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Situation in the lime market currently starting to improve

Situation in the lime market currently starting to improve

According to Andreas Schindler, owner of Don Limon, the situation in the lime market has been bad since the end of August, although it is currently starting to improve. The company, specialised in supply chain management, has a close relationship with producers in Mexico, Columbia and Brazil is involved in the entire process, from growing to packaging and logistics.

In the U.S. market, Don Limon focuses mostly on limes and mangoes, although it supplies numerous commodities, namely citrus fruits avocados, grapes, melons, watermelons or apples.

“We supply not only Europe, but also Asia and North America. We have good sales in Canada and the North East of the U.S.; we have offices in China and are preparing to open also in Dubai. For our production we need to develop markets for all sizes and qualities of the products. For this we are going global. For example in the case of the shutdown of the Russian Border for EU products we are able to supply solutions to sell German Apples now in Central America,” affirms Andreas.

He assures that China is currently a booming market, although it is also a difficult one, as it has “special quality demands and very different business culture. Up to this China doesn’t buy limes from us, as they have Vietnam and Thailand for those. It is a market that looks just for specific items.”

Initially, Don Limon always works with the brands of the producers, but in the long term it strives to establish a relationship of trust with them and market their products under the Don Limon label. Diego Morales, manager of Don Limón Americas – based in Guatemala, explains, “we create partnerships with people that want to have good quality branded product, especially wholesalers who have loyal supplier strategies are our partners.”

In terms of future plans, Andreas believes that the east coast of the U.S. is a market with great potential, and he also notes the opening of a new office in Peru.  “Don Limon’s business will become bigger, more stable and more sophisticated and the knowledge we develop on one region we can bring to the other,” says Andreas. “We are experts on creating trust, which is what I believe makes us successful. Our team of international experts with native speaker from all the regions we are working in makes sure we are permanently learning and understanding.”

For more information:
Andreas Schindler
Don Limon
Tel.:  +49 (0)40-3095499-45
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.don-limon.de

Publication date: 10/31/2014
Author: Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Situation in the lime market currently starting to improve

Situation in the lime market currently starting to improve

According to Andreas Schindler, owner of Don Limon, the situation in the lime market has been bad since the end of August, although it is currently starting to improve. The company, specialised in supply chain management, has a close relationship with producers in Mexico, Columbia and Brazil is involved in the entire process, from growing to packaging and logistics.

In the U.S. market, Don Limon focuses mostly on limes and mangoes, although it supplies numerous commodities, namely citrus fruits avocados, grapes, melons, watermelons or apples.

“We supply not only Europe, but also Asia and North America. We have good sales in Canada and the North East of the U.S.; we have offices in China and are preparing to open also in Dubai. For our production we need to develop markets for all sizes and qualities of the products. For this we are going global. For example in the case of the shutdown of the Russian Border for EU products we are able to supply solutions to sell German Apples now in Central America,” affirms Andreas.

He assures that China is currently a booming market, although it is also a difficult one, as it has “special quality demands and very different business culture. Up to this China doesn’t buy limes from us, as they have Vietnam and Thailand for those. It is a market that looks just for specific items.”

Initially, Don Limon always works with the brands of the producers, but in the long term it strives to establish a relationship of trust with them and market their products under the Don Limon label. Diego Morales, manager of Don Limón Americas – based in Guatemala, explains, “we create partnerships with people that want to have good quality branded product, especially wholesalers who have loyal supplier strategies are our partners.”

In terms of future plans, Andreas believes that the east coast of the U.S. is a market with great potential, and he also notes the opening of a new office in Peru.  “Don Limon’s business will become bigger, more stable and more sophisticated and the knowledge we develop on one region we can bring to the other,” says Andreas. “We are experts on creating trust, which is what I believe makes us successful. Our team of international experts with native speaker from all the regions we are working in makes sure we are permanently learning and understanding.”

For more information:
Andreas Schindler
Don Limon
Tel.:  +49 (0)40-3095499-45
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.don-limon.de

Publication date: 10/31/2014
Author: Sander Bruins Slot
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Automated imaging system looks underground to help improve crops

Plant scientists are working to improve important food crops such as rice, maize, and beans to meet the food needs of a growing world population. However, boosting crop output will require improving more than what can be seen of these plants above the ground. Root systems are essential to gathering water and nutrients, but understanding what’s happening in these unseen parts of the plants has until now depended mostly on lab studies and subjective field measurements.

