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Special events are focus of California date industry promotions

The California date industry in its promotional efforts focuses on a series of special events at various times of the year, beginning with participation at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit expo, which was held in Anaheim, CA, this year.

The Produce News talked to Lori Cooper, manager of the California Date Administrative Committee and the California Date Commission in Indio, CA, on Oct. 10, just days prior to PMA, about that event and others upcoming in which California Dates would be participating. “We’ve got a new chef” representing California dates at the show, she said.04-HoliDateNut-CalDate-LorrLorrie Cooper

Eric Theiss is executive chef of the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa near Palm Springs, managing the resort’s six restaurants. “He is very excited about attending the event, and he’s got quite a menu planned” for recipes using dates that show attendees will have the opportunity to sample,” Cooper said.

In early February, California Dates will be participating in a one-evening event called Dates & Wine at the J.W. Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, in conjunction with the American Heart Association. The event is “a prelude to the Go Red for Women Luncheon” held  a week later, also in the Palm Springs area, she said.

For the Dates & Wine event, AHA issues invitations to its top donors, “and we give them the opportunity to have tastings” of recipes with dates in them, she said. California Dates have been participating in the event for several years, and “it is really a beautiful evening.”

California Dates will also attend the AHA’s Go Red for Women Luncheon. “We have a small exhibit there, and we  provide date tastings for the ladies and gentlemen who attend the luncheon event and the seminars” which are put on by AHA.

That is followed in mid-February by the National Date Festival held in conjunction with the Riverside County Fair in Indio, CA, which attracts nearly 300,000 visitors. At that 10-day event, “we present daily cooking demonstrations with professional chefs throughout the [Coachella] Valley. The audience has the opportunity to enjoy the cooking demonstrations” and sample the results, Cooper said.

In April, California Dates will again work with the California Dietetic Association at its annual conference in Riverside, CA. “We will be exhibiting there and giving out samples, educating dieticians and nutritionists about the nutritional benefits of eating dates on a daily basis,” she said.

The California Date Administrative Committee is a federal marketing order covering date growers in Riverside County, encompassing the date-growing regions of the Coachella Valley. The California Date Commission is a California state marketing order also embracing the date industry in Riverside County.

While there are about 30 varieties of dates grown in the valley, the two largest commercially grown varieties are Medjool and Deglet Noor.

When The Produce News talked to Cooper, the 2014 Medjool harvest was nearing completion and was expected to be finished by about Nov. 1. The Deglet Noor harvest, which started late September, was in full swing and expected to continue through December and “maybe into January,” she said.

“Handlers and growers are telling me that the fruit is looking really good this year — some of the best fruit they have seen in a while,” Cooper said. Yields are a bit lower than in the last few years, “but nothing to be concerned about. They are probably going to end up with a total harvest of somewhere around 40 million to 45 million pounds.” Because of the quality of the crop, the volume of whole dates available for the fresh market is expected to be higher than last year.

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

Special events are focus of California date industry promotions

The California date industry in its promotional efforts focuses on a series of special events at various times of the year, beginning with participation at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit expo, which was held in Anaheim, CA, this year.

The Produce News talked to Lori Cooper, manager of the California Date Administrative Committee and the California Date Commission in Indio, CA, on Oct. 10, just days prior to PMA, about that event and others upcoming in which California Dates would be participating. “We’ve got a new chef” representing California dates at the show, she said.04-HoliDateNut-CalDate-LorrLorrie Cooper

Eric Theiss is executive chef of the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort & Spa near Palm Springs, managing the resort’s six restaurants. “He is very excited about attending the event, and he’s got quite a menu planned” for recipes using dates that show attendees will have the opportunity to sample,” Cooper said.

In early February, California Dates will be participating in a one-evening event called Dates & Wine at the J.W. Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, in conjunction with the American Heart Association. The event is “a prelude to the Go Red for Women Luncheon” held  a week later, also in the Palm Springs area, she said.

For the Dates & Wine event, AHA issues invitations to its top donors, “and we give them the opportunity to have tastings” of recipes with dates in them, she said. California Dates have been participating in the event for several years, and “it is really a beautiful evening.”

California Dates will also attend the AHA’s Go Red for Women Luncheon. “We have a small exhibit there, and we  provide date tastings for the ladies and gentlemen who attend the luncheon event and the seminars” which are put on by AHA.

That is followed in mid-February by the National Date Festival held in conjunction with the Riverside County Fair in Indio, CA, which attracts nearly 300,000 visitors. At that 10-day event, “we present daily cooking demonstrations with professional chefs throughout the [Coachella] Valley. The audience has the opportunity to enjoy the cooking demonstrations” and sample the results, Cooper said.

In April, California Dates will again work with the California Dietetic Association at its annual conference in Riverside, CA. “We will be exhibiting there and giving out samples, educating dieticians and nutritionists about the nutritional benefits of eating dates on a daily basis,” she said.

The California Date Administrative Committee is a federal marketing order covering date growers in Riverside County, encompassing the date-growing regions of the Coachella Valley. The California Date Commission is a California state marketing order also embracing the date industry in Riverside County.

While there are about 30 varieties of dates grown in the valley, the two largest commercially grown varieties are Medjool and Deglet Noor.

When The Produce News talked to Cooper, the 2014 Medjool harvest was nearing completion and was expected to be finished by about Nov. 1. The Deglet Noor harvest, which started late September, was in full swing and expected to continue through December and “maybe into January,” she said.

“Handlers and growers are telling me that the fruit is looking really good this year — some of the best fruit they have seen in a while,” Cooper said. Yields are a bit lower than in the last few years, “but nothing to be concerned about. They are probably going to end up with a total harvest of somewhere around 40 million to 45 million pounds.” Because of the quality of the crop, the volume of whole dates available for the fresh market is expected to be higher than last year.

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

Polish apple growers focus on Far and Middle East

Polish apple growers focus on Far and Middle East

The Russian ban on European goods has made it tough for Polish apple exporters. The of those exporters, Elpa Fruit, will look to weather the tough situation by diverting some of the fruit that was destined for the Russian market to the Far East.

 

“It will be a difficult year with a lot of challenges,” said Michal Grodzki, manager for Elpa Fruit. “It will be very difficult for Polish growers who sent their apples to Russia, and I’m especially worried for smaller growers, for whom bankruptcy is a very real possibility.” About 60 to 70 percent of the apples grown in Poland go to Russia and Belarus during normal years, so a huge part of this year’s crop will need to go elsewhere. The domestic market only takes five percent of production, so it’s not likely it can absorb much of what used to go to Russia. Western Europe has plenty of fruit of its own, so the competition there doesn’t make that market a realistic option. But the Far and Middle East and North Africa are good options.


“Most Polish companies will focus on markets where they’ve already sent fruit,” said Grodzki. “You’re always trying to find new markets, but we’ve already exported to the Netherlands, France, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Egypt,Tunisia and Scandinavia around 20% while 10% of our production to the domestic market.”


Serbia, Romania, Kuwait, India and China are all examples of new markets that could take additional fruit in the future, but the difficulty of securing new contacts and building an export program in a new territory means most exporters will focus on the Middle East.


“There are a lot of possibilities, but it’s not easy to establish a new market. It takes a lot of time and a lot of work to find and work with new customers,” explained Grodzki. “So at the moment the main targets are the Emirates and Egypt, because they know our apples.” He noted that consumers in that region are familiar with their varieties and prefer red apples, like Royal Gala, Gloucester, Red Jonaprince, Golden Delicious and Ida Red varieties. Those apples are favored because consumers there know those varieties through their dealings with Western European brokers. But introducing new varieties may be an option, as consumers in the region simply aren’t aware of most other varieties.

Without Russia as an export destination, there’s more competition for the markets available. As a result, prices this year have been 40 to 50 percent lower than in previous years. It’s a grim market, at the moment, but one which Polish growers are doing everything they can to weather.

“Russia is such a huge market, so I don’t think we’ll be able to switch all of the fruit we sent there to other markets – I wish it were possible, but it’s probably not,” said Grodzki. “I just hope that the situation gets better in a few months.”

Contact details:

Michał Grodzki
Elpa Fruit Co. Ltd
Poland
Tel./fax: +48 48 668 00 04
Mobile : +48 +48 502 093 397
E-mail: [email protected],
[email protected]
www.elpafruit.pl
Skype: elpafruit1

Author: Yzza Ibrahim / Carlos Nunez


 

Publication date: 10/10/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Natural Grocers continues focus on store growth

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage ,Lakewood, Colo., said Thursday it will continue to focus on new-store investments, including infrastructure, to support future growth.

The company said it plans to continue 20% unit growth into next year, with plans to open 18 new stores in fiscal 2015, compared with 15 scheduled to open this year.

Kemper Isely, co-president, said the company also plans to control expenses and maintain profitability while growing its store base. “We have clear direction on how we intend to manage expenses and margin going forward while we work on various initiatives to increase sales,” he said.

“We are excited about the increasing demand for natural and organic food and believe this supports the growth opportunity we see ahead of us.”

Net income for the third quarter ended June 30 rose 16.6% to $ 3.4 million, while sales increased 18.4% to $ 134 million and comparable store sales increased 3.1%. For the year to date, net income climbed 23.6% to $ 10.3 million and sales grew 22% to $ 385 million, with comps increasing 6.3%.

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage operates 84 stores in 14 states, including 12 stores opened through the first three quarters and three more set to open during the fourth quarter. The company said it has seven signed leases for stores set to open in fiscal 2015 in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Nevada and Oklahoma.

Supermarket News

“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

“Focus on pear export to China is on quality and manageability”

Bert Wilschut, The Greenery:
“Focus on pear export to China is on quality and manageability”

With the new pear season about to start, the long awaited export of Dutch pears to the Chinese market will also start. Bert Wilschut recently attended the official christening of the pears for The Greenery during the International Horticultural Exhibition in Qingdao and speaks of the preparations and expectations.



Bert Wilschut (left) during the ‘pear christening’

What preparations are you making at the moment?
Our focus right now is on our growers, packing stations and cooling houses meeting the protocol correctly. When the Chinese delegation comes to the Netherlands on the 25th of August, everything has to be right. Next week our colleague Tony Liu from Dalice – the company in China that has been part of The Greenery for over ten years – is coming to the Netherlands. Rick Hitzerd coordinates the sales with Tony Liu from The Greenery. We will make a selection of the customers we wish to serve and go through everything from cultivation to arrival with them next week. The financial safeguard is also important in this. You can’t just send ships full of containers of pears without any kind of security.


How big is the interest from China actually?
That interest is certainly present. Around twenty Chinese companies who are interested have approached us. We want to make a selection of them. We want to keep it manageable. We are looking at the places we want to serve and the available logistic connections. The population of a relatively small place like Qingdao has doubled in ten years time and this is a regular place. The total Chinese market is the same size as the entirety of Europe. If we focus on five towns with a number of customers per town to start with, it is nothing compared to the total population.


So the path is clear for massive volumes?
This isn’t what the focus is on in the first season. Imagine, we start serving a few customers in five large towns in China with a container per week, assuming an average transit time of five to six weeks, that’s thirty containers on the water without one even being received. We want to keep the risks manageable. It’s in the best interest of the growers and our company. The Chinese market’s potential is huge, but we mainly want to do it right and aren’t choosing size just yet. We want to monitor the entire cultivation and export well and manage it until the product is in China. If the quality and taste is perfect, we can build up the market for the long term.”



Bert

Do the Chinese want Dutch pears?
I am least concerned about the taste experience of the pears, as long as we meet all the criteria. This was shown during the fair in Qingdao, where the people loved our pears. We have good expectations for the export of Conference pears, but even better ones for the Sweet Sensation. This pear fits well with the colour and taste preference of the Chinese.


What part of your area has been accepted for the export to China?
In total we signed on 154 hectares, of which over 40 hectares is Sweet Sensation. This doesn’t mean that the entire area has to be exported to China. You have to consider the possible results of hail damage or toughening. It’s not as simple as loading up the entire harvest and selling it all in China. However, due to the risks we have signed on and certified enough product with a good ratio between Conference and Sweet Sensation.


What sales channels are being focussed on?
The chain from producer to buyer is very different in China from what we are used to here in Europe. Part of the sales goes through the wholesale market and part goes through service providers. Direct supply to wholesale companies isn’t the order there yet. Our advantage is that we have had an office in Qingdao with Dalice for over ten years. They mainly took care of the sourcing of products like garlic, ginger and fuji apples for us, and so made a lot of contacts. They can help us with the introduction, promotion and guidance of the Dutch pears. A number of Greenery colleagues also know their way around the Chinese market. This has helped us build up a head start.


Do you expect a lot of competition between the Dutch exporters?
No, I don’t. Thirteen exporters signed up for the export to China, and we have good relationships and work with most of them. The agreement that the companies that are accredited can exchange pears for export together has been made. So it’s possible that Greenery growers could supply pears to other exporters with China as their destination.”


For more information:
The Greenery
Bert Wilschut: 06 – 27 026 003
Rick Hitzerd: 06 – 51 822 746
www.thegreenery.com

Publication date: 7/7/2014
Author: Katja Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

First national model for bovine TB calls for more focus on cattle

In a study published in Nature this week, a team of researchers based at the University of Warwick has produced the first national model to investigate the bovine TB spread.

The results derived from the model in the Nature paper, entitled “A dynamic model of bovine tuberculosis spread and control in Great Britain,” demonstrated that the majority of herd outbreaks are caused by multiple transmissions routes — including failed cattle infection tests, cattle movement and reinfection from environmental reservoirs (infected pastures and wildlife). The study suggests that improved testing, vaccination of cattle and culling all cattle on infected farms would be the most effective strategies for controlling the disease.

Based on a study of cattle and the causes of bTB in Great Britain the model sought to ascertain how and why the epidemic has grown over the past 15 years. Using Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency and Defra data, the researchers developed a mathematical model that incorporated both within-farm and between-farm bTB transmission.

The model proposes that whilst badgers form part of the environmental reservoir they only play a relatively minor role in the transmission of infection.

“Our model offers a dispassionate, unbiased view of the spread of bTB through the cattle industry of Great Britain” says model co-author Professor Matthew Keeling, from Warwick’s School of Life Sciences and Department of Mathematics. “The model is based on the recorded pattern of positive and negative tests and uses the known movement of cattle around the country. We aim for it to provide policy

makers with the best evidence possible from which to make decisions relating to bTB and to contribute to the ongoing discussions on this sensitive issue.”

The model allowed the researchers to tease apart how different routes involved in transmission interact and overlap. “By using the most recent data our model predicts that it is most likely both cattle movements and the local environment that are driving the front of the epidemic. Imperfect cattle skin tests contribute to the spread by delaying the time until infected herds are detected for the first time and incorrectly identifying herds as clear of infection,” says co-author Dr Ellen Brooks-Pollock of the University of Cambridge.

For the researchers one of key results from the model is the large variation in what happens to farms once they are infected. “We found that the vast majority of infected farms don’t spread the infection to any other farms before they clear infection themselves. Only a small number of farms spread the infection and they can cause the majority of new cases,” argues Dr Brooks-Pollock.

The researchers argue that the findings are essential for improving the targeting control measures. If infected farms can be identified and caught early then it might be possible to make substantial progress in tackling the epidemic.

“The model we are putting forward can be used to address several potential control methods — but there is no single panacea.” says Professor Keeling. “All controls have advantages, disadvantages and would be problematic and costly to implement. However, we find only three controls have the power to reverse the current increase in cases; more frequent or more accurate testing, vaccination of cattle and culling all cattle on infected farms.”

The control measures the researchers investigated were designed to be ‘idealized’ control options to understand what measures in theory could stop the increasing epidemic. “We didn’t consider the practicalities or economics of implementing control measures,” says Dr Brooks-Pollock “that needs to be the subject of further work.”

“We believe the way forwards is to determine clearly defined strategic goals with appropriate costs and benefits” argues Professor Keeling. “Models such as ours can then be combined with economic analysis to assess a wide range of future control options.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Warwick. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Fairway highlights its focus on local

Fairway Market, which started as a small stand in New York City selling locally grown fruits and vegetables, has expanded over the past 80 years, but its focus is still on everything local.fairwayyyy To celebrate this, Fairway is launching a monthly guide saluting all of its local partners and distributors, whose products can be found in its produce, fish, meat, dairy bakery, specialty departments and more throughout its stores.

The guide will provide brief descriptions of the farms, fisheries, dairies and manufacturers, easy-to-follow recipes using the products and special savings. Special emphasis is directed to how the products are manufactured, including fruits and vegetables that are grown organically.

“We know that our customers care about what they eat and where it comes from,” Bill Sanford, interim chief executive officer, said in a press release. “There is truly wonderful food being harvested and crafted by family farmers, local fishermen, small artisan food-makers, bakers and roasters right here in our own backyard. You can find the best of it in this new monthly food-lovers’ guide, and of course, in all our stores.”

He added that when buying local, “You’re not just buying the freshest and best-tasting foods available, you’re also helping save the environment and supporting your local economy.”

 

 

 

 

 

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

Chile could focus more on EU than US citrus market

Forecasts are trade with the U.S will be lower
Chile could focus more on EU than US citrus market

Chilean citrus exporters could diversify their markets in the future, focusing less on the U.S. and more on Europe to fill the space left by South African producers.

Decofrut, a company specialized in information and the analysis of developments in the global markets, said that South Africa is paying more attention to the U.S. market because of the restrictions imposed by the European Union on the imports of South African citrus due to the presence of the citrus black spot (CBS).

“What is happening in Europe with the South African production is important. Two things are going to happen as a result of the restrictions that the European Union has put on South Africa,” said José Manuel Alcaíno, CEO of Decofrut.

“First, the South Africans will try to compensate their losses by sending more fruit to other markets like the U.S., and secondly, it will create demand and dissatisfaction in the European market. “

“One has to be very alert to what is happening in Europe with South Africa because it can alter the citrus supply and demand completely.”

Alcaíno expressed concern over Chile, which has become too dependent on the U.S. market, as it receives about 90% of Chilean exports of oranges, clementines and tangerines.

“It’s risky to put all your eggs in one basket. I think there is a responsibility to diversify its markets. The problem is that the other main market, the European Union, is well covered by Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and in part by Australia,” said Alcaíno.

The producer of early citrus, Atunguayco, also expressed his desire to reduce dependence on a single target destination, and stated that they needed more work to facilitate exports to some major emerging markets.

“I think there is always a need to diversify markets. I would like to have all the paperwork to open exports to Asia, to places like China, where there is a large population. I think it’s a market that we have to develop, “said Mathias Oteiza, commercial manager of Atunguayco.

Oteiza explained that Chilean fruit can be shipped for up to 30 or 40 days and still arrive in good condition, so the time it takes to cross the Pacific Ocean would not be a problem.

Source: Fresh Fruit Portal

Publication date: 6/19/2014


FreshPlaza.com

The Lempert Report: New products focus on health (video)

This Lempert Report looks at which products made the biggest sales splashes last year.

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Supermarket News

Consumer trends in Canada: a focus on quality and sustainability

Oleen Smethurst from Costco Wholesale Canada, at PMA Fresh Connections Rotterdam
Consumer trends in Canada: a focus on quality and sustainability

In Canada, the consumer merchandising tradition for fresh produce has been to offer in bulk, allowing consumers to choose what they want and place it in a bag. Current trends, however, are moving towards pre-packaged products in many categories, as consumers feel that the product is better protected from contamination.

In general terms, Canadian consumers are mainly looking for new and exciting items, such as healthy snacks and on-the-go foods, year round supply, convenience, food safety, sustainable packaging and, of course, great taste.  “In terms of healthy snacking, a lot of developments have been made over the past two years, such as the introduction of mini size Sweet Bell Peppers, or the various Grape tomato varieties, such as the Zima or Splendido, characterised by their great sweetness,” explains Oleen Smethurst, of Costco.

Oleen says that there is a huge correlation between yield and cost, and while consumers are price-savvy, for them quality and taste come first and foremost. “Thus, we work together with seed companies willing to dedicate themselves to growing what we believe will be the next success in terms of taste and quality,” affirms Oleen.

In the field of convenience, Costco has introduced products such as ready-to-assemble salads containing healthy ingredients that do not compromise taste, and which offer customers the illusion of actually creating something.

This desire to create fast, simple dishes with great tasting ingredients has in part been sparked by the many cooking shows aired nowadays. Oleen says that “we are finding that people are going back to cooking at home, although it has to be simple, and the better the quality of the ingredients, the better the outcome.”

In this sense, a product that has become hugely successful for Costco is a salad containing kale, chicory, cabbage, shredded broccoli, Brussels sprouts, roasted & salted pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries and a dressing. It is making a record-breaking 8,000 Canadian dollars per building a week and forms part of a line of ‘superfoods’.

The next generation of ‘superfoods’, according to Oleen, will include stir fry kits, which will aim to meet the new Canadian sodium reduction regulations, as well as smoothie vegetable blends and packaged curly baby kale, which is rich in vitamins and minerals and therefore ideal for a healthy diet.

Another aspect that has gained a lot of relevance is taste. Oleen explains that “the better the flavour and quality in the store, the more consumers will look for those products. Consumers are thus educated to appreciate and demand taste. An example of a product following this philosophy is the lemony arugula blend, which contains leaves with a delicious citrus taste.”

Oleen assures that innovation and item development translates into trends in packaging and merchandising, and innovation can often come from very interesting, yet simple ideas. A great example of this is the process which resulted in the creation of the 8 inch celery sticks. “We were selling packs of celery hearts and were considering discontinuing the item due to low sales,” says Oleen.

4 inch celery sticks were already available in the market, and in order to introduce differentiation, while revitalising celery sales, the 8 inch stick was created; a format generating a much lower amount of waste, as the inedible parts have been removed, and which is a lot more efficient. “Ideas for innovation do not need to be mind-shattering, simply different,” states Oleen. Innovation can also come hand in hand with convenience, as illustrated by the “Shake and taste” salads.

In general, Canadian consumers are becoming much more environmentally conscientious, expecting products that have great quality, taste and freshness, but without compromising sustainability. In Canada, consumers are generally opposed to over packaging and this reflects on item sales.

The latest trend in this regard is the Top Seals packaging, which offers advantages such as higher product visibility, stackability and the ability to transport more produce while naturally extending its shelf life by controlling the respiration rates with micro-perforated film. The use of sustainable packaging has resulted in a 25% reduction in plastic (36,350 kilos less) for Costco.

Lastly, it is also worth noting what a big role social media plays nowadays, with consumers interested in knowing where their food is coming from (traceability) and find out ways to use the items they are considering purchasing. “In this sense, QR Codes can be very helpful if they link directly to recipes, cooking methods, but also to grower traceability and grower stories, because they want to connect with the farm,” concludes Oleen Smethurst.

For more information, please contact: www.costco.ca

Publication date: 5/1/2014
Author: Juan Zea Estellés
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

The future of the horticultural sector; focus of PMA Fresh Connections Netherlands

Photo report of conference and a lecture from Cindy van Rijswick (Rabobank)
The future of the horticultural sector; focus of PMA Fresh Connections Netherlands

In partnership with Frugi Venta, the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) set foot on European soil for the first time this year to organise a conference in Rotterdam under the title PMA’s Fresh Connections. Around a hundred interested professionals from the fresh produce sector attended yesterday the event at the Hilton Hotel, with keynote speakers such as Jose Antonio Gomez (Camposol), Boet Mouton (Mouton Citrus), Andrew Reynolds (Total Produce), Elliott Grant (Harvest Mark), Gé Happe (Ahold), Oleen Smethurst (Costco) and Cindy Van Rijswick (Rabobank). Today, the company will arrange a tour including visits to Red Star, Koppert Cress and Wageningen University.

Van Rijswick, Fresh Produce Analyst at Rabobank, kicked off the event with an introduction to Europe’s place in the global trade of fruit and vegetables. She highlighted innovation as the main engine for economic growth in Europe, pointing out that, particularly in emerging countries, the gap in terms of innovation seems to be narrowing. She pointed out that further innovation is needed to reactivate the consumption of fruits and vegetables with stagnant sales; however, the analyst also said to be optimistic about the long term future for the sector, partly due to the growth of convenience products, the focus on the health benefits of fruits and vegetables and the greater weight given by professional chefs to vegetables on their menus.

Click here for the photo report

Van Rijswick stated that consumers are difficult to classify into groups. “One and the same person may be a one-time buyer of cheap products at Lidl, but also of an expensive salad another time. Lidl, for example, is doing well in the sale of fruits and vegetables at low prices, but there is also a strong growth in products with higher added value, such as fruit salads. Over the past five years, the fresh-cut market has experienced an annual growth of around 10% (4% in Germany and 7% in the UK, despite the economic crisis. Processed vegetables have also grown by 4% in volume (2.7% in UK and 11% in Germany).”

This growth, according to Cindy, is taking place especially in online, discount and convenience. “Online food trade will double in the coming years and this will have an impact on fruit and vegetable traders.” She also talked about the returns of greenhouse vegetable growers; currently well under pressure, and about the changes in trade flows, which complicate the sourcing. “The fruit and vegetable exporting countries growing the most are mostly outside Western Europe, although in absolute terms, Europe is still a great place for trade. The largest exporter of fresh fruits and vegetables is still Spain, followed by Mexico, Chile, China, Turkey and the Netherlands. In terms of import volumes, Germany tops the list, followed by Russia, Japan, France, Canada, Hong Kong and the United States.”

In conclusion, Western Europe is not the market growing the most, but it remains a large and attractive market. Growth in Europe is only possible through innovation in logistics and efficiency in the value chain and in retail and consumer solutions. Outside Europe, the main growth opportunities for Western European fruit producers lie in the local production and marketing of knowledge-intensive products and in the development of export platforms in producing countries for the worldwide delivery of specific European products.

Later this week there will be reports of other conferences.

Click here for the photo report

Publication date: 4/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

The future of the horticultural sector; focus of PMA Fresh Connections Netherlands

Photo report of conference and a lecture from Cindy van Rijswick (Rabobank)
The future of the horticultural sector; focus of PMA Fresh Connections Netherlands

In partnership with Frugi Venta, the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) set foot on European soil for the first time this year to organise a conference in Rotterdam under the title PMA’s Fresh Connections. Around a hundred interested professionals from the fresh produce sector attended yesterday the event at the Hilton Hotel, with keynote speakers such as Jose Antonio Gomez (Camposol), Boet Mouton (Mouton Citrus), Andrew Reynolds (Total Produce), Elliott Grant (Harvest Mark), Gé Happe (Ahold), Oleen Smethurst (Costco) and Cindy Van Rijswick (Rabobank). Today, the company will arrange a tour including visits to Red Star, Koppert Cress and Wageningen University.

Van Rijswick, Fresh Produce Analyst at Rabobank, kicked off the event with an introduction to Europe’s place in the global trade of fruit and vegetables. She highlighted innovation as the main engine for economic growth in Europe, pointing out that, particularly in emerging countries, the gap in terms of innovation seems to be narrowing. She pointed out that further innovation is needed to reactivate the consumption of fruits and vegetables with stagnant sales; however, the analyst also said to be optimistic about the long term future for the sector, partly due to the growth of convenience products, the focus on the health benefits of fruits and vegetables and the greater weight given by professional chefs to vegetables on their menus.

Click here for the photo report

Van Rijswick stated that consumers are difficult to classify into groups. “One and the same person may be a one-time buyer of cheap products at Lidl, but also of an expensive salad another time. Lidl, for example, is doing well in the sale of fruits and vegetables at low prices, but there is also a strong growth in products with higher added value, such as fruit salads. Over the past five years, the fresh-cut market has experienced an annual growth of around 10% (4% in Germany and 7% in the UK, despite the economic crisis. Processed vegetables have also grown by 4% in volume (2.7% in UK and 11% in Germany).”

This growth, according to Cindy, is taking place especially in online, discount and convenience. “Online food trade will double in the coming years and this will have an impact on fruit and vegetable traders.” She also talked about the returns of greenhouse vegetable growers; currently well under pressure, and about the changes in trade flows, which complicate the sourcing. “The fruit and vegetable exporting countries growing the most are mostly outside Western Europe, although in absolute terms, Europe is still a great place for trade. The largest exporter of fresh fruits and vegetables is still Spain, followed by Mexico, Chile, China, Turkey and the Netherlands. In terms of import volumes, Germany tops the list, followed by Russia, Japan, France, Canada, Hong Kong and the United States.”

In conclusion, Western Europe is not the market growing the most, but it remains a large and attractive market. Growth in Europe is only possible through innovation in logistics and efficiency in the value chain and in retail and consumer solutions. Outside Europe, the main growth opportunities for Western European fruit producers lie in the local production and marketing of knowledge-intensive products and in the development of export platforms in producing countries for the worldwide delivery of specific European products.

Later this week there will be reports of other conferences.

Click here for the photo report

Publication date: 4/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Canada: Focus on niche products for a successful import business

Canada: Focus on niche products for a successful import business

Minnaar is a Calgary-based Canadian firm devoted to the import of vegetables, mostly Peruvian, Mexican and U.S. asparagus and Mexican bell peppers. Occasionally, peppers and other products, such as Dutch and Belgian endive and aubergine, are flown in from Europe, depending on what the market dictates, but these represent only a small part of the business.

During the winter time, Canada’s local production is not perceived as a threat by the company, as the cost of gas is very high and the weather conditions too cold, of around minus 30 degrees Celsius, and thus the import produce from countries like Mexico is needed.

According to Wally Robanske, of Minnaar Canada, an increasing number of retailers are starting to go straight to the grower, bypassing wholesalers and importers and this is what pushes Minnaar’s focus towards the niche markets and special products which specific customers are looking for. The company covers the entire western Canadian market, with shipments being made as further east as Winnipeg, Manitoba, and as far west as Vancouver.

For more information:
Wally Robanske
Minnaar Canada
Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 4/16/2014
Author: Juan Zea Estellés
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Weather puts focus on grocery essentials

This winter’s harsh weather conditions may be having a negative impact on impulse spending at supermarkets, industry analysts told SN last week — although overall the cold and snow may be a positive force for at-home dining. “Severe winter weather pretty much kills trading up,” Andrew Wolf, managing director for BB&T Capital Markets, Boston, said. “Discretionary spending had been making a recovery in 2013, which resulted in stronger sales. But if bad weather …

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The Lempert Report: Focus on fresh (video)

According to the 2014 National Grocers Association-SupermarketGuru Consumer Survey Report, nearly three-quarters of consumers (73.6%) state that perimeter fresh foods are the main draws of supermarkets, up from 69.2% in 2013 and 66.4% in 2012.

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