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Local Farmers Market program helps retailer boost produce sales

Summer is peak produce season, and Associated Retail Operations banners — Macey’s, Lin’s, Dan’s, Dick’s Market and Fresh Market — are adding Utah love to the produce department with its Local Farmers Markets program, which launched July 1 and has been successful in increasing produce sales and guest count in each store

The in-store program includes signage highlighting Utah-grown produce and the farmers who supply them, as well as parking lot tent sales on Saturdays.

“Buying from Utah farmers and growers allows us to offer our guests the freshest produce at great prices, since it doesn’t have to travel as far,” Danni Barnhart, produce manager for Associated Retail Operations, said in a press release. “As locally owned retailers, it is important for us to support other local businesses, especially our farmers and growers. Our guests love that we offer a wide variety of Utah grown products.”

The Local Farmers Market program is made possible through a partnership between Associated Retail Operations and 33 Utah farmers and growers, including Bangerter Farms, Houwelings Tomatoes and Hartley’s Best Onions.

Each of the farmers is GAP certified or in the final stages of achieving the certification, which was set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the new food-safety regulations. The program aligns with industry trends that show local is the new organic according to consumer preferences.

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

FirstFruits Marketing donates over 350,000 pounds of apples to local food banks

FirstFruits Marketing of Washington finished its sixth annual Take a Bite Out of Hunger program at select retailers with a collective donation of 350,000 pounds of apples to local food banks. This brings the total program donation to approximately 1,600,000 pounds over six seasons.
 
TAB-logo 1 FirstFruits created Take a Bite Out of Hunger with the goal of helping feed the underserved while bringing attention to the problem of food insecurity in the United States. In its sixth year, FirstFruits continues to partner with retailers and wholesalers to make fresh apple donations. Donations are made in a retailer’s name to local food banks with the retailer contributing the cost of freight. This year’s participating retailers and wholesalers included Ahold, Charlie’s Produce, Dave’s Marketplace, Good Food Stores, Harvey’s, McKay’s Markets, Northwest Grocers, Red Apple Markets, Roundy’s, Stater Brothers, Super 1 Foods, Thriftway and United Supermarkets.
 
“The Take a Bite Out of Hunger program continues to grow every year thanks to the continued support and dedication from our partners,” said Chuck Zeutenhorst, general manager of FirstFruits.  “Their participation is not just about the donation, but also about engaging and educating consumers about the issues surrounding hunger.”
 
Hunger isn’t just about being hungry. It’s about food insecurity, or not having regular access to safe, affordable and nutritious foods. As of 2014, 14 percent of all U.S. households were food-insecure according to the USDA. Of those, households with children reported food insecurity at a higher rate than those without children — 19 percent compared to 12 percent.
 
The Take a Bite Out of Hunger™ program provides full retail support with campaign-themed polybags and merchandisers, point-of-sale cards and ad slicks. At the conclusion of the program, local press is invited to cover the food bank donations.

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

Local PMA Fresh Summit ideal for California Avocado Commission

The California Avocado Commission is putting plans in place for the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit that will be held in CAC’s “backyard” at the Anaheim Convention Center Oct. 17-19. With the venue so close to California avocado groves, CAC expects many local growers to attend the show and will have a grower in its booth to answer attendee questions about the growing practices of the fruit.

CAC’s Fresh Summit Booth No. 2438 will focus on the care and craftsmanship that goes into cultivating California avocados and everything the new California avocado label represents.Michelle-Dudash-large-horizMichelle Dudash The label was introduced this year to help consumers distinguish the origin of the fruit at point of purchase. Consumer videos titled “A Look Behind the Label” and valuable avocado category data will be presented to existing and potential California avocado customers at the venue.

“CAC welcomes retailers and other Fresh Summit attendees to visit the California avocado booth to sample delicious avocado dishes, learn about the California avocado ‘fresh to market advantage’ and get a preview of our 2015 plans,” Jan DeLyser, CAC vice president of marketing, said in a press release.

Michelle Dudash, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author, will be in CAC’s Fresh Summit booth to share delicious, nutritious dishes featuring California avocados.