To address that need, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Penn State University have developed an automated imaging technique for measuring and analyzing the root systems of mature plants. The technique, believed to be the first of its kind, uses advanced computer technology to analyze photographs taken of root systems in the field. The imaging and software are designed to give scientists the statistical information they need to evaluate crop improvement efforts.

“We’ve produced an imaging system to evaluate the root systems of plants in field conditions,” said Alexander Bucksch, a postdoctoral fellow in the Georgia Tech School of Biology and School of Interactive Computing. “We can measure entire root systems for thousands of plants to give geneticists the information they need to search for genes with the best characteristics.”

The research is supported by the National Science Foundation’s Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP) and Basic Research to Enable Agriculture Development (BREAD), the Howard Buffett Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the Center for Data Analytics at Georgia Tech. The research was reported as the cover story in the October issue of the journal Plant Physiology.

Beyond improving food crops, the technique could also help improve plants grown for energy production, materials, and other purposes.

Root systems are complicated and vary widely even among plants of the same species. Analyzing critical root properties in field-grown plants has depended on manual measurements, which vary with observer. In contrast, automated measurements have the potential to provide enhanced statistical information for plant improvement.

Imaging of root systems has, until now, largely been done in the laboratory, using seedlings grown in small pots and containers. Such studies provide information on the early stages of development, and do not directly quantify the effects of realistic growing conditions or field variations in water, soil, or nutrient levels.

The technique developed by Georgia Tech and Penn State researchers uses digital photography to provide a detailed image of roots from mature plants in the field. Individual plants to be studied are dug up and their root systems washed clean of soil. The roots are then photographed against a black background using a standard digital camera pointed down from a tripod. A white fabric tent surrounding the camera system provides consistent lighting.

The resulting images are then uploaded to a server running software that analyzes the root systems for more than 30 different parameters — including the diameter of tap roots, root density, the angles of brace roots, and detailed measures of lateral roots. Scientists working in the field can upload their images at the end of a day and have spreadsheets of results ready for study the next day.

“In the lab, you are just seeing part of the process of root growth,” said Bucksch, who works in the group of Associate Professor Joshua Weitz in the School of Biology and School of Physics at Georgia Tech. “We went out to the field to see the plants under realistic growing conditions.”

Developing the digital photography technique required iterative refinements to produce consistent images that could be analyzed using computer programs. To support the goal of making the system available worldwide, it had to be simple enough for field researchers to use consistently, able to be transported in backpacks to locations without electricity, and built on inexpensive components.

In collaboration with a research team led by Jonathan Lynch, a professor of plant sciences at Penn State, the system has been evaluated in South Africa with cowpea and maize plants. With its ability to quickly gather data in the field, it was possible to evaluate a complete cowpea diversity panel. Penn State collaborator James Burridge compiled a novel cowpea reference data set that consists of approximately 1,500 excavated root systems. The data set was measured manually to validate and compare with the new computational approaches. In the future, the system could allow scientists to study crop roots over an entire growing season, potentially providing new life cycle data.

The research shows how quantitative measurement techniques from one discipline can be applied to other areas of science.

“Alexander has taken rigorous, computational principles and collaborated with leading plant root biologists from the Lynch group to study complex root structure under field conditions,” said Weitz. “In doing so, he has shown how automated methods can reveal new below-ground traits that could be targeted for breeding and improvement.”

Data generated by the new technique will be used in subsequent analyses to help understand how changes in genetics affect plant growth. For instance, certain genes may help plants survive in nitrogen-poor soils, or in areas where drought is a problem. The overall goal is to develop improved plants that can feed increasing numbers of people and provide sustainable sources of energy and materials.

“We have to feed an ever-growing population and we have to replace materials like oil-based fuels,” Bucksch said. “Integral to this change will be understanding plants and how they provide us with food and alternative materials. This imaging technique provides data needed to accomplish this.”

