella

Following last week’s recall of fresh Serrano chile peppers by Bailey Farms Inc., Giant Food Stores LLC and Martin’s Food Markets announced that they removed from sale Serrano, Anaheim, Red Cherry Hot and Finger Hot peppers sold in a variety case due to potential Salmonella contamination.

The following product is included in this recall: Serrano, Anaheim, Red Cherry Hot and Finger Hot Peppers, PLU 4691, purchased on or after Oct. 9, 2014. The stores have not received any reports of illnesses to date.

Martin’s Food Markets and Giant Food Stores operate in Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Both retail chains are owned by Netherlands-based Ahold.

Customers who have purchased the product should discard any unused portions and bring their purchase receipt to Giant/Martin’s for a full refund.

Consumers looking for additional information on the recall may call Bailey Farms at 888-820-2545. In addition, customers may call Giant/Martin’s customer service at 1-888-814-4268 for more information. Customers can also visit the store websites at www.giantfoodstores.com or www.martinsfoods.com.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause Salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. Salmonella infections can be life-threatening, especially to those with weak immune systems, such as infants, the elderly and persons with HIV infection or undergoing chemotherapy.

The most common manifestations of Salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within eight to 72 hours. Additional symptoms may include chills, headache, nausea and vomiting that can last up to seven days.

Food Safety News