Dudash is an award-winning nutritionist and Cordon-Bleu-certified chef who is a frequent guest on television and radio shows. She is a best-selling author, whose three principles for everyday food choices, “clean, fresh, and fast,” were the foundation for her book, “Clean Eating for Busy Families.” Dudash, a fan of California avocados, has served as a commission nutrition spokesperson for the past three years.

CAC also will be active on social media in advance of and during PMA Fresh Summit, leveraging event activities to connect with California avocado fans.

“CAC has participated in PMA’s Fresh Summit for more than 30 years and has experienced the benefits from strengthening connections and making new ones through networking and events,” said DeLyser. “The California Avocado Commission team is really looking forward to continuing that experience this year in our own backyard.”

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

Hart’s brings local food to downtown Rochester, N.Y.

Local food may be all the rage these days, but Hart’s Local Grocers in Rochester, N.Y., is taking the trend to the next level. The percentage of local products storewide is in the double digits, according to general manager Dean Sparks. “We’re a small footprint, as compared to bigger chains, and so we’re able to bring in smaller vendors that are working with maybe two or three farmers’ markets in the area or they’re selling [products] off their farm, that …

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Supermarket News

The new standard for local?

As “local” has exploded as one of the top attributes consumers look for in all kinds of food — but especially produce — retailers and their customers have come up with widely varying definitions of what can be considered locally grown. It might mean food produced within a certain mile range, within the store’s home state, or even across an entire region.

Now some retailers are using a new criterion: how long it takes for produce to get from the field to the shelves. Fresh & Easy has recently been touting this approach with a guarantee of “Farm to Store in 48 hours or less” on certain items. Stickers displaying that promise also include the words “freshly picked on” with a date.

(Similarly, Fresh & Easy’s Wild Oats cage-free eggs are delivered within 72 hours and come stamped with a “laid on” date.)

Kings Food Markets has made this a core strategy for its summer local produce program for the past three years. The retailer promises customers that fruits and vegetables have been harvested and delivered to stores within 24 hours.

It’s easy to understand how this concept might resonate with customers. One reason consumers flock to farmers’ markets is the fact that produce generally is picked that morning or the night before, representing the pinnacle of freshness. Finding that same benefit at the supermarket comes with the added convenience of being able to shop any day of the week, rather than wait for a scheduled farmers’ market, and fulfill the rest of a shopping list in the same trip.


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Some supermarkets may already have that kind of 24- to 48-hour turnaround for produce, especially during the local growing seasons. So why aren’t they telling their customers about it? Kings even boasts that its 24 Hour Just Picked Promise is “the only program of its kind.”

The takeaway from the examples of Fresh & Easy and Kings is twofold. First, if you’re already doing something that fits into current consumer trends, make sure your customer knows about it. In an age when people want to know more about where their food comes from, extra information for the consumer is rarely a bad thing.

Second, retailers know that customers are looking for “fresh” as much as they’re looking for “local.” Highlighting the time it takes to get from field to store hits on both characteristics in a way that a geographic designation can’t.

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Weis Markets launches annual local produce campaign

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Weis Markets launched its annual Your Neighbor’s, Our Farmer local produce program, which highlights the contributions and commitment of 13 local farmers that provide produce to some of Weis Markets’ 163 stores.

“When we talk about our selection of local produce, we want to do more than just talk the talk,” Kurt Schertle, Weis Markets chief operating officer, said in a press release. “When customers visit the produce section in one of our stores we want them to know that the produce comes from the state in which they live, and to introduce them to the hardworking men and women that provide our fresh produce, many of whom have been suppliers of ours for two generations.”   

In 2014, Weis Markets will purchase more than 25 million pounds of locally grown sweet corn, green beans, peaches, nectarines, apples, lettuce, mushrooms, watermelons, cabbage, blueberries, cucumbers, cantaloupes, tomatoes, potatoes, squash and pumpkins.

Each Weis Markets’ store will display “Your Neighbor’s, Our Farmer” banners with photographs of the farmers supplying Weis Markets. These photos will be featured in Weis Markets’ produce departments by region and product, as well as in weekly circulars.  The photos and videos can also be viewed at https://www.weismarkets.com/about-weis/community/local-farmers.