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Automated imaging system looks underground to help improve crops

Plant scientists are working to improve important food crops such as rice, maize, and beans to meet the food needs of a growing world population. However, boosting crop output will require improving more than what can be seen of these plants above the ground. Root systems are essential to gathering water and nutrients, but understanding what’s happening in these unseen parts of the plants has until now depended mostly on lab studies and subjective field measurements.

To address that need, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Penn State University have developed an automated imaging technique for measuring and analyzing the root systems of mature plants. The technique, believed to be the first of its kind, uses advanced computer technology to analyze photographs taken of root systems in the field. The imaging and software are designed to give scientists the statistical information they need to evaluate crop improvement efforts.

“We’ve produced an imaging system to evaluate the root systems of plants in field conditions,” said Alexander Bucksch, a postdoctoral fellow in the Georgia Tech School of Biology and School of Interactive Computing. “We can measure entire root systems for thousands of plants to give geneticists the information they need to search for genes with the best characteristics.”

The research is supported by the National Science Foundation’s Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP) and Basic Research to Enable Agriculture Development (BREAD), the Howard Buffett Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the Center for Data Analytics at Georgia Tech. The research was reported as the cover story in the October issue of the journal Plant Physiology.

Beyond improving food crops, the technique could also help improve plants grown for energy production, materials, and other purposes.

Root systems are complicated and vary widely even among plants of the same species. Analyzing critical root properties in field-grown plants has depended on manual measurements, which vary with observer. In contrast, automated measurements have the potential to provide enhanced statistical information for plant improvement.

Imaging of root systems has, until now, largely been done in the laboratory, using seedlings grown in small pots and containers. Such studies provide information on the early stages of development, and do not directly quantify the effects of realistic growing conditions or field variations in water, soil, or nutrient levels.

The technique developed by Georgia Tech and Penn State researchers uses digital photography to provide a detailed image of roots from mature plants in the field. Individual plants to be studied are dug up and their root systems washed clean of soil. The roots are then photographed against a black background using a standard digital camera pointed down from a tripod. A white fabric tent surrounding the camera system provides consistent lighting.

The resulting images are then uploaded to a server running software that analyzes the root systems for more than 30 different parameters — including the diameter of tap roots, root density, the angles of brace roots, and detailed measures of lateral roots. Scientists working in the field can upload their images at the end of a day and have spreadsheets of results ready for study the next day.

“In the lab, you are just seeing part of the process of root growth,” said Bucksch, who works in the group of Associate Professor Joshua Weitz in the School of Biology and School of Physics at Georgia Tech. “We went out to the field to see the plants under realistic growing conditions.”

Developing the digital photography technique required iterative refinements to produce consistent images that could be analyzed using computer programs. To support the goal of making the system available worldwide, it had to be simple enough for field researchers to use consistently, able to be transported in backpacks to locations without electricity, and built on inexpensive components.

In collaboration with a research team led by Jonathan Lynch, a professor of plant sciences at Penn State, the system has been evaluated in South Africa with cowpea and maize plants. With its ability to quickly gather data in the field, it was possible to evaluate a complete cowpea diversity panel. Penn State collaborator James Burridge compiled a novel cowpea reference data set that consists of approximately 1,500 excavated root systems. The data set was measured manually to validate and compare with the new computational approaches. In the future, the system could allow scientists to study crop roots over an entire growing season, potentially providing new life cycle data.

The research shows how quantitative measurement techniques from one discipline can be applied to other areas of science.

“Alexander has taken rigorous, computational principles and collaborated with leading plant root biologists from the Lynch group to study complex root structure under field conditions,” said Weitz. “In doing so, he has shown how automated methods can reveal new below-ground traits that could be targeted for breeding and improvement.”

Data generated by the new technique will be used in subsequent analyses to help understand how changes in genetics affect plant growth. For instance, certain genes may help plants survive in nitrogen-poor soils, or in areas where drought is a problem. The overall goal is to develop improved plants that can feed increasing numbers of people and provide sustainable sources of energy and materials.

“We have to feed an ever-growing population and we have to replace materials like oil-based fuels,” Bucksch said. “Integral to this change will be understanding plants and how they provide us with food and alternative materials. This imaging technique provides data needed to accomplish this.”

