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Walmart to introduce new food label, with an eye toward reducing food waste

This month, Walmart plans to introduce a new food label that it hopes will help reduce food waste while keeping food prices low.

“With 795 million people in the world reportedly going hungry, food waste is an ugly problem to face,” said Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety for Walmart. “In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that consumers throw away $ 29 billion worth of edible food each year in their homes. Walmart is especially concerned with reducing food waste, not only because we’re the world’s largest grocer, but also as an integral part of our [everyday low cost] philosophy that provides you everyday low prices. Two culprits of food waste are confusion caused by food labels and the tossing of imperfect — but perfectly usable — fresh produce.”

According to Yiannas, current labeling is confusing to consumers as food-safety indicators. “Most of the labels are created based on peak quality,” he said in a recent blog. “Adding to the confusion is the different language used on labels, including ‘best by,’ ‘use by’ and ‘sell by.’ That’s why, in the last year, we started requiring suppliers of nonperishable food products under our Great Value private label to use a standardized date label, ‘Best if used by’.”

The switch will go into full effect this month and involves thousands of products. Yiannas said the change was motivated by the release of a report by the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste in America in 2013.

“My team has been working on a solution since then,” he added. “I expect the standard labels to have an even bigger impact on waste reduction since many of our suppliers sell products under their own labels outside of Walmart. This is significant, as the global economic impact of food wastage comes to about $ 750 billion each year.”

John Forrest Ales, Walmart’s director of corporate communications, spoke with The Produce News in mid-July to talk about the problem of food waste and ways in which the company is addressing the issue. “At the heart of who we are is everyday low cost,” he said. “We take that incredibly seriously.”

Ales said Walmart has developed its own distribution system to source fresh produce on a global basis. “We have a unique supply chain. We have standards beyond the Food and Drug Administration as to what produce should look like,” he said. “Our farmers pack and sort according to these standards.”

Recently, questions have arisen about food waste and what has been termed “ugly” or “wonky” produce. Fresh produce that falls into this category may not look perfect on the outside, but still provide consumers with high-quality fresh produce when consumed because the flaws are cosmetic only. An example, Ales said, is a three-legged carrot growing from a common green top.

“Farmers find alternate uses for these in most cases,” he explained, saying that the volume of product that does not fit with Walmart’s standard is relatively small. “There’s not a lot of that moving through the supply chain. You can’t just create three-legged carrots.”

In some instances, Ales said Walmart works with its network of farmers to move whole lots of produce that may have been affected by weather conditions. Freezes are examples, he said, of more global events that might have an impact upon the quality of fresh produce.

In the meantime, Jordan Figueiredo, a municipal recycling agent in Castro Valley, CA, and food nutritionist Stefanie Sacks are planning to submit a petition to Walmart at its Bentonville, AR, headquarters on July 20 signed by persons who encourage Walmart to address food waste by making produce that is less than perfect cosmetically available at its stores.

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

2015 Prediction: Retailers continue to innovate in private label categories

After years of growth, private label is far from done. In fact, retailers will continue to push the limits on store labels in 2015 to enter new categories and battle retail competitors of all types. SN’s annual Center Store Survey in June of this year found that private label was a big driver in a more bullish outlook for the packaged foods business.  Asked how supermarkets can best fight rivals for Center Store sales, the biggest group of industry respondents, about 24%, said …

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Supermarket News

2015 Prediction: Retailers continue to innovate in private label categories

After years of growth, private label is far from done. In fact, retailers will continue to push the limits on store labels in 2015 to enter new categories and battle retail competitors of all types. SN’s annual Center Store Survey in June of this year found that private label was a big driver in a more bullish outlook for the packaged foods business.  Asked how supermarkets can best fight rivals for Center Store sales, the biggest group of industry respondents, about 24%, said …

Why Subscribe To SN Digital Access?

Digital Access gives you unlimited online access to our most premium news and analysis such as Retailers continue to innovate in private label categories. This includes in-depth stories and insights from our team of editors and guest writers as well as free eNewsletters, blogs, real-time polls, archives and more. 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

2015 Prediction: Retailers continue to innovate in private label categories

After years of growth, private label is far from done. In fact, retailers will continue to push the limits on store labels in 2015 to enter new categories and battle retail competitors of all types. SN’s annual Center Store Survey in June of this year found that private label was a big driver in a more bullish outlook for the packaged foods business.  Asked how supermarkets can best fight rivals for Center Store sales, the biggest group of industry respondents, about 24%, said …

Why Subscribe To SN Digital Access?

Digital Access gives you unlimited online access to our most premium news and analysis such as Retailers continue to innovate in private label categories. This includes in-depth stories and insights from our team of editors and guest writers as well as free eNewsletters, blogs, real-time polls, archives and more. 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

2015 Prediction: Retailers continue to innovate in private label categories

After years of growth, private label is far from done. In fact, retailers will continue to push the limits on store labels in 2015 to enter new categories and battle retail competitors of all types. SN’s annual Center Store Survey in June of this year found that private label was a big driver in a more bullish outlook for the packaged foods business.  Asked how supermarkets can best fight rivals for Center Store sales, the biggest group of industry respondents, about 24%, said …

Why Subscribe To SN Digital Access?

