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Monsanto knocks back Bayer’s second takeover offer

Despite a promised US$ 1.5 billion reverse break-up fee, Monsanto has deemed Bayer’s revised acquisition bid as “insufficient to ensure deal certainty”.

Last week, German seed and crop protection group Bayer increased its offer for the U.S. company by 2.5% to US$ 125 per share.

“Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) today announced that its Board of Directors unanimously views Bayer AG’s revised proposal as financially inadequate and insufficient to ensure deal certainty,” Monsanto said in an announcement today.

“Monsanto remains open to continued and constructive conversations with Bayer and other parties to assess whether a transaction that the Board believes is in the best interest of Monsanto shareowners can be realized.

“There is no assurance that any transaction will be entered into or consummated, or on what terms.”

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FreshFruitPortal.com

Do alternate varieties offer opportunities for California avocado growers?

It’s no secret that the Hass avocado is the darling of the world. More than 50 years ago, California growers began planting the variety and Mexico followed suit as it eyed the U.S. market, as did Peru and Chile. Colombia began adding Hass acreage to its prodigious supply of native avocados about a decade ago, and it is now also trying to gain access to the lucrative U.S. marketplace.

But is the Hass avocado really the only avocado that consumers will eat?

BellamoreTom BellamoreIn fact, Florida does grow and market its thin-skinned, large green fruit with some success. And at this time of year, some California shippers do have alternate varieties and have experienced good success.

California Avocado Commission President Tom Bellamore believes alternative varieties may offer at least a niche market for California growers as they continue to compete against the growing tide of Hass avocados from various sources.

While California growers argue that their Hass avocado is better during much of their season in the late spring to early fall vs. fruit that travels to the United States from thousands of miles away, no such argument is needed with the other varieties.

Currently only the Hass variety can be imported from Mexico or the other countries.

Bellamore said there is very little worry that a California avocado of the Reed variety, for example, will face direct competition of the same variety from foreign soil. He said CAC board members, as well as others in the industry, are discussing opportunities with other varieties and the concept has some strong advocates.

Bellamore said California is already attempting to distinguish its avocados to discriminating customers by touting its freshness and local appeal, especially to U.S. consumers in the West.

He said adding varieties would expand the portfolio — because they are often harvested at a different time of the year — and also add some year-round marketing punch to the California avocado brand.

“From a marketing perspective, it would be very advantageous to be able to continue talking to consumers all year round about our brand,” he said. “Right now it is very difficult to do that because we don’t have avocados all year round.”

A few shippers are already experiencing success with these “off” varieties.

Jared Bray who handles sales for Stehly Farms Organic in Valley Center, CA, said his packingshed does very well with five different avocado varieties: Zutanos, Bacons, Fuertes, Reeds and Pinkertons.

“It’s a very nice niche for us,” he said. “We actually have a huge following for our Reed avocados.”

Though there are not accurate numbers concerning the total California production of these “off” varieties, some estimate that it could be as high as 5 percent of total volume at this point. This year, that could represent as much as 25 million pounds. Currently much of that production ends up in farmers markets.

Stehly is a producer of organic avocados and Bray said much of the company’s production of organic Reed avocados is sold to Whole Foods, which apparently is very happy with that variety. Bray said it grows larger than the typical Hass with some of the fruit getting as large as two pounds.

“It is my favorite avocado,” he said. “It is nutty and buttery.”

Stehly leaves its Reed variety avocados on the tree as long as possible and tries to market them in the September-through-November time frame, which is at the back end of the California deal.

“By then the oil content is very good and it is just a great piece of fruit,” he said. “I could absolutely ship more if I had them.”

And he added that he always gets a premium for that fruit. He said the other varieties also do well, but the Reed is the real star.

Singing the same tune was Bob Lucy, a partner at Del Rey Avocado Co. in Fallbrook, CA.

“The non-Hass varieties are a very important part of our program,” he said.

Del Rey sells both organic and conventional avocados, and Lucy said the organic production of Reeds is also sold mostly to Whole Foods. But he also has conventional production, which sells for a premium to other retailers predominantly on the West Coast, but there is interest everywhere.

Lucy called the Reed “a big Florida-looking avocado with a pulp that doesn’t quite get as green as the Hass.”

He said the Reed variety has been around for a while but his firm, as well as others, did it a disservice by initially picking it too early.

“We picked it way too early and it didn’t do well,” said Lucy. “Now we keep it on the tree until at least late June and market it in July and August, and it does very well.”

Lucy is quick to say that it has its flaws, including the yellow pulp color that needs to be blended with a Hass for the right guacamole colors. But he said it does offer a niche opportunity for California growers fighting for market share and better pricing.

In fact, Del Rey has made a commitment to that variety, as well as other “off” varieties, by investing in its own nursery to grow root stock.

“One-third of the acreage in that nursery is devoted to Reed,” he said.