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Using genetic screening to improve Korean white wheat

Visiting scientist Dae Wook Kim hopes to develop a line of Korean wheat that does not sprout when exposed to wet harvest conditions, thanks to genetic screening techniques he learned at South Dakota State University.

He is working with molecular biologist Jai Rohila of the biology and microbiology department through a two-year project sponsored by the National Institute of Crop Science in Suwaon, South Korea. It is part of his country’s effort to increase wheat production.

Korean farmers raise white winter wheat, planting in October and harvesting in June; however, the country’s rainy season begins in June, explained Kim. If the rains hit before the crop has been harvested, the grain begins to sprout in the head.

Korean white winter wheat is particularly susceptible to preharvest sprouting, according to Kim. Preharvest sprouting reduces the quality of the grain and the yield, added Rohila.

Last summer, SDSU spring wheat breeder Karl Glover provided Kim with 40 lines of South Dakota wheat — half tolerant and half susceptible to preharvest sprouting. Kim compared these lines to determine which genes and proteins account for tolerance.

When Kim returned in July for his second three-month stay, he brought seeds from two Korean lines — Sukang, which has more sprouting tolerance, and Baegjoong, which is susceptible.

Looking at both lines, he identified 33 proteins that are differentially expressed in the tolerant cultivar. Kim will quantify the gene expression levels from Glover’s newest lines that are resistant to preharvest sprouting and compare those results with the list of differentially expressed proteins from the Korean cultivars.

If the same proteins are differentially expressed in Glover’s varieties, Kim will validate the genes he identified as important to tolerance in his Korean varieties.

“If it is related to tolerance, the same gene should be in other tolerant varieties.” Kim added. “At that level, we know the gene is expressed in the same way.”

His work at SDSU will decrease the time it takes to improve preharvest sprouting tolerance in Korean white wheat.

Story Source:

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

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Evolutionary tools improve prospects for sustainable development

Solving societal challenges in food security, emerging diseases and biodiversity loss will require evolutionary thinking in order to be effective in the long run. Inattention to this will only lead to greater challenges such as short-lived medicines and agricultural treatments, problems that may ultimately hinder sustainable development, argues a new study published online today in Science Express, led by University of California, Davis and the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen.

For the first time, scientists have reviewed progress in addressing a broad set of challenges in agriculture, medicine and environmental management using evolutionary approaches, approaches that consider species’ evolutionary histories and the likelihood of rapid evolutionary adaptation to human activities.

The study finds an urgent need for better implementation of these approaches, for example in managing the use of antibiotics and pesticides in order to reduce the escalating problem of resistance evolution. Furthermore, current efforts are found insufficient to reduce the accumulating costs from chronic disease and biodiversity loss, two challenges ultimately caused by exposure to food and environments to which people and threatened wildlife are poorly adapted.

The study also assessed the potential for less commonly implemented strategies including gene therapies to treat human disease, the breeding of “climate change proof” crop varieties, such as flood tolerant rice, and translocating exotic strains for ecological restoration and forestry that will be better adapted to near-future conditions.

“Applying evolutionary biology has tremendous potential, because it takes into account how unwanted pests or pathogens may adapt rapidly to our interventions and how highly valued species including humans on the other hand are often very slow to adapt to changing environments through evolution. Not considering such aspects may result in outcomes opposite of those desired, making the pests more resistant to our actions, humans more exposed to diseases and vulnerable species less able to cope with new conditions,” says biologist Peter Søgaard Jørgensen, one of the lead-authors and PhD from the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen.

“To succeed in avoiding such unwanted outcomes however, we need to learn from successes and progress in all fields using evolutionary biology as a tool. Currently there is no such coordination, says Scott P. Carroll, lead-author and biologist at the University of California Davis and Director of the Institute for Contemporary Evolution. He continues:

“A particular worry is that the unaddressed need for management of evolution that spans multiple sectors will lead to the spread of new infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance genes between natural, human health and agricultural systems. It is clear that we need to strengthen evolutionary biology linkages across nature conservation, food production and human health and develop a shared strategy.”

Many evolutionary solutions are already at hand

Whereas we might have to wait for new solutions from human gene therapy, genetic engineering of crops and development of new medicines to replace old ones, many innovative solutions based on applying evolutionary biology already exist.

For example, farmers in the United States and Australia have used planting of pest-friendly refuges to delay evolution of insect resistance to genetically engineered corn and cotton. These genetically modified crops kill certain pests, but without refuges the pests quickly adapt. Providing refuges of conventional plants has been especially effective for suppressing resistance in the pink bollworm, an invasive pest of cotton.

However, Peter Jørgensen also cautions: “In many cases, decision makers must pay more attention to assuring that long-term benefits of applying these solutions do not come at a short-term cost for some individuals, for example from yield loss due to localised effects of pests in a particular year. By encouraging cost sharing, local communities and governments play a crucial role in ensuring that everybody gains from the benefits of using evolutionary biology to realise the long-term goals of sustainable development such as increasing food security, protecting biodiversity and improving human health and well-being.”

The article is published today in Science Express. Peter Jørgensen will also present the research at the upcoming Sustainability Science Congress in Copenhagen from October 22nd to 24th.

Story Source:

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

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Evolutionary tools improve prospects for sustainable development

Solving societal challenges in food security, emerging diseases and biodiversity loss will require evolutionary thinking in order to be effective in the long run. Inattention to this will only lead to greater challenges such as short-lived medicines and agricultural treatments, problems that may ultimately hinder sustainable development, argues a new study published online today in Science Express, led by University of California, Davis and the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen.

For the first time, scientists have reviewed progress in addressing a broad set of challenges in agriculture, medicine and environmental management using evolutionary approaches, approaches that consider species’ evolutionary histories and the likelihood of rapid evolutionary adaptation to human activities.

The study finds an urgent need for better implementation of these approaches, for example in managing the use of antibiotics and pesticides in order to reduce the escalating problem of resistance evolution. Furthermore, current efforts are found insufficient to reduce the accumulating costs from chronic disease and biodiversity loss, two challenges ultimately caused by exposure to food and environments to which people and threatened wildlife are poorly adapted.

The study also assessed the potential for less commonly implemented strategies including gene therapies to treat human disease, the breeding of “climate change proof” crop varieties, such as flood tolerant rice, and translocating exotic strains for ecological restoration and forestry that will be better adapted to near-future conditions.

“Applying evolutionary biology has tremendous potential, because it takes into account how unwanted pests or pathogens may adapt rapidly to our interventions and how highly valued species including humans on the other hand are often very slow to adapt to changing environments through evolution. Not considering such aspects may result in outcomes opposite of those desired, making the pests more resistant to our actions, humans more exposed to diseases and vulnerable species less able to cope with new conditions,” says biologist Peter Søgaard Jørgensen, one of the lead-authors and PhD from the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen.

“To succeed in avoiding such unwanted outcomes however, we need to learn from successes and progress in all fields using evolutionary biology as a tool. Currently there is no such coordination, says Scott P. Carroll, lead-author and biologist at the University of California Davis and Director of the Institute for Contemporary Evolution. He continues:

“A particular worry is that the unaddressed need for management of evolution that spans multiple sectors will lead to the spread of new infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance genes between natural, human health and agricultural systems. It is clear that we need to strengthen evolutionary biology linkages across nature conservation, food production and human health and develop a shared strategy.”

Many evolutionary solutions are already at hand

Whereas we might have to wait for new solutions from human gene therapy, genetic engineering of crops and development of new medicines to replace old ones, many innovative solutions based on applying evolutionary biology already exist.

For example, farmers in the United States and Australia have used planting of pest-friendly refuges to delay evolution of insect resistance to genetically engineered corn and cotton. These genetically modified crops kill certain pests, but without refuges the pests quickly adapt. Providing refuges of conventional plants has been especially effective for suppressing resistance in the pink bollworm, an invasive pest of cotton.

However, Peter Jørgensen also cautions: “In many cases, decision makers must pay more attention to assuring that long-term benefits of applying these solutions do not come at a short-term cost for some individuals, for example from yield loss due to localised effects of pests in a particular year. By encouraging cost sharing, local communities and governments play a crucial role in ensuring that everybody gains from the benefits of using evolutionary biology to realise the long-term goals of sustainable development such as increasing food security, protecting biodiversity and improving human health and well-being.”

The article is published today in Science Express. Peter Jørgensen will also present the research at the upcoming Sustainability Science Congress in Copenhagen from October 22nd to 24th.

Story Source:

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

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

New 3-D imaging techniques may improve understanding of biofuel plant material: Never-before-seen details

Comparison of 3D TEM imaging techniques reveals never-seen-before details of plant cell walls, according to a study published September 10, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Purbasha Sarkar from University of California, Berkeley and colleagues.

Cost-effective production of plant material for biofuel requires efficient breakdown of plant cell wall tissue to retrieve the complex sugars in the cell wall required for fermentation and production of biofuels. In-depth knowledge of plant cell wall composition is therefore essential for improving the fuel production process. The precise spatial three-dimensional organization of certain plant structures, including cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, and lignin, within plant cell walls remains unclear, due to the limited to 2D, topographic or low-resolution imaging currently used by researchers, as well as other factors.

In an attempt to compare the quality of 3D TEM imaging techniques of the cell wall structure in plant stem tissue, the authors of this study compared three different sample preparation methods for imaging: conventional microwave-assisted chemical fixation and embedding followed by imaging at room temperature; high-pressure freezing, freeze substitution (HPF-FS) followed by room temperature embedding and imaging; and cryo-immobilization of fresh tissue by self-pressurized rapid freezing, cryo-sectioning, and cryo-tomography- a type of electron microscopy run at very low temperatures that yields near-native 3D reconstructions.

Qualitative and quantitative analyses showed that plant ultrastructure and wall organization of cryo-immobilized samples were preserved remarkably better than conventionally prepared samples. However, due to the highly challenging techniques associated with cryo-tomography, large-scale quantitative analyses are better performed on HPF-FS samples.

Manfred Auer added: “We have developed and compared novel sample preparation and molecular 3D imaging approaches for plant cell walls, yielding insight into faithfully preserved 3D wall architecture, which will lead to rational re-engineering of second-generation lignocellulosic biofuel crops.”

Story Source:

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

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Target seeking to improve operations in U.S., Canada

Target Corp., Minneapolis, is taking steps to improve the performance of its U.S. and Canadian business segments following lower earnings and flattish sales during the second quarter ended Aug. 2, company executives told investors.

Some industry analysts said they expect more challenges for Target before things turn around.

“Target continues to struggle with retailing basics in both its U.S. and Canadian divisions,” said Kelly Tackett, U.S. research director for Planet Retail, London. “In its home market, improving store-level execution and delivering newness and excitement in marketing and merchandising must be at the top of the to-do list.

“Although ultimately surmountable, the problems Target faces in returning to comparable-store sales growth in the U.S. and saving its Canadian operations aren’t ones with easy fixes. Expect several more tough quarters before we begin to catch glimpses of the Target of tomorrow.”

For the second quarter ended Aug. 2, net income declined 61.7% to $ 234 million, while sales increased 1.7% to $ 17.4 billion and comparable store sales were flat. For the first six months, net income fell 41.2% to $ 653 million, with sales rising 1.9% to $ 34.5 billion and comps declining 0.2%.

Digital sales increased more than 30%, “which more than offset a decline in business to our conventional sites,” merchandising EVP Kathryn Tesija pointed out.

EVP and CFO John Mulligan — who served as interim CEO earlier this year before the company hired Brian Cornell as chairman and CEO — said second-quarter results “didn’t meet our expectations, [but] we are seeing some early signs of progress. In the U.S., traffic trends continue to recover and monthly sales are improving, with July comps up more than 1%. Better U.S. sales have continued into August, driven by early back-to-school results.”

The company also announced plans to expand the test of its 20,000-square-foot Target Express format to several additional locations outside the Twin Cities next year, based on results at the first Express store, which opened in late July adjacent to the University of Minnesota campus.

“So far sales have come in as expected, and not surprisingly, we are seeing much more traffic in a much smaller basket than our chainwide average,” Tesija said.

Target plans to cut back on promotional levels in the U.S. for the balance of the year, John R. Hulbert, senior director, investor communications, said. “The level of promotions in the second quarter was elevated, and looking ahead, we plan to moderate our promotional intensity to a level we believe is more appropriate in the long run.”