Digital Access gives you unlimited online access to our most premium news and analysis such as Retailers continue to innovate in private label categories. This includes in-depth stories and insights from our team of editors and guest writers as well as free eNewsletters, blogs, real-time polls, archives and more. 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

2015 Prediction: Retailers continue to innovate in private label categories

After years of growth, private label is far from done. In fact, retailers will continue to push the limits on store labels in 2015 to enter new categories and battle retail competitors of all types. SN’s annual Center Store Survey in June of this year found that private label was a big driver in a more bullish outlook for the packaged foods business.  Asked how supermarkets can best fight rivals for Center Store sales, the biggest group of industry respondents, about 24%, said …

Why Subscribe To SN Digital Access?

Digital Access gives you unlimited online access to our most premium news and analysis such as Retailers continue to innovate in private label categories. This includes in-depth stories and insights from our team of editors and guest writers as well as free eNewsletters, blogs, real-time polls, archives and more. 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

2015 Prediction: Retailers continue to innovate in private label categories

After years of growth, private label is far from done. In fact, retailers will continue to push the limits on store labels in 2015 to enter new categories and battle retail competitors of all types. SN’s annual Center Store Survey in June of this year found that private label was a big driver in a more bullish outlook for the packaged foods business.  Asked how supermarkets can best fight rivals for Center Store sales, the biggest group of industry respondents, about 24%, said …

Why Subscribe To SN Digital Access?

Digital Access gives you unlimited online access to our most premium news and analysis such as Retailers continue to innovate in private label categories. This includes in-depth stories and insights from our team of editors and guest writers as well as free eNewsletters, blogs, real-time polls, archives and more. 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

2015 Prediction: Retailers continue to innovate in private label categories

After years of growth, private label is far from done. In fact, retailers will continue to push the limits on store labels in 2015 to enter new categories and battle retail competitors of all types. SN’s annual Center Store Survey in June of this year found that private label was a big driver in a more bullish outlook for the packaged foods business.  Asked how supermarkets can best fight rivals for Center Store sales, the biggest group of industry respondents, about 24%, said …

Why Subscribe To SN Digital Access?

Digital Access gives you unlimited online access to our most premium news and analysis such as Retailers continue to innovate in private label categories. This includes in-depth stories and insights from our team of editors and guest writers as well as free eNewsletters, blogs, real-time polls, archives and more. 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

With Recent Victories, Movement to Label GMOs Gains Steam

More than six months after a big defeat in California, the movement to label foods containing genetically modified organisms appears to be picking up steam across the country.

In the past three weeks, Connecticut and Maine passed labeling bills, the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the first time approved a non-GMO label claim for meat products, Chipotle began voluntarily labeling menu items containing GMO ingredients online, and, perhaps most notably, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted last week to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration funding to label genetically modified salmon if the agency approves the fish.

These are all small steps compared to what California’s Proposition 37 would have accomplished – since that state consumes about 8 percent of all groceries in the United States, some speculated that food giants would have reformulated their products to avoid creating two supply chains – but the string of victories has many in the so-called ‘Right to Know’ movement confident the tide is turning in their favor.

“It’s simply a matter of time,” said Scott Faber, who serves as executive director of Just Label It, a national advocacy campaign. Faber, who is vice president of government affairs at the Environmental Working Group, used to be a lobbyist for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which actively lobbies against mandatory labeling initiatives.

Faber believes mandated GMO labeling is inevitable, in part because the food industry would prefer federal standards over a patchwork of state laws.

“I think companies are starting to realize the fight is worse than the label,” he added, noting that campaigns against labeling can harm consumer confidence for certain brands. Some consumers, for example, who buy brands like Cascadian Farm, Kashi, Horizon Organic, Muir Glen, and Odwalla were outraged last fall after learning the companies’ corporate owners had helped fund the effort to defeat Prop 37.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association said in a statement that it remains opposed to “special mandatory labeling for food products containing genetically modified ingredients because these labels could mislead consumers into believing that ingredients from genetically engineered plants are somehow different or unsafe or unhealthy – in clear contradiction of scientific fact.”

GMA points out that ingredients derived from GM plants have been widely studied and are considered safe by FDA and groups like the American Medical Association. According to the association, foods with genetically modified ingredients make up 70 to 8o percent of the products on grocery store shelves “because they require fewer pesticides, help foods have a longer shelf life and keep production costs down” which reduces food costs for consumers.

The group has been actively engaged in the labeling issue and contributed $ 2 million to help defeat Prop 37, which ultimately went down 51 to 48 percent. In total, $ 9.2 million was spent in support of the proposition and $ 46 million was spent opposing it.