The Your Neighbor’s, Our Farmer campaign will feature photos of the following farmers on the produce they supply:

  • Titus Hoover, Port Trevorton, PA (yellow and green squash)
  • John Tebbs, Williamsport, PA (sweet corn)
  • Dave Rodgers, Great Meadows, NJ (leafy greens and bunched radishes)
  • Allen Conrad, Newport, PA (organic leafy greens)
  • Paul Lebo, Mechanicsburg, PA (corn, cucumbers and cantaloupes)
  • Page Houser, Sharpsburg, MD (corn and cantaloupes)

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

I Love Produce donates money to local Peru village school

I Love Produce, a pioneer in importation of organic ginger from Peru, took part in a new harvest celebration and ceremony to commemorate its donation of $ 13,440 to the local village school called the “Antonio Raymondi” secondary school. The school donation program was initiated by I Love Produce to give back to the local native Asháninka Community of Churingaveni where the ginger is from. The Asháninkas are the second-largest indigenous group living in the rainforests of Peru with a culture that dates back to the time of the Incas.

“The Asháninka rainforest area is one of the most remote places I have ever traveled”, said Jim Provost, president of I Love Produce. “A trip there requires a 10 hour flight to Lima, a 12 hour bus ride from the capital to the village and then a perilous river crossing by raft to reach the school. Because of the remoteness of the area, the school lacks many of the resources we take for granted. Our aim is to form a lasting relationship with the school so we can make a difference to their kids on a long-term basis.”

CheckPeruThe school donation program was set up with I Love Produce’s ginger supplier, Rainforest Organic. The money from this project will support the school library, computer room and other facilities, said school director Jaime Fernández Yoni Cave of Antonio Raymond School.   “For the children this project is a-dream-come-true.”

The harvest ceremony included local traditional clothing, dancing, singing, a feast of local food and drink followed by a spirited game of basketball. A movie of the event can be viewed on company website — iLoveProduce.com.

“The rainforest region of Peru is an ideal place to grow organic ginger because it is virgin land and we only allow ginger to be grown once every six years on the acreage in order for the land to fully recover”, said Guillermo Medina, owner of Rainforest Ginger. “The forest provides everything for the Asháninka. Most Asháninka children attend a primary school and alongside their usual lessons the school children learn how they can contribute to their community and look after the environment. They are taught that it’s their forest and their home. It’s also important that communities can make an income from their forest resources. So together we’re helping the Asháninka to receive training in how to improve the ginger and the land it is grown on, so that they can make a decent living and pass down their skills to the next generation.”

“The good people at Rainforest Organic show a good deal of love and care for the products that they produce,” said Provost. “It shows in the quality of their ginger. New crop Peru ginger is now arriving in the United States and we now have organic and conventional ginger for sale at prices competitive to the Chinese market.   The harvest ceremony was perfect timing because the market has been short of ginger, and is ready for a new supply of good quality, and good value ginger.”

“China has dominated to ginger market for years, but because Chinese ginger prices have increased in recent years, there is a great opportunity for the ginger buyers and consumers in the United States to evaluate the ginger from Peru and get an indication of its value in the market,” Provost added.

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

I Love Produce donates money to local Peru village school

I Love Produce, a pioneer in importation of organic ginger from Peru, took part in a new harvest celebration and ceremony to commemorate its donation of $ 13,440 to the local village school called the “Antonio Raymondi” secondary school. The school donation program was initiated by I Love Produce to give back to the local native Asháninka Community of Churingaveni where the ginger is from. The Asháninkas are the second-largest indigenous group living in the rainforests of Peru with a culture that dates back to the time of the Incas.

“The Asháninka rainforest area is one of the most remote places I have ever traveled”, said Jim Provost, president of I Love Produce. “A trip there requires a 10 hour flight to Lima, a 12 hour bus ride from the capital to the village and then a perilous river crossing by raft to reach the school. Because of the remoteness of the area, the school lacks many of the resources we take for granted. Our aim is to form a lasting relationship with the school so we can make a difference to their kids on a long-term basis.”

CheckPeruThe school donation program was set up with I Love Produce’s ginger supplier, Rainforest Organic. The money from this project will support the school library, computer room and other facilities, said school director Jaime Fernández Yoni Cave of Antonio Raymond School.   “For the children this project is a-dream-come-true.”

The harvest ceremony included local traditional clothing, dancing, singing, a feast of local food and drink followed by a spirited game of basketball. A movie of the event can be viewed on company website — iLoveProduce.com.

