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Local Farmers Market program helps retailer boost produce sales

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

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

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

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

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

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

U.S.: Limoneira expands direct sales program

California-based Limoneira Company will now build on its direct lemon sales programs with oranges and other specialty citrus items.

Chief operating officer Alex Teague tells the move ties into Limoneira’s One World of Citrus program, meeting the needs of customers not only in the U.S. but throughout the globe.

He says the direct sales method outside the lemon category – in citrus referred to as “round fruit” – has been in trials for a couple of years, but now the it would make up 100% of volume.

“One of the big drivers is the foodservice industry. Whereas probably 70-80% oranges go to retail, only about 20-30% of lemons go to retail,” Teague says.

“So bringing the foodservice-size oranges to coincide with our foodservice business in the lemons is a big help.”

In addition to Navel and Valencia oranges, Limoneira will provide Cara Cara Navels , Moro Blood oranges, Pummelos and Star Ruby Grapefruit from its groves.

The company will partner with Cecelia Packing Corporation for packing Limoneira oranges and specialty citrus.

“Limoneira via Sunkist used to have an orange house up until 2001 – for a variety of reasons it was shut down and we had always planned to going back to packing and selling direct ourselves with the oranges – now just appeared the opportune time with Cecelia to go do it,” he says.

“Like our lemon packing house in Santa Paula, they have a state-of-the-art facility in Orange Cove that’s close to our orange and specialty citrus groves,” Teague says in a release.

In the release, Limoneira director of global sales John Carter says global lemon customers have been asking Limoneira to sell its other citrus varieties for quite a while.

“We look forward to the opportunity to grow the category and connect shoppers to other citrus trees,” he says.

“Customers have appreciated the quality and consistency that they receive with Limoneira’s lemons, and we will deliver these same benefits with our oranges and specialty citrus.”

When asked about the current citrus market, Teague is still upbeat despite some short-term challenges this year.

“I would say the round fruit, because of unusual crop size, some maturing issues, there was a struggle this year,” he says.

“But of course we think that’s only temporary and it’ll work its way out. It was more a seasonal crop condition than it was a market condition. We still have strong confidence in the marketplace and consumption.

“The lemon market is continuing to be very strong. Consumption, from what we can tell comparing stores and restaurants, consumption continues to rise. We continue to have a lot of interest from retail and foodservice to have more fresh lemon programs.”

In terms of the upcoming California deal, he says orchards are getting enough heat units to have good-tasting oranges, and Limoneira has a full water allocation in the San Joaquin Valley.

“For fruit condition we’re very much looking forward to the 2016-17 season,” he says.

Farm Fresh Produce ramps up bell peppers program, cabbage

Farm Fresh Produce ramps up bell peppers program, cabbage

Farm Fresh has 50 acres of peppers. Most of Farm Fresh’s produce is shipped to the East Coast, noted Ceccarelli, because their location in North Carolina gives them cheap freight costs when shipping to markets in the region. Ceccarelli noted that the season hasn’t been the best, but they’re busy providing for their customers.
“Peppers have been pretty good so far,” said Ceccarelli. “The market hasn’t been ideal, but we’re keeping our product fresh and our customers happy.”

Farm Fresh Produce is also in the thick of their cabbage program this year. Like with their peppers, Farm Fresh’s cabbage program is focused on East coast markets, which they can reach in about two days from their facilities in North Carolina.

“We’re going to do a lot of cabbage this year,” said Farm Fresh’s Steve Ceccarelli. They began harvesting Napa cabbage at the beginning of last month, and harvesting of regular green cabbage and Flathead cabbage began shortly after. The Napa variety is what Farm Fresh produces the most, with 70 acres dedicated to that kind of cabbage, while 30 acres are dedicated to the Flathead variety.

“We have an advantage from a freight standpoint,” said Ceccarelli. “It’s cheaper for us to ship to the East Coast and the Eastern part of Canada than it is for competitors who aren’t in this region.” Another big program for Farm Fresh is their line of sweet potatoes, which they also predominantly sell on the East Coast. Currently, Farm Fresh has grey, yellow and green sweet potatoes available.

For more information:
Steven A. Ceccarelli
Farm Fresh Produce
Tel: +1 910-508-8933
[email protected]

Publication date: 6/28/2013

Vision Produce expands chili pepper program

Vision Produce Co. has expanded its chili pepper program and announced the debut of its own grower direct deals that encompasses a year-round program with fields in Sinaloa, Sonora and Baja Mexico in addition to Southern California.  20141210 111320

The first harvest was shipped the week of Dec. 8 and included Jalapeños, Pasilla, Serrano, Caribe and Tomatillo. In the spring, Vision will be adding Habanero and Manzanos to complete the full line offering.  All varieties will be packaged under the “California Chile Co.” and the “Rodriguera Farms” labels. 

“This was the next natural evolution in our ongoing goal to get closer to the source,” Donald Souther, vice president of marketing and sales development, said in a press release. “With the growing popularity of chili peppers, it was important for us to have our own product controlled from seed to distribution.” 

“This will allow us to have complete control over quality and availability to best service our growing customer base,” he said. “Certified Food Safety will accompany both labels as an additional feature.”

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

Shaw’s Ends Loyalty Program With New Campaign

WEST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. — Shaw’s and Star Markets stores on Friday will launch a new marketing campaign, introducing thousands of everyday lower prices and adopting its new parent company’s policy of offering discounts with or without a loyalty card, a spokesman told SN Wednesday.

The campaign, known as “You’re in for Something Fresh,” seeks to convey that customers are in for a new experience at Shaw’s and Star Market. Customers will see a redesigned circular and new in-store signage designed to create excitement and illustrate the company’s commitment to quality products and customer service.

As previously reported in SN, Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons, which reacquired Shaw’s and Star Market from Supervalu earlier this year, is eliminating the loyalty program at its Albertsons banner stores. Since then its Jewel-Osco and Acme banners have also unveiled plans to eliminate their loyalty prorgams.

Malvern, Pa.-based Acme Markets launched a similar strategy to Shaw’s last week, kicking off the effort with a video message from its president, Jim Perkins. Perkins said customers at Acme could expect to see cleaner stores, better service everyday low prices and a new guarantee on fresh products.

Jewel-Osco this week also launched a campaign using the same slogan and promoting savings without a card.

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Data Specialist Retail Program at Feeding America

Data Specialist – Retail Program

Work. Serve. Thrive.
Imagine a place where your talent can make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives. Working at Feeding America is a uniquely rewarding experience in which our employees work together as vital parts of a much larger mission. We are innovative, mission-focused, diverse, collaborative, values-driven and focused on results.

We are a national, nonprofit organization and the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, our mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger.

The Opportunity
The Data Specialist will indirectly support the continued growth of the retail store donation program (currently over $ 1B pounds annually) by developing and implementing processes to collect, manage, mine and analyze retail store donation program data; Develop insights and recommends strategies to drive incremental value through the retail channel.

· Supports the continued growth of the retail store donation program by managing program data and statistics that are disseminated to donors, food banks and internally within Feeding America.
· Reviews and analyzes general industry and internal data to identify new opportunities for retail program growth and expansion.  
· Supports the development of the retail program strategy through data management and analysis.  Strategy to focus on: a) identifying areas of program underperformance, b) identifying major opportunities for new growth, and c) creating insight as to how to capture incremental value from both scenarios.
· Identifies processes to more effectively collect, store, and mine retail program data.
· Develops and manages communications on program performance to key donors on monthly basis (including store level program reporting, key exceptions, areas for intervention, etc.).
· Works with food bank members to increase accuracy and timeliness of retail program data reporting through recurring communication on performance, scorecard development, issue troubleshooting, and reporting tool generation / upgrades.
· Generates quarterly updates for senior level audiences (both internal and external) on performance of program.

· BA/BS required; focus on statistics and/or research desirable
· 2+ years’ experience in developing quantitative models and working with large data sets, preferably in a research-based environment.
· 2+ years’ experience working with databases and manipulation of data.  Experience structuring and driving strategic initiatives strongly preferred.
· Experience in food retail industry preferred.
· Experience extracting data from databases and writing reports based on results to meet business requirements.
· Strong analytical skills.
· Experience with food security or food waste issues preferred.
· Excellent presentation skills, in addition to oral and written communication skills.
· Ability to think creatively and strategically as part of a team and within broad coalitions.
· Strong acumen in MS Office applications, particularly Access, Excel and PowerPoint.
· Committed to organizational mission of ending hunger.

Please click here to apply

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