In a speech last summer to the American Soybean Association, GMA CEO Pam Bailey said, “Defeating the initative is GMA’s single highest priority this year,” according to an account in the Hagstrom Report. “We have worked with you on what we consider to be valuable technology, but in the past year we have seen an increase in the rhetoric against it.”

Bailey said the current movement for labeling is stronger than past attempts. “Social media is feeding this effort and making it more difficult to confront and more powerful,” she said, according to the report.

While momentum may by building for labeling advocates, their recent victories come with significant caveats.

The bills approved in Connecticut and Maine only kick in if other states, including a neighboring state, pass labeling requirements. Vermont’s house passed a bill to require labeling GMOs in May but the state senate is not expected to take up the same law until next year. Labeling legislation or ballot initiatives have been introduced in 25 other states, but it’s not clear which states might actually adopt them.

Baylen Linnekin, the executive director of Keep Food Legal, a libertarian group that advocates against government involvement in the food arena, said he thinks mandatory labeling is unnecessary and still faces significant challenges going forward.

“I would not say it’s inevitable,” said Linnekin, explaining that even if labeling laws succeed at the state level they would be challenged in court.

In a recent column for Reason, Linnekin argued the government should stay out of the labeling business: “The truth is that most federal labeling schemes are flawed at best, and often involve conflicts and compromises that rob meaning from the label.”

On the other hand, Linnekin applauds the voluntary actions by companies like Whole Foods, which announced earlier this year it will require GMO labeling in its stores by 2018, and McDonalds and Starbucks, which both recently adopted calorie labeling on their menus.

The non-GMO label approved by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service last week – the first GMO-related claim allowed on U.S. meat, poultry and some processed egg packages – and Chipotle’s decision to note which foods contain GMOs on their online menu are prime examples of voluntary moves to meet niche consumer demands.

According to the New York Times, FSIS approved the label – which can be used on meat and liquid eggs from animals fed only non-GMO feed – after three meat companies petitioned for similar claims. The claim will be certified by the Non-GMO Project.

Private sector labels to help consumers avoid products containing GM ingredients have taken off in recent years. The Non-GMO Project, the leading third-party certifier in North America for non-GMO claims, said interest in certification has increased four-fold in the past year alone as Prop 37 and Whole Foods announcement has raised consumer awareness about GMOs. The group now certifies more than 10,000 products.

“These days you can walk into a gas station and find Non-GMO verified products,” said Courtney Pineau, assistant director of the project.

Despite the explosion in voluntary labeling, advocates want a national law.

While there are labeling bills in both chambers, no one expects Congress will approve them anytime soon. In May, the U.S. Senate voted on a bill by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) that would have required GMO labeling nationwide, but the measure failed by a vote of 71 to 27.

The closest that advocates have come to mandatory, national GMO labeling of any kind, was last week when the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 15 to 14 to give the FDA $ 150,000 to implement labeling for GM salmon if the agency gives the fish a green light, which it is expected to do.

FDA has said it would not require the GM salmon to be labeled, which is consistent with the agency’s policy that GM foods are not materially different from non-GM foods. Some advocates think this decision has driven more consumers to support labeling efforts.

A Change.org petition asking FDA to require labeling for the modified salmon garnered nearly 25,000 signatures and consumer campaigns pressured Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Target, Giant Eagle, and 50 other retailers to promise they wont sell the fish even if the FDA approves it.

A handful of U.S. lawmakers, mostly from states like Alaska, Washington and Oregon, whose wild salmon fisheries are highly lucrative, have opposed approving the GM salmon and have argued that if the fish is approved it should be labeled as a GMO. The labeling amendment that succeeded in the Senate Appropriations Committee was co-sponsored by Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). In the House, Rep. Don Young (R-AK) has made similar attempts at mandating labeling for GM salmon.

Colin O’Neil, a regulatory analyst for the Center for Food Safety, an anti-GMO advocacy group, called the amendment “a big step forward for labeling in this country.”

The group said it’s not aware of efforts to strip the Begich-Murkowski amendment from the appropriations bill, but said that it would be closely monitoring the bill when it eventually goes to conference to be reconciled with the House version because “we have not seen something like this get that far before.”

Food Safety News

New Keurig designed not to work with private label pods

Kroger, Meijer, Ahold and H-E-B are among the chains that will begin merchandising the new Keurig 2.0 hot beverage brewing system this week, according to a Keurig spokesperson.

The system  is different from earlier iterations of Keurig brewers in that it can brew a single cup or a four-cup carafe of coffee.

The brewing system was designed to take back some of the single-serve coffee business that was lost to private-label marketers when patents on Keurig technology expired two years ago. The machine leverages anti-counterfeit technology to ensure that it’s only compatible with official K-Cups, according to a CNN blog post.

