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Canada poised for changes in the produce marketplace

With an overhaul of its regulatory system for fresh produce imminent, the Canadian marketplace soon will be undergoing more changes than at any time in the past 20 years.

At least that was the view of Fred Webber, chief executive officer and president of the Ottawa-based Dispute Resolution Corp., which can mediate produce sales conflicts among the North American Free Trade Agreement partners of Canada, the United States and Mexico.

He said the licensing change alone takes on a whole new meaning in Canada and it will be much easier for U.S. and Mexican trading partners to check the validity of the Canadian firms with which they do business.

Webber was part of three-person panel discussion about the Canadian produce industry at the United Fresh convention in Chicago, June 10-12. Also discussing the new regulations, which have not been finalized yet, and what they mean were Shelley Ippolito, director of the Destination Inspection Service for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Canadian Produce Marketing Association President Ron Lemaire.

The proposed regulations have gone through several levels of vetting as well as the initial comment period, so these experts appeared to be fairly confident that their impressions of the final regulations are accurate.

Ippolito said it appears that every company importing fruits or vegetables or preparing them for export between countries or between Canadian provinces will have to be licensed under the new regulations.

In addition, all licensees will have to be members of the DRC. Webber said that shippers doing their due diligence will be able to check to make sure a buyer has a license, and is a member in good standing of the DRC. But even if a seller does not do its due diligence, it will be very difficult to sell to a non-licensed company because the product will be prohibited from entering Canada if it is not headed to a licensee.

“You just can’t sell it to whoever,” said Webber. “You will have to sell it to someone legally.”

With regard to the DRC, he said that anyone will be able to appeal to the DRC for help in a slow-pay situation, but still only DRC members will be able to participate in the dispute resolution piece.

So that means there is still a very viable business reason for countries outside of Canada doing business with Canadian companies to have a DRC membership.

Ippolito also discussed the revitalized Destination Inspection Service, which has gone through an overhaul over the last several years. Today, that government agency provides timely inspections on conditions, quality and temperature, and it can also conduct custom inspections. She said the CFIA inspectors operate on a 24/7 time schedule and they produce clear and transparent inspection reports that are available digitally.

Webber plugged the program, telling U.S. and Mexican shippers to make sure they designate a DIS inspection when asking for one from the receiver. He said a receiver can use a private inspector but it must be with “informed consent “from the shipper, and he indicated that it might not be as accurate.

“Please, please, please make sure, when there is a problem, you get a DIS inspection,” urged Webber.

Lemaire also discussed what he called the “massive change” in the Canadian produce marketplace. He also complimented the government in accomplishing these changes “lightning fast.”

With more transparency and a better situation, the CPMA executive said there are great opportunities for doing business in Canada. He called it a very diversified country with 37 million resident of which 6.5 million are immigrants. Canadian’s immigrant population continues to grow, and, as in the United States, ethnic populations tend to be very big consumers of fresh produce.

And also like the United States, the Canadian population is getting older, which is another driver of increased produce consumption. He said Canadians are adventurous eaters with a recent survey stating that 77 percent of the respondents had eaten a new produce item in the past year.

Lemaire said the changes in the regulations, while significant, should not be traumatic for those exporting product into Canada. He indicated that CPMA and other industry representatives worked with the regulators to make sure the regulations were not onerous.

Speaking specifically about food-safety requirements, Lemaire said they are outcome-based, relying on a heavy dose of science and risk analysis.

“The proof will be in the pudding,” he said, but clearly indicated that he is very optimistic.

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

‘Snoboy’ brand returning to marketplace

The famous “Snoboy” brand of fresh produce is returning to the retail marketplace after an absence of several years.

Amerifresh, owner of the “Snoboy” brand, announced the reintroduction at the recent National Grocers Association annual show.romaine

The well-known brand has been previously available only to foodservice customers like restaurants, schools, hospitals, casinos and cruise ships, according to Amerifresh President Bill Munger.

