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Avoid getting left in the digital dust

What keeps me up at night is the thought that food retailers are losing touch with their customers and don’t know it. Many in the supermarket industry underestimate how extensively digital has impacted the way people live and shop for food — and as a result, their relationships with customers are growing weaker and weaker.

The risk of losing touch is particularly high in two areas.

• Productive communications: The cornerstone of food retailer communications is the weekly print circular. As newspaper circulations drop and more people turn to screens instead, it’s changing the way they “read” information, and digital circulars aren’t yet delivering. Dialoging on social media is also not getting enough attention. Customers want it, but few retailers are using it to advantage.

• Better experience: Amazon focuses on delivering exceptional customer experience and so do most food retailers. For food retailers, however, there’s often a disconnect when the experience moves outside of the store. Customers also want to interact with retailers before and after they do their in-store shopping, but most grocers have been slow to pick up on this.

These are important challenges, yet at the same time, there is a veritable blizzard of new ways to strengthen and expand connections with customers. Sorting them out to find out what works and what doesn’t is important. Simply offering a digital option isn’t enough; the new option must deliver some benefit to shoppers. That’s how to maintain and strengthen your connection with shoppers.

What have you done recently to connect digitally with shoppers?

Supermarket News

Getting more out of nature: Genetic toolkit finds new maximum for crop yields

Scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) today announced a new way to dramatically increase crop yields by improving upon Mother Nature’s offerings. A team led by Associate Professor Zachary Lippman, in collaboration with Israeli colleagues, has discovered a set of gene variations that can boost fruit production in the tomato plant by as much as 100%.

Plant breeders will be able to combine different gene variants among the set to create an optimal plant architecture for particular varieties and growing conditions. The set of mutations will enable farmers to maximize yield in tomatoes and potentially many other flowering plants, including staple crops like soybeans.

“Traditionally, plant breeders have relied on natural variation in plant genes to increase yield, but yield gains are plateauing,” Lippman notes. “There is an immediate need to find new ways for plant breeders to produce more food.” Worldwide more than 842 million people do not receive adequate nourishment, about 1 person in 8 alive today. The cost of food is expected to increase and hunger is likely to become more widespread as the global population expands to beyond 9 billion by 2050.

Ancient humans and early plant breeders recognized that selecting plants with modified architectures could have a major impact on the amount of fruit they produce. In general scientific terms, Lippman explains, “Plant architecture results from a delicate balance between vegetative growth – shoots and leaves – and flower production. To increase crop yields, we want plants to produce as many flowers and fruits as possible, but this requires energy – energy that is produced in leaves.”

In tomatoes and all other flowering plants, the balance between vegetative growth and flowers is controlled by a pair of opposing hormones, called florigen and anti-florigen. Prior work by Lippman and Israeli colleagues showed that a mutation in florigen can shift the balance between vegetative growth and flowering, modifying plant architecture in a way that increases yield. This suggested that the balance between florigen and anti-florigen might not yet be optimal in tomato plants, despite centuries of breeding with natural variants.

In a study published in Nature Genetics, Lippman’s team identifies an array of new gene mutations that allow, for the first time, a way to fine-tune the balance of florigen to anti-florigen. This maximizes fruit production without compromising the energy from leaves needed to support those fruits. “We mixed and matched all of the mutations,” explains Lippman. “And we were able to produce plants with a broad range of architectures. Together, our collection of mutations forms a powerful toolkit for breeders to pinpoint a new optimum in flowering and architecture that can achieve previously unattainable yield gains.”

The breakthrough benefit of the toolkit, says Lippman, is that it allows farmers to customize genetic variations for particular varieties and growing conditions. “For example, we found that different combinations boost yields for cherry tomatoes and other fresh-market tomatoes compared to tomatoes that are processed for sauce, ketchup, and other canned products. We’ve tested this in multiple genetic backgrounds, in multiple years, and in multiple environments – and the toolkit always provides a new maximum yield.”

These results are likely to be broadly applicable to other flowering crops, Lippman says. Mutations that affect florigen and anti-florigen are already known to play a role in controlling plant architecture for the oil crops rapeseed and sunflower, and can be applied in those. But the team is anxious to move on to critical food crops, specifically soybeans, which share many growth similarities with tomato.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Getting in the game at Expo East

My trip to Expo East this year — maybe yours, too — was highlighted in part by a gorgeous Wednesday night visiting the Baltimore Convention Center’s neighbors over at Camden Yards.

The Orioles, baseball fans know, clinched the title of the American League East just the night before, and so were warmly supported by an appreciative crowd that hadn’t seen their Birds win a division in 17 years — and waited 45 years for a clincher at home. Behind two Steve Pearce home runs, they made easy work of the visiting Toronto Blue Jays, 6-1.

In other sports news from Expo East, products marketed for athletes’ performance and those with a more general health-and-wellness appeal tended to come together on the exhibit floor.

The phenomenon was clearly evident at a booth where brothers Mark and Jon Sider were introducing Greater Than, a beverage combining the electrolyte content and bright flavors of the traditional sports drink with the healthier properties and trend of coconut water. “We wanted to make something better than Gatorade,” Jon told me, serving orange/mango, tropical fruit and pomegranite/berry flavors.

Pre-workout food was getting a similar treatment at a booth showcasing Perfect Fuel, dark chocolate squares infused with gingseng marketed as a sports energy snack. Miles Masci, whose business card calls him the brand’s “director of chocologistics” explained the product was founded by a triathlete who snacked on chocolate for the energy and gingseng to improve endurance.

The bite-sized squares can be merchandised at checkout asiles and with nutrition bars.

Other sports bar makers could be seen bringing their equity to additional categories. Quest Nutrition, which grew through protein bars marketed to bodybuilders, was showcasing new “protein chips” — whey and milk baked chips in sea salt, BBQ and cheddar flavors. Quest reps said the expansion spoke to the overarching protein trend providing an opportunity to move “beyond the bar.” 

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Supermarket News

The Lempert Report: Is the alcohol industry getting too sweet? (video)

We’ve noticed a growing trend hitting the shelves recently and it’s one we’re not too fond of: excessively sweet alcoholic drinks … excessively sweet and with an excessive alcohol content

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Supermarket News

The Lempert Report: Is the alcohol industry getting too sweet? (video)

We’ve noticed a growing trend hitting the shelves recently and it’s one we’re not too fond of: excessively sweet alcoholic drinks … excessively sweet and with an excessive alcohol content

Why Register for FREE?

Registering for content on Supermarket News will give you INSTANT access to invaluable articles and media content that industry professionals rely on. You will have access to our special reports, feature articles, and industry analysis. It’s FREE, easy and quick.  What are you waiting for! In addition you will also receive a complimentary copy of SN’s salary survey sent to you by email.
 

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Supermarket News

The Lempert Report: Is the alcohol industry getting too sweet? (video)

We’ve noticed a growing trend hitting the shelves recently and it’s one we’re not too fond of: excessively sweet alcoholic drinks … excessively sweet and with an excessive alcohol content

Why Register for FREE?

Registering for content on Supermarket News will give you INSTANT access to invaluable articles and media content that industry professionals rely on. You will have access to our special reports, feature articles, and industry analysis. It’s FREE, easy and quick.  What are you waiting for! In addition you will also receive a complimentary copy of SN’s salary survey sent to you by email.
 

Click here to read the FAQ page if you have any questions (opens in a new window)
 

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Supermarket News

The Lempert Report: Is the alcohol industry getting too sweet? (video)

We’ve noticed a growing trend hitting the shelves recently and it’s one we’re not too fond of: excessively sweet alcoholic drinks … excessively sweet and with an excessive alcohol content

Why Register for FREE?

Registering for content on Supermarket News will give you INSTANT access to invaluable articles and media content that industry professionals rely on. You will have access to our special reports, feature articles, and industry analysis. It’s FREE, easy and quick.  What are you waiting for! In addition you will also receive a complimentary copy of SN’s salary survey sent to you by email.
 

Click here to read the FAQ page if you have any questions (opens in a new window)
 

Attention Paid Print Subscribers:  While you have already been granted free access to SN we ask that you register now. We promise it will only take a few minutes! Or visit your profile and add your print magazine account number and zip code.

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Supermarket News

The Lempert Report: Is the alcohol industry getting too sweet? (video)

We’ve noticed a growing trend hitting the shelves recently and it’s one we’re not too fond of: excessively sweet alcoholic drinks … excessively sweet and with an excessive alcohol content

Why Register for FREE?

Registering for content on Supermarket News will give you INSTANT access to invaluable articles and media content that industry professionals rely on. You will have access to our special reports, feature articles, and industry analysis. It’s FREE, easy and quick.  What are you waiting for! In addition you will also receive a complimentary copy of SN’s salary survey sent to you by email.
 

Click here to read the FAQ page if you have any questions (opens in a new window)
 

Attention Paid Print Subscribers:  While you have already been granted free access to SN we ask that you register now. We promise it will only take a few minutes! Or visit your profile and add your print magazine account number and zip code.

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Supermarket News

The Lempert Report: Is the alcohol industry getting too sweet? (video)

We’ve noticed a growing trend hitting the shelves recently and it’s one we’re not too fond of: excessively sweet alcoholic drinks … excessively sweet and with an excessive alcohol content

Why Register for FREE?

Registering for content on Supermarket News will give you INSTANT access to invaluable articles and media content that industry professionals rely on. You will have access to our special reports, feature articles, and industry analysis. It’s FREE, easy and quick.  What are you waiting for! In addition you will also receive a complimentary copy of SN’s salary survey sent to you by email.
 

Click here to read the FAQ page if you have any questions (opens in a new window)
 

Attention Paid Print Subscribers:  While you have already been granted free access to SN we ask that you register now. We promise it will only take a few minutes! Or visit your profile and add your print magazine account number and zip code.

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Supermarket News

The Lempert Report: Is the alcohol industry getting too sweet? (video)

We’ve noticed a growing trend hitting the shelves recently and it’s one we’re not too fond of: excessively sweet alcoholic drinks … excessively sweet and with an excessive alcohol content

Why Register for FREE?

Registering for content on Supermarket News will give you INSTANT access to invaluable articles and media content that industry professionals rely on. You will have access to our special reports, feature articles, and industry analysis. It’s FREE, easy and quick.  What are you waiting for! In addition you will also receive a complimentary copy of SN’s salary survey sent to you by email.
 

Click here to read the FAQ page if you have any questions (opens in a new window)
 

Attention Paid Print Subscribers:  While you have already been granted free access to SN we ask that you register now. We promise it will only take a few minutes! Or visit your profile and add your print magazine account number and zip code.

Already registered? here.

Supermarket News

The Lempert Report: Is the alcohol industry getting too sweet? (video)

We’ve noticed a growing trend hitting the shelves recently and it’s one we’re not too fond of: excessively sweet alcoholic drinks … excessively sweet and with an excessive alcohol content

Why Register for FREE?

Registering for content on Supermarket News will give you INSTANT access to invaluable articles and media content that industry professionals rely on. You will have access to our special reports, feature articles, and industry analysis. It’s FREE, easy and quick.  What are you waiting for! In addition you will also receive a complimentary copy of SN’s salary survey sent to you by email.
 

Click here to read the FAQ page if you have any questions (opens in a new window)
 

Attention Paid Print Subscribers:  While you have already been granted free access to SN we ask that you register now. We promise it will only take a few minutes! Or visit your profile and add your print magazine account number and zip code.

Already registered? here.

Supermarket News

The Lempert Report: Is the alcohol industry getting too sweet? (video)

We’ve noticed a growing trend hitting the shelves recently and it’s one we’re not too fond of: excessively sweet alcoholic drinks … excessively sweet and with an excessive alcohol content

Why Register for FREE?

Registering for content on Supermarket News will give you INSTANT access to invaluable articles and media content that industry professionals rely on. You will have access to our special reports, feature articles, and industry analysis. It’s FREE, easy and quick.  What are you waiting for! In addition you will also receive a complimentary copy of SN’s salary survey sent to you by email.
 

Click here to read the FAQ page if you have any questions (opens in a new window)
 

Attention Paid Print Subscribers:  While you have already been granted free access to SN we ask that you register now. We promise it will only take a few minutes! Or visit your profile and add your print magazine account number and zip code.

Already registered? here.

Supermarket News

The Lempert Report: Is the alcohol industry getting too sweet? (video)

We’ve noticed a growing trend hitting the shelves recently and it’s one we’re not too fond of: excessively sweet alcoholic drinks … excessively sweet and with an excessive alcohol content

Why Register for FREE?

Registering for content on Supermarket News will give you INSTANT access to invaluable articles and media content that industry professionals rely on. You will have access to our special reports, feature articles, and industry analysis. It’s FREE, easy and quick.  What are you waiting for! In addition you will also receive a complimentary copy of SN’s salary survey sent to you by email.
 

Click here to read the FAQ page if you have any questions (opens in a new window)
 

Attention Paid Print Subscribers:  While you have already been granted free access to SN we ask that you register now. We promise it will only take a few minutes! Or visit your profile and add your print magazine account number and zip code.

Already registered? here.

Supermarket News

Lime market getting back to normal

Most everyone seems to agrees that the winter-spring lime market that reached dizzying heights was quite possibly a once-in-a-lifetime event that won’t soon reappear.

Punctuating that fact is the current lime market, which has the smallest fruit — 230s to 250s — selling for $ 8-12 per carton, which is just a small fraction of the price they bought during the height of the shortage.

There is still a shortage of the largest fruit — 175 per carton and larger — but that market is still in the more normal $ 20-40 range.

“If you can find any,” commented Dennis Coffman, a salesman with lime specialist Brandt Produce Inc. in Edinburg, TX. “Nobody really has that fruit, and when they do they only have 200 or 300 cartons at a time.”

But Coffman tells buyers to be patient.

“They have gotten some rain down there [in Mexico], and the big fruit is coming,” Coffman said. “Within four to six weeks, we should have large fruit again.”

Reviewing the March-April timeframe when the market was at its peak, Coffman said, “I’ve been selling limes since 1987 and the best market I had ever seen before was $ 60-$ 65 [per carton], and that would only last for a few days. This time, the market exceeded $ 100 and stayed there for six weeks.”

He said weather conditions produced very light winter crops of both Persian and Key limes, which was further reduced by wind and then exacerbated by growers chasing the hot market and stripping their trees.

Both the Mexican domestic market, which prefers the Key limes, and the export market, which fancies the Persian limes, were bidding on the same fruit.

“It was a perfect storm,” said the South Texas salesman.

Coffman said there is no indication that the trees themselves were hurt or that the earlier market will have lingering effects. As the summer moves on and demand for limes is traditionally higher, he said supplies should be adequate and the market should stay at a more normal level.

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

AU: Chinese cabbage season getting underway

AU: Chinese cabbage season getting underway

Chinese Cabbage is now coming into better supply as the Australian weather cools, according to Ben O’Brien from Alfred E Chave. “The weight of each of the cabbage heads are getting heavier due to the cooler nights and mornings.”

The supply from Queensland will increase next week and will be in full swing in around 6 weeks time and run through to September. The current price on the Brisbane market is AU$ 16 for a carton of 8 and Ben said the quality is getting better as the season progresses.

For more information:
Ben O’Brien
Alfred E. Chave
Tel: +61 408 450 420
Email: [email protected]
www.alfredechave.com.au

Publication date: 4/7/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Food News Today: Are Americans getting healthier? (video)

In Food News Today, Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert asks if Americans are getting halthier, offers some slipper solutions, and takes the guesswork out of eating.

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Supermarket News

Food News Today: Are Americans getting healthier? (video)

In Food News Today, Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert asks if Americans are getting halthier, offers some slipper solutions, and takes the guesswork out of eating.

Why Register for FREE?

Registering for Premium Content on Supermarket News will give you INSTANT access to invaluable articles and media content that industry professionals rely on. You will have access to our special reports, feature articles, and industry analysis. It’s FREE, easy and quick.  What are you waiting for!

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Supermarket News

Costco Getting Peanuts Back It Purchased for Sunland

Costco Wholesale Corp.’s attempt is moving forward to keep millions of dollars in peanuts from being included in the liquidation of Sunland, Inc., once the largest organic peanut butter processor in the U.S. The Issaquah, WA-based corporate giant found peanuts it was acquiring to help Sunland locked up when the New Mexico peanut processor filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The peanuts might have been included as Sunland assets to be divided up among its many creditors.

But, in pre-Christmas hearings before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David T. Thuma in Albuquerque, a complex deal was reached that allows Costco to take possession of the shelled peanuts. The short version is that Costco will have to pay accumulated monthly storage costs to two local peanut storage companies. One is owed $ 14,700, and $ 10,731 is due to the other. Storage rates are $ 2,100 and $ 1,470 per month, respectively.

Once the storage charges are paid, Costco will be allowed to remove the peanuts it originally acquired for Sunland when the Portales, NM, business was temporarily shut down by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration while it managed a recall of multiple products for possible contamination.

In 2012, an outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney infections of 42 people in 20 states was linked to peanut butter manufactured by Sunland. The outbreak forced Sunland into recalls of multiple brands of the peanut butters it made, including one organic brand it produced for the Trader Joe’s grocery chain.

Sunland had to cease operations for about four months in late 2012 and early 2013. It was during that time that Costco agreed to become its peanut purchaser. Immediately after Costco pulled out of the deal, Sunland filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Food Safety News

Kingston getting an early start on Ecuador mango program

Kingston Fresh announced that its mango crop from Ecuador will get an early start this year, which is fortuitous timing considering the high customer demand for the fruit.

“Kingston is excited to announce the first arrivals of the season of our Ecuadorian mangos,” Ken Nabal, president of Idaho Falls, ID-based Kingston Fresh, said in a press release. “Although volume will be light to start, it will be much anticipated to help fill Kingston-Ecuador-mangoKingston Fresh mangos from Ecuador.a supply void left from reduced mango volumes from Brazil year to date. Our first containers will be shipped during the week of October 9.

“Overall quality looks great to start and season forecasts call for volumes similar to last season,” Nabal added in the press release. “The size profile will be heavy to 10- to 12-count calibers with peak volume slated for the mid-November through mid-December period, which is ideal for key holiday retail promotions.”

The company announced earlier that is has changed its name to Kingston Fresh as part of a rebranding initiative.

“For over 40 years our customers, with good reason, have had great confidence in the ‘Kingston’ label,” David O. Kingston, chief executive officer of Kingston Fresh, added in the press release. “As we continue our aggressive imports expansion plans, which include mangos, rest assured that the Kingston logo will be prominently displayed along with its ‘Planting to Plate’ tag line that emphasizes the company’s relentless commitment to food safety and quality.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

The Lempert Report: Getting to Know Your Customers (Video)

Marketing analysis, issues and trends from Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert View Weekly Videos About New Products Phil Lempert produces weekly videos and comments on product marketing analysis, issues and trends and reviews the impact on the food and retail environments. View Videos Read recent Viewpoint columns from Phil Lempert  

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