Kate Binette, senior public relations specialist from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, the parent company of Keurig, couldn’t tell me exactly how their new interactive technology would work — and even if she did I’d probably have to take a 40-minute nap — but I did get the basics.

“Each Keurig 2.0 brewer will have a camera that can ‘read’ a proprietary taggant material,” Binette says, adding that it’s similar to current anti-counterfeiting technology and will be “embedded on the lid of each Keurig brand pack.”

Retailers have begun selling K-Cups that are designed to work with Keurig 2.0′s brewing technology. Although Keurig 2.0 will only accept the new K-Cups (and K-Carafe packs), the new K-Cups are also compatible with older machines, according to a spokesperson for Keurig.

“The goal is to eventually have the K-Cups with the new brewing technology phase out the older type,” she said.

The larger K-Carafe packs will become available at food retail when the machines ship to stores. 

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Stemilt introduces Rushing Rivers as its new pear label

RR-Logo

According to a recent research study by SHS called FoodThink, the majority of today’s consumers (65 percent) want to know more about where their food comes from. Stemilt is fulfilling that wish with the introduction of a new label for its pears, called “Rushing Rivers,” which highlights the company’s position growing and packing pears in two renowned pear locales: the Wenatchee River Valley and Entiat River Valley in Washington state.

With harvest already under way on its 2014 pear crop, Stemilt will begin packing pears in a new “Rushing Rivers” carton. The white box features the Rushing Rivers logo and tagline “the best pear locales in the world,” along with a short story that tells consumers where the pears inside came from and how they were grown.Stemilt-Carton-2014-White

“Consumers are looking for transparency when it comes to food and fruit, and our pears have a special story to tell,” Roger Pepperl, Stemilt’s marketing director, said in a press release. “’Rushing Rivers’ pears are born and raised in the premier growing grounds for pears, where the combination of alpine mountains, clean rivers and fertile soils creates the perfect environment for growing clean, high-quality and dessert-flavored pears.”

The Wenatchee River Valley and Entiat River Valley run parallel of each other, separated only by the peaks of the Cascade Mountain range. Stemilt and its long-time pear partners, Peshastin HI-UP Growers, a leading growers cooperative, have been farming pears in these river valleys for decades.

“Pears are right at home in these two valleys,” said Pepperl. “The hillsides protect our trees from the heat of the summer, keeping delicate pears cool and comfortable. Clean air draws down from the mountains through the orchards to keep air flowing through each tree, which results in cleaner fruit. And the rivers in these locales are both recharged each spring by fresh mountain snowpack, delivering a plentiful and pure water sources for our pears.”

Stemilt and HI-UP’s presence in these two pear regions extends beyond their orchards. Each company has its own state-of-the-art pear facility located in the region for packing all of Stemilt’s “Rushing Rivers” pears. HI-UP has two modern packinglines located in Peshastin, WA, and Stemilt’s Miller Street facility in Wenatchee, WA, features two updated packinglines and ThermalTech Tarpless ripening rooms for delivering ready-to-eat pears.

“We grow, pack and ship pears right in these famous pear districts. Stemilt and HI-UP’s strong alignment on pears gives us great packing flexibility and allows us to deliver fresh, flavorful pears to stores most months of the year,” said Pepperl.

To share the Rushing Rivers pears story with consumers, Stemilt created a Rushing Rivers page on its website with a trailer video that tells the story of the pear locales and Stemilt’s rich heritage farming pears there. Now that pears are coming off the tree, Stemilt will expand its consumer storytelling to social media and its blog, The Stem.

Stemilt is also encouraging retailers to tell the story of Rushing Rivers when promoting pears this fall. Rushing Rivers cartons can be used to build prominent displays, and Stemilt can support promotions with signage that builds mystique and romance around its premium quality pears.

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

Stemilt introduces Rushing Rivers as its new pear label

RR-Logo

According to a recent research study by SHS called FoodThink, the majority of today’s consumers (65 percent) want to know more about where their food comes from. Stemilt is fulfilling that wish with the introduction of a new label for its pears, called “Rushing Rivers,” which highlights the company’s position growing and packing pears in two renowned pear locales: the Wenatchee River Valley and Entiat River Valley in Washington state.

With harvest already under way on its 2014 pear crop, Stemilt will begin packing pears in a new “Rushing Rivers” carton. The white box features the Rushing Rivers logo and tagline “the best pear locales in the world,” along with a short story that tells consumers where the pears inside came from and how they were grown.Stemilt-Carton-2014-White

“Consumers are looking for transparency when it comes to food and fruit, and our pears have a special story to tell,” Roger Pepperl, Stemilt’s marketing director, said in a press release. “’Rushing Rivers’ pears are born and raised in the premier growing grounds for pears, where the combination of alpine mountains, clean rivers and fertile soils creates the perfect environment for growing clean, high-quality and dessert-flavored pears.”