Rob Wedin, who is in charge of fresh sales for Calavo Growers in Santa Paula, CA, believes in the concept of expanding California’s variety diversity, but he doesn’t believe the state’s growers have found the right variety yet.

Wedin said most California growers have converted their acreage of Reeds and Fuertes and other varieties to Hass simply because of the economics.

“All other varieties are extremely minor and I don’t really see much opportunity, but I know people are working on some new things and we’d like to see that,” he said. “I just don’t think it is anything we already have.”

He was quick to point out that he does not put the Lamb Hass in that category.

The Lamb Hass is different than the regular Hass, as it has a slightly smoother skin and does tend to grow larger in the early part of the season. But by late June and into July, it behaves like a Hass and is marketed as such.

During the middle of the season, Wedin said the Lamb Hass can account for as much as 15 percent of Calavo’s volume during that period. But again it is largely marketed as a Hass avocado and doesn’t seem to qualify for “off” variety status.

Bellamore said he would like to see more growers add small acreage of the Reed variety precisely to expand the marketing opportunities for growers and the commission.

He said it will take several years to ramp up the volume “even if we start today,” but he added that could coincide perfectly with a growing of that market by shippers and the commission.

And at the end of the day, it could give the “California Avocado” brand an additional way to differentiate itself in the marketplace.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Moroccan company expands offer in Russia

Moroccan company expands offer in Russia

It is quite inconceivable for a Russian family not to have clementines during the Christmas season. The consumption of this juicy and sweet fruit starts generally in October and lasts until April.  The first easy peeler fruit to reach Russia is a group of different clones such as Sidi Aissa, Nules, Bruno, Oronules, Orogrande… In January, Morocco offers clementine Nour, then starting from February, Nadorcott Afourer takes the stage.

Morocco is also an important supplier of vegetables to Russia. Tomato is the main product, followed by pepper and courgette. In the last 5 years, cherry tomatoes and cocktail tomatoes have risen steadily in sales year after year.

Delassus Group is one of the important supplier of Cherry tomatoes. Delassus is the owner of the exclusive brand Marrakech®. Under the Marrakech® brand, it is offering to Russian supermarkets: clementines, mandarins, cherry tomatoes and juices. Moroccan grower-exporter Delassus celebrates 65 years of exportations. The firm, which started out as a 100ha-holding supplying clementines and vegetables to France, now farms over 3,000ha in different areas across the country, operates five packhouses, handles juice processing facilities, employs 4,500 people and annually exports around 50,000 tons of produce, mainly citrus, cherry tomatoes and juices.

To date, 75% of Delassus cherry tomatoes are exported to the European Union (EU), mainly UK, and 60 % of clementines go to Russia. Delassus Group’s future plans concern all aspects of its business. The firm is planting more tomatoes to supply its Russian customers (some 50ha are on the way), and new orange groves are in the pipeline.

“Competition is getting stiffer every year especially as Morocco is improving its production of clementines and tomatoes,” says Delassus Marketing Director, Fatiha Charrat. Other producing countries are experiencing the same developments. We must boost produce demand outside the EU. Citrus consumption outside the EU 15, for example, remains very low: EU: 5.4kg per capita per year; Eastern counties: 3.8 kg per capita.  So there is still a lot to do.”

In 1960 Moroccan suppliers of citrus and the Russian market started under a clearing system.  Clementines were traded for machinery or other Russian items. Since then, the Maroc® label became the top quality symbol for citrus. It is quite inconceivable for a Russian family not to have clementines during the Christmas season.

The consumption of this juicy and sweet fruit starts generally in October and lasts until April.  The first easy peeler fruit to reach Russia is a group of different clones such as Sidi Aissa, Nules, Bruno, Oronules, Orogrande… In January, Morocco offers clementine Nour, then starting from February, Nadorcott Afourer takes the stage.

Morocco is also an important supplier of vegetables to Russia. Tomato is the main product, followed by pepper and courgette. In the last 5 years, cherry tomatoes and cocktail tomatoes have risen steadily in sales year after year.

Delassus Group will also continue to invest in its extensive tutoring program for employees’ children. Delassus launched its not-for-profit Sanady Foundation in 2006 with the aim of improving education within the local worker community. “ It is a real win-win relationship for the three parties: kids, employees and Delassus,” says Ms Charrat. “The program is a promise to kids and parents for a better life. Each year, more kids start the program. In 2006, 57 kids started the program. This year we have 4 000 kids. The need of the foundation is likely to grow each year.”

For more information:
Fatiha Charrat
Delassus Group
Tel: +212 665 186 868
[email protected]
www.delassus.com

Publication date: 12/8/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Moroccan company expands offer in Russia

Moroccan company expands offer in Russia

It is quite inconceivable for a Russian family not to have clementines during the Christmas season. The consumption of this juicy and sweet fruit starts generally in October and lasts until April.  The first easy peeler fruit to reach Russia is a group of different clones such as Sidi Aissa, Nules, Bruno, Oronules, Orogrande… In January, Morocco offers clementine Nour, then starting from February, Nadorcott Afourer takes the stage.