In Canada, Tesija said Target is working to improve its operations by developing better reporting methods to identify out-of-stock issues sooner; responding more quickly to competitive pricing moves, including more frequent comparison shopping on more items; and adding approximately 30,000 new items to its assortment, including more exclusive items and designer partnerships.

The initiatives in Canada are focused on delivering improved results by this year’s holiday season, Tesija noted.


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Sales in Target’s U.S. segment rose 0.7% to $ 17 billion during the quarter, while sales in the Canadian segment rose 63.1% to $ 449 million, reflecting the contribution from new stores, although those numbers were partially offset by a decline in comp sales of 11.4%. Target said the decline reflected comparisons with strong grand-opening sales surges in 2013, combined with the impact of market densification later in the year, which redistributed sales from earlier store openings.

Tesija said second-quarter sales in Canada “accelerated meaningfully from the first quarter but fell somewhat short of expectations,” with lower gross margins than expected, “driven by elevated markdowns resulting from continued operational issues.”

Target said the data breach in last year’s fourth quarter resulted in expenses of $ 148 million, which were partially offset by recognition of a $ 38-million insurance receivable.

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Supermarket News

Target seeking to improve operations in U.S., Canada

Target Corp., Minneapolis, is taking steps to improve the performance of its U.S. and Canadian business segments following lower earnings and flattish sales during the second quarter ended Aug. 2, company executives told investors.

Some industry analysts said they expect more challenges for Target before things turn around.

“Target continues to struggle with retailing basics in both its U.S. and Canadian divisions,” said Kelly Tackett, U.S. research director for Planet Retail, London. “In its home market, improving store-level execution and delivering newness and excitement in marketing and merchandising must be at the top of the to-do list.

“Although ultimately surmountable, the problems Target faces in returning to comparable-store sales growth in the U.S. and saving its Canadian operations aren’t ones with easy fixes. Expect several more tough quarters before we begin to catch glimpses of the Target of tomorrow.”

For the second quarter ended Aug. 2, net income declined 61.7% to $ 234 million, while sales increased 1.7% to $ 17.4 billion and comparable store sales were flat. For the first six months, net income fell 41.2% to $ 653 million, with sales rising 1.9% to $ 34.5 billion and comps declining 0.2%.

Digital sales increased more than 30%, “which more than offset a decline in business to our conventional sites,” merchandising EVP Kathryn Tesija pointed out.

EVP and CFO John Mulligan — who served as interim CEO earlier this year before the company hired Brian Cornell as chairman and CEO — said second-quarter results “didn’t meet our expectations, [but] we are seeing some early signs of progress. In the U.S., traffic trends continue to recover and monthly sales are improving, with July comps up more than 1%. Better U.S. sales have continued into August, driven by early back-to-school results.”

The company also announced plans to expand the test of its 20,000-square-foot Target Express format to several additional locations outside the Twin Cities next year, based on results at the first Express store, which opened in late July adjacent to the University of Minnesota campus.

“So far sales have come in as expected, and not surprisingly, we are seeing much more traffic in a much smaller basket than our chainwide average,” Tesija said.

Target plans to cut back on promotional levels in the U.S. for the balance of the year, John R. Hulbert, senior director, investor communications, said. “The level of promotions in the second quarter was elevated, and looking ahead, we plan to moderate our promotional intensity to a level we believe is more appropriate in the long run.”

In Canada, Tesija said Target is working to improve its operations by developing better reporting methods to identify out-of-stock issues sooner; responding more quickly to competitive pricing moves, including more frequent comparison shopping on more items; and adding approximately 30,000 new items to its assortment, including more exclusive items and designer partnerships.

The initiatives in Canada are focused on delivering improved results by this year’s holiday season, Tesija noted.


CONNECT WITH SN ON TWITTER

Follow @SN_News for updates throughout the day.


Sales in Target’s U.S. segment rose 0.7% to $ 17 billion during the quarter, while sales in the Canadian segment rose 63.1% to $ 449 million, reflecting the contribution from new stores, although those numbers were partially offset by a decline in comp sales of 11.4%. Target said the decline reflected comparisons with strong grand-opening sales surges in 2013, combined with the impact of market densification later in the year, which redistributed sales from earlier store openings.

Tesija said second-quarter sales in Canada “accelerated meaningfully from the first quarter but fell somewhat short of expectations,” with lower gross margins than expected, “driven by elevated markdowns resulting from continued operational issues.”

Target said the data breach in last year’s fourth quarter resulted in expenses of $ 148 million, which were partially offset by recognition of a $ 38-million insurance receivable.

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Supermarket News

Dollar Tree sales, earnings improve in Q1

Dollar Tree said Thursday that sales and earnings increased for the fiscal first quarter, citing improvements in store traffic and average ticket.


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Sales for the quarter, which ended May 3, increased by 7.2% to $ 2 billion. Net earnings of $ 183.3 million improved by 6.9%. The results were in-line with the previous forecast and analyst estimates.

In a conference call discussing results, Dollar Tree CEO Bob Sasser said higher-margin discretionary sales grew at a better rate than consumables during the quarter. Leading categories included candy, check-out products, stationery and seasonal merchandise for Valentines and Easter.

Sasser said the discounter was “doubling down” on emphasizing basics on the first of the month to maximize potential of the payroll cycle. “We’re reintroducing our ‘see what $ 20 buys’ along with our ‘stretch your dollar campaign’ through in-store promotions and digital media. And to satisfy basic needs and to drive increased shopping frequency, we continue to expand our frozen and refrigerated category,” he said.

Sasser said sales improved in April, as weather conditions improved. The chain cited winter weather as a factor in a missing earnings targets in the fourth quarter.

Dollar Tree opened 94 stores, closed 6 stores, and expanded or relocated 28 stores during the quarter, resulting in a 6.8% increase in selling square footage compared to a year ago.

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FDA to improve drug security with new system

The FDA is developing standards for a system that will help identify and trace certain prescription drugs as they’re distributed within the U.S.


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“The ultimate goal is to identify each individual prescription drug package in a way that will enable rapid and accurate verification of the legitimacy of the product, which will be an important tool in the fight against counterfeit drugs,” explained Ilisa Bernstein, deputy director of the Office of Compliance in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a blog post.

The system will be interoperable, giving different stakeholders in the drug supply chain the ability to communicate and share information about a drug and its location, according to Bernstein.

Under the Drug Supply Chain Security Act, the FDA must issue draft guidance by Nov. 27, 2014, and many stakeholders must establish systems for compliance by Jan. 1, 2015.

The FDA has opened a docket in the Federal Register with questions for stakeholders about the systems they use to exchange information related to prescription drug transactions. The docket is open until April 21.

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Annual cocktail tomato trials to continually improve on each year’s crop

Annual cocktail tomato trials to continually improve on each year’s crop

At Nature Fresh Farms we are constantly testing new varieties of cocktail tomatoes on the vine. Consumers are looking for a better tasting tomato and our research teams are always testing the new varieties that deliver the best in eating quality.

Every year, through our trial testing, we continue to find new varieties that surpass our past results of previous cocktail varieties. With the introduction of these better tasting varieties we have made the decision for the 2014 season to pack our cocktail tomato under the Nature Fresh Farms label, replacing the Amorosa label. By marketing under our Nature Fresh Farms brand, retailers and consumers can be guaranteed that we will always pack the best tasting varieties in this category.

Our newest variety of the Nature Fresh Cocktail tomato truly delivers on taste and size, appealing to all tomato lovers. Average fruit weight is 35 – 40g. Fruit has a nice herby aroma with a juicy bite experience. The taste finishes with a sweet fruity aftertaste. Deep red colour (High Lycopene), that’s great for snacking loose and slices perfectly for salads.

Moving forward, Nature Fresh Farms will continue trials of newer vine cocktail varieties and if we find one that surpasses the quality and eating experience of what is packed today we will add these to our product line. Growing perfection is what motivates us to move the bar of excellence even higher. Available in 12 oz. tray, or 16 and 20 oz. clam shell packs.

For more information:
Nature Fresh
Tel: +1 519-326-1111
Email: [email protected]
www.naturefresh.ca

Publication date: 4/9/2014


FreshPlaza.com