The Wenatchee River Valley and Entiat River Valley run parallel of each other, separated only by the peaks of the Cascade Mountain range. Stemilt and its long-time pear partners, Peshastin HI-UP Growers, a leading growers cooperative, have been farming pears in these river valleys for decades.

“Pears are right at home in these two valleys,” said Pepperl. “The hillsides protect our trees from the heat of the summer, keeping delicate pears cool and comfortable. Clean air draws down from the mountains through the orchards to keep air flowing through each tree, which results in cleaner fruit. And the rivers in these locales are both recharged each spring by fresh mountain snowpack, delivering a plentiful and pure water sources for our pears.”

Stemilt and HI-UP’s presence in these two pear regions extends beyond their orchards. Each company has its own state-of-the-art pear facility located in the region for packing all of Stemilt’s “Rushing Rivers” pears. HI-UP has two modern packinglines located in Peshastin, WA, and Stemilt’s Miller Street facility in Wenatchee, WA, features two updated packinglines and ThermalTech Tarpless ripening rooms for delivering ready-to-eat pears.

“We grow, pack and ship pears right in these famous pear districts. Stemilt and HI-UP’s strong alignment on pears gives us great packing flexibility and allows us to deliver fresh, flavorful pears to stores most months of the year,” said Pepperl.

To share the Rushing Rivers pears story with consumers, Stemilt created a Rushing Rivers page on its website with a trailer video that tells the story of the pear locales and Stemilt’s rich heritage farming pears there. Now that pears are coming off the tree, Stemilt will expand its consumer storytelling to social media and its blog, The Stem.

Stemilt is also encouraging retailers to tell the story of Rushing Rivers when promoting pears this fall. Rushing Rivers cartons can be used to build prominent displays, and Stemilt can support promotions with signage that builds mystique and romance around its premium quality pears.

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

Stemilt introduces Rushing Rivers as its new pear label

RR-Logo

According to a recent research study by SHS called FoodThink, the majority of today’s consumers (65 percent) want to know more about where their food comes from. Stemilt is fulfilling that wish with the introduction of a new label for its pears, called “Rushing Rivers,” which highlights the company’s position growing and packing pears in two renowned pear locales: the Wenatchee River Valley and Entiat River Valley in Washington state.

With harvest already under way on its 2014 pear crop, Stemilt will begin packing pears in a new “Rushing Rivers” carton. The white box features the Rushing Rivers logo and tagline “the best pear locales in the world,” along with a short story that tells consumers where the pears inside came from and how they were grown.Stemilt-Carton-2014-White

“Consumers are looking for transparency when it comes to food and fruit, and our pears have a special story to tell,” Roger Pepperl, Stemilt’s marketing director, said in a press release. “’Rushing Rivers’ pears are born and raised in the premier growing grounds for pears, where the combination of alpine mountains, clean rivers and fertile soils creates the perfect environment for growing clean, high-quality and dessert-flavored pears.”

The Wenatchee River Valley and Entiat River Valley run parallel of each other, separated only by the peaks of the Cascade Mountain range. Stemilt and its long-time pear partners, Peshastin HI-UP Growers, a leading growers cooperative, have been farming pears in these river valleys for decades.

“Pears are right at home in these two valleys,” said Pepperl. “The hillsides protect our trees from the heat of the summer, keeping delicate pears cool and comfortable. Clean air draws down from the mountains through the orchards to keep air flowing through each tree, which results in cleaner fruit. And the rivers in these locales are both recharged each spring by fresh mountain snowpack, delivering a plentiful and pure water sources for our pears.”

Stemilt and HI-UP’s presence in these two pear regions extends beyond their orchards. Each company has its own state-of-the-art pear facility located in the region for packing all of Stemilt’s “Rushing Rivers” pears. HI-UP has two modern packinglines located in Peshastin, WA, and Stemilt’s Miller Street facility in Wenatchee, WA, features two updated packinglines and ThermalTech Tarpless ripening rooms for delivering ready-to-eat pears.

“We grow, pack and ship pears right in these famous pear districts. Stemilt and HI-UP’s strong alignment on pears gives us great packing flexibility and allows us to deliver fresh, flavorful pears to stores most months of the year,” said Pepperl.

To share the Rushing Rivers pears story with consumers, Stemilt created a Rushing Rivers page on its website with a trailer video that tells the story of the pear locales and Stemilt’s rich heritage farming pears there. Now that pears are coming off the tree, Stemilt will expand its consumer storytelling to social media and its blog, The Stem.

Stemilt is also encouraging retailers to tell the story of Rushing Rivers when promoting pears this fall. Rushing Rivers cartons can be used to build prominent displays, and Stemilt can support promotions with signage that builds mystique and romance around its premium quality pears.

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

Stemilt introduces Rushing Rivers as its new pear label

RR-Logo

According to a recent research study by SHS called FoodThink, the majority of today’s consumers (65 percent) want to know more about where their food comes from. Stemilt is fulfilling that wish with the introduction of a new label for its pears, called “Rushing Rivers,” which highlights the company’s position growing and packing pears in two renowned pear locales: the Wenatchee River Valley and Entiat River Valley in Washington state.

With harvest already under way on its 2014 pear crop, Stemilt will begin packing pears in a new “Rushing Rivers” carton. The white box features the Rushing Rivers logo and tagline “the best pear locales in the world,” along with a short story that tells consumers where the pears inside came from and how they were grown.Stemilt-Carton-2014-White

“Consumers are looking for transparency when it comes to food and fruit, and our pears have a special story to tell,” Roger Pepperl, Stemilt’s marketing director, said in a press release. “’Rushing Rivers’ pears are born and raised in the premier growing grounds for pears, where the combination of alpine mountains, clean rivers and fertile soils creates the perfect environment for growing clean, high-quality and dessert-flavored pears.”

The Wenatchee River Valley and Entiat River Valley run parallel of each other, separated only by the peaks of the Cascade Mountain range. Stemilt and its long-time pear partners, Peshastin HI-UP Growers, a leading growers cooperative, have been farming pears in these river valleys for decades.

“Pears are right at home in these two valleys,” said Pepperl. “The hillsides protect our trees from the heat of the summer, keeping delicate pears cool and comfortable. Clean air draws down from the mountains through the orchards to keep air flowing through each tree, which results in cleaner fruit. And the rivers in these locales are both recharged each spring by fresh mountain snowpack, delivering a plentiful and pure water sources for our pears.”

Stemilt and HI-UP’s presence in these two pear regions extends beyond their orchards. Each company has its own state-of-the-art pear facility located in the region for packing all of Stemilt’s “Rushing Rivers” pears. HI-UP has two modern packinglines located in Peshastin, WA, and Stemilt’s Miller Street facility in Wenatchee, WA, features two updated packinglines and ThermalTech Tarpless ripening rooms for delivering ready-to-eat pears.

“We grow, pack and ship pears right in these famous pear districts. Stemilt and HI-UP’s strong alignment on pears gives us great packing flexibility and allows us to deliver fresh, flavorful pears to stores most months of the year,” said Pepperl.

To share the Rushing Rivers pears story with consumers, Stemilt created a Rushing Rivers page on its website with a trailer video that tells the story of the pear locales and Stemilt’s rich heritage farming pears there. Now that pears are coming off the tree, Stemilt will expand its consumer storytelling to social media and its blog, The Stem.

Stemilt is also encouraging retailers to tell the story of Rushing Rivers when promoting pears this fall. Rushing Rivers cartons can be used to build prominent displays, and Stemilt can support promotions with signage that builds mystique and romance around its premium quality pears.

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

FSIS Approves Non-GMO Label for Meat

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has approved for the first time a third-party certification label that claims a meat product is free of genetically modified organisms.


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The Non-GMO Project, a third-party certifying organization, had asked FSIS in October 2012 for permission to issue a label for food companies stating that the animals used were fed an entirely non-GMO diet. The agency worked with the organization, the food companies in question, the Food and Drug Administration and the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to verify the accuracy of the label.

However, this approval does not equate to an official sanction of the non-GMO claims, merely that the product meets the Non-GMO Project’s standards for what constitutes GMO-free.

Read more: Center Store Survey’s GMO Label Findings

“The agency has not developed any new policy regarding non-GE or non-GMO products and is not certifying that the labeled products are free of genetic engineering or genetic modifications,” said FSIS spokesperson Cathy Cochran.

FSIS permits food companies to use third-party certification labels provided the claims are “truthful, accurate and not misleading” and that information is available for consumers to scrutinize the claims.

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No Marijuana Exemption in CO Initiative to Label GMOs

A Colorado ballot initiative looks like it will make this fall’s general-election ballot after spending less than one-tenth of the amount spent to put a similar measure before Oregon voters in November.

Both proposals call for labels on food made with genetically engineered ingredients. Colorado’s Initiative 48 should make the ballot with about $ 90,000 spent. Oregon’s I-44 goes to voters in November after a $ 1.3-million signature campaign. Colorado’s population of 5.2 million is larger than Oregon’s 3.9 million.

Right to Know Colorado GMO organizer Larry Cooper is a trade show and convention show organizer who claims that volunteers, not paid petition circulators, were key to the petition drive’s success. From June on, however, campaign disclosure documents filed with the Colorado Secretary of State show that payments were being made to a steady stream of paid signature gatherers.

And, the four-page Colorado initiative contains a potentially costly problem.

I-48 drafters exempted several categories of food from the proposed new law, including animal feed and drink, alcoholic beverages, and even chewing gum. They also exempted meat from all animals, even if the critter had been fed a diet of genetically engineered food, and they exempted food not packaged for retail sale.

