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Two E. coli cases linked to livestock close Washington school

Two young Washington state girls are hospitalized with complications from E. coli infection and their school has been temporarily closed for cleaning. One of the girls has reportedly developed hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a serious kidney condition linked to E. coli infection.

Health officials said the source of their exposure to Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) bacteria was probably not food but contact with animals.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-petting-zoo-image1008725

Contact with livestock can be a source of E. coli infection. (Photo illustration)

“The exact source of contamination in E. coli can be very difficult to identify, but at this point we believe the children were likely exposed to livestock near their home,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer and director of the Snohomish Health District.

A health district Facebook posting indicated that, “… based on our Communicable Disease team’s initial investigation and interviews with family, we do not believe this was caused by a food source.”

The Monroe Montessori School in Monroe, WA, was temporarily closed on Wednesday, and nobody answered the phone there on Thursday. Approximately 60 students and staff members were said to have potentially been exposed to the bacteria and were being tested for the infection.

A health district statement issued Wednesday noted that the school “has temporarily closed for disinfecting as a precaution,” and that the school, the district, the Washington State Department of Health and the Washington State Department of Early Learning were coordinating on the E. coli testing.

Contact with livestock in a rural area, a farm, or a petting zoo are common sources of E. coli bacteria. An outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 infection last year in Washington state was traced to a fairgrounds dairy barn in Lynden, WA. That outbreak sickened 25 people, mostly young children, and hospitalized 10 of them.

Symptoms of STEC infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea that is often bloody, and vomiting. If there is fever, it usually is less than 101 degrees F. Most people get better within five to seven days as infections can be mild, but others can be severe or even life-threatening.

Young children and the elderly are more likely to experience serious illness. People with weakened immune systems, including pregnant women, are also at risk for serious illness.

Between 5 and 10 percent of those diagnosed with E. coli O157 infection develop the potentially life-threatening complication of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Clues that a person is developing HUS include decreased frequency of urination, feeling very tired, and losing pink color in cheeks and inside the lower eyelids.

People with HUS should be hospitalized because their kidneys may stop working and they may develop other serious problems. Most people who develop HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent damage or die.

Handwashing is the most effective way to reduce chances of getting sick. Adults should supervise young children to make sure they don’t put their hands in their mouths and make sure that their hands are washed thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom.

The spread of illnesses from animals, such as those caused by E. coli, are commonly linked to hand-to-mouth contact. It is also important to avoid swallowing water when swimming and playing in lakes, ponds, streams, swimming pools, and backyard “kiddie” pools.

More information about STEC and other types of E. coli can be found here.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

Food Safety News

Bottom Dollar employees to receive severance as stores close

All 66 Bottom Dollar Food locations will close Jan. 15 and every employee will be offered severance, the company announced. Eligible employees will also receive career transition services.

“We want to thank our associates, customers and communities for their support over the past four years,” Gene Faller, VP of retail operations for Bottom Dollar Food.

Delhaize Group announced the sale of Bottom Dollars stores and associated lease liabilities in the greater Philadelphia and great Pittsburgh markets to Aldi in November. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015. Aldi has not announced plans for the locations, although it will likely reopen most of the stores under its own banner later this year.

Related

Aldi’s purchase closes book on Bottom Dollar

Shoppers react to Bottom Dollar news

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S.C. peach crop finishes strong, close to 2013 production totals

COLUMBIA, SC — Despite an early freeze that killed an estimated 20 percent of the 2014 peach crop, production finished strong and managed to pull within shouting distance of last year’s harvest. Matt Cornwell, marketing specialist for peaches at the South Carolina Department of Agriculture here, said final totals, as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in mid-September, were 2,290 truckloads, compared to 2,320 in 2013.

“One thing we can’t control is the weather,” Cornwell said. “But the strong finish to the season meant that growers were able to fill orders and retailers were able to get high-quality product.SC-PEACHES11214This Harris Teeter store in downtown Charleston, SC, featured ‘fresh off the farm’ locally grown peaches in August. That bodes well for next year.” South Carolina peach growers, who usually rank second in the nation in peach production, behind California, have proven over the past few years that they can meet volume demands of supermarkets and other mass-market retailers, he added.  

Peach growers over the years have diversified, noted Martin Eubanks, assistant commissioner for agricultural services, so they are not dependent on a single crop of peaches. Many peach growers have now turned to harvesting greens, he said. Also, he added, when weather conditions are not off-the-scale, growers can save peach crops in near-freezing weather with blowers, smoke pots and even helicopters. “We had several bad spells of weather in 2014; another degree or two colder, our entire crop could have been lost,” he added.

Fir 2015, peach promotions will include a South Carolina Peach Council-sponsored Peach Day at the State Farmers’ Market in Columbia, Cornwell said, along with a fund-raising auction for the council in late March or early April in the Myrtle Beach, SC, area. Other materials and activities for retailers and consumers are on the drawing board, he noted.

“Right now, peach growers are doing their game planning for the year,” Cornwell observed. He said he had spoken with Lynne Chappell of Chappell Farms, a fifth-generation family peach grower in Kline, SC,  Dec. 19 and she recounted that they are “currently pruning, getting ready to fertilize in January, and as her father Pat Chappell said, ‘enjoying good peach weather in December.’”

Value-added processing makes South Carolina peaches a year-round item, with some growers providing peach puree to craft brewers making peach beer and brandy, others packing sliced frozen peaches in puree, as well as peaches for ice cream sold to dairies, and peach menu items for restaurants and foodservice operations. Value-added products have steadily increased, Cornwell said, along with growers adding organic peaches to their offerings.  

For 2015, Cornwell said, “Demand for South Carolina peaches is growing, and the state has a natural advantage in that the soil and climate are ideal for peaches. Because of our location, we are one of the first states to have peaches on the market, and we can reach the major population centers of the East Coast and Midwest. The outlook for 2015, weather permitting, is good.”

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

S.C. peach crop finishes strong, close to 2013 production totals

COLUMBIA, SC — Despite an early freeze that killed an estimated 20 percent of the 2014 peach crop, production finished strong and managed to pull within shouting distance of last year’s harvest. Matt Cornwell, marketing specialist for peaches at the South Carolina Department of Agriculture here, said final totals, as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in mid-September, were 2,290 truckloads, compared to 2,320 in 2013.

“One thing we can’t control is the weather,” Cornwell said. “But the strong finish to the season meant that growers were able to fill orders and retailers were able to get high-quality product.SC-PEACHES11214This Harris Teeter store in downtown Charleston, SC, featured ‘fresh off the farm’ locally grown peaches in August. That bodes well for next year.” South Carolina peach growers, who usually rank second in the nation in peach production, behind California, have proven over the past few years that they can meet volume demands of supermarkets and other mass-market retailers, he added.  

Peach growers over the years have diversified, noted Martin Eubanks, assistant commissioner for agricultural services, so they are not dependent on a single crop of peaches. Many peach growers have now turned to harvesting greens, he said. Also, he added, when weather conditions are not off-the-scale, growers can save peach crops in near-freezing weather with blowers, smoke pots and even helicopters. “We had several bad spells of weather in 2014; another degree or two colder, our entire crop could have been lost,” he added.