Morocco is also an important supplier of vegetables to Russia. Tomato is the main product, followed by pepper and courgette. In the last 5 years, cherry tomatoes and cocktail tomatoes have risen steadily in sales year after year.

Delassus Group is one of the important supplier of Cherry tomatoes. Delassus is the owner of the exclusive brand Marrakech®. Under the Marrakech® brand, it is offering to Russian supermarkets: clementines, mandarins, cherry tomatoes and juices. Moroccan grower-exporter Delassus celebrates 65 years of exportations. The firm, which started out as a 100ha-holding supplying clementines and vegetables to France, now farms over 3,000ha in different areas across the country, operates five packhouses, handles juice processing facilities, employs 4,500 people and annually exports around 50,000 tons of produce, mainly citrus, cherry tomatoes and juices.

To date, 75% of Delassus cherry tomatoes are exported to the European Union (EU), mainly UK, and 60 % of clementines go to Russia. Delassus Group’s future plans concern all aspects of its business. The firm is planting more tomatoes to supply its Russian customers (some 50ha are on the way), and new orange groves are in the pipeline.

“Competition is getting stiffer every year especially as Morocco is improving its production of clementines and tomatoes,” says Delassus Marketing Director, Fatiha Charrat. Other producing countries are experiencing the same developments. We must boost produce demand outside the EU. Citrus consumption outside the EU 15, for example, remains very low: EU: 5.4kg per capita per year; Eastern counties: 3.8 kg per capita.  So there is still a lot to do.”

In 1960 Moroccan suppliers of citrus and the Russian market started under a clearing system.  Clementines were traded for machinery or other Russian items. Since then, the Maroc® label became the top quality symbol for citrus. It is quite inconceivable for a Russian family not to have clementines during the Christmas season.

The consumption of this juicy and sweet fruit starts generally in October and lasts until April.  The first easy peeler fruit to reach Russia is a group of different clones such as Sidi Aissa, Nules, Bruno, Oronules, Orogrande… In January, Morocco offers clementine Nour, then starting from February, Nadorcott Afourer takes the stage.

Morocco is also an important supplier of vegetables to Russia. Tomato is the main product, followed by pepper and courgette. In the last 5 years, cherry tomatoes and cocktail tomatoes have risen steadily in sales year after year.

Delassus Group will also continue to invest in its extensive tutoring program for employees’ children. Delassus launched its not-for-profit Sanady Foundation in 2006 with the aim of improving education within the local worker community. “ It is a real win-win relationship for the three parties: kids, employees and Delassus,” says Ms Charrat. “The program is a promise to kids and parents for a better life. Each year, more kids start the program. In 2006, 57 kids started the program. This year we have 4 000 kids. The need of the foundation is likely to grow each year.”

For more information:
Fatiha Charrat
Delassus Group
Tel: +212 665 186 868
[email protected]
www.delassus.com

Publication date: 12/8/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Freshline Foods to offer sliced Honeycrisp apples

Freshline Foods, a leading processor of fresh cut, value-added fruits and vegetables, announced that it will expand its fresh-cut apple product offerings with the launch of new Honeycrisp apple slices.honeycrisp-apple-package

Honeycrisp apples have grown in popularity over the past couple years and are prized for their sweet taste, distinct juiciness and exceptional crunch. The inclusion of this apple variety was a natural extension to Freshline Foods’ popular line of sliced apples and will satisfy consumers’ demand for this premium product with the added benefit of convenience.

The Honeycrisp apple slices will be offered in a user-friendly 400-gram (14-ounce) package. The product is slated for North American distribution starting in January.

“Working together with Bamford Family Farms, a sister company to Freshline Foods located in Thornbury, Ontario, we have devoted new acreage to growing Honeycrisp apples,” Noel Brigido, vice president of Mississauga, ON-based Freshline Foods, said in a press release. “During the season, Freshline Foods will utilize the supply of locally grown Honeycrisp, before moving to other regions during the year.

“We anticipate that this new and exciting product will allow retailers to attract new consumers to the value-added category, as well as allow them to provide an expanded offering to regular customers,” Brigido added in the press release.

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

It’s the pits: Ancient peach stones offer clues to fruit’s origins

As peach trees in the Niagara Region of Ontario give up the last of their fruit for the season, their ancestors halfway around the globe are clamouring for attention.