But there is no exemption for Colorado’s newest industry — recreational marijuana and its edible products, including many made with bakery products that contain genetically modified ingredients. Labels on edibles, which are supposed to disclose concentrate levels and serving sizes, are confusing for some.

Cooper declined an opportunity to comment on whether the initiative might be hurt for not exempting marijuana, especially edible marijuana.

It’s too early to know how the marijuana industry will react to that. They’ve been highly protective of the cutouts they won in their own voter initiative in 2012. Chances are they no more want to place GMO labels on marijuana products than distillers would want to put such signs on their bourbon.

The marijuana industry joining grocery manufacturers and biotechnology would amount to an even more formidable fundraising base for opponents of GMO labeling in Colorado.

Right to Know Colorado GMO will face opposition led by the Coalition Against the Misleading Labeling Initiative, which raised a quick $ 200,000 from the Grocery Manufacturing Association, Colorado Farm Bureau, Biotechnology Organization, Colorado Bioscience Association, Nutrition Edge Communications, Rocky Mountain Food Industry Association, Pioneer Hi-Bred Research Center, Dow Agro Sciences LLC and the Monsanto Company.

The opposition committee in Colorado has already enlisted Winner & Mandabach Campaigns, California-based political consultants with lots of ballot measure experience and a 90-percent win record. They’ve already beat back GMO labeling campaigns in California and Washington state during recent election cycles.

Right to Know Colorado GMO had only $ 28,515 in the bank on Aug. 1, according to campaign disclosures filed with the Colorado Secretary of State. Except for a $ 25,000 contribution from Clear Lake, IA-based Food Democracy Action and $ 10,000 from Keene, NH-based United Natural Foods Inc., Right to Know Colorado GMO has been a grassroots-funded, mostly small-donor campaign.

The same cannot be said about the other state where a GMO ballot measure has qualified for the ballot. Oregon Right to Know has pocketed six-figure donations from Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and the Oregon Consumers Fund. All told, Oregon Right to Know spent $ 1.3 million getting its ballot measure qualified for the November ballot and had $ 220,000 in cash available for the start of the next phase of the campaign.

Oregon’s measure, Initiative 44, would require all food with ingredients subjected to genetic engineering to bear the words “Genetically Engineered” or either the front or back of the package. If the food is not packaged, as in produce sections, stores would have to plant labels about stating the same thing.

Oregonians for Food and Shelter, an ongoing coalition of the state’s agriculture, timber, and biotechnology industries, will lead the campaign against I-44. It says that labeling will cost taxpayers and consumers millions and hurt Oregon farmers and food producers.

Food Safety News

Supco Decision: FDA-Approved Label Does Not Prevent False Advertising Claims

Stewart and Lynda Rae Resnick, who once bought and sold The Franklin Mint, may hit another payday after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Thursday that their Pom Wonderful juice company can sue Coca-Cola for falsely advertising a pomegranate drink.

In a case that’s significant for determining what’s allowed when it comes to labeling food and beverages, Pom Wonderful got the legal green light to go after Coke for mislabeling a drink that is 99.4-percent apple and grape juice. Coke calls it “Pomegranate Blueberry” and that’s misleading, according to Pom Wonderful, since the Coke product is 0.3-percent pomegranate, 0.2-percent blueberry and 0.1-percent raspberry juice.

By comparison, Pom’s blueberry pomegranate juice is 85-percent pomegranate and 15-percent blueberry juices from concentrate and natural flavors.

Coke’s position was that the approval for its label by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) precluded false advertising claims under the Lanham Act. Lower courts had agreed that the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) precluded the Lanham Act on false advertising.

But the lower courts got it wrong. The Supreme Court said the FDCA and the Lanham Act are supposed to work in concert. POM’s claim against Coke can go forward. The FDCA does not preclude Lanham Act lawsuits.

In the 8-0 decision, the high court said there is nothing in the text, history, or structure of the FDCA or the Lanham Act to indicate that Congress intended the use of one to preclude the other. (Justice Stephen Breyer recused himself from the case.)

Instead, the court said the FDCA and the Lanham Act complement each other in the federal regulation of misleading food and beverage labels and that competitors can bring false advertising claims for food and beverage products with labels approved by FDA.

In addition to Pom Wonderful, the Resnicks own Fuji Water and Teleflora.

Food Safety News

Supco Decision: FDA-Approved Label Does Not Prevent False Advertising Claims

Stewart and Lynda Rae Resnick, who once bought and sold The Franklin Mint, may hit another payday after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Thursday that their Pom Wonderful juice company can sue Coca-Cola for falsely advertising a pomegranate drink.

In a case that’s significant for determining what’s allowed when it comes to labeling food and beverages, Pom Wonderful got the legal green light to go after Coke for mislabeling a drink that is 99.4-percent apple and grape juice. Coke calls it “Pomegranate Blueberry” and that’s misleading, according to Pom Wonderful, since the Coke product is 0.3-percent pomegranate, 0.2-percent blueberry and 0.1-percent raspberry juice.

By comparison, Pom’s blueberry pomegranate juice is 85-percent pomegranate and 15-percent blueberry juices from concentrate and natural flavors.

Coke’s position was that the approval for its label by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) precluded false advertising claims under the Lanham Act. Lower courts had agreed that the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) precluded the Lanham Act on false advertising.

But the lower courts got it wrong. The Supreme Court said the FDCA and the Lanham Act are supposed to work in concert. POM’s claim against Coke can go forward. The FDCA does not preclude Lanham Act lawsuits.

In the 8-0 decision, the high court said there is nothing in the text, history, or structure of the FDCA or the Lanham Act to indicate that Congress intended the use of one to preclude the other. (Justice Stephen Breyer recused himself from the case.)

Instead, the court said the FDCA and the Lanham Act complement each other in the federal regulation of misleading food and beverage labels and that competitors can bring false advertising claims for food and beverage products with labels approved by FDA.

In addition to Pom Wonderful, the Resnicks own Fuji Water and Teleflora.

Food Safety News

Supco Decision: FDA-Approved Label Does Not Prevent False Advertising Claims

Stewart and Lynda Rae Resnick, who once bought and sold The Franklin Mint, may hit another payday after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Thursday that their Pom Wonderful juice company can sue Coca-Cola for falsely advertising a pomegranate drink.

In a case that’s significant for determining what’s allowed when it comes to labeling food and beverages, Pom Wonderful got the legal green light to go after Coke for mislabeling a drink that is 99.4-percent apple and grape juice. Coke calls it “Pomegranate Blueberry” and that’s misleading, according to Pom Wonderful, since the Coke product is 0.3-percent pomegranate, 0.2-percent blueberry and 0.1-percent raspberry juice.

By comparison, Pom’s blueberry pomegranate juice is 85-percent pomegranate and 15-percent blueberry juices from concentrate and natural flavors.

Coke’s position was that the approval for its label by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) precluded false advertising claims under the Lanham Act. Lower courts had agreed that the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) precluded the Lanham Act on false advertising.

But the lower courts got it wrong. The Supreme Court said the FDCA and the Lanham Act are supposed to work in concert. POM’s claim against Coke can go forward. The FDCA does not preclude Lanham Act lawsuits.

In the 8-0 decision, the high court said there is nothing in the text, history, or structure of the FDCA or the Lanham Act to indicate that Congress intended the use of one to preclude the other. (Justice Stephen Breyer recused himself from the case.)

Instead, the court said the FDCA and the Lanham Act complement each other in the federal regulation of misleading food and beverage labels and that competitors can bring false advertising claims for food and beverage products with labels approved by FDA.

In addition to Pom Wonderful, the Resnicks own Fuji Water and Teleflora.

Food Safety News

Topco recognizes Hy-Vee, others with private label award

Hy-Vee, Roche Bros. and Tops are among the retailers Topco Associates honored for excellence in corporate brand marketing.

The Topco members received their awards during Topco’s Center Store Sales & Merchandising Conference, held May 19 to 21 at the Renaissance Convention Center in Schaumburg, Ill.

“Our award winners are true leaders in marketing store brands,” Chris Hooks, Topco’s vice president of Center Store, said in a statement. “They have successfully demonstrated, using a variety of new and innovative marketing methods, how to effectively market corporate brands and drive sales.”

Topco’s Corporate Brand Marketing award recipients:

Best-in-Class Brand Marketing: K-VA-T Food Stores, for promoting the Chuck Wagon pet brand to its Food City customers, with a strong mix of effective advertising and in-store promotional vehicles.
Best-in-Class Brand Marketing: Affiliated Foods Midwest, for developing and marketing a refreshed, best-in-class Shurfine Salty Snack program.

Best-in-Class Merchandising: Acme Fresh Market, for its Summer Sales Contest. Each Acme Fresh store created impactful displays for many products including Top Care cotton, first aid and oral care products.
Best-in-Class Promotions: Coborn’s, for advertising deals on legacy brands.
Best-in-Class Program Introduction: SpartanNash, for the launch of Tippy Toes by Top Care.


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Best-in-Class Program Introductions: Hy-Vee, for the launch of Hy-Vee Hickory House Barbecue program. The company was also recognized for its “Success by the Cup” promotion, highlighting Hy-Vee brand single-serve coffee.
Best-in-Class Cause Marketing: Tops Friendly Markets, for promoting Full Circle + Project 7 Breakfast Bars, Teas and Coffee with a mix of in-store displays, print and online advertising and natural and organic flyer support. Top’s customers’ purchases of Full Circle + Project 7 items resulted in the donation of nearly 74,000 meals to local food banks in New York and Pennsylvania.
Best-in-Class Cause Marketing: Roche Bros., for its marketing support Full Circle + Project 7 products.

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