Fir 2015, peach promotions will include a South Carolina Peach Council-sponsored Peach Day at the State Farmers’ Market in Columbia, Cornwell said, along with a fund-raising auction for the council in late March or early April in the Myrtle Beach, SC, area. Other materials and activities for retailers and consumers are on the drawing board, he noted.

“Right now, peach growers are doing their game planning for the year,” Cornwell observed. He said he had spoken with Lynne Chappell of Chappell Farms, a fifth-generation family peach grower in Kline, SC,  Dec. 19 and she recounted that they are “currently pruning, getting ready to fertilize in January, and as her father Pat Chappell said, ‘enjoying good peach weather in December.’”

Value-added processing makes South Carolina peaches a year-round item, with some growers providing peach puree to craft brewers making peach beer and brandy, others packing sliced frozen peaches in puree, as well as peaches for ice cream sold to dairies, and peach menu items for restaurants and foodservice operations. Value-added products have steadily increased, Cornwell said, along with growers adding organic peaches to their offerings.  

For 2015, Cornwell said, “Demand for South Carolina peaches is growing, and the state has a natural advantage in that the soil and climate are ideal for peaches. Because of our location, we are one of the first states to have peaches on the market, and we can reach the major population centers of the East Coast and Midwest. The outlook for 2015, weather permitting, is good.”

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

S.C. peach crop finishes strong, close to 2013 production totals

COLUMBIA, SC — Despite an early freeze that killed an estimated 20 percent of the 2014 peach crop, production finished strong and managed to pull within shouting distance of last year’s harvest. Matt Cornwell, marketing specialist for peaches at the South Carolina Department of Agriculture here, said final totals, as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in mid-September, were 2,290 truckloads, compared to 2,320 in 2013.

“One thing we can’t control is the weather,” Cornwell said. “But the strong finish to the season meant that growers were able to fill orders and retailers were able to get high-quality product.SC-PEACHES11214This Harris Teeter store in downtown Charleston, SC, featured ‘fresh off the farm’ locally grown peaches in August. That bodes well for next year.” South Carolina peach growers, who usually rank second in the nation in peach production, behind California, have proven over the past few years that they can meet volume demands of supermarkets and other mass-market retailers, he added.  

Peach growers over the years have diversified, noted Martin Eubanks, assistant commissioner for agricultural services, so they are not dependent on a single crop of peaches. Many peach growers have now turned to harvesting greens, he said. Also, he added, when weather conditions are not off-the-scale, growers can save peach crops in near-freezing weather with blowers, smoke pots and even helicopters. “We had several bad spells of weather in 2014; another degree or two colder, our entire crop could have been lost,” he added.

Fir 2015, peach promotions will include a South Carolina Peach Council-sponsored Peach Day at the State Farmers’ Market in Columbia, Cornwell said, along with a fund-raising auction for the council in late March or early April in the Myrtle Beach, SC, area. Other materials and activities for retailers and consumers are on the drawing board, he noted.

“Right now, peach growers are doing their game planning for the year,” Cornwell observed. He said he had spoken with Lynne Chappell of Chappell Farms, a fifth-generation family peach grower in Kline, SC,  Dec. 19 and she recounted that they are “currently pruning, getting ready to fertilize in January, and as her father Pat Chappell said, ‘enjoying good peach weather in December.’”

Value-added processing makes South Carolina peaches a year-round item, with some growers providing peach puree to craft brewers making peach beer and brandy, others packing sliced frozen peaches in puree, as well as peaches for ice cream sold to dairies, and peach menu items for restaurants and foodservice operations. Value-added products have steadily increased, Cornwell said, along with growers adding organic peaches to their offerings.  

For 2015, Cornwell said, “Demand for South Carolina peaches is growing, and the state has a natural advantage in that the soil and climate are ideal for peaches. Because of our location, we are one of the first states to have peaches on the market, and we can reach the major population centers of the East Coast and Midwest. The outlook for 2015, weather permitting, is good.”

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

Target to close 11 stores

Target Corp. said Tuesday that it planned to close 11 stores by Feb. 1, citing performance issues.

The stores include three locations in Michigan (Bay City, Monroe, Northland), two stores in Illinois (McHenry, Calumet City) and single stores in Lithonia, Ga.; Clinton, Iowa; Castleton, Ind.; Wichita East, Kan.; Austin, Minn.; and Carrolton, Texas.

“The decision to close a Target store is only made after careful consideration of the long-term financial performance of a particular location,” Target said in a press release. “All eligible store team members are being offered the option to transfer to other Target stores. Team members who choose not to transfer will be offered a separation package.”

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Target to close 11 stores

Target Corp. said Tuesday that it planned to close 11 stores by Feb. 1, citing performance issues.

The stores include three locations in Michigan (Bay City, Monroe, Northland), two stores in Illinois (McHenry, Calumet City) and single stores in Lithonia, Ga.; Clinton, Iowa; Castleton, Ind.; Wichita East, Kan.; Austin, Minn.; and Carrolton, Texas.

“The decision to close a Target store is only made after careful consideration of the long-term financial performance of a particular location,” Target said in a press release. “All eligible store team members are being offered the option to transfer to other Target stores. Team members who choose not to transfer will be offered a separation package.”

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Mercer Island Issues Boil Water Advisory, Restaurants Close

The city of Mercer Island in Washington is advising residents to boil their water before drinking, or to use bottled water after samples showed the presences of E. coli.

The Washington State Department of Health and Public Health – Seattle and King County also orders all food establishments such as restaurants, coffee shops, and delis operating on the Island to suspend operations until the boil water advisory is lifted.

Fecal coliforms and E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems.

Boiled or purchased bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, and food preparation until further notice. Bring the water to a boil, let it boil for at least 1 minute, and let it cool before using. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms that could potentially be in the water.

Dishwashers can be used if run with the sanitizing/heat cycle and commercial dishwashing detergent. Dishes can be hand washed if rinsed in a diluted bleach solution – one teaspoon household bleach to one gallon of water – and then allowed to air dry.

Water can be used for bathing, but do not drink any of the water and do not allow babies to put the water or wet washcloth in the mouth.

The city will issue further notice when the water supply is confirmed to be safe.

Aside from Mercer Island, all other Seattle Public Utilities water is safe for drinking.
The city of Mercer Island in Washington is advising residents to boil their water before drinking, or to use bottled water after samples showed the presences of E. coli. Washington State Department of Health and Public Health – Seattle and King County also orders all food establishments such as restaurants, coffee shops, and delis operating on the Island to suspend operations until the boil water advisory is lifted.

Fecal coliforms and E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems.

Boiled or purchased bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, and food preparation until further notice. Bring the water to a boil, let it boil for at least 1 minute, and let it cool before using. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms that could potentially be in the water.

Dishwashers can be used if run with the sanitizing/heat cycle and commercial dishwashing detergent. Dishes can be hand washed if rinsed in a diluted bleach solution – one teaspoon household bleach to one gallon of water – and then allowed to air dry.

Water can be used for bathing, but do not drink any of the water and do not allow babies to put the water or wet washcloth in the mouth.

The city will issue further notice when the water supply is confirmed to be safe.

Aside from Mercer Island, all other Seattle Public Utilities water is safe for drinking.

Food Safety News

Dahl’s to close West Des Moines, Iowa, store

Dahl’s Foods announced that will be closing a West Des Moines, Iowa, store once the inventory is liquidated. Employees of the Prospect store have the opportunity to work at other Dahl’s locations.

“While it’s not an easy decision to close a store that’s been open since 1958, the combination of the store’s age and performance does not make sense to continue to operate. This is particularly important when we have other successful operations that we want to invest in.”

This closure will leave Dahl’s with 10 locations. This is the third store closing the retailer has announced since late spring, according to the Des Moines Register.

Dahl’s will be renovating two locations — one in West Des Moines and one in Des Moines — this winter.  

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US: At least one Florida juice processor expected to close before 2014-15 season

US: At least one Florida juice processor expected to close before 2014-15 season

The widespread expectation among Florida growers is that at least one Florida juice processor will shut down before the beginning of the 2014-15 citrus season in the fall.

Most frequently mentioned is the Indian town plant operated by Louis Dreyfus Citrus Inc., a subsidiary of the French agriculture and energy company. Also mentioned less frequently is the Lake Wales plant operated by Citrosuco North America Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Brazilian processor Citrovita Agro Industrial Ltd., that country’s largest juice processor.

Conventional wisdom in the Florida citrus industry has a spotty record for accuracy, but the logic is straightforward enough: Under attack by the devastating bacterial disease citrus greening, Florida citrus production has fallen by more than half and grapefruit production by nearly two-thirds over the last decade, and more declines are projected for the next 10 years. There’s simply not enough fruit to support juice production at Florida’s existing 19 processing plants.

In the five-year period through the 2003-04 citrus season, the last one unaffected by greening or hurricanes, Florida orange growers produced an average 226.3 million boxes and 45.1 million boxes of grapefruit. The recently completed season saw orange production drop to 104.3 million boxes and grapefruit to 15.6 million.

Annually, 95 percent of Florida oranges and more than 60 percent of grapefruit get processed to juice.

Consolidation among juice processors seems not unreasonable given the shrinkage in the state’s packinghouse just this year.

In April, the Kennedy family auctioned off its 47-year-old Vero Beach packinghouse business, United Indian River Packers Inc., along with nearly 2,000 acres of land, including 850 citrus grove acres, ending nearly a century of the family’s Florida citrus enterprise.

In June, Greene River Packing Inc. and Leroy Smith Inc., announced a merger of their Vero Beach packinghouses. The new company, Greene-Smith Packing LLC, will operate out of the Greene River packinghouse.

Figures on citrus processing capacity in Florida are not available, but Hugh Thompson, president of Cutrale Citrus Juices U.S.A. Inc. in Auburndale, a subsidiary of another Brazilian processor, estimated existing capacity at 220 million boxes, or more than twice needed to process the 2013-14 crop. Thompson declined to comment on whether Cutrale and other Florida plants can continue to operate profitably at 50 percent capacity.

Other citrus officials are divided on that question.

A processing plant has certain fixed costs, such as building and machine maintenance, quality control and other management costs, that vary little whether it runs 1,000 or 1 million boxes of fruit, Roe said.

As juice production declines, those fixed costs get spread over a smaller number of gallons, which inevitably gets passed on to the consumer in higher retail prices, he added.

The economics of making orange juice differs from manufacturing widgets, said Tom Spreen, professor emeritus of agricultural economics at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and the Florida processing industry doesn’t operate by the same economic rules.

For one thing, Spreen said, processors and fresh fruit packinghouses operate only about half a year, the length of the harvesting season.

Moreover, one of a processing plant’s biggest fixed costs is leasing and running extractors that squeeze juice from the fruit, he added. Because the machines are leased, plants can downsize more readily as citrus production falls.

There’s already been a substantial downsizing of processors and packinghouses in response to market forces that pre-date greening, such as the 37 percent decline in U.S. retail OJ sales that began in 2000-01, Spreen said. The market also has moved away from frozen concentrated orange juice and reconstituted OJ from concentrate.
According to the Florida Department of Citrus, the number of citrus processors declined by half in the early part of the last decade from 42 companies in 2000-2001 to 21 in 2006-2007.

Most of the companies that closed during the last 13 years produced mostly frozen concentrate, which has declined more rapidly in sales compared to not-from-concentrate (NFC) orange juice, Spreen said.

Of the remaining producers, the “Big Seven” processors are involved mainly in NFC production, he said. They are Florida’s Natural; Tropicana Products Inc. in Bradenton, the largest U.S. processor; Cutrale (which processes for Minute Maid); CitroSuco (which processes for Tropicana); Dreyfus; Peace River Citrus Products Inc. in Arcadia; and Southern Gardens Citrus Processing Corp. in Clewiston.

Behr agreed that even significantly lower orange production in future seasons doesn’t necessarily spell impending doom for processors of NFC OJ, Florida’s premium citrus product. The Florida’s Natural brand is an entirely NFC line.

At current sales levels, about 75 million boxes of oranges will be processed to meet the U.S. demand for NFC orange juice, Behr said. As the state’s orange crop declines, frozen concentrate processors will feel the pinch before NFC companies do.

“The economics of running Florida fruit to concentrate are not that good right now,” Behr said. “That’s where the pressure is now.”

Source: theledger.com

Publication date: 7/7/2014


FreshPlaza.com

US: At least one Florida juice processor expected to close before 2014-15 season

US: At least one Florida juice processor expected to close before 2014-15 season

The widespread expectation among Florida growers is that at least one Florida juice processor will shut down before the beginning of the 2014-15 citrus season in the fall.

Most frequently mentioned is the Indian town plant operated by Louis Dreyfus Citrus Inc., a subsidiary of the French agriculture and energy company. Also mentioned less frequently is the Lake Wales plant operated by Citrosuco North America Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Brazilian processor Citrovita Agro Industrial Ltd., that country’s largest juice processor.

Conventional wisdom in the Florida citrus industry has a spotty record for accuracy, but the logic is straightforward enough: Under attack by the devastating bacterial disease citrus greening, Florida citrus production has fallen by more than half and grapefruit production by nearly two-thirds over the last decade, and more declines are projected for the next 10 years. There’s simply not enough fruit to support juice production at Florida’s existing 19 processing plants.

In the five-year period through the 2003-04 citrus season, the last one unaffected by greening or hurricanes, Florida orange growers produced an average 226.3 million boxes and 45.1 million boxes of grapefruit. The recently completed season saw orange production drop to 104.3 million boxes and grapefruit to 15.6 million.

Annually, 95 percent of Florida oranges and more than 60 percent of grapefruit get processed to juice.

Consolidation among juice processors seems not unreasonable given the shrinkage in the state’s packinghouse just this year.

In April, the Kennedy family auctioned off its 47-year-old Vero Beach packinghouse business, United Indian River Packers Inc., along with nearly 2,000 acres of land, including 850 citrus grove acres, ending nearly a century of the family’s Florida citrus enterprise.

In June, Greene River Packing Inc. and Leroy Smith Inc., announced a merger of their Vero Beach packinghouses. The new company, Greene-Smith Packing LLC, will operate out of the Greene River packinghouse.

Figures on citrus processing capacity in Florida are not available, but Hugh Thompson, president of Cutrale Citrus Juices U.S.A. Inc. in Auburndale, a subsidiary of another Brazilian processor, estimated existing capacity at 220 million boxes, or more than twice needed to process the 2013-14 crop. Thompson declined to comment on whether Cutrale and other Florida plants can continue to operate profitably at 50 percent capacity.

Other citrus officials are divided on that question.

A processing plant has certain fixed costs, such as building and machine maintenance, quality control and other management costs, that vary little whether it runs 1,000 or 1 million boxes of fruit, Roe said.

As juice production declines, those fixed costs get spread over a smaller number of gallons, which inevitably gets passed on to the consumer in higher retail prices, he added.

The economics of making orange juice differs from manufacturing widgets, said Tom Spreen, professor emeritus of agricultural economics at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and the Florida processing industry doesn’t operate by the same economic rules.

For one thing, Spreen said, processors and fresh fruit packinghouses operate only about half a year, the length of the harvesting season.

Moreover, one of a processing plant’s biggest fixed costs is leasing and running extractors that squeeze juice from the fruit, he added. Because the machines are leased, plants can downsize more readily as citrus production falls.

There’s already been a substantial downsizing of processors and packinghouses in response to market forces that pre-date greening, such as the 37 percent decline in U.S. retail OJ sales that began in 2000-01, Spreen said. The market also has moved away from frozen concentrated orange juice and reconstituted OJ from concentrate.
According to the Florida Department of Citrus, the number of citrus processors declined by half in the early part of the last decade from 42 companies in 2000-2001 to 21 in 2006-2007.

Most of the companies that closed during the last 13 years produced mostly frozen concentrate, which has declined more rapidly in sales compared to not-from-concentrate (NFC) orange juice, Spreen said.

Of the remaining producers, the “Big Seven” processors are involved mainly in NFC production, he said. They are Florida’s Natural; Tropicana Products Inc. in Bradenton, the largest U.S. processor; Cutrale (which processes for Minute Maid); CitroSuco (which processes for Tropicana); Dreyfus; Peace River Citrus Products Inc. in Arcadia; and Southern Gardens Citrus Processing Corp. in Clewiston.

Behr agreed that even significantly lower orange production in future seasons doesn’t necessarily spell impending doom for processors of NFC OJ, Florida’s premium citrus product. The Florida’s Natural brand is an entirely NFC line.

At current sales levels, about 75 million boxes of oranges will be processed to meet the U.S. demand for NFC orange juice, Behr said. As the state’s orange crop declines, frozen concentrate processors will feel the pinch before NFC companies do.

“The economics of running Florida fruit to concentrate are not that good right now,” Behr said. “That’s where the pressure is now.”

Source: theledger.com

Publication date: 7/7/2014


FreshPlaza.com

US: At least one Florida juice processor expected to close before 2014-15 season

US: At least one Florida juice processor expected to close before 2014-15 season

The widespread expectation among Florida growers is that at least one Florida juice processor will shut down before the beginning of the 2014-15 citrus season in the fall.

Most frequently mentioned is the Indian town plant operated by Louis Dreyfus Citrus Inc., a subsidiary of the French agriculture and energy company. Also mentioned less frequently is the Lake Wales plant operated by Citrosuco North America Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Brazilian processor Citrovita Agro Industrial Ltd., that country’s largest juice processor.

Conventional wisdom in the Florida citrus industry has a spotty record for accuracy, but the logic is straightforward enough: Under attack by the devastating bacterial disease citrus greening, Florida citrus production has fallen by more than half and grapefruit production by nearly two-thirds over the last decade, and more declines are projected for the next 10 years. There’s simply not enough fruit to support juice production at Florida’s existing 19 processing plants.

In the five-year period through the 2003-04 citrus season, the last one unaffected by greening or hurricanes, Florida orange growers produced an average 226.3 million boxes and 45.1 million boxes of grapefruit. The recently completed season saw orange production drop to 104.3 million boxes and grapefruit to 15.6 million.

Annually, 95 percent of Florida oranges and more than 60 percent of grapefruit get processed to juice.

Consolidation among juice processors seems not unreasonable given the shrinkage in the state’s packinghouse just this year.

In April, the Kennedy family auctioned off its 47-year-old Vero Beach packinghouse business, United Indian River Packers Inc., along with nearly 2,000 acres of land, including 850 citrus grove acres, ending nearly a century of the family’s Florida citrus enterprise.

In June, Greene River Packing Inc. and Leroy Smith Inc., announced a merger of their Vero Beach packinghouses. The new company, Greene-Smith Packing LLC, will operate out of the Greene River packinghouse.

Figures on citrus processing capacity in Florida are not available, but Hugh Thompson, president of Cutrale Citrus Juices U.S.A. Inc. in Auburndale, a subsidiary of another Brazilian processor, estimated existing capacity at 220 million boxes, or more than twice needed to process the 2013-14 crop. Thompson declined to comment on whether Cutrale and other Florida plants can continue to operate profitably at 50 percent capacity.

Other citrus officials are divided on that question.

A processing plant has certain fixed costs, such as building and machine maintenance, quality control and other management costs, that vary little whether it runs 1,000 or 1 million boxes of fruit, Roe said.

As juice production declines, those fixed costs get spread over a smaller number of gallons, which inevitably gets passed on to the consumer in higher retail prices, he added.

The economics of making orange juice differs from manufacturing widgets, said Tom Spreen, professor emeritus of agricultural economics at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and the Florida processing industry doesn’t operate by the same economic rules.

For one thing, Spreen said, processors and fresh fruit packinghouses operate only about half a year, the length of the harvesting season.

Moreover, one of a processing plant’s biggest fixed costs is leasing and running extractors that squeeze juice from the fruit, he added. Because the machines are leased, plants can downsize more readily as citrus production falls.

There’s already been a substantial downsizing of processors and packinghouses in response to market forces that pre-date greening, such as the 37 percent decline in U.S. retail OJ sales that began in 2000-01, Spreen said. The market also has moved away from frozen concentrated orange juice and reconstituted OJ from concentrate.
According to the Florida Department of Citrus, the number of citrus processors declined by half in the early part of the last decade from 42 companies in 2000-2001 to 21 in 2006-2007.

Most of the companies that closed during the last 13 years produced mostly frozen concentrate, which has declined more rapidly in sales compared to not-from-concentrate (NFC) orange juice, Spreen said.

Of the remaining producers, the “Big Seven” processors are involved mainly in NFC production, he said. They are Florida’s Natural; Tropicana Products Inc. in Bradenton, the largest U.S. processor; Cutrale (which processes for Minute Maid); CitroSuco (which processes for Tropicana); Dreyfus; Peace River Citrus Products Inc. in Arcadia; and Southern Gardens Citrus Processing Corp. in Clewiston.

Behr agreed that even significantly lower orange production in future seasons doesn’t necessarily spell impending doom for processors of NFC OJ, Florida’s premium citrus product. The Florida’s Natural brand is an entirely NFC line.

At current sales levels, about 75 million boxes of oranges will be processed to meet the U.S. demand for NFC orange juice, Behr said. As the state’s orange crop declines, frozen concentrate processors will feel the pinch before NFC companies do.

“The economics of running Florida fruit to concentrate are not that good right now,” Behr said. “That’s where the pressure is now.”

Source: theledger.com

Publication date: 7/7/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Hillphoenix AMS Group Successfully Rolls Out “Close The Case” Offering

Hillphoenix has long been known as a market leader in the manufacture and supply of supermarket refrigeration systems and related equipment. Recently, a series of programs being provided through their Hillphoenix’ After Market Services Group (AMS) has been generating increased notoriety due to the ability of these programs to assist customers in maximizing their return on investment in Hillphoenix equipment. These programs include: Close the Case, Remodels, Roll Outs, Refresh, Case Parts, Energy Upgrades, and Refrigerant Conversions. This article will concentrate on the Close the Case program.

“Retailers are looking to save energy and provide fresher products for their shoppers,” explains John Roche, director of product development for the AMS Group. “Studies have shown that over 39% of supermarket energy is consumed by refrigeration, 23% by lighting, and 13% by heating. Open multi-deck display cases, dumping cold air into the aisles, with traditional fluorescent lighting are major consumers of supermarket energy.”

The obvious solution is to add doors to the open multi-deck cases, but retailers have been hesitant to do so since the prevailing wisdom has been that adding doors would hinder product sale. From a financial standpoint, the lost sales revenues figured to more than offset the potential energy savings, so medium temperature multi-deck cases have largely remained open, and energy usage elevated.

A recent test, however, performed in a Hillphoenix laboratory in Richmond, Virginia demonstrated that today’s glass doors and lighting, when retrofitted to open cases, yield far greater energy savings than in the past. The recent Hillphoenix test was performed on two 05DM-8 cases. The first case had no doors and the lamps were fluorescent. The second case was retrofitted with Anthony doors and LED lights. Both cases were filled with identical selections of cellophane-wrapped fresh steaks and ground meat.

The testing showed that in the door case, the load dropped by 79%. In addition, the product temperature in the door case fell below freezing, so the evaporator temperature had to be raised by 6 °F. This prevented the meat from freezing and allowed product temperatures in both cases to be equalized. Also, because of the reduced latent load in the door case, the daily defrosts were reduced from 6 to 2. The net result from these changes was an 80% reduction in load, and a 71% reduction in energy use.

It should also be noted that today’s doors require little or no anti-sweat heat, and the LED lights that are added to the doors are far more efficient than the fluorescents lamps they are replacing. These factors enhance the savings.

A number of other tangible benefits may be derived from adding doors. Perhaps the most notable of these, says Roche, is extended product life. “Over the course of our test, steak in the open case started to turn color after just four days. Steak in the door case remained bright red after seven days. Similarly, ground beef in the open case began turning brown after just two days. In the door case, it remained bright red over that same period. These results equate to longer shelf life for the refrigerated products.”

The consistency of the product in the door case was also enhanced. “In open cases, product temperatures may vary depending on their placement within the case. In glass door cases, product temperatures are far more consistent throughout the case. Furthermore, in door cases, the reduced frequency of defrosts that raise and lower product temperatures, adds to product life.”

Roche explains that adding glass doors is generally not an invasive process. “Installations can be done during off-peak hours or at night when the stores are closed. And since the existing cases remain in place, the food products do not have to be pulled from the cases and then replaced later on.”

Still, there is the issue of the shopping experience and the impact of doors on sales to be considered. Roche points out that in aisles with open cases, cold air spilling over into the aisles can cause the aisle temperatures to fall to 54-58 °F, which is quite uncomfortable, especially for shoppers with exposed legs. Once glass doors are added, the aisle temperatures rise to 65-70 °F, which greatly enhances the shopping experience.

Nick Brod, director of the grocery practice for energy consulting firm PECI of Portland Oregon, has seen an upsurge in glass door retrofits in recent years.  “We have supported medium temp case door retrofits in our grocery utility programs in several hundred projects and see the momentum building among grocers both large and small, in that direction.”

Brod states that objections PECI heard in previous years, such as reduced sales or more complex stocking, seem to be abating. Store managers, in particular, have reported increased dwell times in closed case aisles. “While the battle with retail staff is by no means over, we do expect a tipping point to be reached within the next year or two when grocers who haven’t completed door retrofits will be following their peers rather than leading the competition.”

Brod notes that PECI has seen added savings when glass door projects are combined with other retrofits and with retro commissioning of the compressor systems to account for the heavily reduced system load.

Supermarket News

Hillphoenix AMS Group Successfully Rolls Out “Close The Case” Offering

Hillphoenix has long been known as a market leader in the manufacture and supply of supermarket refrigeration systems and related equipment. Recently, a series of programs being provided through their Hillphoenix’ After Market Services Group (AMS) has been generating increased notoriety due to the ability of these programs to assist customers in maximizing their return on investment in Hillphoenix equipment. These programs include: Close the Case, Remodels, Roll Outs, Refresh, Case Parts, Energy Upgrades, and Refrigerant Conversions. This article will concentrate on the Close the Case program.

“Retailers are looking to save energy and provide fresher products for their shoppers,” explains John Roche, director of product development for the AMS Group. “Studies have shown that over 39% of supermarket energy is consumed by refrigeration, 23% by lighting, and 13% by heating. Open multi-deck display cases, dumping cold air into the aisles, with traditional fluorescent lighting are major consumers of supermarket energy.”

The obvious solution is to add doors to the open multi-deck cases, but retailers have been hesitant to do so since the prevailing wisdom has been that adding doors would hinder product sale. From a financial standpoint, the lost sales revenues figured to more than offset the potential energy savings, so medium temperature multi-deck cases have largely remained open, and energy usage elevated.

A recent test, however, performed in a Hillphoenix laboratory in Richmond, Virginia demonstrated that today’s glass doors and lighting, when retrofitted to open cases, yield far greater energy savings than in the past. The recent Hillphoenix test was performed on two 05DM-8 cases. The first case had no doors and the lamps were fluorescent. The second case was retrofitted with Anthony doors and LED lights. Both cases were filled with identical selections of cellophane-wrapped fresh steaks and ground meat.

The testing showed that in the door case, the load dropped by 79%. In addition, the product temperature in the door case fell below freezing, so the evaporator temperature had to be raised by 6 °F. This prevented the meat from freezing and allowed product temperatures in both cases to be equalized. Also, because of the reduced latent load in the door case, the daily defrosts were reduced from 6 to 2. The net result from these changes was an 80% reduction in load, and a 71% reduction in energy use.

It should also be noted that today’s doors require little or no anti-sweat heat, and the LED lights that are added to the doors are far more efficient than the fluorescents lamps they are replacing. These factors enhance the savings.

A number of other tangible benefits may be derived from adding doors. Perhaps the most notable of these, says Roche, is extended product life. “Over the course of our test, steak in the open case started to turn color after just four days. Steak in the door case remained bright red after seven days. Similarly, ground beef in the open case began turning brown after just two days. In the door case, it remained bright red over that same period. These results equate to longer shelf life for the refrigerated products.”

The consistency of the product in the door case was also enhanced. “In open cases, product temperatures may vary depending on their placement within the case. In glass door cases, product temperatures are far more consistent throughout the case. Furthermore, in door cases, the reduced frequency of defrosts that raise and lower product temperatures, adds to product life.”

Roche explains that adding glass doors is generally not an invasive process. “Installations can be done during off-peak hours or at night when the stores are closed. And since the existing cases remain in place, the food products do not have to be pulled from the cases and then replaced later on.”

Still, there is the issue of the shopping experience and the impact of doors on sales to be considered. Roche points out that in aisles with open cases, cold air spilling over into the aisles can cause the aisle temperatures to fall to 54-58 °F, which is quite uncomfortable, especially for shoppers with exposed legs. Once glass doors are added, the aisle temperatures rise to 65-70 °F, which greatly enhances the shopping experience.

Nick Brod, director of the grocery practice for energy consulting firm PECI of Portland Oregon, has seen an upsurge in glass door retrofits in recent years.  “We have supported medium temp case door retrofits in our grocery utility programs in several hundred projects and see the momentum building among grocers both large and small, in that direction.”

Brod states that objections PECI heard in previous years, such as reduced sales or more complex stocking, seem to be abating. Store managers, in particular, have reported increased dwell times in closed case aisles. “While the battle with retail staff is by no means over, we do expect a tipping point to be reached within the next year or two when grocers who haven’t completed door retrofits will be following their peers rather than leading the competition.”

Brod notes that PECI has seen added savings when glass door projects are combined with other retrofits and with retro commissioning of the compressor systems to account for the heavily reduced system load.

Supermarket News

Hillphoenix AMS Group Successfully Rolls Out “Close The Case” Offering

Hillphoenix has long been known as a market leader in the manufacture and supply of supermarket refrigeration systems and related equipment. Recently, a series of programs being provided through their Hillphoenix’ After Market Services Group (AMS) has been generating increased notoriety due to the ability of these programs to assist customers in maximizing their return on investment in Hillphoenix equipment. These programs include: Close the Case, Remodels, Roll Outs, Refresh, Case Parts, Energy Upgrades, and Refrigerant Conversions. This article will concentrate on the Close the Case program.

“Retailers are looking to save energy and provide fresher products for their shoppers,” explains John Roche, director of product development for the AMS Group. “Studies have shown that over 39% of supermarket energy is consumed by refrigeration, 23% by lighting, and 13% by heating. Open multi-deck display cases, dumping cold air into the aisles, with traditional fluorescent lighting are major consumers of supermarket energy.”

The obvious solution is to add doors to the open multi-deck cases, but retailers have been hesitant to do so since the prevailing wisdom has been that adding doors would hinder product sale. From a financial standpoint, the lost sales revenues figured to more than offset the potential energy savings, so medium temperature multi-deck cases have largely remained open, and energy usage elevated.

A recent test, however, performed in a Hillphoenix laboratory in Richmond, Virginia demonstrated that today’s glass doors and lighting, when retrofitted to open cases, yield far greater energy savings than in the past. The recent Hillphoenix test was performed on two 05DM-8 cases. The first case had no doors and the lamps were fluorescent. The second case was retrofitted with Anthony doors and LED lights. Both cases were filled with identical selections of cellophane-wrapped fresh steaks and ground meat.

The testing showed that in the door case, the load dropped by 79%. In addition, the product temperature in the door case fell below freezing, so the evaporator temperature had to be raised by 6 °F. This prevented the meat from freezing and allowed product temperatures in both cases to be equalized. Also, because of the reduced latent load in the door case, the daily defrosts were reduced from 6 to 2. The net result from these changes was an 80% reduction in load, and a 71% reduction in energy use.

It should also be noted that today’s doors require little or no anti-sweat heat, and the LED lights that are added to the doors are far more efficient than the fluorescents lamps they are replacing. These factors enhance the savings.

A number of other tangible benefits may be derived from adding doors. Perhaps the most notable of these, says Roche, is extended product life. “Over the course of our test, steak in the open case started to turn color after just four days. Steak in the door case remained bright red after seven days. Similarly, ground beef in the open case began turning brown after just two days. In the door case, it remained bright red over that same period. These results equate to longer shelf life for the refrigerated products.”

The consistency of the product in the door case was also enhanced. “In open cases, product temperatures may vary depending on their placement within the case. In glass door cases, product temperatures are far more consistent throughout the case. Furthermore, in door cases, the reduced frequency of defrosts that raise and lower product temperatures, adds to product life.”

Roche explains that adding glass doors is generally not an invasive process. “Installations can be done during off-peak hours or at night when the stores are closed. And since the existing cases remain in place, the food products do not have to be pulled from the cases and then replaced later on.”

Still, there is the issue of the shopping experience and the impact of doors on sales to be considered. Roche points out that in aisles with open cases, cold air spilling over into the aisles can cause the aisle temperatures to fall to 54-58 °F, which is quite uncomfortable, especially for shoppers with exposed legs. Once glass doors are added, the aisle temperatures rise to 65-70 °F, which greatly enhances the shopping experience.

Nick Brod, director of the grocery practice for energy consulting firm PECI of Portland Oregon, has seen an upsurge in glass door retrofits in recent years.  “We have supported medium temp case door retrofits in our grocery utility programs in several hundred projects and see the momentum building among grocers both large and small, in that direction.”

Brod states that objections PECI heard in previous years, such as reduced sales or more complex stocking, seem to be abating. Store managers, in particular, have reported increased dwell times in closed case aisles. “While the battle with retail staff is by no means over, we do expect a tipping point to be reached within the next year or two when grocers who haven’t completed door retrofits will be following their peers rather than leading the competition.”

Brod notes that PECI has seen added savings when glass door projects are combined with other retrofits and with retro commissioning of the compressor systems to account for the heavily reduced system load.

Supermarket News

Hillphoenix AMS Group Successfully Rolls Out “Close The Case” Offering

Hillphoenix has long been known as a market leader in the manufacture and supply of supermarket refrigeration systems and related equipment. Recently, a series of programs being provided through their Hillphoenix’ After Market Services Group (AMS) has been generating increased notoriety due to the ability of these programs to assist customers in maximizing their return on investment in Hillphoenix equipment. These programs include: Close the Case, Remodels, Roll Outs, Refresh, Case Parts, Energy Upgrades, and Refrigerant Conversions. This article will concentrate on the Close the Case program.

“Retailers are looking to save energy and provide fresher products for their shoppers,” explains John Roche, director of product development for the AMS Group. “Studies have shown that over 39% of supermarket energy is consumed by refrigeration, 23% by lighting, and 13% by heating. Open multi-deck display cases, dumping cold air into the aisles, with traditional fluorescent lighting are major consumers of supermarket energy.”

The obvious solution is to add doors to the open multi-deck cases, but retailers have been hesitant to do so since the prevailing wisdom has been that adding doors would hinder product sale. From a financial standpoint, the lost sales revenues figured to more than offset the potential energy savings, so medium temperature multi-deck cases have largely remained open, and energy usage elevated.

A recent test, however, performed in a Hillphoenix laboratory in Richmond, Virginia demonstrated that today’s glass doors and lighting, when retrofitted to open cases, yield far greater energy savings than in the past. The recent Hillphoenix test was performed on two 05DM-8 cases. The first case had no doors and the lamps were fluorescent. The second case was retrofitted with Anthony doors and LED lights. Both cases were filled with identical selections of cellophane-wrapped fresh steaks and ground meat.

The testing showed that in the door case, the load dropped by 79%. In addition, the product temperature in the door case fell below freezing, so the evaporator temperature had to be raised by 6 °F. This prevented the meat from freezing and allowed product temperatures in both cases to be equalized. Also, because of the reduced latent load in the door case, the daily defrosts were reduced from 6 to 2. The net result from these changes was an 80% reduction in load, and a 71% reduction in energy use.

It should also be noted that today’s doors require little or no anti-sweat heat, and the LED lights that are added to the doors are far more efficient than the fluorescents lamps they are replacing. These factors enhance the savings.

A number of other tangible benefits may be derived from adding doors. Perhaps the most notable of these, says Roche, is extended product life. “Over the course of our test, steak in the open case started to turn color after just four days. Steak in the door case remained bright red after seven days. Similarly, ground beef in the open case began turning brown after just two days. In the door case, it remained bright red over that same period. These results equate to longer shelf life for the refrigerated products.”

The consistency of the product in the door case was also enhanced. “In open cases, product temperatures may vary depending on their placement within the case. In glass door cases, product temperatures are far more consistent throughout the case. Furthermore, in door cases, the reduced frequency of defrosts that raise and lower product temperatures, adds to product life.”

Roche explains that adding glass doors is generally not an invasive process. “Installations can be done during off-peak hours or at night when the stores are closed. And since the existing cases remain in place, the food products do not have to be pulled from the cases and then replaced later on.”

Still, there is the issue of the shopping experience and the impact of doors on sales to be considered. Roche points out that in aisles with open cases, cold air spilling over into the aisles can cause the aisle temperatures to fall to 54-58 °F, which is quite uncomfortable, especially for shoppers with exposed legs. Once glass doors are added, the aisle temperatures rise to 65-70 °F, which greatly enhances the shopping experience.

Nick Brod, director of the grocery practice for energy consulting firm PECI of Portland Oregon, has seen an upsurge in glass door retrofits in recent years.  “We have supported medium temp case door retrofits in our grocery utility programs in several hundred projects and see the momentum building among grocers both large and small, in that direction.”

Brod states that objections PECI heard in previous years, such as reduced sales or more complex stocking, seem to be abating. Store managers, in particular, have reported increased dwell times in closed case aisles. “While the battle with retail staff is by no means over, we do expect a tipping point to be reached within the next year or two when grocers who haven’t completed door retrofits will be following their peers rather than leading the competition.”

Brod notes that PECI has seen added savings when glass door projects are combined with other retrofits and with retro commissioning of the compressor systems to account for the heavily reduced system load.

Supermarket News

Hillphoenix AMS Group Successfully Rolls Out “Close The Case” Offering

Hillphoenix has long been known as a market leader in the manufacture and supply of supermarket refrigeration systems and related equipment. Recently, a series of programs being provided through their Hillphoenix’ After Market Services Group (AMS) has been generating increased notoriety due to the ability of these programs to assist customers in maximizing their return on investment in Hillphoenix equipment. These programs include: Close the Case, Remodels, Roll Outs, Refresh, Case Parts, Energy Upgrades, and Refrigerant Conversions. This article will concentrate on the Close the Case program.

“Retailers are looking to save energy and provide fresher products for their shoppers,” explains John Roche, director of product development for the AMS Group. “Studies have shown that over 39% of supermarket energy is consumed by refrigeration, 23% by lighting, and 13% by heating. Open multi-deck display cases, dumping cold air into the aisles, with traditional fluorescent lighting are major consumers of supermarket energy.”

The obvious solution is to add doors to the open multi-deck cases, but retailers have been hesitant to do so since the prevailing wisdom has been that adding doors would hinder product sale. From a financial standpoint, the lost sales revenues figured to more than offset the potential energy savings, so medium temperature multi-deck cases have largely remained open, and energy usage elevated.

A recent test, however, performed in a Hillphoenix laboratory in Richmond, Virginia demonstrated that today’s glass doors and lighting, when retrofitted to open cases, yield far greater energy savings than in the past. The recent Hillphoenix test was performed on two 05DM-8 cases. The first case had no doors and the lamps were fluorescent. The second case was retrofitted with Anthony doors and LED lights. Both cases were filled with identical selections of cellophane-wrapped fresh steaks and ground meat.

The testing showed that in the door case, the load dropped by 79%. In addition, the product temperature in the door case fell below freezing, so the evaporator temperature had to be raised by 6 °F. This prevented the meat from freezing and allowed product temperatures in both cases to be equalized. Also, because of the reduced latent load in the door case, the daily defrosts were reduced from 6 to 2. The net result from these changes was an 80% reduction in load, and a 71% reduction in energy use.

It should also be noted that today’s doors require little or no anti-sweat heat, and the LED lights that are added to the doors are far more efficient than the fluorescents lamps they are replacing. These factors enhance the savings.

A number of other tangible benefits may be derived from adding doors. Perhaps the most notable of these, says Roche, is extended product life. “Over the course of our test, steak in the open case started to turn color after just four days. Steak in the door case remained bright red after seven days. Similarly, ground beef in the open case began turning brown after just two days. In the door case, it remained bright red over that same period. These results equate to longer shelf life for the refrigerated products.”

The consistency of the product in the door case was also enhanced. “In open cases, product temperatures may vary depending on their placement within the case. In glass door cases, product temperatures are far more consistent throughout the case. Furthermore, in door cases, the reduced frequency of defrosts that raise and lower product temperatures, adds to product life.”

Roche explains that adding glass doors is generally not an invasive process. “Installations can be done during off-peak hours or at night when the stores are closed. And since the existing cases remain in place, the food products do not have to be pulled from the cases and then replaced later on.”

Still, there is the issue of the shopping experience and the impact of doors on sales to be considered. Roche points out that in aisles with open cases, cold air spilling over into the aisles can cause the aisle temperatures to fall to 54-58 °F, which is quite uncomfortable, especially for shoppers with exposed legs. Once glass doors are added, the aisle temperatures rise to 65-70 °F, which greatly enhances the shopping experience.

Nick Brod, director of the grocery practice for energy consulting firm PECI of Portland Oregon, has seen an upsurge in glass door retrofits in recent years.  “We have supported medium temp case door retrofits in our grocery utility programs in several hundred projects and see the momentum building among grocers both large and small, in that direction.”

Brod states that objections PECI heard in previous years, such as reduced sales or more complex stocking, seem to be abating. Store managers, in particular, have reported increased dwell times in closed case aisles. “While the battle with retail staff is by no means over, we do expect a tipping point to be reached within the next year or two when grocers who haven’t completed door retrofits will be following their peers rather than leading the competition.”

Brod notes that PECI has seen added savings when glass door projects are combined with other retrofits and with retro commissioning of the compressor systems to account for the heavily reduced system load.

Supermarket News

Hillphoenix AMS Group Successfully Rolls Out “Close The Case” Offering

Hillphoenix has long been known as a market leader in the manufacture and supply of supermarket refrigeration systems and related equipment. Recently, a series of programs being provided through their Hillphoenix’ After Market Services Group (AMS) has been generating increased notoriety due to the ability of these programs to assist customers in maximizing their return on investment in Hillphoenix equipment. These programs include: Close the Case, Remodels, Roll Outs, Refresh, Case Parts, Energy Upgrades, and Refrigerant Conversions. This article will concentrate on the Close the Case program.

“Retailers are looking to save energy and provide fresher products for their shoppers,” explains John Roche, director of product development for the AMS Group. “Studies have shown that over 39% of supermarket energy is consumed by refrigeration, 23% by lighting, and 13% by heating. Open multi-deck display cases, dumping cold air into the aisles, with traditional fluorescent lighting are major consumers of supermarket energy.”

The obvious solution is to add doors to the open multi-deck cases, but retailers have been hesitant to do so since the prevailing wisdom has been that adding doors would hinder product sale. From a financial standpoint, the lost sales revenues figured to more than offset the potential energy savings, so medium temperature multi-deck cases have largely remained open, and energy usage elevated.

A recent test, however, performed in a Hillphoenix laboratory in Richmond, Virginia demonstrated that today’s glass doors and lighting, when retrofitted to open cases, yield far greater energy savings than in the past. The recent Hillphoenix test was performed on two 05DM-8 cases. The first case had no doors and the lamps were fluorescent. The second case was retrofitted with Anthony doors and LED lights. Both cases were filled with identical selections of cellophane-wrapped fresh steaks and ground meat.

The testing showed that in the door case, the load dropped by 79%. In addition, the product temperature in the door case fell below freezing, so the evaporator temperature had to be raised by 6 °F. This prevented the meat from freezing and allowed product temperatures in both cases to be equalized. Also, because of the reduced latent load in the door case, the daily defrosts were reduced from 6 to 2. The net result from these changes was an 80% reduction in load, and a 71% reduction in energy use.

It should also be noted that today’s doors require little or no anti-sweat heat, and the LED lights that are added to the doors are far more efficient than the fluorescents lamps they are replacing. These factors enhance the savings.

A number of other tangible benefits may be derived from adding doors. Perhaps the most notable of these, says Roche, is extended product life. “Over the course of our test, steak in the open case started to turn color after just four days. Steak in the door case remained bright red after seven days. Similarly, ground beef in the open case began turning brown after just two days. In the door case, it remained bright red over that same period. These results equate to longer shelf life for the refrigerated products.”

The consistency of the product in the door case was also enhanced. “In open cases, product temperatures may vary depending on their placement within the case. In glass door cases, product temperatures are far more consistent throughout the case. Furthermore, in door cases, the reduced frequency of defrosts that raise and lower product temperatures, adds to product life.”

Roche explains that adding glass doors is generally not an invasive process. “Installations can be done during off-peak hours or at night when the stores are closed. And since the existing cases remain in place, the food products do not have to be pulled from the cases and then replaced later on.”

Still, there is the issue of the shopping experience and the impact of doors on sales to be considered. Roche points out that in aisles with open cases, cold air spilling over into the aisles can cause the aisle temperatures to fall to 54-58 °F, which is quite uncomfortable, especially for shoppers with exposed legs. Once glass doors are added, the aisle temperatures rise to 65-70 °F, which greatly enhances the shopping experience.

Nick Brod, director of the grocery practice for energy consulting firm PECI of Portland Oregon, has seen an upsurge in glass door retrofits in recent years.  “We have supported medium temp case door retrofits in our grocery utility programs in several hundred projects and see the momentum building among grocers both large and small, in that direction.”

Brod states that objections PECI heard in previous years, such as reduced sales or more complex stocking, seem to be abating. Store managers, in particular, have reported increased dwell times in closed case aisles. “While the battle with retail staff is by no means over, we do expect a tipping point to be reached within the next year or two when grocers who haven’t completed door retrofits will be following their peers rather than leading the competition.”

Brod notes that PECI has seen added savings when glass door projects are combined with other retrofits and with retro commissioning of the compressor systems to account for the heavily reduced system load.

Supermarket News

Hillphoenix AMS Group Successfully Rolls Out “Close The Case” Offering

Hillphoenix has long been known as a market leader in the manufacture and supply of supermarket refrigeration systems and related equipment. Recently, a series of programs being provided through their Hillphoenix’ After Market Services Group (AMS) has been generating increased notoriety due to the ability of these programs to assist customers in maximizing their return on investment in Hillphoenix equipment. These programs include: Close the Case, Remodels, Roll Outs, Refresh, Case Parts, Energy Upgrades, and Refrigerant Conversions. This article will concentrate on the Close the Case program.

“Retailers are looking to save energy and provide fresher products for their shoppers,” explains John Roche, director of product development for the AMS Group. “Studies have shown that over 39% of supermarket energy is consumed by refrigeration, 23% by lighting, and 13% by heating. Open multi-deck display cases, dumping cold air into the aisles, with traditional fluorescent lighting are major consumers of supermarket energy.”

The obvious solution is to add doors to the open multi-deck cases, but retailers have been hesitant to do so since the prevailing wisdom has been that adding doors would hinder product sale. From a financial standpoint, the lost sales revenues figured to more than offset the potential energy savings, so medium temperature multi-deck cases have largely remained open, and energy usage elevated.

A recent test, however, performed in a Hillphoenix laboratory in Richmond, Virginia demonstrated that today’s glass doors and lighting, when retrofitted to open cases, yield far greater energy savings than in the past. The recent Hillphoenix test was performed on two 05DM-8 cases. The first case had no doors and the lamps were fluorescent. The second case was retrofitted with Anthony doors and LED lights. Both cases were filled with identical selections of cellophane-wrapped fresh steaks and ground meat.

The testing showed that in the door case, the load dropped by 79%. In addition, the product temperature in the door case fell below freezing, so the evaporator temperature had to be raised by 6 °F. This prevented the meat from freezing and allowed product temperatures in both cases to be equalized. Also, because of the reduced latent load in the door case, the daily defrosts were reduced from 6 to 2. The net result from these changes was an 80% reduction in load, and a 71% reduction in energy use.

It should also be noted that today’s doors require little or no anti-sweat heat, and the LED lights that are added to the doors are far more efficient than the fluorescents lamps they are replacing. These factors enhance the savings.

A number of other tangible benefits may be derived from adding doors. Perhaps the most notable of these, says Roche, is extended product life. “Over the course of our test, steak in the open case started to turn color after just four days. Steak in the door case remained bright red after seven days. Similarly, ground beef in the open case began turning brown after just two days. In the door case, it remained bright red over that same period. These results equate to longer shelf life for the refrigerated products.”

The consistency of the product in the door case was also enhanced. “In open cases, product temperatures may vary depending on their placement within the case. In glass door cases, product temperatures are far more consistent throughout the case. Furthermore, in door cases, the reduced frequency of defrosts that raise and lower product temperatures, adds to product life.”

Roche explains that adding glass doors is generally not an invasive process. “Installations can be done during off-peak hours or at night when the stores are closed. And since the existing cases remain in place, the food products do not have to be pulled from the cases and then replaced later on.”

Still, there is the issue of the shopping experience and the impact of doors on sales to be considered. Roche points out that in aisles with open cases, cold air spilling over into the aisles can cause the aisle temperatures to fall to 54-58 °F, which is quite uncomfortable, especially for shoppers with exposed legs. Once glass doors are added, the aisle temperatures rise to 65-70 °F, which greatly enhances the shopping experience.

Nick Brod, director of the grocery practice for energy consulting firm PECI of Portland Oregon, has seen an upsurge in glass door retrofits in recent years.  “We have supported medium temp case door retrofits in our grocery utility programs in several hundred projects and see the momentum building among grocers both large and small, in that direction.”

Brod states that objections PECI heard in previous years, such as reduced sales or more complex stocking, seem to be abating. Store managers, in particular, have reported increased dwell times in closed case aisles. “While the battle with retail staff is by no means over, we do expect a tipping point to be reached within the next year or two when grocers who haven’t completed door retrofits will be following their peers rather than leading the competition.”

Brod notes that PECI has seen added savings when glass door projects are combined with other retrofits and with retro commissioning of the compressor systems to account for the heavily reduced system load.

Supermarket News