Blog Archives

Here Comes the Cold Weather — and Mus Musculus

For much of the country, as the temperatures drop, there is increased activity of mice to find a harborage area. For any food operation, or homeowner, for that matter, this means an increased potential of infestation if some proactive measures are not taken to eliminate entry. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Think like a mouse.

2. Any hole, gap or crack leading directly outside must be either sealed or flush with the floor. If you see sunlight, chances are that gap may be large enough for a mouse to squeeze through. Simply using some type of spray foam to plug a hole may work temporarily until the mice decide to chew through it, so put a metal scrub pad in the hole before it is sealed. I’ve seen mice tunnel through fireproof insulation three floors high, chew through wires, sheetrock, plaster and plywood, so they are resilient and can get to where they want to go.

3. Keep doors closed when not in use, especially in a warehouse next to a field, where even Bigfoot can walk right in.

4. Be careful of potential exterior harborage areas. Those hay bales — yes, they’re very fall-like and a nice-looking Halloween decoration — but they’re also a nice, warm and comfortable area for mice to inhabit. Bags of mulch and even vending machines are as well. Just keep that in mind the next time your dispensed scratch-off lottery ticket looks like it has been nibbled on the end. Those make perfect nesting material, and the grand prize you might win may have four legs.

5. Be mindful of any potential outdoor food source that can be an attraction, such as an unkept garbage area, seed, pet food and anything else that will attract rodents.

6. Make sure to thoroughly check any food and/or paper deliveries for evidence of infestation. Is one of your vendors possibly bringing you something more than you bargained for?

7. Finally, ask yourself: Just exactly what are those holes in the ground outside your back door?

Mice can be a big problem once they have gained access to your interior, not only for the spread of potential disease, product loss, damage to reputation, citations and/or fines from the health department, but also for the money you will spend in labor to clean up after them and for the pest-control company to get rid of them.

Keep in mind that, with a potential reproduction rate of five to 10 litters a year, times five to six babies each, an unchecked mouse population can grow fast. And it all starts with entry.

Food Safety News

Here Comes the Cold Weather — and Mus Musculus

For much of the country, as the temperatures drop, there is increased activity of mice to find a harborage area. For any food operation, or homeowner, for that matter, this means an increased potential of infestation if some proactive measures are not taken to eliminate entry. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Think like a mouse.

2. Any hole, gap or crack leading directly outside must be either sealed or flush with the floor. If you see sunlight, chances are that gap may be large enough for a mouse to squeeze through. Simply using some type of spray foam to plug a hole may work temporarily until the mice decide to chew through it, so put a metal scrub pad in the hole before it is sealed. I’ve seen mice tunnel through fireproof insulation three floors high, chew through wires, sheetrock, plaster and plywood, so they are resilient and can get to where they want to go.

3. Keep doors closed when not in use, especially in a warehouse next to a field, where even Bigfoot can walk right in.

4. Be careful of potential exterior harborage areas. Those hay bales — yes, they’re very fall-like and a nice-looking Halloween decoration — but they’re also a nice, warm and comfortable area for mice to inhabit. Bags of mulch and even vending machines are as well. Just keep that in mind the next time your dispensed scratch-off lottery ticket looks like it has been nibbled on the end. Those make perfect nesting material, and the grand prize you might win may have four legs.

5. Be mindful of any potential outdoor food source that can be an attraction, such as an unkept garbage area, seed, pet food and anything else that will attract rodents.

6. Make sure to thoroughly check any food and/or paper deliveries for evidence of infestation. Is one of your vendors possibly bringing you something more than you bargained for?

7. Finally, ask yourself: Just exactly what are those holes in the ground outside your back door?

Mice can be a big problem once they have gained access to your interior, not only for the spread of potential disease, product loss, damage to reputation, citations and/or fines from the health department, but also for the money you will spend in labor to clean up after them and for the pest-control company to get rid of them.

Keep in mind that, with a potential reproduction rate of five to 10 litters a year, times five to six babies each, an unchecked mouse population can grow fast. And it all starts with entry.

Food Safety News

Ready or not, here comes online grocery

Leading department stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom’s expect most of their growth in the next few years to come from online shopping, not from their traditional stores. The same is true for home improvement operators like Lowe’s and Home Depot. Do food retailers understand they face a similar future? I think many underestimate the impact that online food and grocery sales will have on their business.

Look at what grocery shoppers are doing

Brick Meets Click research sees a significant increase in online grocery shopping in the next 10 years.Recently updated Brick Meets Click consumer research found that 1 in 10 grocery shoppers had bought at least some grocery items online in the previous 30 days. This translates to about 4% of today’s total grocery spending. If current trends, activity and investment continue, we forecast that online shopping will account for between 11% and 17% of grocery spending in most U.S. markets within 10 years.

Today, online grocery growth is driven by highly focused online food retailers like Door to Door Organics, Relay Foods and Artizone, who are doing a good job of serving the needs of particularly well-defined market niches. It will grow even faster when the big operators start expanding their online programs – when Walmart rolls out “click and collect” to more than 4,000 stores, Amazon Fresh moves into new markets, or Google rapidly expands their Shopping Express service to grocery retailers.

How will you respond?

Some don’t believe this major disruptor is going to affect their grocery market, but I do. So I’m asking, “What are you doing to get ready for the inevitable?”

For more information, you can download BMC’s online grocery forecast paper from our site.

Supermarket News

Ready or not, here comes online grocery

Leading department stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom’s expect most of their growth in the next few years to come from online shopping, not from their traditional stores. The same is true for home improvement operators like Lowe’s and Home Depot. Do food retailers understand they face a similar future? I think many underestimate the impact that online food and grocery sales will have on their business.

Look at what grocery shoppers are doing

Brick Meets Click research sees a significant increase in online grocery shopping in the next 10 years.Recently updated Brick Meets Click consumer research found that 1 in 10 grocery shoppers had bought at least some grocery items online in the previous 30 days. This translates to about 4% of today’s total grocery spending. If current trends, activity and investment continue, we forecast that online shopping will account for between 11% and 17% of grocery spending in most U.S. markets within 10 years.

Today, online grocery growth is driven by highly focused online food retailers like Door to Door Organics, Relay Foods and Artizone, who are doing a good job of serving the needs of particularly well-defined market niches. It will grow even faster when the big operators start expanding their online programs – when Walmart rolls out “click and collect” to more than 4,000 stores, Amazon Fresh moves into new markets, or Google rapidly expands their Shopping Express service to grocery retailers.

How will you respond?

Some don’t believe this major disruptor is going to affect their grocery market, but I do. So I’m asking, “What are you doing to get ready for the inevitable?”

For more information, you can download BMC’s online grocery forecast paper from our site.

Supermarket News

When it comes to gluten-free diets, unfounded beliefs abound

While necessary for some, many people eat gluten-free diets because they believe they’ll gain certain health benefits, but these beliefs are not all supported by research, a University of Florida nutrition expert says.

Those with celiac disease, or about 1 percent of the U.S. population, must follow a gluten-free diet because it’s the only treatment for their condition, said Karla Shelnutt, a UF assistant professor in family, youth and community sciences. But gluten-free diets can lack essential nutrients if a person does not eat a balanced diet and/or take a multivitamin supplement.

Unlike their conventional counterparts, refined gluten-free foods, for the most part, are not enriched or fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. “If I’m a college student, and I want to lose weight, and I read on the Internet that a gluten-free diet is the way to go, I may start avoiding products that contain essential nutrients such as those found in cereal grains fortified with folic acid,” Shelnutt said. “The problem is you have a lot of healthy women who choose a gluten-free diet because they believe it is healthier for them and can help them lose weight and give them healthier skin.”

The $ 10.5-billion gluten-free food and beverage industry has grown 44 percent from 2011-13 as the rate of celiac disease diagnoses increases, along with awareness of gluten-free foods, according to Mintel, a market research company. Mintel estimates sales will top $ 15 billion in 2016.

One of Shelnutt’s doctoral students, Caroline Dunn, wanted to know if gluten-free labeling has any impact on how consumers perceive the foods’ taste and nutrition. In a one-day experiment on the UF campus in Gainesville in February, 97 people ate cookies and chips, all gluten-free. Half were labeled “gluten-free”; the other half labeled “conventional.”

Participants then rated each food on a nine-point scale for how much they liked the flavor and texture. They also filled out a questionnaire, said Shelnutt, a faculty member with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

About a third of participants said they believed gluten-free foods to be healthier than those labeled “conventional,” a figure she thought would be much lower. While avoiding gluten-containing foods can reduce carbohydrate intake, thus helping some lose weight, many health experts say a gluten-free diet is no healthier than a conventional diet except for those with celiac disease.

Although such a small sample cannot be generalized to the public, Shelnutt said the experiment gives researchers insight into how the public views gluten-free foods. For example, 57 percent of participants believed gluten-free diets can be used to alleviate medical conditions, and 32 percent said doctors prescribe them for weight loss. Thirty-one percent believed gluten-free diets improve overall health, 35 percent believed them to improve digestive health and 32 percent felt that eating them would improve their diet.

Gluten, a protein, is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale, a cross between wheat and rye. A gluten-free diet is prescribed for those with celiac disease, a condition that can damage the lining of the small intestine. The experiment’s results are published in the current edition of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The original article was written by Brad Buck. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

“We will focus on other markets, when Russia comes back there will be no more apples for them”

Polish exporter on Russian ban
“We will focus on other markets, when Russia comes back there will be no more apples for them”

After a few days of rumours Russia has announced it will ban the import of Polish fruit and vegetables from 1st August, citing a breach of safety standards as the reason, said Rosselkhoznadzor, the country’s agricultural watchdog on Wednesday.

“The ban will apply to virtually all vegetables and fruits, such as apples, pears, quince, cherry, sweet cherry and cabbage, all fresh-refrigerated vegetables,” assistant to the Rosselkhoznadzor head Alexei Alekseyenko said.

The Russian agricultural watchdog said the ban would apply to all types of cabbage, as well as peaches, nectarines, plums and black thorns.

Russia will impose the ban due to Poland’s breach of certification requirements and the presence of quarantine harmful organisms in Polish imports, Alekseyenko said.

The Russian agricultural watchdog has registered 27 instances of finding two quarantine harmful organisms in Polish imports since the start of 2014.

Rosselkhoznadzor has also revealed that Polish vegetables and fruit pose a threat to human health in many instances due to excessive concentrations of pesticide residue levels and the presence of nitrates.

The Rosselkhoznadzor said that its Moscow, Moscow and Tula Region branch alone had exposed 211 Polish fruit and vegetable batches weighing a total of over 3,700 tons with pesticide residue content exceeding permissible levels by 2-15 times in the first half of 2014.

Excessive pesticide levels were found in 90% of all Polish apples inspected by Rosselkhoznadzor.

A Polish apple exporter told FreshPlaza that the move was totally political and in response to the sanctions imposed by the US and the EU earlier this week. “The apples we export to Russia receive the same treatment as the apples we send to Europe and other countries where we have never had any problems. Russia are only blocking themselves from a good cheap apple supply, we will focus on other markets and when Russia comes back there will be no more apples for them.”

He believes that this is the wrong way for Russia to go about ‘getting back’ at the US and Europe, as it will only hurt the Russian consumers in the end.

Polish growers have already been focussing on other markets such as China and the Middle East, the Association of Polish Fruit Growers has been preparing a campaign promoting Polish apples in China and the UAE. The three-year-long campaign, aiming at China’s and UAE’s consumers, traders and the media, will be launched this autumn, when the first new fruit is picked.

The exporter says that there is a big market in Polish apples, the market is growing rapidly and consumers in China are also looking for a cheap alternative when it come to apples.

Publication date: 7/31/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Indian grape season comes to abrupt stop

TGF-FruitImageIndian grape season comes to abrupt stopThe Indian grape season has come to an abrupt end, a sudden rise in temperatures between 15-20th April forced most producers to stop harvesting. Some packing still taking place but that fruit is for the Middle East and SE Asia, the EU & UK having shut down on 20th April.

Vikram Puri from Mahindra, said the last grapes were being harvested in Nashik and Sangli, “We were expecting to go on a bit longer than this but the sudden rise in temperatures of up to 38 – 40 °C started resulting in high sugars, berry drop and very low availability of quality fruit and this had forced us to stop harvesting.”

He explains that there are still many containers of Indian grapes on their way to Europe, “These last few weeks of the season are always very busy with high volumes being packed.”

The EU and UK markets started strongly this year but then saw a reduction in prices, according to Mr Puri both markets are now stable. This season India will send a total of 4702 containers or approximately 45000 MT to the EU and 15000 MT to the EU. Mahindra will send 8800 MT to the EU & UK and another 500 MT to SE Asia, Middle East etc.

Mahindra saw a 15% increase in export volumes this year despite the hailstorm and rain damage in late March which impacted approximately 20% of the exportable fruit.

For more information:
Vikram Puti
Mahindra Shubhlabh Services Ltd
Tel: +91 22 2965 2633
Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 4/25/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com

 

FreshPlaza.com

Gentile Bros. closure comes as surprise

Gentile Bros. Co., one of the country’s oldest active produce companies, which until recently was The Blue Book’s oldest Trading Member, has gone out of business.

Founded in 1881, Gentile was a repacker and distributor that served retail, foodservice and processing customers throughout the Midwest.

Attempts to contact the Cincinnati-based company Oct. 11 were unsuccessful. Gentile’s website was also inactive.

Jim Carr, president and chief executive officer of Blue Book Services Inc., headquartered in Carol Stream, IL, told The Produce News, “We understand from industry sources that the company is inactive. We are endeavoring to learn more about what happened, why and when. We are trying to get more information to report to the industry. We have repeatedly tried to reach the ownership, but we have been unsuccessful in doing so.”

The Blue Book reported Oct. 8 that Gentile’s rating had been withdrawn. On Oct. 10, the Blue Book attached a note to Gentile’s listing that stated, “Reported inactive — remains under review.” The previous rating for Gentile was 150M XXX C.

“Trade information validated the rating,” Carr said. “[The closure] came very quickly and suddenly. We are not sure what happened and why. We want to know more to let the industry know. So far as we know they are inactive.”

Carr said Gentile was the Blue Book’s oldest Trading Member when the firm was purchased by Jeff Oaks in May 2012. Gentile was a Trading Member from 1910 to 2012.

Carr said that when there is the change of ownership, Trading Member status is automatically withdrawn by The Blue Book until the new owners earn that status on their own.

On Oct. 10, the Cincinnati Business Courier reported, “A person answering the phone at the Julian Drive headquarters confirmed that Oct. 11 will be the company’s last day of operation. Calls to company officials were not returned.”

WKRC television in Cincinnati reported Oct. 8 that Gentile staffers were avoiding their television cameras and not commenting on an imminent closure. WKRC reported from Gentile’s warehouse, “While a handful of people have been coming and going from here during the day, the loading docks and trucks are idle. With a few cars in the office parking area no one was talking and most of the lights are off. After 132 years of supplying produce around the tri-state, Gentile Brothers is apparently closed. On Tuesday (Oct. 8), people could be seen trying to salvage some of that produce and equipment from the Woodlawn facility as word spreads through the industry that one of the big ones has closed.”

The Produce News published a story in May 2012 that Gentile was under new ownership following the sale of certain company assets to a former employee.

According to that story, “Jeff Oaks, who had been vice president of sales at Gentile Bros. Co. prior to leaving in 2004, is now owner and president of the company following his purchase of certain assets from Glenn Bryant and Ed Sabin. Bryant and Sabin remain as advisers at Gentile Bros.”

The Produce News story continued, “Upon leaving Gentile Bros. in 2004, Mr. Oaks went to work at Total Quality Logistics, a leading freight brokerage firm based in Cincinnati. He was sales manager at the time of his departure from TQL. In addition to Mr. Oaks, other key officers at Gentile Bros. are Rick Schimpf, chief operating officer; Dave Schirman, vice president of sales; and Peter LeBlond, vice president of new business development.”

The Cincinnati newspaper indicated that Gentile employed about a dozen full-time employees, as well contract employees.

According to its Blue Book listing, Gentile’s bank is Fifth Third Bank. The Produce News was unable to glean any information regarding Gentile from the bank.

On Sept. 9, 2013, Gentile was listed by the Cincinnati Business Courier as one of 69 nominees for the newspaper’s list of “2013 Best Places to Work.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

LED Lighting Comes in to the Cold

LEDs for cold cases have come into their own.

After years of promise, the technology and costs for light-emitting diodes, also known as solid state lighting, have reached the point where they are almost standard equipment on new cold cases, and offer a compelling rationale for retrofits. The attractiveness of merchandise under LED lighting makes it a strong choice for supermarket retailers.

“LED’s — or solid state lighting’s — time is now,” Chip Israel, President, Lighting Design Alliance, Long Beach, Calif., said. “Many salesmen have been saying it’s the greatest thing for the last five years, but they actually haven’t performed the way everybody has promised them. Now it actually makes good sense both visually and from a financial payback sense, so that there is really no downside to using it.”

Previously, early adopters paid a premium to incorporate LED, he said. “But now it really makes good economic sense,” he said. Israel is a lighting designer with 20 years experience. He founded Lighting Design Alliance, a full-service architectural lighting design firm, in 1992.

According to Action Services Group, Aston, Pa., which supplies lighting services to retail chains in addition to other businesses, LEDs reduce energy use by an average of 60%. While a 5-foot fluorescent lamp will use 60 watts of energy, a 5-foot LED fixture typically uses 12-20 watts. A case study about a 160-store East Coast chain conversion to LED lighting for its refrigerated cases found an immediate reduction in maintenance costs estimated at $ 5,000 annually; a reduction of energy use of 86%, and an annual reduction of 78,533 pounds of greenhouse gases, Action Services reported. In addition, the installation qualified for a $ 4,700 utility company rebate. 

Shoppers also prefer LED lighting in the cold cases, reported the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. With the lights at full power, 86 percent of the shoppers surveyed said they preferred LED freezer lighting to other light sources, and when the LEDs were dimmed, 68 percent still said they like that form of lighting best.

It is now difficult to buy new refrigeration or freezer equipment that does not come equipped with LED lighting, Israel said. On top of operational advantages, there are incentives available from utilities and states like California that make it a very easy sell to retailers. Utility rebates have hastened the adoption of the technology, he said. There also are state codes that mandate electronic controls that work with LEDs that allow the lights to be turned off when shoppers are not in the stores, or dimmed when there are few customers. These dimmers can be coupled with sensors to enable the lights to be brightened as shoppers approach the refrigerated or freezer aisles.

“If no one is in the aisle, you don’t need all the casework lights on,” Israel said. “The idea is, as you go in, the lights don’t go up from zero, but maybe they sit at 30% and go up from there. Then after hours, when they are stocking the stores, they don’t need as much light, or they don’t need to have every light on in the whole store. So these are ways to shed energy usage.”

The LED lights themselves save money because they work better in cold temperatures. “Historically, fluorescent lighting doesn’t like very cold temperatures,” he said. Although the wattage may be similar to traditional fluorescent light sources, the lighting efficiency of LEDs is better, and they generate less heat. “For every three watts of lighting you save, you save one watt of power on air conditioning. It starts to add up.” It also saves on maintenance, as they do not need to be replaced as often.

“When LED lighting is properly installed, it requires less maintenance. There’s less time that they have a dark case because, in theory, they should have a longer lamp life, so they don’t have to lose sales. More importantly, they don’t have to call out the repair man to continually replace light bulbs,” Israel said.

TIME FOR A CLOSE UP

LEDs work best, and offer the greatest energy advantage to fluorescent, when they are located close to the merchandise. Although the bulb itself operates at about the same heat, there is no heat in the light beam, so a lower wattage bulb can be used. “They become a little more efficient just because they put all of the light where you need it,” he said.

Although glare from a LED light can be greater, the bulbs are smaller, and they can be turned inward toward the case, so as not to be seen from the outside. “We want the light placed where it would illuminate the visible side of the merchandise. In a vertical case, it happens to be the vertical face of the merchandise. In a flat display case, or one you lean into, we would want the LEDs up on the upper ridge aimed downward. So you don’t see the lights, you see the effect of the lights,” Israel said.

“That’s the whole key to merchandising. You want to see the product brightly illuminated. You don’t want to see the light source,” he said.

This, combined with the better color rendering of LED, makes the merchandise more attractive, and increases sales. This is one reason retailers are starting to use LEDs in produce departments, as well as for the entire store.

“When it is done correctly, the merchandise actually can look better. It just seems to pop a little better visually than a traditional fluorescent. Choose a high quality fixture that is directional so it does an even wash across the front of the display case. If it is high color rendering, the colors look true — the reds look red and the blues look blue. It’s a continuous light source, so you don’t get any dark spots in the cabinet,” Israel said.

“The benefits of LEDs is they offer a longer lamp life. They are smaller so you hide them in more places, which is really beneficial. And the performance and color rendition just keeps getting better and better. So it is mostly good things, but they are also can glare, so if you see the light source, you are probably not applying it correctly,” he said.

Like anything else, the design and installation have to be done properly. “That’s where the mockups help. Get it tested, and make sure you are happy with it, and that’s the best way to do it,” he said.

LED lighting is a matter of good economics, good sustainability and good merchandising. “Now is the time to use them, but do it cautiously and correctly,” Israel concludes. “Supermarkets need every advantage they can get.”

Supermarket News

AU: New navel orange variety comes at peak price time

AU: New navel orange variety comes at peak price time

Jamesville citrus grower Allan Whyte is not usually given to hyperbole, but he describes Chislett Developments’ new M7 navel orange as “a magnificent piece of fruit.”

In fact, he goes as far as saying it’s the world’s best orange.

Greg and Susan Chislett were also singing the praises of their new navel orange at the recent Citrus Growers’ Technical Conference and Workshop held at the Dareton DPI research­ station.

The Chisletts, as the growers, might be biased, but growers and consumers alike are raving about the new variety.

Mr Whyte was the first grower apart from the Chisletts to grow it commercially.

He has been harvesting M7 navels for four years, and exports his entire crop to China.

Even before the Australian dollar headed south, boosting export profits, Chinese buyers were putting their money where they wanted their mouths to be, and paying up to double the typical price of a navel orange for the new variety.

Growers like the variety so much as it is early, reaching the markets right when prices are at their peak.

Source: sunraysiadaily.com.au

Publication date: 7/24/2013


FreshPlaza.com