“The rainforest region of Peru is an ideal place to grow organic ginger because it is virgin land and we only allow ginger to be grown once every six years on the acreage in order for the land to fully recover”, said Guillermo Medina, owner of Rainforest Ginger. “The forest provides everything for the Asháninka. Most Asháninka children attend a primary school and alongside their usual lessons the school children learn how they can contribute to their community and look after the environment. They are taught that it’s their forest and their home. It’s also important that communities can make an income from their forest resources. So together we’re helping the Asháninka to receive training in how to improve the ginger and the land it is grown on, so that they can make a decent living and pass down their skills to the next generation.”

“The good people at Rainforest Organic show a good deal of love and care for the products that they produce,” said Provost. “It shows in the quality of their ginger. New crop Peru ginger is now arriving in the United States and we now have organic and conventional ginger for sale at prices competitive to the Chinese market.   The harvest ceremony was perfect timing because the market has been short of ginger, and is ready for a new supply of good quality, and good value ginger.”

“China has dominated to ginger market for years, but because Chinese ginger prices have increased in recent years, there is a great opportunity for the ginger buyers and consumers in the United States to evaluate the ginger from Peru and get an indication of its value in the market,” Provost added.

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

I Love Produce donates money to local Peru village school

I Love Produce, a pioneer in importation of organic ginger from Peru, took part in a new harvest celebration and ceremony to commemorate its donation of $ 13,440 to the local village school called the “Antonio Raymondi” secondary school. The school donation program was initiated by I Love Produce to give back to the local native Asháninka Community of Churingaveni where the ginger is from. The Asháninkas are the second-largest indigenous group living in the rainforests of Peru with a culture that dates back to the time of the Incas.

“The Asháninka rainforest area is one of the most remote places I have ever traveled”, said Jim Provost, president of I Love Produce. “A trip there requires a 10 hour flight to Lima, a 12 hour bus ride from the capital to the village and then a perilous river crossing by raft to reach the school. Because of the remoteness of the area, the school lacks many of the resources we take for granted. Our aim is to form a lasting relationship with the school so we can make a difference to their kids on a long-term basis.”

CheckPeruThe school donation program was set up with I Love Produce’s ginger supplier, Rainforest Organic. The money from this project will support the school library, computer room and other facilities, said school director Jaime Fernández Yoni Cave of Antonio Raymond School.   “For the children this project is a-dream-come-true.”

The harvest ceremony included local traditional clothing, dancing, singing, a feast of local food and drink followed by a spirited game of basketball. A movie of the event can be viewed on company website — iLoveProduce.com.

“The rainforest region of Peru is an ideal place to grow organic ginger because it is virgin land and we only allow ginger to be grown once every six years on the acreage in order for the land to fully recover”, said Guillermo Medina, owner of Rainforest Ginger. “The forest provides everything for the Asháninka. Most Asháninka children attend a primary school and alongside their usual lessons the school children learn how they can contribute to their community and look after the environment. They are taught that it’s their forest and their home. It’s also important that communities can make an income from their forest resources. So together we’re helping the Asháninka to receive training in how to improve the ginger and the land it is grown on, so that they can make a decent living and pass down their skills to the next generation.”

“The good people at Rainforest Organic show a good deal of love and care for the products that they produce,” said Provost. “It shows in the quality of their ginger. New crop Peru ginger is now arriving in the United States and we now have organic and conventional ginger for sale at prices competitive to the Chinese market.   The harvest ceremony was perfect timing because the market has been short of ginger, and is ready for a new supply of good quality, and good value ginger.”

“China has dominated to ginger market for years, but because Chinese ginger prices have increased in recent years, there is a great opportunity for the ginger buyers and consumers in the United States to evaluate the ginger from Peru and get an indication of its value in the market,” Provost added.

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

Stop & Shop celebrating local produce through various events

With summer in full swing and fresh fruits and vegetables in season, Stop & Shop is telling its customers that there is no better time to stock up and enjoy locally grown produce.

In partnership with more than 41 farmers, an array of farm fresh produce grown within nearby communities can now be found at all Stop & Shop stores. Among the popular local produce items that are currently in season and available at Stop & Shop include corn, tomatoes, green beans, mushrooms, squash, blueberries, cucumbers and green peppers.

“Stop & Shop has a long history of partnering with local farmers to provide our customers with the best seasonal produce,” Jack Keane, director of produce and floral merchandising for Stop & Shop New England, said in a press release. “Through these partnerships, we are able to get fruits and vegetables from the fields to our stores quickly to ensure quality and freshness. When you buy local produce from Stop & Shop, you know you are getting the freshest product.”

On July 26th, Stop & Shop New England will host a “Here We Grow” event at all of its 213 stores from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to celebrate locally grown produce. Children attending the event will receive a “Buy Local” canvas bag, coloring book and seed packets will supplies last.

Stop & Shop’s Beverly, MA, Somerset, MA, Newport, RI, and Cromwell, CT, locations are hosting a “meet a local farmer” event, where farm fresh crops will be delivered right to area Stop & Shop locations. Select stores will also be featuring produce sampling from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Stop & Shop bean bag toss games.

All Stop & Shop stores feature a fun photo cutout in the produce department. Customers are encouraged to snap a photo of themselves or their family with the cutout and post to Stop & Shop’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/stopandshop, now through the end of July for a chance to win a $ 25 gift card and a canvas bag. Two winners will be drawn each week.

Customers can visit www.stopandshop.com/local to find complete information about Stop & Shop’s local produce including, recipes and cooking tips for fresh summer produce, a complete list and map of where the produce is from and videos of featured local farmers such as Wally Czajkowski. Czajkowski’s “Plainville Farm” in Hadley, Massachusetts has provided Stop & Shop with fresh produce since 1978.

Stop & Shop has been a leader in the buy local movement for many years, supporting local farmers and manufacturers in the states where they operate stores.

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

Stop & Shop celebrating local produce through various events

With summer in full swing and fresh fruits and vegetables in season, Stop & Shop is telling its customers that there is no better time to stock up and enjoy locally grown produce.

In partnership with more than 41 farmers, an array of farm fresh produce grown within nearby communities can now be found at all Stop & Shop stores. Among the popular local produce items that are currently in season and available at Stop & Shop include corn, tomatoes, green beans, mushrooms, squash, blueberries, cucumbers and green peppers.

“Stop & Shop has a long history of partnering with local farmers to provide our customers with the best seasonal produce,” Jack Keane, director of produce and floral merchandising for Stop & Shop New England, said in a press release. “Through these partnerships, we are able to get fruits and vegetables from the fields to our stores quickly to ensure quality and freshness. When you buy local produce from Stop & Shop, you know you are getting the freshest product.”

On July 26th, Stop & Shop New England will host a “Here We Grow” event at all of its 213 stores from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to celebrate locally grown produce. Children attending the event will receive a “Buy Local” canvas bag, coloring book and seed packets will supplies last.

Stop & Shop’s Beverly, MA, Somerset, MA, Newport, RI, and Cromwell, CT, locations are hosting a “meet a local farmer” event, where farm fresh crops will be delivered right to area Stop & Shop locations. Select stores will also be featuring produce sampling from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Stop & Shop bean bag toss games.

All Stop & Shop stores feature a fun photo cutout in the produce department. Customers are encouraged to snap a photo of themselves or their family with the cutout and post to Stop & Shop’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/stopandshop, now through the end of July for a chance to win a $ 25 gift card and a canvas bag. Two winners will be drawn each week.

Customers can visit www.stopandshop.com/local to find complete information about Stop & Shop’s local produce including, recipes and cooking tips for fresh summer produce, a complete list and map of where the produce is from and videos of featured local farmers such as Wally Czajkowski. Czajkowski’s “Plainville Farm” in Hadley, Massachusetts has provided Stop & Shop with fresh produce since 1978.

Stop & Shop has been a leader in the buy local movement for many years, supporting local farmers and manufacturers in the states where they operate stores.

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

Stop & Shop partners with 41 local growers

Stop & Shop is working with 41 growers this season to offer local fruit and vegetable items in the produce department, including corn, tomatoes, blueberries, mushrooms, and squash.

“Stop & Shop has a long history of partnering with local farmers to provide our customers with the best seasonal produce,” said Jack Keane, director of produce and floral merchandising for Stop & Shop New England in a media statement. “Through these partnerships, we are able to get fruits and vegetables from the fields to our stores quickly to ensure quality and freshness. When you buy local produce from Stop & Shop, you know you are getting the freshest product.”

The retailer is holding a local foods event in its stores on July 26 where kids will be given a “Buy local” canvas bag, coloring book and seed packets. Certain stores will have produce sampling and meet the farmer events.

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UFCW Local 5 finally has new officers

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 5 finally has new officers after the results of a 2012 election were invalidated.

The new president is John Nunes, who won 65% of the votes cast over his opponent, Terry Gonzales; and the new secretary-treasurer is Jack Landes, who won 63% of the vote to beat Kelly Martinez.

Both Nunes and Landes were part of the same slate. In elections for 20 vice president positions, the Nunes-Landes slate won half and the Gonzales-Martinez slate won the other half.

Local 5, based in San Jose, Calif., was ordered by the UFCW international to conduct new elections because of perceived violations in the election held in September, 2012, when the incumbent present, Ron Lind, was reelected.

Before voting in that election took place, Lind’s opponent, a union representative, was fired — allegedly, he said, because he opted to run against the incumbent.

A few months later the UFCW international said its own investigation indicated “allegations related to the use of union equipment and on-the-clock campaigning were found to have merit … [and] may have impacted the results of the election.”

A new election was ordered that could include only candidates who had run in the first election if they had “maintained continuous active membership in Local 5 ” — an order that precluded Lind’s original challenger.

Ultimately the international ordered a new election that would include an entirely new nominating process for all positions. Lind chose not to run for reelection after presiding over the local for approximately 35 years.

Supermarket News

Fairway highlights its focus on local

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

Fairway to produce monthly local product guide

To further highlight local items across the store, New York-based Fairway Market plans to put out a monthly guide with product descriptions and recipes.

Available in stores, the guide will call out some of the 2,000 local products available in produce, fish, meat, dairy, bakery, specialty and other departments. In particular, the guide will describe how items were grown or made, such as fruits and vegetables that are grown organically, eggs that are 100% animal welfare certified, and bakery items that are made in-store daily.

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



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Some consumers confuse ‘local’ with ‘organic’ food

With more people buying local and organic food, consumers should know the difference between the two so they recognize what they’re buying, but nearly one in five still confuse the terms, a University of Florida researcher says.

Newly published research, done in partnership with three other universities, aims to help local and organic food producers and sellers target their marketing messages to reinforce or dispel consumers’ perceptions. The organic-food industry has spent millions of dollars building brand awareness, only to see some consumers confuse “organic” food with “local” food products, said Ben Campbell, a University of Connecticut extension economist and the study’s lead author.

Hayk Khachatryan, a UF food and resource economics assistant professor, worked with Campbell and others to survey 2,511 people online in the U.S. and Canada in 2011 and found 17 percent thought the terms were interchangeable, the study said.

“If consumers can distinguish between local and organic, then by buying organic, they will be able to reduce their exposure to synthetic pesticides,” said Khachatryan, with the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, part of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “However, there is no guarantee that organic is grown locally. Before reaching the consumer, organic produce may travel long distances, which involves some level of environmental footprint.”

By the same token, he noted that locally produced food may not be the most sustainable choice, if same or better quality produce can be grown and transported less expensively from elsewhere.

Another finding showed 22 percent incorrectly thought “local” means non-genetically modified. Now that several states have, or are now debating GMO regulations, it’s essential that consumers know that a locally labeled product does not imply non-GMO, Campbell said.

“We are not saying GMO is bad or good, but rather that local does not imply GMO-free,” he said.Local and organic products have seen increasing consumer demand over the last decade, with sales of organic products reaching $ 26.7 billion in the U.S. and $ 2.6 billion in Canada in 2010, according to the Organic Trade Association, a group that promotes organic food producers and related industries.

Exact figures for locally grown food are tougher to come by, but recent estimates indicate sales of local products were $ 4.8 billion in the U.S. in 2008, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture study.

One factor clouding consumers’ understanding is that Canada is changing its definition of “local” food, and the definition of “local” food varies by jurisdiction in the U.S.

U.S. and Canadian governments both mandate organic production to mean grown without synthetic pesticides, among other things. The USDA organic seal verifies that irradiation, sewage sludge and genetically modified organisms were not used.

Story Source:

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

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily