Blog Archives

Lawmakers Looking Into Shuanghui Acquisition of Smithfield

The Senate Committee Agriculture Committee plans to hold a hearing next month to look into the proposed sale of Smithfield Foods to Shuanghui International, committee chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) announced on Thursday.

The hearing, scheduled for July 10, will focus on the pending purchase of Smithfield — the world’s largest pork producer and processor — and what it might mean for future acquisitions.

According to the committee, the hearing will also “more broadly examine how the government review process of foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies addresses American food safety, protection of American technologies and intellectual property, and the effects of increased foreign ownership of the U.S. food supply.”

Last week a bipartisan group of senators serving on the agriculture committee urged Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to include both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration in the government review of the proposed purchase of Smithfield Foods. The Senators pressed for USDA and FDA involvement so that the oversight process includes experts on the American food supply and food safety.  The letter also raised questions about potential future foreign acquisitions of American food companies such as those that will be considered in the hearing announced today.

The committee said Smithfield Foods CEO Larry Pope will be among the witnesses testifying. Additional witnesses to be announced. A live webcast of the hearing can be viewed online at http://ag.senate.gov.

This week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a longtime consumer advocate turned lawmaker, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) also wrote a letter to Obama administration officials, including Mr. Lew, Attorney General Eric Holder, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman urging careful review of the proposed deal.

“While initially the deal may increase U.S. exports to China, over time the United States could in fact begin to import pork products from China,” read the letter.  “Such a development would raise a host of food safety concerns as China’s food safety system remains wholly inadequate leading to unsafe exported food products.”

“Since joining the World Trade Organization in 2001, China’s food exports to the United States tripled to 4.1 billion pounds of food in 2012,” the letter continued. “Yet, oversight of China’s food producers has not kept up with the sharp increase in imports.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspects less than 2 percent of imported produce, processed food and seafood.  Even with a Memorandum of Understanding between the FDA and China’s Certification and Accreditation Administration signed in 2010, the FDA only conducted 10 inspections of food facilities in China in fiscal year 2012.”

Food Safety News

Chile looking forward to better year for fruit exports

ANAHEIM, CA — An early-October freeze in fruit-growing regions in Chile is not expected to have a significant impact on export volume, according to officials at the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association and the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association, known commonly by the acronym ASOEX.

Meeting with The Produce News during the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Convention & Exposition, here, Ronald Bown, chairman of ASOEX, said he expects a full recovery after last year’s challenging season, when a freeze severely limited export volume and strikes at Chilean ports further exacerbated difficulties in the fruit trade.ChileRonald Bown, chairman of ASOEX, with U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Edward Avalos, at the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association booth.

“We expect a much better year this year,” said Bown. “Every year it is something, but the recent freeze was not as bad as last year, and we don’t expect the same difficulties with the strikes at the ports.”

The freeze last year was the biggest in 50 years, according to Bown, and it was the main factor in the 11.4 percent decrease in fruit exports, affecting mostly grapes, kiwifruit, stone fruit and cherries. Bown believes Chilean growers can make up for last year by virtue of the planned 5-15 percent increase in production.

Further, he said, “We are working very hard with the [Chilean] government to analyze problems in the past related to the port strike, and we expect to solve those problems, which were mostly labor issues.”

ASOEX is ramping up its efforts to reach additional markets, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Bown. It also wants to ship more product to Russia and other European markets. But he said the North American market remains a key destination for fruit exports.

“Global markets are increasingly more important for us, but the North American market remains the largest by far,” he said. For example, “70 percent of our blueberries go to North America.”

For its part, ASOEX does a good deal of outreach to maintain its preferred status among retailers in North America.

“Reliability and consistency are the key aspects that retailers seek,” said Bown. “Chile has been working with the trade for many years to establish solid relationships, and it has paid off. One of our strengths is that we have an excellent marketing staff to reach out to our customers. We meet with retailers of all sizes — from 10-store chains to 1,000-store chains — and they appreciate that we can offer the quality and volume they need.”

Prior to the wide acceptance of fruit from Chile, Bown recalled that there was pushback when shipments began to increase.

“But as we gained acceptance in the marketplace, people came to realize that more fruit on the market had the positive benefit of offering an opportunity to increase consumption,” he said. “Also, we offer a wide range of products that spans the entire fruit category, not just one or two items.”

Growth potential for kiwifruit

One area of focus for Chilean fruit exports this season is kiwifruit, according to Carlos Cruzat, president of the Comité del Kiwi, which promotes Chilean kiwifruit. His main quest is to offer preconditioned fruit that is sweet, flavorful and ready to eat.

“Growers and importers need to work together to give consumers a good eating experience so they come back to buy more,” he said. “It is important that consumers receive fruit that is ready to eat within one to two days.”

He cited a decline in consumption of green kiwifruit, as many countries have switched to gold-flesh fruit to meet the rising demand, especially in the Asian markets.

“Global volume of green kiwi is declining and will continue to do so,” he said. “So we have a challenge of maintaining that business, and to do that we need to add value, not just increase production. Offering preconditioned fruit is one way to add value.”

He said that it is important to please consumers in order to increase the category.

“We see big potential for green kiwi, but we need everyone to be on the same page,” said Cruzat. “We have been convincing growers that they should invest in green kiwi again, since it is not as labor-intensive and can be stored for a while, so the season can be extended. Virtually no other country is planting new green acreage. While it is not the most profitable item, it is good overall for the category and is a stable product for the entire ‘fruit basket.’“

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

Chile looking forward to better year for fruit exports

ANAHEIM, CA — An early-October freeze in fruit-growing regions in Chile is not expected to have a significant impact on export volume, according to officials at the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association and the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association, known commonly by the acronym ASOEX.

Meeting with The Produce News during the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Convention & Exposition, here, Ronald Bown, chairman of ASOEX, said he expects a full recovery after last year’s challenging season, when a freeze severely limited export volume and strikes at Chilean ports further exacerbated difficulties in the fruit trade.ChileRonald Bown, chairman of ASOEX, with U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Edward Avalos, at the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association booth.

“We expect a much better year this year,” said Bown. “Every year it is something, but the recent freeze was not as bad as last year, and we don’t expect the same difficulties with the strikes at the ports.”

The freeze last year was the biggest in 50 years, according to Bown, and it was the main factor in the 11.4 percent decrease in fruit exports, affecting mostly grapes, kiwifruit, stone fruit and cherries. Bown believes Chilean growers can make up for last year by virtue of the planned 5-15 percent increase in production.

Further, he said, “We are working very hard with the [Chilean] government to analyze problems in the past related to the port strike, and we expect to solve those problems, which were mostly labor issues.”

ASOEX is ramping up its efforts to reach additional markets, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Bown. It also wants to ship more product to Russia and other European markets. But he said the North American market remains a key destination for fruit exports.

“Global markets are increasingly more important for us, but the North American market remains the largest by far,” he said. For example, “70 percent of our blueberries go to North America.”

For its part, ASOEX does a good deal of outreach to maintain its preferred status among retailers in North America.

“Reliability and consistency are the key aspects that retailers seek,” said Bown. “Chile has been working with the trade for many years to establish solid relationships, and it has paid off. One of our strengths is that we have an excellent marketing staff to reach out to our customers. We meet with retailers of all sizes — from 10-store chains to 1,000-store chains — and they appreciate that we can offer the quality and volume they need.”

Prior to the wide acceptance of fruit from Chile, Bown recalled that there was pushback when shipments began to increase.

“But as we gained acceptance in the marketplace, people came to realize that more fruit on the market had the positive benefit of offering an opportunity to increase consumption,” he said. “Also, we offer a wide range of products that spans the entire fruit category, not just one or two items.”

Growth potential for kiwifruit

One area of focus for Chilean fruit exports this season is kiwifruit, according to Carlos Cruzat, president of the Comité del Kiwi, which promotes Chilean kiwifruit. His main quest is to offer preconditioned fruit that is sweet, flavorful and ready to eat.

“Growers and importers need to work together to give consumers a good eating experience so they come back to buy more,” he said. “It is important that consumers receive fruit that is ready to eat within one to two days.”

He cited a decline in consumption of green kiwifruit, as many countries have switched to gold-flesh fruit to meet the rising demand, especially in the Asian markets.

“Global volume of green kiwi is declining and will continue to do so,” he said. “So we have a challenge of maintaining that business, and to do that we need to add value, not just increase production. Offering preconditioned fruit is one way to add value.”

He said that it is important to please consumers in order to increase the category.

“We see big potential for green kiwi, but we need everyone to be on the same page,” said Cruzat. “We have been convincing growers that they should invest in green kiwi again, since it is not as labor-intensive and can be stored for a while, so the season can be extended. Virtually no other country is planting new green acreage. While it is not the most profitable item, it is good overall for the category and is a stable product for the entire ‘fruit basket.’“

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

Chile looking forward to better year for fruit exports

ANAHEIM, CA — An early-October freeze in fruit-growing regions in Chile is not expected to have a significant impact on export volume, according to officials at the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association and the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association, known commonly by the acronym ASOEX.

Meeting with The Produce News during the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Convention & Exposition, here, Ronald Bown, chairman of ASOEX, said he expects a full recovery after last year’s challenging season, when a freeze severely limited export volume and strikes at Chilean ports further exacerbated difficulties in the fruit trade.ChileRonald Bown, chairman of ASOEX, with U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Edward Avalos, at the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association booth.

“We expect a much better year this year,” said Bown. “Every year it is something, but the recent freeze was not as bad as last year, and we don’t expect the same difficulties with the strikes at the ports.”

The freeze last year was the biggest in 50 years, according to Bown, and it was the main factor in the 11.4 percent decrease in fruit exports, affecting mostly grapes, kiwifruit, stone fruit and cherries. Bown believes Chilean growers can make up for last year by virtue of the planned 5-15 percent increase in production.

Further, he said, “We are working very hard with the [Chilean] government to analyze problems in the past related to the port strike, and we expect to solve those problems, which were mostly labor issues.”

ASOEX is ramping up its efforts to reach additional markets, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Bown. It also wants to ship more product to Russia and other European markets. But he said the North American market remains a key destination for fruit exports.

“Global markets are increasingly more important for us, but the North American market remains the largest by far,” he said. For example, “70 percent of our blueberries go to North America.”

For its part, ASOEX does a good deal of outreach to maintain its preferred status among retailers in North America.

“Reliability and consistency are the key aspects that retailers seek,” said Bown. “Chile has been working with the trade for many years to establish solid relationships, and it has paid off. One of our strengths is that we have an excellent marketing staff to reach out to our customers. We meet with retailers of all sizes — from 10-store chains to 1,000-store chains — and they appreciate that we can offer the quality and volume they need.”

Prior to the wide acceptance of fruit from Chile, Bown recalled that there was pushback when shipments began to increase.

“But as we gained acceptance in the marketplace, people came to realize that more fruit on the market had the positive benefit of offering an opportunity to increase consumption,” he said. “Also, we offer a wide range of products that spans the entire fruit category, not just one or two items.”

Growth potential for kiwifruit

One area of focus for Chilean fruit exports this season is kiwifruit, according to Carlos Cruzat, president of the Comité del Kiwi, which promotes Chilean kiwifruit. His main quest is to offer preconditioned fruit that is sweet, flavorful and ready to eat.

“Growers and importers need to work together to give consumers a good eating experience so they come back to buy more,” he said. “It is important that consumers receive fruit that is ready to eat within one to two days.”

He cited a decline in consumption of green kiwifruit, as many countries have switched to gold-flesh fruit to meet the rising demand, especially in the Asian markets.

“Global volume of green kiwi is declining and will continue to do so,” he said. “So we have a challenge of maintaining that business, and to do that we need to add value, not just increase production. Offering preconditioned fruit is one way to add value.”

He said that it is important to please consumers in order to increase the category.

“We see big potential for green kiwi, but we need everyone to be on the same page,” said Cruzat. “We have been convincing growers that they should invest in green kiwi again, since it is not as labor-intensive and can be stored for a while, so the season can be extended. Virtually no other country is planting new green acreage. While it is not the most profitable item, it is good overall for the category and is a stable product for the entire ‘fruit basket.’“

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

Chile looking forward to better year for fruit exports

ANAHEIM, CA — An early-October freeze in fruit-growing regions in Chile is not expected to have a significant impact on export volume, according to officials at the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association and the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association, known commonly by the acronym ASOEX.

Meeting with The Produce News during the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Convention & Exposition, here, Ronald Bown, chairman of ASOEX, said he expects a full recovery after last year’s challenging season, when a freeze severely limited export volume and strikes at Chilean ports further exacerbated difficulties in the fruit trade.ChileRonald Bown, chairman of ASOEX, with U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Edward Avalos, at the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association booth.

“We expect a much better year this year,” said Bown. “Every year it is something, but the recent freeze was not as bad as last year, and we don’t expect the same difficulties with the strikes at the ports.”

The freeze last year was the biggest in 50 years, according to Bown, and it was the main factor in the 11.4 percent decrease in fruit exports, affecting mostly grapes, kiwifruit, stone fruit and cherries. Bown believes Chilean growers can make up for last year by virtue of the planned 5-15 percent increase in production.

Further, he said, “We are working very hard with the [Chilean] government to analyze problems in the past related to the port strike, and we expect to solve those problems, which were mostly labor issues.”

ASOEX is ramping up its efforts to reach additional markets, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Bown. It also wants to ship more product to Russia and other European markets. But he said the North American market remains a key destination for fruit exports.

“Global markets are increasingly more important for us, but the North American market remains the largest by far,” he said. For example, “70 percent of our blueberries go to North America.”

For its part, ASOEX does a good deal of outreach to maintain its preferred status among retailers in North America.

“Reliability and consistency are the key aspects that retailers seek,” said Bown. “Chile has been working with the trade for many years to establish solid relationships, and it has paid off. One of our strengths is that we have an excellent marketing staff to reach out to our customers. We meet with retailers of all sizes — from 10-store chains to 1,000-store chains — and they appreciate that we can offer the quality and volume they need.”

Prior to the wide acceptance of fruit from Chile, Bown recalled that there was pushback when shipments began to increase.

“But as we gained acceptance in the marketplace, people came to realize that more fruit on the market had the positive benefit of offering an opportunity to increase consumption,” he said. “Also, we offer a wide range of products that spans the entire fruit category, not just one or two items.”

Growth potential for kiwifruit

One area of focus for Chilean fruit exports this season is kiwifruit, according to Carlos Cruzat, president of the Comité del Kiwi, which promotes Chilean kiwifruit. His main quest is to offer preconditioned fruit that is sweet, flavorful and ready to eat.

“Growers and importers need to work together to give consumers a good eating experience so they come back to buy more,” he said. “It is important that consumers receive fruit that is ready to eat within one to two days.”

He cited a decline in consumption of green kiwifruit, as many countries have switched to gold-flesh fruit to meet the rising demand, especially in the Asian markets.

“Global volume of green kiwi is declining and will continue to do so,” he said. “So we have a challenge of maintaining that business, and to do that we need to add value, not just increase production. Offering preconditioned fruit is one way to add value.”

He said that it is important to please consumers in order to increase the category.

“We see big potential for green kiwi, but we need everyone to be on the same page,” said Cruzat. “We have been convincing growers that they should invest in green kiwi again, since it is not as labor-intensive and can be stored for a while, so the season can be extended. Virtually no other country is planting new green acreage. While it is not the most profitable item, it is good overall for the category and is a stable product for the entire ‘fruit basket.’“

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

UNFI growth prospects looking good, analysts say

United Natural Foods, Inc., is positioned for continued strong growth, especially as it expands the perishables offerings from Tony’s Fine Foods beyond the West Coast while simultaneously reducing warehouse and distribution costs, analysts said Wednesday, a day after UNFI’s annual analyst meeting.

UNFI, based in Providence, R.I., acquired Tony’s Fine Foods, West Sacramento, Calif., last May. The Tony’s offering encompasses specialty cheeses, baked goods, deli, packaged proteins, seafood and prepared foods.

Analysts said UNFI’s effort to expand Tony’s offerings is part of the company’s new “building out the store” strategy — aspiring to have the top share in each category it serves.

“This is a change from the past, where the focus was on acquiring new customers,” Karen Short, an analyst with Deutsche Bank, New York, pointed out. “There could be a significant opportunity if UNFI can convince existing customers of its natural and organic products [who purchase ethnic and gourmet products from other sources] to purchase these specialty categories from UNFI because it could lower the customers’ overall product costs [by consolidating purchases] without sacrificing service.”

The near-term strategy involves rolling out the Tony’s model to Denver; Racine, Wis., which serves Chicago; and UNFI’s Hudson Valley facility in Upstate New York, which serves New York City, with the goal of boosting the company’s 1.5% share of the ethnic/gourmet categories, Short said.

The three facilities, along with Tony’s West Coast operation, will serve as main freight consolidation points where the Tony’s merchandise can flow to the rest of the country, Short said.

According to Andrew Wolf, managing director for BB&T Capital Markets, Boston, rolling out the Tony’s products will require UNFI to secure a major new customer in each region — a process that should take one to five months, he added.

UNFI is also seeking to reduce costs, the analysts said. According to Kelly Bania, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets, New York, “UNFI is well positioned to deliver operating margin upside relative to expectations as investments in technology and efficiency initiatives gain critical mass in coming years.

“Importantly, UNFI’s savings from its warehouse management system implementation could accelerate in coming years as only three of its distribution centers are currently on WMS,” Bania said. The company expects WMS to be implemented at a total of nine facilities by next October, with the system operating at all 18 facilities by the end of fiscal 2017, she pointed out.

“While not all cost savings will fall to the bottom line and consolidated operating margin expansion will prove more difficult in coming years as UNFI integrates lower-margin Tony’s, an outlook for a more accelerated pace of implementation could result in more meaningful cost savings in coming years,” Bania added.

Wolf said UNFI “made a convincing case” for its cost-cutting prospects, including plans to lower its cost structure and increase its relevance with customers through use of technology — for example, backhauling to improve logistics and engineered labor standards to improve warehouse operations.

In addition, the company is implementing programs like iUNFI, a mobile order-entry system that has enabled customers to improve their fill rates by 0.7%; and “UNFI arrive,” which helps customers track deliveries more carefully to do a better job of planning in-store labor, Wolf pointed out.

Supermarket News

C&S looking to acquire Associated Wholesalers, White Rose

C&S Wholesale Grocers has entered into an agreement in which it will acquire substantially all of Associated Wholesalers Inc.’s assets, including its White Rose distribution business. Under terms of the agreement, C&S will serve as the “stalking horse bidder” in a court-supervised auction process. Accordingly, the agreement is subject to higher and otherwise better offers, among other conditions.

To facilitate the transaction process and provide for an orderly sale, AWI and its subsidiaries, including White Rose, filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

AWI and White Rose are expected to continue operating in the normal course during the sale process.

“We believe that the asset purchase agreement with C&S is in the best interest of AWI and its stakeholders,” Joyce Fasula and Mike Rothwell, chairman and vice-chairman of the AWI board of directors, respectively, said in a press release. “After conducting a thorough process, which included the exploration of a range of alternatives and reaching out to multiple interested parties, we determined the best course of action for AWI was to enter this agreement with C&S and to undertake the court-supervised sale process.”

“As we move through this transaction process, we will continue to focus on serving our customers,” Matt Saunders, president and chief executive officer of AWI, said in the release. “We also intend to work closely with our suppliers and the winning bidder to help ensure that our customers continue to receive the level of service they expect.”

“The addition of AWI and White Rose would expand C&S’s footprint and enhance our significant capabilities in servicing independent grocers,” Rick Cohen, chairman and CEO of C&S, said in the release. “AWI and White Rose have a terrific customer base, and their distribution capabilities are a natural complement to our existing portfolio. We believe we are strongly positioned to provide all of their customers with the goods and services they need to successfully run and even grow their businesses.”

In conjunction with the proposed transaction, AWI has received a commitment for “debtor in possession” financing to support its continued operations during the pendency of the sale process. C&S has also made a commitment to participate in the “debtor in possession” financing package. AWI has filed a number of customary motions seeking court authorization to continue to support its business operations during the transaction process, including the continued payment of employee wages, salaries and health benefits without interruption. AWI has also asked for authority to continue existing customer programs and intends to pay suppliers in full under normal terms for goods and services provided after the filing date of Sept. 9.

The proposed transaction is subject to, among other things, higher and otherwise better offers to purchase any or substantially all of AWI’s assets, court approval, antitrust approval, any other such approvals as may be required by law, and other customary conditions. Given these conditions, there can be no assurance that the proposed transaction will be consummated.

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

C&S looking to acquire Associated Wholesalers, White Rose

C&S Wholesale Grocers has entered into an agreement in which it will acquire substantially all of Associated Wholesalers Inc.’s assets, including its White Rose distribution business. Under terms of the agreement, C&S will serve as the “stalking horse bidder” in a court-supervised auction process. Accordingly, the agreement is subject to higher and otherwise better offers, among other conditions.

To facilitate the transaction process and provide for an orderly sale, AWI and its subsidiaries, including White Rose, filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

AWI and White Rose are expected to continue operating in the normal course during the sale process.

“We believe that the asset purchase agreement with C&S is in the best interest of AWI and its stakeholders,” Joyce Fasula and Mike Rothwell, chairman and vice-chairman of the AWI board of directors, respectively, said in a press release. “After conducting a thorough process, which included the exploration of a range of alternatives and reaching out to multiple interested parties, we determined the best course of action for AWI was to enter this agreement with C&S and to undertake the court-supervised sale process.”

“As we move through this transaction process, we will continue to focus on serving our customers,” Matt Saunders, president and chief executive officer of AWI, said in the release. “We also intend to work closely with our suppliers and the winning bidder to help ensure that our customers continue to receive the level of service they expect.”

“The addition of AWI and White Rose would expand C&S’s footprint and enhance our significant capabilities in servicing independent grocers,” Rick Cohen, chairman and CEO of C&S, said in the release. “AWI and White Rose have a terrific customer base, and their distribution capabilities are a natural complement to our existing portfolio. We believe we are strongly positioned to provide all of their customers with the goods and services they need to successfully run and even grow their businesses.”

In conjunction with the proposed transaction, AWI has received a commitment for “debtor in possession” financing to support its continued operations during the pendency of the sale process. C&S has also made a commitment to participate in the “debtor in possession” financing package. AWI has filed a number of customary motions seeking court authorization to continue to support its business operations during the transaction process, including the continued payment of employee wages, salaries and health benefits without interruption. AWI has also asked for authority to continue existing customer programs and intends to pay suppliers in full under normal terms for goods and services provided after the filing date of Sept. 9.

The proposed transaction is subject to, among other things, higher and otherwise better offers to purchase any or substantially all of AWI’s assets, court approval, antitrust approval, any other such approvals as may be required by law, and other customary conditions. Given these conditions, there can be no assurance that the proposed transaction will be consummated.

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

English apple season looking rosy

“Russian ban will not affect UK market” – Adrian Barlow, English Apples and Pears
English apple season looking rosy

The English apple season is, as expected, looking very rosy. The warm spring months gave the trees a great blossom, there were good proportions of warmth and rain which has provided good sizes and the cooler weather of the last couple of weeks has given the fruit great skin colour.

Adrian Barlow from English Apples and Pears, said the first Discovery apples were picked at the end of July, with the first volumes going to the retailers at the beginning of August.

“All Discovery and Galmac have now been picked and Delbarestivale, a relatively modern variety, and early Winsor, a Cox like apple which is three weeks earlier than Cox are being harvested at the moment, Bramley is also well under way’” explains Barlow.

The season is running 3-4 weeks ahead of last year, not quite as early as 2011, but much earlier than the last two years, this due to favourable weather conditions. Pre-season estimates should be reached and more than likely exceeded.

The early season is great news for the English apple sector, which suffered in the last couple of years with late harvests, this lead to shelf space being lost to stone and soft fruit. According to Barlow the sales never really recovered last year. Although sales did increase in December and January.

He expects demand to really pick up in September when the all the kids are back at school.

Pears are not quite so promising, “The crop is slightly disappointing, similar to last year. I am disappointed that there have been no additional orchards planted, growers not convinced that the huge investment will be justified but future returns,” says Barlow.

He doesn’t think the Russian ban will affect the British market too badly, “The UK market is unusual in that it likes a smaller apple than its continental counterparts. In general, size across Europe is large this year, we have bigger apples than normal here this season but not as big as Europe.”

Also there are opportunities outside the EU for apple export, Turkey is down by 650,000 tonnes due to bad weather conditions last winter, this is 2/3 of what Poland would normally export to Russia, if Poland can export there it will help. The Balken countries are also short by 200,000 tonnes, “This is not far off the total amount which went to Russia, of course one has to consider the demand for different varieties etc. which will have an influence on the opportunities available. The Chinese crop is also down by about 5% -1.5 million tonnes and someone will have to supply Russia which will create space in other markets, explains Barlow”

“As long as people look at the situation carefully and are determined to develop new markets and don’t try to sell the volumes which would have gone to Russia within Europe, things should not get too bad,” he continues. “The scheme from the EU for market withdrawals will also help, provided that it is accepted that we can’t supply free of charge to sectors of the market such as charities, schools and old people’s homes that would normally be supplied with product which is paid for, if we start supplying free of charge it won’t have any affect on the supply of apples. If people are sensible we should be able to overcome this situation.”

The situation for pears is much more problematic according to Barlow, “There is a huge supply of pears from Belgium and to a lesser extent from The Netherlands into Russia, that is the area where the greatest work needs to be undertaken, one heartening thing is the way the industry collectively in Europe has recognised that unless there is orderly marketing and great care is taken in the way in which we approach this situation there will be problems and I think everyone is unified in wanting to overcome these difficulties.”

Publication date: 8/29/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

English apple season looking rosy

“Russian ban will not affect UK market” – Adrian Barlow, English Apples and Pears
English apple season looking rosy

The English apple season is, as expected, looking very rosy. The warm spring months gave the trees a great blossom, there were good proportions of warmth and rain which has provided good sizes and the cooler weather of the last couple of weeks has given the fruit great skin colour.

Adrian Barlow from English Apples and Pears, said the first Discovery apples were picked at the end of July, with the first volumes going to the retailers at the beginning of August.

“All Discovery and Galmac have now been picked and Delbarestivale, a relatively modern variety, and early Winsor, a Cox like apple which is three weeks earlier than Cox are being harvested at the moment, Bramley is also well under way’” explains Barlow.

The season is running 3-4 weeks ahead of last year, not quite as early as 2011, but much earlier than the last two years, this due to favourable weather conditions. Pre-season estimates should be reached and more than likely exceeded.

The early season is great news for the English apple sector, which suffered in the last couple of years with late harvests, this lead to shelf space being lost to stone and soft fruit. According to Barlow the sales never really recovered last year. Although sales did increase in December and January.

He expects demand to really pick up in September when the all the kids are back at school.

Pears are not quite so promising, “The crop is slightly disappointing, similar to last year. I am disappointed that there have been no additional orchards planted, growers not convinced that the huge investment will be justified but future returns,” says Barlow.

He doesn’t think the Russian ban will affect the British market too badly, “The UK market is unusual in that it likes a smaller apple than its continental counterparts. In general, size across Europe is large this year, we have bigger apples than normal here this season but not as big as Europe.”

Also there are opportunities outside the EU for apple export, Turkey is down by 650,000 tonnes due to bad weather conditions last winter, this is 2/3 of what Poland would normally export to Russia, if Poland can export there it will help. The Balken countries are also short by 200,000 tonnes, “This is not far off the total amount which went to Russia, of course one has to consider the demand for different varieties etc. which will have an influence on the opportunities available. The Chinese crop is also down by about 5% -1.5 million tonnes and someone will have to supply Russia which will create space in other markets, explains Barlow”

“As long as people look at the situation carefully and are determined to develop new markets and don’t try to sell the volumes which would have gone to Russia within Europe, things should not get too bad,” he continues. “The scheme from the EU for market withdrawals will also help, provided that it is accepted that we can’t supply free of charge to sectors of the market such as charities, schools and old people’s homes that would normally be supplied with product which is paid for, if we start supplying free of charge it won’t have any affect on the supply of apples. If people are sensible we should be able to overcome this situation.”

The situation for pears is much more problematic according to Barlow, “There is a huge supply of pears from Belgium and to a lesser extent from The Netherlands into Russia, that is the area where the greatest work needs to be undertaken, one heartening thing is the way the industry collectively in Europe has recognised that unless there is orderly marketing and great care is taken in the way in which we approach this situation there will be problems and I think everyone is unified in wanting to overcome these difficulties.”

Publication date: 8/29/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Looking Back: 100 Years of U.S. Food Safety History

In the winter of 1924, oysters grown in polluted waters near Long Island, NY, caused an outbreak of typhoid fever from Salmonella Typhi that killed 150 people and sickened at least 1,500. To this day, it holds the record for the highest body count of any foodborne illness outbreak in U.S. history.

At the time of that outbreak, the oyster industry was very loosely regulated. But, in the aftermath, U.S. regulators honed in.

Much of the progress made in food safety during the past 100 years has resulted from reactions to crises, according to a panel of food safety experts who spoke Wednesday at the International Association of Food Protection (IAFP) conference in Indianapolis.

“We tend to wait until there are sufficient illnesses in our country to justify a control and eventual prevention strategy,” said Dr. Ewen Todd, a private food safety consultant and former director of the National Food Safety and Toxicology Center at Michigan State University.

In the past 100 years, we’ve made great strides in coming to understand and control the risk of foodborne pathogens, but not completely eliminate it. The human propensity to make mistakes still leads to millions of illnesses each year, Todd said.

Some threats have been conquered, while others have persisted and new ones have emerged. The threats of Salmonella Typhi, Mycobacterium and Trichinella have been significantly diminished, while Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli O157:H7 and other Salmonella species still cause pervasive illness.

One fact has remained constant: 100 years later, the top three sources of foodborne pathogens remain, in order, fresh produce, meat and poultry, and dairy products.

Microbiologist Dr. William Sperber, formerly at companies such as Cargill and Pillsbury, described the past 100 years as “a bumpy ride.” The century was first characterized by 50 years of industry reacting to public opinion and new federal regulations, followed by 30 years of industry-led progress in what he called “the golden age of food safety management,” and finally the past 20 years of “further progress hindered by complications and unproductive regulation.”

Sperber argued that the decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to classify E. coli O157:H7 as an adulterant in ground beef in 1994 was an example of overreactive regulation by the then-new Clinton administration.

The “golden age” of food safety progress, on the other hand, occurred around the time that large corporations realized that even if small companies caused foodborne illness outbreaks, it reflected poorly on the entire industry. That was when companies began openly sharing food safety information, he said, fostering a culture of cooperation on safety issues.

Dr. Robert Buchanan, director of the Center for Food Safety and Security Systems at the University of Maryland, outlined the regulatory side of the food safety evolution. Federal food safety regulation really started in 1906 when President Theodore Roosevelt signed two bills, the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act.

The Pure Food and Drug Act established what would eventually become the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, while the Meat Inspection Act established the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, which assumed that meat was inherently unsafe unless inspected prior to release into commerce.

With the Administrative Procedures Act of 1946, regulatory agencies were required to ensure a scientific basis for regulations. And, in the wake of World War II, accelerated international trade gave way to World Trade Agreements establishing ground rules for the trade of food.

In 1996, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched PulseNet, a network of public health and food regulatory laboratories around the country that shares data on disease-causing microorganisms.

“You cannot understand the impact that PulseNet has had on how regulatory agencies detect, investigate and manage foodborne disease,” Buchanan said.

Overall, in the past 100 years, food safety developments have become “increasingly science-based, risk-based, transparent and quantitative,” he said, adding that trend is likely to continue for the next 100 years.

At least two of the panelists predicted that it might be another 100 years before humans learn to completely eliminate the threat of foodborne illness. However, based on the past 100 years of progress, the next generation of food safety specialists has at least been given a considerable head start.

Food Safety News

Looking Back: 100 Years of U.S. Food Safety History

In the winter of 1924, oysters grown in polluted waters near Long Island, NY, caused an outbreak of typhoid fever from Salmonella Typhi that killed 150 people and sickened at least 1,500. To this day, it holds the record for the highest body count of any foodborne illness outbreak in U.S. history.

At the time of that outbreak, the oyster industry was very loosely regulated. But, in the aftermath, U.S. regulators honed in.

Much of the progress made in food safety during the past 100 years has resulted from reactions to crises, according to a panel of food safety experts who spoke Wednesday at the International Association of Food Protection (IAFP) conference in Indianapolis.

“We tend to wait until there are sufficient illnesses in our country to justify a control and eventual prevention strategy,” said Dr. Ewen Todd, a private food safety consultant and former director of the National Food Safety and Toxicology Center at Michigan State University.

In the past 100 years, we’ve made great strides in coming to understand and control the risk of foodborne pathogens, but not completely eliminate it. The human propensity to make mistakes still leads to millions of illnesses each year, Todd said.

Some threats have been conquered, while others have persisted and new ones have emerged. The threats of Salmonella Typhi, Mycobacterium and Trichinella have been significantly diminished, while Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli O157:H7 and other Salmonella species still cause pervasive illness.

One fact has remained constant: 100 years later, the top three sources of foodborne pathogens remain, in order, fresh produce, meat and poultry, and dairy products.

Microbiologist Dr. William Sperber, formerly at companies such as Cargill and Pillsbury, described the past 100 years as “a bumpy ride.” The century was first characterized by 50 years of industry reacting to public opinion and new federal regulations, followed by 30 years of industry-led progress in what he called “the golden age of food safety management,” and finally the past 20 years of “further progress hindered by complications and unproductive regulation.”

Sperber argued that the decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to classify E. coli O157:H7 as an adulterant in ground beef in 1994 was an example of overreactive regulation by the then-new Clinton administration.

The “golden age” of food safety progress, on the other hand, occurred around the time that large corporations realized that even if small companies caused foodborne illness outbreaks, it reflected poorly on the entire industry. That was when companies began openly sharing food safety information, he said, fostering a culture of cooperation on safety issues.

Dr. Robert Buchanan, director of the Center for Food Safety and Security Systems at the University of Maryland, outlined the regulatory side of the food safety evolution. Federal food safety regulation really started in 1906 when President Theodore Roosevelt signed two bills, the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act.

The Pure Food and Drug Act established what would eventually become the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, while the Meat Inspection Act established the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, which assumed that meat was inherently unsafe unless inspected prior to release into commerce.

With the Administrative Procedures Act of 1946, regulatory agencies were required to ensure a scientific basis for regulations. And, in the wake of World War II, accelerated international trade gave way to World Trade Agreements establishing ground rules for the trade of food.

In 1996, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched PulseNet, a network of public health and food regulatory laboratories around the country that shares data on disease-causing microorganisms.

“You cannot understand the impact that PulseNet has had on how regulatory agencies detect, investigate and manage foodborne disease,” Buchanan said.

Overall, in the past 100 years, food safety developments have become “increasingly science-based, risk-based, transparent and quantitative,” he said, adding that trend is likely to continue for the next 100 years.

At least two of the panelists predicted that it might be another 100 years before humans learn to completely eliminate the threat of foodborne illness. However, based on the past 100 years of progress, the next generation of food safety specialists has at least been given a considerable head start.

Food Safety News

MountainKing looking to capitalize on consumer preference for smaller bags

New sales figures indicate when it comes to bagged fresh potatoes, smaller package sizes are starting to sell big.

Sales of bagged fresh potatoes under four pounds are up 17.8 percent from a year ago and 112 percent in the past 10 years, according to data from AC Nielson Fresh Facts.

MK-Small-Bags“These new figures illustrate why retailers need to re-think their bagged fresh potato merchandising strategies with a greater emphasis on smaller package sizes,” John Pope of Houston-based MountainKing Potatoes said in a press release. “They underscore what we’ve been seeing for quite some time – that consumers are buying in smaller quantities.”

Two key factors are contributing to the growth of smaller bagged potatoes, according to Pope. First, family sizes continue to shrink, with two thirds of all U.S. households currently under the age of 30 or over the age of 50. Second, the availability of online recipes has led shoppers to plan a meal at a time rather than buying for several meals, thereby increasing the average number of shopping visits per week. Consumers now average 2.2 shopping trips per week, the highest in 10 years.

While sales of the smaller package sizes continue to grow, so too are profits for grocers who merchandise the smaller packages, according to Pope.

Fresh potatoes in bags five pounds and larger offer an average ring per pound of 52 cents while the average ring per pound of potatoes in smaller bags is $ 1.52.

“Retailers who shift their merchandise to smaller pack sizes will realize significant profit improvement from their fresh potatoes,” Pope said in the press release.

MountainKing has made smaller package sizes a focus of its sales efforts to retailers. The company’s seven smaller package sizes include its four-count Steakhouse Bakers, three-pound Steakhouse Golds, 1.5-pound Steakhouse Roasters, three-pound Seafood B Reds, three-pound MountainKing Russets, three-pound MountainKing Reds and a 16-ounce package of the company’s Heat and Eat Gold Mashed. Each offers 8-10 servings to help households avoid waste.

MountainKing Potatoes is a leading grower of high-flavor potato varieties whose products reach 1 million U.S. households each week, according to the company.

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

MountainKing looking to capitalize on consumer preference for smaller bags

New sales figures indicate when it comes to bagged fresh potatoes, smaller package sizes are starting to sell big.

Sales of bagged fresh potatoes under four pounds are up 17.8 percent from a year ago and 112 percent in the past 10 years, according to data from AC Nielson Fresh Facts.

MK-Small-Bags“These new figures illustrate why retailers need to re-think their bagged fresh potato merchandising strategies with a greater emphasis on smaller package sizes,” John Pope of Houston-based MountainKing Potatoes said in a press release. “They underscore what we’ve been seeing for quite some time – that consumers are buying in smaller quantities.”

Two key factors are contributing to the growth of smaller bagged potatoes, according to Pope. First, family sizes continue to shrink, with two thirds of all U.S. households currently under the age of 30 or over the age of 50. Second, the availability of online recipes has led shoppers to plan a meal at a time rather than buying for several meals, thereby increasing the average number of shopping visits per week. Consumers now average 2.2 shopping trips per week, the highest in 10 years.

While sales of the smaller package sizes continue to grow, so too are profits for grocers who merchandise the smaller packages, according to Pope.

Fresh potatoes in bags five pounds and larger offer an average ring per pound of 52 cents while the average ring per pound of potatoes in smaller bags is $ 1.52.

“Retailers who shift their merchandise to smaller pack sizes will realize significant profit improvement from their fresh potatoes,” Pope said in the press release.

MountainKing has made smaller package sizes a focus of its sales efforts to retailers. The company’s seven smaller package sizes include its four-count Steakhouse Bakers, three-pound Steakhouse Golds, 1.5-pound Steakhouse Roasters, three-pound Seafood B Reds, three-pound MountainKing Russets, three-pound MountainKing Reds and a 16-ounce package of the company’s Heat and Eat Gold Mashed. Each offers 8-10 servings to help households avoid waste.

MountainKing Potatoes is a leading grower of high-flavor potato varieties whose products reach 1 million U.S. households each week, according to the company.

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

MountainKing looking to capitalize on consumer preference for smaller bags

New sales figures indicate when it comes to bagged fresh potatoes, smaller package sizes are starting to sell big.

Sales of bagged fresh potatoes under four pounds are up 17.8 percent from a year ago and 112 percent in the past 10 years, according to data from AC Nielson Fresh Facts.

MK-Small-Bags“These new figures illustrate why retailers need to re-think their bagged fresh potato merchandising strategies with a greater emphasis on smaller package sizes,” John Pope of Houston-based MountainKing Potatoes said in a press release. “They underscore what we’ve been seeing for quite some time – that consumers are buying in smaller quantities.”

Two key factors are contributing to the growth of smaller bagged potatoes, according to Pope. First, family sizes continue to shrink, with two thirds of all U.S. households currently under the age of 30 or over the age of 50. Second, the availability of online recipes has led shoppers to plan a meal at a time rather than buying for several meals, thereby increasing the average number of shopping visits per week. Consumers now average 2.2 shopping trips per week, the highest in 10 years.

While sales of the smaller package sizes continue to grow, so too are profits for grocers who merchandise the smaller packages, according to Pope.

Fresh potatoes in bags five pounds and larger offer an average ring per pound of 52 cents while the average ring per pound of potatoes in smaller bags is $ 1.52.

“Retailers who shift their merchandise to smaller pack sizes will realize significant profit improvement from their fresh potatoes,” Pope said in the press release.

MountainKing has made smaller package sizes a focus of its sales efforts to retailers. The company’s seven smaller package sizes include its four-count Steakhouse Bakers, three-pound Steakhouse Golds, 1.5-pound Steakhouse Roasters, three-pound Seafood B Reds, three-pound MountainKing Russets, three-pound MountainKing Reds and a 16-ounce package of the company’s Heat and Eat Gold Mashed. Each offers 8-10 servings to help households avoid waste.

MountainKing Potatoes is a leading grower of high-flavor potato varieties whose products reach 1 million U.S. households each week, according to the company.

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

MountainKing looking to capitalize on consumer preference for smaller bags

New sales figures indicate when it comes to bagged fresh potatoes, smaller package sizes are starting to sell big.

Sales of bagged fresh potatoes under four pounds are up 17.8 percent from a year ago and 112 percent in the past 10 years, according to data from AC Nielson Fresh Facts.

MK-Small-Bags“These new figures illustrate why retailers need to re-think their bagged fresh potato merchandising strategies with a greater emphasis on smaller package sizes,” John Pope of Houston-based MountainKing Potatoes said in a press release. “They underscore what we’ve been seeing for quite some time – that consumers are buying in smaller quantities.”

Two key factors are contributing to the growth of smaller bagged potatoes, according to Pope. First, family sizes continue to shrink, with two thirds of all U.S. households currently under the age of 30 or over the age of 50. Second, the availability of online recipes has led shoppers to plan a meal at a time rather than buying for several meals, thereby increasing the average number of shopping visits per week. Consumers now average 2.2 shopping trips per week, the highest in 10 years.

While sales of the smaller package sizes continue to grow, so too are profits for grocers who merchandise the smaller packages, according to Pope.

Fresh potatoes in bags five pounds and larger offer an average ring per pound of 52 cents while the average ring per pound of potatoes in smaller bags is $ 1.52.

“Retailers who shift their merchandise to smaller pack sizes will realize significant profit improvement from their fresh potatoes,” Pope said in the press release.

MountainKing has made smaller package sizes a focus of its sales efforts to retailers. The company’s seven smaller package sizes include its four-count Steakhouse Bakers, three-pound Steakhouse Golds, 1.5-pound Steakhouse Roasters, three-pound Seafood B Reds, three-pound MountainKing Russets, three-pound MountainKing Reds and a 16-ounce package of the company’s Heat and Eat Gold Mashed. Each offers 8-10 servings to help households avoid waste.

MountainKing Potatoes is a leading grower of high-flavor potato varieties whose products reach 1 million U.S. households each week, according to the company.

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

MountainKing looking to capitalize on consumer preference for smaller bags

New sales figures indicate when it comes to bagged fresh potatoes, smaller package sizes are starting to sell big.

Sales of bagged fresh potatoes under four pounds are up 17.8 percent from a year ago and 112 percent in the past 10 years, according to data from AC Nielson Fresh Facts.

MK-Small-Bags“These new figures illustrate why retailers need to re-think their bagged fresh potato merchandising strategies with a greater emphasis on smaller package sizes,” John Pope of Houston-based MountainKing Potatoes said in a press release. “They underscore what we’ve been seeing for quite some time – that consumers are buying in smaller quantities.”

Two key factors are contributing to the growth of smaller bagged potatoes, according to Pope. First, family sizes continue to shrink, with two thirds of all U.S. households currently under the age of 30 or over the age of 50. Second, the availability of online recipes has led shoppers to plan a meal at a time rather than buying for several meals, thereby increasing the average number of shopping visits per week. Consumers now average 2.2 shopping trips per week, the highest in 10 years.

While sales of the smaller package sizes continue to grow, so too are profits for grocers who merchandise the smaller packages, according to Pope.

Fresh potatoes in bags five pounds and larger offer an average ring per pound of 52 cents while the average ring per pound of potatoes in smaller bags is $ 1.52.

“Retailers who shift their merchandise to smaller pack sizes will realize significant profit improvement from their fresh potatoes,” Pope said in the press release.

MountainKing has made smaller package sizes a focus of its sales efforts to retailers. The company’s seven smaller package sizes include its four-count Steakhouse Bakers, three-pound Steakhouse Golds, 1.5-pound Steakhouse Roasters, three-pound Seafood B Reds, three-pound MountainKing Russets, three-pound MountainKing Reds and a 16-ounce package of the company’s Heat and Eat Gold Mashed. Each offers 8-10 servings to help households avoid waste.

MountainKing Potatoes is a leading grower of high-flavor potato varieties whose products reach 1 million U.S. households each week, according to the company.

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

MountainKing looking to capitalize on consumer preference for smaller bags

New sales figures indicate when it comes to bagged fresh potatoes, smaller package sizes are starting to sell big.

Sales of bagged fresh potatoes under four pounds are up 17.8 percent from a year ago and 112 percent in the past 10 years, according to data from AC Nielson Fresh Facts.

MK-Small-Bags“These new figures illustrate why retailers need to re-think their bagged fresh potato merchandising strategies with a greater emphasis on smaller package sizes,” John Pope of Houston-based MountainKing Potatoes said in a press release. “They underscore what we’ve been seeing for quite some time – that consumers are buying in smaller quantities.”

Two key factors are contributing to the growth of smaller bagged potatoes, according to Pope. First, family sizes continue to shrink, with two thirds of all U.S. households currently under the age of 30 or over the age of 50. Second, the availability of online recipes has led shoppers to plan a meal at a time rather than buying for several meals, thereby increasing the average number of shopping visits per week. Consumers now average 2.2 shopping trips per week, the highest in 10 years.

While sales of the smaller package sizes continue to grow, so too are profits for grocers who merchandise the smaller packages, according to Pope.

Fresh potatoes in bags five pounds and larger offer an average ring per pound of 52 cents while the average ring per pound of potatoes in smaller bags is $ 1.52.

“Retailers who shift their merchandise to smaller pack sizes will realize significant profit improvement from their fresh potatoes,” Pope said in the press release.

MountainKing has made smaller package sizes a focus of its sales efforts to retailers. The company’s seven smaller package sizes include its four-count Steakhouse Bakers, three-pound Steakhouse Golds, 1.5-pound Steakhouse Roasters, three-pound Seafood B Reds, three-pound MountainKing Russets, three-pound MountainKing Reds and a 16-ounce package of the company’s Heat and Eat Gold Mashed. Each offers 8-10 servings to help households avoid waste.

MountainKing Potatoes is a leading grower of high-flavor potato varieties whose products reach 1 million U.S. households each week, according to the company.

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

MountainKing looking to capitalize on consumer preference for smaller bags

New sales figures indicate when it comes to bagged fresh potatoes, smaller package sizes are starting to sell big.

Sales of bagged fresh potatoes under four pounds are up 17.8 percent from a year ago and 112 percent in the past 10 years, according to data from AC Nielson Fresh Facts.

MK-Small-Bags“These new figures illustrate why retailers need to re-think their bagged fresh potato merchandising strategies with a greater emphasis on smaller package sizes,” John Pope of Houston-based MountainKing Potatoes said in a press release. “They underscore what we’ve been seeing for quite some time – that consumers are buying in smaller quantities.”

Two key factors are contributing to the growth of smaller bagged potatoes, according to Pope. First, family sizes continue to shrink, with two thirds of all U.S. households currently under the age of 30 or over the age of 50. Second, the availability of online recipes has led shoppers to plan a meal at a time rather than buying for several meals, thereby increasing the average number of shopping visits per week. Consumers now average 2.2 shopping trips per week, the highest in 10 years.

While sales of the smaller package sizes continue to grow, so too are profits for grocers who merchandise the smaller packages, according to Pope.

Fresh potatoes in bags five pounds and larger offer an average ring per pound of 52 cents while the average ring per pound of potatoes in smaller bags is $ 1.52.

“Retailers who shift their merchandise to smaller pack sizes will realize significant profit improvement from their fresh potatoes,” Pope said in the press release.

MountainKing has made smaller package sizes a focus of its sales efforts to retailers. The company’s seven smaller package sizes include its four-count Steakhouse Bakers, three-pound Steakhouse Golds, 1.5-pound Steakhouse Roasters, three-pound Seafood B Reds, three-pound MountainKing Russets, three-pound MountainKing Reds and a 16-ounce package of the company’s Heat and Eat Gold Mashed. Each offers 8-10 servings to help households avoid waste.

MountainKing Potatoes is a leading grower of high-flavor potato varieties whose products reach 1 million U.S. households each week, according to the company.

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

MountainKing looking to capitalize on consumer preference for smaller bags

New sales figures indicate when it comes to bagged fresh potatoes, smaller package sizes are starting to sell big.

Sales of bagged fresh potatoes under four pounds are up 17.8 percent from a year ago and 112 percent in the past 10 years, according to data from AC Nielson Fresh Facts.

MK-Small-Bags“These new figures illustrate why retailers need to re-think their bagged fresh potato merchandising strategies with a greater emphasis on smaller package sizes,” John Pope of Houston-based MountainKing Potatoes said in a press release. “They underscore what we’ve been seeing for quite some time – that consumers are buying in smaller quantities.”

Two key factors are contributing to the growth of smaller bagged potatoes, according to Pope. First, family sizes continue to shrink, with two thirds of all U.S. households currently under the age of 30 or over the age of 50. Second, the availability of online recipes has led shoppers to plan a meal at a time rather than buying for several meals, thereby increasing the average number of shopping visits per week. Consumers now average 2.2 shopping trips per week, the highest in 10 years.

While sales of the smaller package sizes continue to grow, so too are profits for grocers who merchandise the smaller packages, according to Pope.

Fresh potatoes in bags five pounds and larger offer an average ring per pound of 52 cents while the average ring per pound of potatoes in smaller bags is $ 1.52.

“Retailers who shift their merchandise to smaller pack sizes will realize significant profit improvement from their fresh potatoes,” Pope said in the press release.

MountainKing has made smaller package sizes a focus of its sales efforts to retailers. The company’s seven smaller package sizes include its four-count Steakhouse Bakers, three-pound Steakhouse Golds, 1.5-pound Steakhouse Roasters, three-pound Seafood B Reds, three-pound MountainKing Russets, three-pound MountainKing Reds and a 16-ounce package of the company’s Heat and Eat Gold Mashed. Each offers 8-10 servings to help households avoid waste.

MountainKing Potatoes is a leading grower of high-flavor potato varieties whose products reach 1 million U.S. households each week, according to the company.

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