“We’ve heard from a number of past customers who grew up with the memories of buying ‘Snoboy’ and now we are reintroducing the brand into independent grocers,” Munger said in a press release. “These grocers can now offer a well-recognized brand with a reputation for consistently high-quality produce.”

Retail items being introduced include a three-count pack of Romaine hearts, a two-pound pack of hothouse Bell peppers, sleeve celery, bagged Romaine, red and green leaf lettuce, Iceberg lettuce, bagged potatoes, bagged onions, apples, oranges, lemons and limes.

“We have designed new labels and new packaging specifically for retail display and consumer convenience,” Munger added in the press release.

Since being introduced in 1925, the “Snoboy” brand has earned a reputation for consistent quality and freshness with grocers, restaurant operators and consumers. Produce for the brand is sourced from selected growers in the most fertile growing regions around the globe to provide availability and consistency regardless of the season.

Amerifresh, a leading produce marketer based in Scottsdale, AZ, provides fresh fruit and vegetables to the retail grocery and foodservice industries. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Services Group of America.

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

‘Snoboy’ brand returning to marketplace

The famous “Snoboy” brand of fresh produce is returning to the retail marketplace after an absence of several years.

Amerifresh, owner of the “Snoboy” brand, announced the reintroduction at the recent National Grocers Association annual show.romaine

The well-known brand has been previously available only to foodservice customers like restaurants, schools, hospitals, casinos and cruise ships, according to Amerifresh President Bill Munger.

“We’ve heard from a number of past customers who grew up with the memories of buying ‘Snoboy’ and now we are reintroducing the brand into independent grocers,” Munger said in a press release. “These grocers can now offer a well-recognized brand with a reputation for consistently high-quality produce.”

Retail items being introduced include a three-count pack of Romaine hearts, a two-pound pack of hothouse Bell peppers, sleeve celery, bagged Romaine, red and green leaf lettuce, Iceberg lettuce, bagged potatoes, bagged onions, apples, oranges, lemons and limes.

“We have designed new labels and new packaging specifically for retail display and consumer convenience,” Munger added in the press release.

Since being introduced in 1925, the “Snoboy” brand has earned a reputation for consistent quality and freshness with grocers, restaurant operators and consumers. Produce for the brand is sourced from selected growers in the most fertile growing regions around the globe to provide availability and consistency regardless of the season.

Amerifresh, a leading produce marketer based in Scottsdale, AZ, provides fresh fruit and vegetables to the retail grocery and foodservice industries. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Services Group of America.

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

“Less competition often means price rises in any marketplace”

Mark O’Sullivan, BanaBay comments on Chiquita and Fyffes merger
“Less competition often means price rises in any marketplace”

Mark O’Sullivan, Managing Director of BanaBay one of the UK’s fastest growing banana suppliers, comments on the recent merger of Chiquita and Fyffes:

“Obviously this merger is going to create the biggest banana brand in the world, however we don’t see that the UK would be too affected by this change as Chiquita already work with Total Produce and have done for a number of years in the UK marketplace. Other than a small amount of ripening in Sheerness and in Dewsbury, Chiquita is not really evident in the UK.

“We understand that the service contract for Asda at Dewsbury will be terminated by the end of the year as Asda will be direct sourcing from their own ripening facility by that time.

“As Dewsbury is quite an old facility, we believe it would require serious investment by Chiquita to convert to the cleaner, more environmentally friendly refrigeration systems more modern facilities use and as Fyffes already has four facilities in the UK, we can’t see the gain for Chiquita in making such an investment, particularly as the facility would potentially be competing against those of Fyffes. Therefore we believe Dewsbury is likely to close, so that existing resource for Chiquita in this country will disappear, reducing competition in the marketplace.

“Because ripening and refrigeration are critical to quality of bananas, it underpins the competitive nature of the market in the UK. Less ripening capacity means less competition.

“How long will any changes take to come into effect? We are unlikely to see major changes within the first six months as merging companies of this size is immensely complex, we would expect consolidation to occur and effective restructuring globally to allow synergies to emerge.

“How will prices be affected by this? Less competition often means price rises in any marketplace. However, there are many more factors at play influencing banana prices, not least growing conditions.

Currently, in our view consumers are often ‘fobbed off’ with lower quality bananas so that the larger retailers can meet demand for lower prices. However, in our experience, once consumers are offered choice, they are often prepared to pay a higher price for premium products. This is where we believe BanaBay can compete – our focus is on quality of fruit -  we have recently appointed a new ripening partner, SH Pratt, to maintain that quality – and also on customer service. Big is not always beautiful, we believe we can take advantage of this merger to differentiate BanaBay as a new brand that is agile and responsive, deliver outstanding quality of produce and excellent customer service.

“Will this impact negatively on growers? Potentially yes. This merger clearly both increases buying power for the new brand and also reduces the number of customers in the marketplace for growers, so we can envisage more of an impact at this end of the supply chain than for end consumers. However, this may work to the advantage of other companies prepared to pay higher prices for premium fruit.

Publication date: 3/26/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Jalisco avocado growers advocating for entry into U.S. marketplace

About 15 years ago, when Mexican avocados began to gain partial entry to the U.S. marketplace, the only groves and packingsheds eligible to export were those located in the west-central state of Michoacán.

Access to the United States has increased to all 50 states, but the point of origin still must only be groves and packing plants in Michoacán. While Michoacán is the largest producing area for Mexican avocados, it is not the only area.

JaliscoavocadosJalisco growers produce about 30 million pounds of avocados annually.Recently, five more municipalities in the bordering state of Jalisco, which is to its north, were certified quarantine-pest free, and growers from that area are now advocating that packingsheds and groves in those pest-free areas also be granted access to the U.S. market.

Some Jalisco growers have been informally asking to be included since their first municipality was certified quarantine-free by the Mexican government’s pesticide agency in 2008.

With the certification of the five new areas, Ignancio Gomez, executive director of the Jalisco Avocado Growers & Exporters Association, which goes by the acronym APEAJAL, said that now more than 8,000 of the 15,000 commercial avocado hectares (about 20,000 of 37,000 acres) in Jalisco are certified pest-free. He believes it is time that those acres be granted access to the U.S. market.

In October, Gomez and other representatives of APEAJAL came to the Produce Marketing Association convention in New Orleans and advocated for their inclusion in the Avocados From Mexico program. The group signed a Memorandum of Agreement with APEAM, the grower group representing Michoacán avocados, and is moving forward to adopt all the reporting and technical requirements that exporters from that state follow.

Gomez said the Jalisco growers believe they have satisfied all the phytosanitary requirements and just need the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant & Health Inspection Service to come to Jalisco and certify the sheds and groves, as they have done with Michoacán.

Gomez is not sure whether Mexico has formally asked the U.S. government to grant entry to certified Jalisco growers, but he believes if the request hasn’t happened it should happen soon.

“We have talked to USDA officials so they know about Jalisco,” he said.

Since Jalisco growers began increasing their plantings about a decade ago, Gomez said the total acreage has grown to about the aforementioned 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres), with about half of that being mature groves. Unlike Michoacán, he said the overwhelming majority of that acreage is irrigated, which has created a different season than the neighboring state.

While both areas can produce avocados year-round, Gomez said Jalisco’s heaviest production is in the summer, which is in direct contrast to Michoacán.

He estimated that about 150,000 tons (30 million pounds) of fruit are produced by these Jalisco growers.

“About 60-70 percent of that is sold domestically and about 30 percent is exported,” he said. “Currently, we export to Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Europe and some to Central America. We are very used to the export culture.”

Asked how quickly he expects Jalisco to be able to sell its avocados to the U.S. market, Gomez said, “That’s the $ 1 million question. We hope to gain access by the time we begin our new season in June.”

He said the vast majority of Jalisco avocados are produced from June to March, with the three summer months being the peak period.

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

Jalisco avocado growers advocating for entry into U.S. marketplace

About 15 years ago, when Mexican avocados began to gain partial entry to the U.S. marketplace, the only groves and packingsheds eligible to export were those located in the west-central state of Michoacán.

Access to the United States has increased to all 50 states, but the point of origin still must only be groves and packing plants in Michoacán. While Michoacán is the largest producing area for Mexican avocados, it is not the only area.

JaliscoavocadosJalisco growers produce about 30 million pounds of avocados annually.Recently, five more municipalities in the bordering state of Jalisco, which is to its north, were certified quarantine-pest free, and growers from that area are now advocating that packingsheds and groves in those pest-free areas also be granted access to the U.S. market.

Some Jalisco growers have been informally asking to be included since their first municipality was certified quarantine-free by the Mexican government’s pesticide agency in 2008.

With the certification of the five new areas, Ignancio Gomez, executive director of the Jalisco Avocado Growers & Exporters Association, which goes by the acronym APEAJAL, said that now more than 8,000 of the 15,000 commercial avocado hectares (about 20,000 of 37,000 acres) in Jalisco are certified pest-free. He believes it is time that those acres be granted access to the U.S. market.

In October, Gomez and other representatives of APEAJAL came to the Produce Marketing Association convention in New Orleans and advocated for their inclusion in the Avocados From Mexico program. The group signed a Memorandum of Agreement with APEAM, the grower group representing Michoacán avocados, and is moving forward to adopt all the reporting and technical requirements that exporters from that state follow.

Gomez said the Jalisco growers believe they have satisfied all the phytosanitary requirements and just need the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant & Health Inspection Service to come to Jalisco and certify the sheds and groves, as they have done with Michoacán.

Gomez is not sure whether Mexico has formally asked the U.S. government to grant entry to certified Jalisco growers, but he believes if the request hasn’t happened it should happen soon.

“We have talked to USDA officials so they know about Jalisco,” he said.

Since Jalisco growers began increasing their plantings about a decade ago, Gomez said the total acreage has grown to about the aforementioned 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres), with about half of that being mature groves. Unlike Michoacán, he said the overwhelming majority of that acreage is irrigated, which has created a different season than the neighboring state.

While both areas can produce avocados year-round, Gomez said Jalisco’s heaviest production is in the summer, which is in direct contrast to Michoacán.

He estimated that about 150,000 tons (30 million pounds) of fruit are produced by these Jalisco growers.

“About 60-70 percent of that is sold domestically and about 30 percent is exported,” he said. “Currently, we export to Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Europe and some to Central America. We are very used to the export culture.”

Asked how quickly he expects Jalisco to be able to sell its avocados to the U.S. market, Gomez said, “That’s the $ 1 million question. We hope to gain access by the time we begin our new season in June.”

He said the vast majority of Jalisco avocados are produced from June to March, with the three summer months being the peak period.

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

Japanese Marketplace Capitalizes on Niche Offerings

EDGEWATER, N.J. — By specializing in Japanese products — both traditional foods and modern novelties — Mitsuwa Marketplace here has become a destination for many types of customers looking for a taste of the Far East. The 92,750-square-foot store offers everything from hard-to-find vegetables to unique candy flavors to cosmetics, alongside a spacious dining area with vendors selling ramen, sushi and other Japanese meals. The store here is the largest of …

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Supermarket News

Japanese Marketplace Capitalizes on Niche Offerings

EDGEWATER, N.J. — By specializing in Japanese products — both traditional foods and modern novelties — Mitsuwa Marketplace here has become a destination for many types of customers looking for a taste of the Far East. The 92,750-square-foot store offers everything from hard-to-find vegetables to unique candy flavors to cosmetics, alongside a spacious dining area with vendors selling ramen, sushi and other Japanese meals. The store here is the largest of …

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

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Minneapolis Marketplace Is Fiercely Independent

Minneapolis is a throwback — a fragmented grocery marketplace with several local and regional supermarket operators but none of the industry’s largest conventional players to force market consolidation. Nor are there any signs market consolidation is imminent. “Minneapolis is one of the more competitive markets in the U.S., and it’s competitive at every price level,” one market observer told SN. It has a wide variety of major operators — including …

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

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Supermarket News