In a study published in PLOS ONE, Gary Crawford, a U of T Mississauga anthropology professor, and two Chinese colleagues propose that the domestic peaches enjoyed worldwide today can trace their ancestry back at least 7,500 years ago to the lower Yangtze River Valley in Southern China, not far from Shanghai. The study, headed by Yunfei Zheng from the Zhejiang Institute of Archeology in China’s Zhejiang Province, was done in collaboration with Crawford and X. Chen, another researcher at the Zhejang Institute.

“Previously, no one knew where peaches were domesticated,” said Crawford. “None of the botanical literature suggested the Yangtze Valley, although many people thought that it happened somewhere in China.”

Radiocarbon dating of ancient peach stones (pits) discovered in the Lower Yangtze River Valley indicates that the peach seems to have been diverged from its wild ancestors as early as 7,500 years ago.

Archeologists have a good understanding of domestication — conscious breeding for traits preferred by people- of annual plants such as grains (rice, wheat, etc.), but the role of trees in early farming and how trees were domesticated is not well documented. Unlike most trees, the peach matures very quickly, producing fruit within two to three years, so selection for desirable traits could become apparent relatively quickly. The problem that Crawford and his colleagues faced was how to recognize the selection process in the archeological record.

Peach stones are well represented at archeological sites in the Yangtze valley, so they compared the size and structure of the stones from six sites that spanned a period of roughly 5,000 years. By comparing the size of the stones from each site, they were able to discern peaches growing significantly larger over time in the Yangtze valley, demonstrating that domestication was taking place. The first peach stones in China most similar to modern cultivated forms are from the Liangzhu culture, which flourished 4,300 to 5300 years ago.

“We’re suggesting that very early on, people understood grafting and vegetative reproduction, because it sped up selection,” Crawford said. “They had to have been doing such work, because seeds have a lot of genetic variability, and you don’t know if a seed will produce the same fruit as the tree that produced it. It’s a gamble. If they simply started grafting, it would guarantee the orchard would have the peaches they wanted.”

Crawford and his colleagues think that it took about 3,000 years before the domesticated peach resembled the fruit we know today.

“The peaches we eat today didn’t grow in the wild,” Crawford added. “Generation after generation kept selecting the peaches they enjoyed. The product went from thinly fleshed, very small fruit to what we have today. Peaches produce fruit over an extended season today but in the wild they have a short season. People must have selected not only for taste and fruit size, but for production time too.”

Discovering more about the origins of domesticated peaches tells us more about our human ancestors, too, Crawford noted.

Crops such as domesticated peaches indicate that early people weren’t passive in dealing with the environment. Not only did they understand grain production, but the woodlands and certain trees were being manipulated early on.

“There is a general sense that people in the past were not as smart as we are,” said Crawford. “The reality is that they were modern humans with the brain capacity and talents that we have now.

“People have been changing the environment to suit their needs for a very long time, and the domestication of peaches helps us understand this.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. The original article was written by Elaine Smith. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Family Dollar rejects Dollar General, sticks with Dollar Tree offer

Family Dollar Stores has rejected a higher acquisition bid from Dollar General Corp. and said it will pursue completion of its prior agreement to be acquired by Dollar Tree, citing antitrust considerations.

“The CEO of Dollar General said he believes antitrust is not a risk but did not put forth a proposal that eliminates regulatory risk for Family Dollar shareholders,” Ed Garden, a non-management director of Family Dollar and co-founder and partner at Trian Fund Management, New York, said in a press release.

“Given the significant antitrust issues involved with Dollar General’s proposal, we will not jeopardize the Dollar Tree deal for a transaction with Dollar General that has a high likelihood of not closing due to antitrust considerations.”

Dollar General indicated it would be willing to divest up to 700 stores to make a merger with Family Dollar feasible — approximately the same percentage of the total combined stores represented by the commitment by Dollar Tree to divest 500 U.S. stores.

In a letter to Family Dollar dated Aug. 20, Rick Dreiling, chairman and CEO of Dollar General, said he believes the reason for Family Dollar’s actions may have been more personal. Noting that Howard Levine, chairman and CEO of Dollar General and the son of its founder, had indicated in earlier discussions that he hoped to run any combined company, Dreiling said, “We cannot help but question whether Dollar General’s failure to embrace such requests by Mr. Levine weighed into Family Dollar’s decision to pursue an agreement with Dollar Tree.”

Levine in a reply said Dreiling’s letter “contained blatant mischaracterizations and did nothing to address the antitrust issues in Dollar General’s proposal.”

Family Dollar and Dollar General characterized events leading up to the merger differently, with Family Dollar alleging its larger competitor “engaged a number of times” over the last 18 months but that Dollar General had canceled meetings, declined to schedule a meeting to discuss potential antitrust issues, and said as recently as June 19 of this year that it was not interested in pursuing a deal.

Of that June 19 meeting, Dollar General said, “Although noting that the timing was not optimal for Dollar General, our representatives expressed more than once our interest in exploring a combination with Family Dollar.”

It also said Family Dollar did not reveal it was nearing a deal with Dollar Tree at that time. “Had we left the meeting with the belief that a sale of Family Dollar was imminent, we assure you that our course of action would have been different.”

Supermarket News

Family Dollar rejects Dollar General, sticks with Dollar Tree offer

Family Dollar Stores has rejected a higher acquisition bid from Dollar General Corp. and said it will pursue completion of its prior agreement to be acquired by Dollar Tree, citing antitrust considerations.

“The CEO of Dollar General said he believes antitrust is not a risk but did not put forth a proposal that eliminates regulatory risk for Family Dollar shareholders,” Ed Garden, a non-management director of Family Dollar and co-founder and partner at Trian Fund Management, New York, said in a press release.

“Given the significant antitrust issues involved with Dollar General’s proposal, we will not jeopardize the Dollar Tree deal for a transaction with Dollar General that has a high likelihood of not closing due to antitrust considerations.”

Dollar General indicated it would be willing to divest up to 700 stores to make a merger with Family Dollar feasible — approximately the same percentage of the total combined stores represented by the commitment by Dollar Tree to divest 500 U.S. stores.

In a letter to Family Dollar dated Aug. 20, Rick Dreiling, chairman and CEO of Dollar General, said he believes the reason for Family Dollar’s actions may have been more personal. Noting that Howard Levine, chairman and CEO of Dollar General and the son of its founder, had indicated in earlier discussions that he hoped to run any combined company, Dreiling said, “We cannot help but question whether Dollar General’s failure to embrace such requests by Mr. Levine weighed into Family Dollar’s decision to pursue an agreement with Dollar Tree.”

Levine in a reply said Dreiling’s letter “contained blatant mischaracterizations and did nothing to address the antitrust issues in Dollar General’s proposal.”

Family Dollar and Dollar General characterized events leading up to the merger differently, with Family Dollar alleging its larger competitor “engaged a number of times” over the last 18 months but that Dollar General had canceled meetings, declined to schedule a meeting to discuss potential antitrust issues, and said as recently as June 19 of this year that it was not interested in pursuing a deal.

Of that June 19 meeting, Dollar General said, “Although noting that the timing was not optimal for Dollar General, our representatives expressed more than once our interest in exploring a combination with Family Dollar.”

It also said Family Dollar did not reveal it was nearing a deal with Dollar Tree at that time. “Had we left the meeting with the belief that a sale of Family Dollar was imminent, we assure you that our course of action would have been different.”

Supermarket News

Chiquita rejects buyout offer, reaffirms plans to merge with Fyffes

Chiquita Brands International Inc. announced that its board of directors — after careful consultation with its legal and financial advisors — unanimously determined that the unsolicited buyout offer from the Cutrale Group and the Safra Group is inadequate and not in the best interests of Chiquita shareholders.

On Aug. 11 the pair of companies reached out to Chiquita in an attempt to acquire all of the outstanding stock of Chiquita for $ 13 per share in cash, which was nearly 30 percent above the share price when the offer was made. At this time Chiquita determined not to furnish information to, and have discussions and negotiations with, the Cutrale Group and the Safra Group.

Additionally, the Chiquita board of directors has unanimously reaffirmed its recommendation that Chiquita shareholders vote to approve the definitive merger agreement between Chiquita and Fyffes.

According to a press release, Chiquita remains committed to completing its transaction with Fyffes, which it believes will create a combined company that is better positioned to succeed in a highly competitive marketplace, while driving strong performance and value for shareholders.

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

Chiquita rejects buyout offer, reaffirms plans to merge with Fyffes

Chiquita Brands International Inc. announced that its board of directors — after careful consultation with its legal and financial advisors — unanimously determined that the unsolicited buyout offer from the Cutrale Group and the Safra Group is inadequate and not in the best interests of Chiquita shareholders.

On Aug. 11 the pair of companies reached out to Chiquita in an attempt to acquire all of the outstanding stock of Chiquita for $ 13 per share in cash, which was nearly 30 percent above the share price when the offer was made. At this time Chiquita determined not to furnish information to, and have discussions and negotiations with, the Cutrale Group and the Safra Group.

Additionally, the Chiquita board of directors has unanimously reaffirmed its recommendation that Chiquita shareholders vote to approve the definitive merger agreement between Chiquita and Fyffes.

According to a press release, Chiquita remains committed to completing its transaction with Fyffes, which it believes will create a combined company that is better positioned to succeed in a highly competitive marketplace, while driving strong performance and value for shareholders.

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

Chiquita receives $611 million buyout offer

Chiquita Brands International, which in March announced a proposed merger with Dublin, Ireland-based Fyffes plc, received an unsolicited $ 611 million buyout offer from the Cutrale Group and the Safra Group.

The pair of companies proposed to acquire 100 percent of the outstanding stock of Chiquita Brands Inc. at a price of $ 13 per share in cash to Chiquita shareholders. This proposal represents a premium of 29 percent to Chiquita’s closing share price of $ 10.06 as of Aug. 8; however, since the offer was announced Chiquita’s stock has risen to more than $ 13 per share.

The proposal was conveyed to Chiquita in a letter to Kerrii Anderson, chairwoman of the Chiquita board of directors, and Edward Lonergan, Chiquita’s president and chief executive officer.

“If we are able to proceed on a timely basis with due diligence and discussions, we will be in a position to close the transaction before the end of the year, within the same timeframe [Chiquita has] indicated for the Fyffes transaction, without the execution risk and uncertainty inherent in that transaction,” the senior management team’s Michael Rubinoff said on behalf of the Cutrale Group and the Safra Group.

“Our proposal also offers a superior valuation compared to Chiquita’s historical trading multiples,” he said in the letter. “The proposed price, including the assumption of Chiquita net debt, represents an 11.8x multiple of Chiquita’s last twelve months reported Adjusted EBITDA.”

The proposed offer is not subject to any financing conditions.

“We believe discussions of a potential transaction are now particularly timely and appropriate as a result of the dismissal of the civil claims relating to Chiquita’s alleged involvement in the actions by the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, the results from your recent second quarter earnings announcement, and the market’s valuation of the Fyffes transaction,” Rubinoff said.

The Cutrale Group, which accounts for over one-third of the $ 5 billion orange juice market, has operations that include oranges, apples, peaches, lemons and soybeans. The Safra Group is an international group of companies and assets controlled by Joseph Safra. The Safra Group, with assets under management of over $ 200 billion and aggregate stockholder equity of approximately $ 15.3 billion, operates banks and invests in other businesses.

The companies asked Chiquita to respond by noon on Friday, Aug. 15.

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

BREAKING: Board offers path to return for Demoulas, but offer rebuffed

Saying “there is no reason not to meet in the middle,” the three independent directors of Demoulas Super Markets said Friday that they have made an offer to ousted president Arthur T. Demoulas and his staff to return to work at the beleaguered chain while Demoulas continues his pursuit of acquiring the company.

The offer would not return Demoulas to his role as CEO during this period, the board members said, but help to resume normal activities at the company, whose 71 stores have been rocked by three weeks of employee walkouts and consumer boycotts in protest of Demoulas’ firing by the board in late June.

Shortly after that offer was announced late Friday, it was denounced in a sharply worded statement from Arthur T. Demoulas, who suggested the board was seeking only to stabilize the company so as to sell it to another party. He called on the dierctors to instead accept his offer to take back full control of the company while a deal is finalized.

According to the board members statement, their proposed agreement “would allow [Demoulas] and his entire former management team, including all individuals who resigned or were dismissed, to assist the company’s return to normal business operations and people to get back to their jobs and lives. That agreement would not place Mr. Demoulas in control of the company during this interim period, but would instead retain the current management.”

“There is no reason to not meet in the middle,” the directors added. “Mr. Demoulas gets his management team back in place, associates can get back to doing their job, customers can get back to shopping and the company gets the breathing room needed to create an orderly and productive way forward.”

Arthur T. Demoulas was fired in late June after a year of tangles with the board, which is controlled by majority shareholders led by his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas. The majority shareholders in turn said they were seeking a sale of the company. Arthur T. Demoulas said he had offered to buy all of the shares he did not own but that deal has not yet been consummated. It was not clear Friday whether the board would still consider additional proposals.

Supermarket News

Offer kids whole grains; they’ll eat them, study shows

Many parents presume their children will shun whole grains because they think they don’t like them, a University of Florida researcher says, but a new UF study may start to debunk that idea.

If whole grains are offered, kids eat them, according to a new study by researchers at UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Specifically, former graduate student Allyson Radford and two faculty members found children ate whole- and refined-grain foods in equal amounts.

“We tried to choose foods we thought kids would enjoy, such as cereal bars, macaroni and cheese and SunChips and found that they ate the ready-to-eat snack foods the most,” said Radford, one of the study’s authors. “We were interested to see if they would eat the whole-grain foods as much as the refined-grain foods, and so we were pleasantly surprised that they would eat the same amount whether the food was whole or refined.”

Radford co-wrote the paper with assistant professor Wendy Dahl and professor Bobbi Langkamp-Henken, all of whom are in the food science and human nutrition department. The study was published online last week by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Eating whole grains, combined with a healthy diet, may reduce the risk of heart disease and help with weight management, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Examples of whole-grain foods include popcorn, oats, whole wheat bread and brown rice. Refined grains, enriched and fortified with nutrients, include foods such as white rice and white bread.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans call for at least half the grain consumers eat to be whole grains, and they urge adolescents to consume 5 to 7 ounces of grains daily with at least half being whole grains. National surveys suggest adolescents consume far less: about 1 ounce, or the grain contained in one slice of bread.

Federal dietary guidelines for the 2012-13 school year increased the whole grain required in school lunches. Starting this fall, schools must offer only whole-grain rich products.

The new rules requiring more whole grains in school lunches should result in adolescents eating more of them, Dahl said, but many parents believe their kids won’t eat whole grains.

General Mills funded a broad study on the impact of whole grains on immunity. As part of the study, Radford wanted to know if children could meet the 2010 dietary guidelines for whole grains. For the study, 83 students in a Florida middle school were randomly assigned to receive either whole- or refined-grain foods over a six-week period in 2010. Of those, 42 students were in the refined grain group, while 41 were in the whole-grain group.

Participants and their families were given refined-grain or whole-grain pasta, rice, bread and other foods to eat at home. And they were given whole- and refined-grain snack foods to eat at school.

Researchers interviewed students weekly to see what fruits, vegetables and grains they ate in the previous 24 hours. Before the study, participants were eating about one ounce of whole grain per day. During the study, students in both groups reported eating more than 6 ounces of grains each day, and those given whole grains reported more than half their grain intake came from whole grains, meeting the 2010 dietary guidelines.

Snacks served at school were the most popular grain foods the kids ate.

“Encouraging consumption of whole-grain foods that require little to no preparation may be the most effective means of increasing whole grain intake at home,” said Radford, now a UF research study coordinator in food science and human nutrition.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Offer kids whole grains; they’ll eat them, study shows

Many parents presume their children will shun whole grains because they think they don’t like them, a University of Florida researcher says, but a new UF study may start to debunk that idea.

If whole grains are offered, kids eat them, according to a new study by researchers at UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Specifically, former graduate student Allyson Radford and two faculty members found children ate whole- and refined-grain foods in equal amounts.

“We tried to choose foods we thought kids would enjoy, such as cereal bars, macaroni and cheese and SunChips and found that they ate the ready-to-eat snack foods the most,” said Radford, one of the study’s authors. “We were interested to see if they would eat the whole-grain foods as much as the refined-grain foods, and so we were pleasantly surprised that they would eat the same amount whether the food was whole or refined.”

Radford co-wrote the paper with assistant professor Wendy Dahl and professor Bobbi Langkamp-Henken, all of whom are in the food science and human nutrition department. The study was published online last week by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Eating whole grains, combined with a healthy diet, may reduce the risk of heart disease and help with weight management, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Examples of whole-grain foods include popcorn, oats, whole wheat bread and brown rice. Refined grains, enriched and fortified with nutrients, include foods such as white rice and white bread.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans call for at least half the grain consumers eat to be whole grains, and they urge adolescents to consume 5 to 7 ounces of grains daily with at least half being whole grains. National surveys suggest adolescents consume far less: about 1 ounce, or the grain contained in one slice of bread.

Federal dietary guidelines for the 2012-13 school year increased the whole grain required in school lunches. Starting this fall, schools must offer only whole-grain rich products.

The new rules requiring more whole grains in school lunches should result in adolescents eating more of them, Dahl said, but many parents believe their kids won’t eat whole grains.

General Mills funded a broad study on the impact of whole grains on immunity. As part of the study, Radford wanted to know if children could meet the 2010 dietary guidelines for whole grains. For the study, 83 students in a Florida middle school were randomly assigned to receive either whole- or refined-grain foods over a six-week period in 2010. Of those, 42 students were in the refined grain group, while 41 were in the whole-grain group.

Participants and their families were given refined-grain or whole-grain pasta, rice, bread and other foods to eat at home. And they were given whole- and refined-grain snack foods to eat at school.

Researchers interviewed students weekly to see what fruits, vegetables and grains they ate in the previous 24 hours. Before the study, participants were eating about one ounce of whole grain per day. During the study, students in both groups reported eating more than 6 ounces of grains each day, and those given whole grains reported more than half their grain intake came from whole grains, meeting the 2010 dietary guidelines.

Snacks served at school were the most popular grain foods the kids ate.

“Encouraging consumption of whole-grain foods that require little to no preparation may be the most effective means of increasing whole grain intake at home,” said Radford, now a UF research study coordinator in food science and human nutrition.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

FreshXperts to offer consulting services at United Fresh 2014 and FMI Connect 2014

Produce consultancy FreshXperts will offer consulting services at the United Fresh and FMI 2014 trade shows, co-located at Chicago’s McCormick Place, June 10-13.

First-time clients who schedule an appointment in advance are eligible for a free 30-minute initial consultation during the shows.

FreshXperts will be part of the inaugural Expert Consultation Center at United Fresh where, for the first time, consulting firms will have space to meet with current and prospective clients in an exclusive area on the show floor. They will also have access to private meeting rooms for more in-depth consultation.

“United Fresh and FMI have always provided outstanding forums for new ideas,” Tim Vaux, a partner in FreshXperts, said in a press release. “As part of the Expert Consultation Center, FreshXperts has a special opportunity to help members of the fresh and grocery industries find the inspiration, as well as identify the action steps, to take their businesses to the next level. By participating in the consultation center, FreshXperts will be able to help our current and future clients leave the conferences knowing that that they have a plan in place to help them succeed and a team in their corner to support their success.”

Vaux continued, “The FreshXperts provide full-service advising that integrates seamlessly with our clients’ management teams, lending expertise and manpower without the expenses and long-term commitments of permanent in-house employees.”

The group provides solutions for businesses across the fresh industry, offering expertise to grower-shippers in the areas of operations, marketing, sales and merchandising, governance, strategic planning, supply chain management, organics, e-commerce, and social media, among others.

The FreshXperts team also works with supermarkets to develop merchandising and advertising strategies, lend competency in category development, provide new store and remodel planning, manage gross profit margins, contribute expertise in organics, and provide education related to buying and selling produce.

“Our proven strategies and networks of contacts throughout the supply chain assure our clients of success,” Vaux added. “We have a well-established track record of achieving profitable and sustainable growth for our clients in fresh foods and retail sales, and we invite conference attendees to schedule an appointment to discuss how we can help their businesses.”

Individuals or businesses wishing to set an appointment with the FreshXperts at United Fresh and FMI Connect 2014 may do so by emailing info@freshxperts.com.

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Local foods offer tangible economic benefits in some regions

Despite their typically small size and sparse distribution, farms that sell their products locally may boost economic growth in their communities in some regions of the U.S., according to a team of economists.

“There has been a lot of hope, but little evidence, that local food systems can be an engine of economic growth in communities,” said Stephan Goetz, professor of agricultural and regional economics in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and director of the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development. “Our findings show that, at least in certain regions of the country, community-focused agriculture has had a measurable effect on economic growth.”

The team’s findings, which appear in the February 2014 issue of Economic Development Quarterly, shed new light on the role that local food sales play in economies, and may help inform policymakers about supporting community-focused agriculture programs. The researchers defined community-focused agriculture as farm enterprises that sell products directly to consumers or that generate farm income from agritourism activities or both. Agritourism offers harvest festivals, pick-your-own activities and other recreational opportunities to attract visitors to farms. According to the 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture — the most recently available data at the time of this study — only 6.2 percent of all farms engage in direct sales, and even fewer engage in agritourism activities. Goetz and his colleagues measured the impact of community-focused agriculture on local economic growth by examining its impact on agricultural sales overall.

“Rather than look at the direct effect of community-focused agriculture on economic growth, we looked at the effect of these operations on total agricultural sales, and then at how total agricultural sales affected economic growth,” said Goetz. The study is the first to measure the impacts of local food sales, and agricultural sales more broadly, in this way.

Using county-level data from the 2002 and 2007 U.S. Census of Agriculture, the team analyzed the link between direct farm sales — sales made directly from farmer to consumer — and total farm sales. When they examined the data on a national basis, they found a positive but not statistically significant relationship between the two.

Goetz said that a different picture emerged when they looked at the data by region, as defined by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. In some regions, direct sales seemed to complement total farm sales. For example, in New England, a $ 1 increase from the 2002 level of direct farm sales was associated with a $ 5 increase in total farm sales. That same $ 1 increase was associated with a $ 9 increase in overall farm sales in the Mid-Atlantic states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Yet, in other regions, local food sales appear to compete with total farm sales. In Southeastern U.S. counties, for example, direct sales were associated with a reduction in total farm sales. Next, to measure the impact of all agricultural sales on economic growth, the researchers used a statistical model to analyze how changes in farm sales per capita influenced changes in real personal income per capita — an indicator of economic growth. Again, the team performed this analysis using county-level data from 2002 to 2007.

“We found that for every $ 1 increase in agricultural sales, personal income rose by 22 cents over the course of five years,” said Goetz. “Considering the relatively small size of just the farming sector within the national economy, with less than 2 percent of the workforce engaged in farming, it’s impressive that these sales actually move income growth in this way.”

Goetz said that by establishing that direct sales have a positive effect on total agricultural sales, which in turn have an effect on income growth, this study demonstrates that direct sales do indeed expand local economies at least in the Northeast U.S. He added that these results came as a bit of a surprise.

“When we set out to measure the economic impact of local food sales, we frankly didn’t expect to find one,” said Goetz. He explained that economists are generally skeptical that local sales can have impacts because such sales tend to recirculate money within a community rather than inject new money. “Injection of new money — money from outside of the community — is what many economic development practitioners think of as the fuel for economic growth. But to me, these findings provide quite robust evidence that even direct sales do have an effect on growth, in the Northeast U.S.”

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

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily