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Bottom Dollar employees to receive severance as stores close

All 66 Bottom Dollar Food locations will close Jan. 15 and every employee will be offered severance, the company announced. Eligible employees will also receive career transition services.

“We want to thank our associates, customers and communities for their support over the past four years,” Gene Faller, VP of retail operations for Bottom Dollar Food.

Delhaize Group announced the sale of Bottom Dollars stores and associated lease liabilities in the greater Philadelphia and great Pittsburgh markets to Aldi in November. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015. Aldi has not announced plans for the locations, although it will likely reopen most of the stores under its own banner later this year.

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Aldi’s purchase closes book on Bottom Dollar

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Carolinas receive nearly $2 million in specialty crop grants

North and South Carolina farmers trying to combat pests and diseases attacking their blueberries, sweet potatoes and other specialty crops are getting help from the federal government. The U.S. Agriculture Department has provided nearly $ 2 million for a total of 35 programs in the Tar Heel and Palmetto states to research or promote home-grown fruits, vegetables and nursery plants.

The money will go to universities, local agencies and nonprofit organizations.SPECIALTY-GRANTS11213-SWEET-POTATOESGrowers of sweet potatoes, North Carolina’s number one produce crop, would benefit from a specialty crop grant project to eradicate the sweet potato weevil in North Carolina. It’s part of a $ 118 million national effort funded by the farm bill approved earlier this year. Its goal is to boost specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops. North Carolina received $ 1.175 million for 15 projects; South Carolina received about $ 602,000 for 20 projects.

North Carolina projects include assistance to specialty crop growers through a partnership with the Carolinas Farm Stewardship Association to develop a food-safety support program and to establish community-based, sustainable food-safety systems. And in a second project with the Farm Stewardship group, offer specialty crop producers seeking to take advantage of the high-value market for organic produce by helping them transition to certified-organic production.

Other North Carolina projects include a partnership with North Carolina State University to identify, collect, virus-test and propagate old and new cultivars in order to provide growers with a reliable source of productive muscadine grape plants and to establish baselines for an integrated pest management program to eradicate the sweet potato weevil in North Carolina.

South Carolina projects include partnering with the South Carolina Fruit, Vegetable and Specialty Crop Association to increase the visibility of the state’s specialty crops by rebranding the association and refocusing its media presence. Also, in cooperation with Lowcountry Local First, to increase the number of consumers eating specialty crops and increase the number of specialty crop growers by promoting the Growing New Farmers program.

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the South Carolina Watermelon Association, will seek to increase the consumption of watermelon by providing education regarding its health benefits while promoting the South Carolina watermelon industry to retailers, wholesalers and the public through an extensive industry spokesperson program. Also, in cooperation with Clemson University, to develop a larger peach by using a wide and diverse set of germ plasm to accumulate many traits together into a single cultivar and distribute these findings to producers.

Also, in cooperation with the Coastal Conservation League, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture will try to create a stronger rural economy by increasing the volume of specialty crops distributed through local food hubs and managing the greater number of specialty crop farmers participating in the food hubs.

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

Carolinas receive nearly $2 million in specialty crop grants

North and South Carolina farmers trying to combat pests and diseases attacking their blueberries, sweet potatoes and other specialty crops are getting help from the federal government. The U.S. Agriculture Department has provided nearly $ 2 million for a total of 35 programs in the Tar Heel and Palmetto states to research or promote home-grown fruits, vegetables and nursery plants.

The money will go to universities, local agencies and nonprofit organizations.SPECIALTY-GRANTS11213-SWEET-POTATOESGrowers of sweet potatoes, North Carolina’s number one produce crop, would benefit from a specialty crop grant project to eradicate the sweet potato weevil in North Carolina. It’s part of a $ 118 million national effort funded by the farm bill approved earlier this year. Its goal is to boost specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops. North Carolina received $ 1.175 million for 15 projects; South Carolina received about $ 602,000 for 20 projects.

North Carolina projects include assistance to specialty crop growers through a partnership with the Carolinas Farm Stewardship Association to develop a food-safety support program and to establish community-based, sustainable food-safety systems. And in a second project with the Farm Stewardship group, offer specialty crop producers seeking to take advantage of the high-value market for organic produce by helping them transition to certified-organic production.

Other North Carolina projects include a partnership with North Carolina State University to identify, collect, virus-test and propagate old and new cultivars in order to provide growers with a reliable source of productive muscadine grape plants and to establish baselines for an integrated pest management program to eradicate the sweet potato weevil in North Carolina.

South Carolina projects include partnering with the South Carolina Fruit, Vegetable and Specialty Crop Association to increase the visibility of the state’s specialty crops by rebranding the association and refocusing its media presence. Also, in cooperation with Lowcountry Local First, to increase the number of consumers eating specialty crops and increase the number of specialty crop growers by promoting the Growing New Farmers program.

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the South Carolina Watermelon Association, will seek to increase the consumption of watermelon by providing education regarding its health benefits while promoting the South Carolina watermelon industry to retailers, wholesalers and the public through an extensive industry spokesperson program. Also, in cooperation with Clemson University, to develop a larger peach by using a wide and diverse set of germ plasm to accumulate many traits together into a single cultivar and distribute these findings to producers.

Also, in cooperation with the Coastal Conservation League, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture will try to create a stronger rural economy by increasing the volume of specialty crops distributed through local food hubs and managing the greater number of specialty crop farmers participating in the food hubs.

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

Seafood Processors From Around the World Receive FDA Warning Letters

Foreign seafood processors in Ecuador, Portugal, Malaysia, Spain and Vietnam have, in the past month or so, have received warning letters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

All face the possibility of having their fish or fish products detained at the U.S. border without any physical examination unless FDA’s concerns are addressed. And, while the alleged violations differ, almost all involve the U.S. requirement that the processor of fish or fishery products adhere to a specific Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan.

Two seafood processors in Ecuador received warning letters. The Guayaquil-based Star Company S.A. was subjected to FDA inspection last June 2-3, 2014, and was afterwards provided with a copy of the FDA 483 form containing inspector observations.

Star Company responded in writing on July 4, 2014, with corrective measures it planned to take, but the company did not provide FDA with a copy of its HACCP plan.

In the Sept. 24 warning letter, FDA told the company that it must have a HACCP plan with a hazard analysis for each kind of fish or fish product it processes. Star Company is a processor of both wild- and farm-raised shrimp, and FDA said that each of those must be addressed in the HACCP plan.

While in Ecuador, FDA also inspected Duran-based Crimasa Criaderos De Mariscos, S.A. on June 5-6, 2014. It is also a processor of both farm-raised and wild-caught shrimp, and it, too, was provided with the written observations of the inspectors. Crimasa responded in writing on June 27, 2014, but FDA said the responses were not adequate because the company did not revise its HACCP plan to include aquacultured shrimp products.

The Nov. 24 warning letter says the company must address biological, chemical, or physical properties that may cause its farm-raised shrimp on-shell product to become unsafe.

The earliest date for this series of warning letters was Oct. 2, when Gialmar-Produtos Alimentares S.A. was contacted about an FDA inspection of its seafood-processing plant last Feb. 11-12, 2014. The agency was not satisfied with the HACCP plan the Portuguese company provided. An inadequate plan means the company’s fresh and frozen sardines, mackerel, and horse mackerel are adulterated, according to FDA.

Malaysian seafood processor QL Figo Foods SDN BHD received a Nov. 5, 2014, warning letter stemming from an FDA inspection that occurred last May 21, and 22, 2014. Figo provided FDA with written changes to its HACCP plan involving several of its fish and lobster products, but the agency found that the revisions violated HACCP regulations. For example, in its revisions, the Malaysian seafood processor did not take into account the food safety hazard of botulism growth and toxin formation, FDA stated.

FDA also had concerns about temperature controls and monitoring, along with the use of color additives and labeling. It also listed several of the seafood processors’ products that are misbranded.

FDA sent a Nov.  14 warning letter to Spain’s Balfego and Balfego S.L. about the adequacy of its HACCP plan for processing sashimi-grade Bluefin tuna. The company sent a revised HACCP plan to FDA in August after the agency conducted as inspection last April 7-8, 2014.

“Review of the documentation provided by your firm revealed that responses were not adequate as further described in this letter,” the FDA warning states. The agency indicated it viewed the Bluefin tuna produced by Balfeo and Balfeo as adulterated. FDA provided the company with six pages of detailed corrections it is requiring covering temperatures, monitoring, and vessel records, among other topics.

A Ho Chi Minh City seafood processor is the latest of the foreign counties to get an FDA warning letter. Cau Tre Export Goods Processing  Joint Stock Company produces frozen shrimp dumplings, snow crab with garlic butter, frozen shrimp and other fishery products.

FDA stated that it found HACCP violations at Cau Tre during an inspection conducted last April 14-15, 2014.  The company then provided FDA with documentation on changes, but the warning letter states that those changes are “serious deviations” from HACCP regulations.

FDA pointed out that the cooking critical control point suggested by Cau Tre was not sufficient to control pathogen growth and its catching critical control point never insures any checks for heavy metals.

Two domestic seafood processors also received FDA warning letters during November. Detroit-based Sherwood Food Distributors was warned on Nov. 19 about failures with HACCP implementation and inadequate sanitation controls.

Finally, the Hickory Smokehouse of Las Vegas was the subject of a Nov. 14 warning letter about its refrigerated and frozen vacuum-packaged, ready-to-eat hot and cold smoked salmon and trout. The Las Vegas company must address both seafood HACCP and mislabeling concerns, according to FDA.

Warning letters require responses to FDA within 15 days.

Food Safety News

Food Safety Conference to Receive Food Safety Audits

The 2014 Food Safety Summit conference made numerous headlines earlier this year for all the wrong reasons: More than 200 attendees fell ill with foodborne illness after eating a chicken meal served at the conference.

Taking a note from that outbreak, this year’s Food Safety Consortium in Schaumburg, IL, will receive two food safety audits ahead of the conference on November 17 and 18.

“While there are no guarantees that a food safety outbreak won’t happen, conducting two pre-event audits will at least give us peace of mind that as a food safety conference organizer, we are practicing what we preach.” said Rick Biros, President of Innovative Publishing Co., the conference organizer.

The Food Safety Consortium also received and passed one food safety audit for the 2013 conference.

Food Safety News is a media sponsor for the Food Safety Consortium.

Food Safety News

Big Heart Pet Brands, PepsiCo receive GMA awards

The Grocery Manufacturer Association and its Advisory Council awarded Big Heart Pet Brands and PepsiCo with 2014 CPG awards for Innovation and Creativity at the GMA Leadership Forum in Colorado Springs Saturday.

Pamela Bailey“The CPG Award for Innovation and Creativity embodies the spirit of our industry, which has long relied on ingenuity to drive growth and ensure that we are serving consumers efficiently and effectively,” said GMA president and CEO Pamela G. Bailey, in a statement. 

Big Heart Pet Brands took the award in Division A, for companies with total sales of $ 3 billion, for its development and launch of Milk-Bone Brushing Chews.

Citing oral health as an important issue for dogs, Big Heart Pet Brands and Milk-Bone set out to develop a chew that would be as effective as traditional brushing and reframe oral care for dogs in a way that would motivate pet parents to care for their dogs’ teeth as they do their own.

Big Heart Pet Brands formed a dedicated cross-functional team, and leveraged 3D prototyping and neurological research testing. The result was Milk-Bone Brushing Chews, an oral care product that earned the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s Seal of Acceptance for retarding tartar accumulation.

Supported with a 75 degree twist design, distinctive packaging and a 360 degree path-to-habit marketing plan, which includes advertising, sampling, shopper marketing and veterinary outreach, Milk-Bone Brushing Chews are on pace to be a Top 10 CPG product launch for 2013, according to GMA.

PepsiCo earned top honors in Division B (sales of more than $ 3 billion) for its “Do Us A Flavor” Lay’s potato chip promotion.

“Do Us A Flavor” is based on the premise of inviting consumers to submit ideas for new flavors of Lay’s potato chips and vote to decide which of the three finalist flavors would remain on shelves. The program focused on inviting Millennial consumers to immerse themselves and engage with the brand in new ways.


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Guided by consumer insights, PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay team created a three-phased promotion that played to Millennials’ desire for self-expression. It leveraged events, celebrity spokespeople and shopper marketing, along with more traditional tactics, to drive consumers to a Facebook-centered social media experience where they could directly engage with the brand, according to GMA.

The program generated millions of flavor submissions and Cheesy Garlic Bread potato chips became the latest flavor in the Lay’s portfolio. The program also boosted sales, increased brand penetration among Millennial consumers and generated unprecedented social media engagement.

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Study shows traditional grocery stores receive high marks in brand equity

The 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend (EQ) study, which measures brand equity for more than 1,500 brands across 170 categories, finds traditional grocery store brands rank highest overall in three of the four regions surveyed. The EQ index examines three key factors of brand equity: familiarity, quality and purchase consideration.

This is the first time in the study’s 26-year history that Americans were surveyed about grocery retailers on a regional level using the four census regions: West, Midwest, Northeast and South. A mix of grocery retailer formats was included in the study, including traditional grocery stores (e.g. Kroger, Giant), mass retailers with grocery sections (e.g. Walmart, Target), discount grocery stores (e.g. Aldi, Food 4 Less) and club stores with grocery sections (e.g. Sam’s Club, Costco), as well as the specialty grocers Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Markets. The study awards Brand of the Year status to regionally focused, traditional grocery store brands in the Midwest, Northeast and South regions.

“These stores put an emphasis on building a relationship with the customer, and it’s paid off with positive brand equity ” Michael Treboni, executive vice president of retail professional services at Nielsen, said in a press release.

In America’s heartland, consumers named Hy-Vee as the Midwest Grocery Store Brand of the Year. While not among the most familiar brands for the region, consumers who are familiar with the brand give strong marks for quality and purchase consideration.

“Hy-Vee has strong purchase consideration scores and very ‘connected consumers,’ meaning they have strong feelings for the brand and believe it’s a good fit for them,” Treboni said.

Also ranking above the Midwest Region Grocery Store category average were Meijer, Giant Eagle, Kroger, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart (Groceries) and Jewel & Jewel-Osco.

In the Northeast, Wegmans is Brand of the Year in the Grocery Store category. With about 80 stores, most located in New York and Pennsylvania, Wegmans has a smaller footprint than many competitors in the region.

“However, Wegmans’ exceptional quality and purchase consideration ratings make them look like a regional David among national-brand Goliaths,” Treboni said.

Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, ShopRite, Hannaford Bros., BJ’s Wholesale Club (Groceries), Stop & Shop, Costco (Groceries), Price Chopper and Giant Food Stores also rank above the Northeast Region Grocery Store category average.

Stretching from Texas to Florida and up the east coast to Maryland, the South region is a sprawling patchwork of grocery retailers, and Publix is its Grocery Store Brand of the Year for 2014.

Primarily located in Florida and Georgia, Publix earns the top ranking with strong purchase consideration ratings and quality marks.

“Publix has a high level of brand advocacy, which means their consumer fan base is telling others how good they feel the brand is. That’s brand strength,” Treboni said.

Also ranking above the South Region Grocery Store category average are Walmart (Groceries), H-E-B, Trader Joe’s, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods Market, Kroger, Sam’s Club (Groceries) and Target (Groceries).

Costco is the Brand of the Year among West Region Grocery Stores, with the highest brand equity ranking of any brand in any region.

“While Costco is an international retailer, it has its roots in the West and that strong presence resonates in their brand equity scores,” Treboni said in the press release. “Costco has a large proportion of consumers who are ‘extremely familiar’ with the brand in the West which, along with notable quality and consideration, drives the top score.”

Other brands to rank above the category average in the West Region include Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, Safeway and Stater Bros. Markets.

When looking across the four regions, it is worth noting that both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Markets are the only national brands to rank above the category average in all four regions, with consistently strong quality and purchase consideration scores. This echoes findings from the 2012 Nielsen Store Choice Drivers study, which focused on identifying store characteristics that help build equity with shoppers. The 2014 version of Store Choice Drivers will be released in the fall with a link to key EquiTrend metrics.

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

Study shows traditional grocery stores receive high marks in brand equity

The 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend (EQ) study, which measures brand equity for more than 1,500 brands across 170 categories, finds traditional grocery store brands rank highest overall in three of the four regions surveyed. The EQ index examines three key factors of brand equity: familiarity, quality and purchase consideration.

This is the first time in the study’s 26-year history that Americans were surveyed about grocery retailers on a regional level using the four census regions: West, Midwest, Northeast and South. A mix of grocery retailer formats was included in the study, including traditional grocery stores (e.g. Kroger, Giant), mass retailers with grocery sections (e.g. Walmart, Target), discount grocery stores (e.g. Aldi, Food 4 Less) and club stores with grocery sections (e.g. Sam’s Club, Costco), as well as the specialty grocers Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Markets. The study awards Brand of the Year status to regionally focused, traditional grocery store brands in the Midwest, Northeast and South regions.

“These stores put an emphasis on building a relationship with the customer, and it’s paid off with positive brand equity ” Michael Treboni, executive vice president of retail professional services at Nielsen, said in a press release.

In America’s heartland, consumers named Hy-Vee as the Midwest Grocery Store Brand of the Year. While not among the most familiar brands for the region, consumers who are familiar with the brand give strong marks for quality and purchase consideration.

“Hy-Vee has strong purchase consideration scores and very ‘connected consumers,’ meaning they have strong feelings for the brand and believe it’s a good fit for them,” Treboni said.

Also ranking above the Midwest Region Grocery Store category average were Meijer, Giant Eagle, Kroger, Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s, Walmart (Groceries) and Jewel & Jewel-Osco.

In the Northeast, Wegmans is Brand of the Year in the Grocery Store category. With about 80 stores, most located in New York and Pennsylvania, Wegmans has a smaller footprint than many competitors in the region.

“However, Wegmans’ exceptional quality and purchase consideration ratings make them look like a regional David among national-brand Goliaths,” Treboni said.

Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, ShopRite, Hannaford Bros., BJ’s Wholesale Club (Groceries), Stop & Shop, Costco (Groceries), Price Chopper and Giant Food Stores also rank above the Northeast Region Grocery Store category average.

Stretching from Texas to Florida and up the east coast to Maryland, the South region is a sprawling patchwork of grocery retailers, and Publix is its Grocery Store Brand of the Year for 2014.

Primarily located in Florida and Georgia, Publix earns the top ranking with strong purchase consideration ratings and quality marks.

“Publix has a high level of brand advocacy, which means their consumer fan base is telling others how good they feel the brand is. That’s brand strength,” Treboni said.

Also ranking above the South Region Grocery Store category average are Walmart (Groceries), H-E-B, Trader Joe’s, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods Market, Kroger, Sam’s Club (Groceries) and Target (Groceries).

Costco is the Brand of the Year among West Region Grocery Stores, with the highest brand equity ranking of any brand in any region.

“While Costco is an international retailer, it has its roots in the West and that strong presence resonates in their brand equity scores,” Treboni said in the press release. “Costco has a large proportion of consumers who are ‘extremely familiar’ with the brand in the West which, along with notable quality and consideration, drives the top score.”

Other brands to rank above the category average in the West Region include Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market, Safeway and Stater Bros. Markets.

When looking across the four regions, it is worth noting that both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Markets are the only national brands to rank above the category average in all four regions, with consistently strong quality and purchase consideration scores. This echoes findings from the 2012 Nielsen Store Choice Drivers study, which focused on identifying store characteristics that help build equity with shoppers. The 2014 version of Store Choice Drivers will be released in the fall with a link to key EquiTrend metrics.

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

US: Awe Sum Organics receive marketing award for branding campaign

US: Awe Sum Organics receive marketing award for branding campaign

Santa Cruz based Organic fruit importer, Awe Sum Organics announced today that they have received a Business Produce Marketing Excellence Award for their branding campaign which began in October of 2012. The campaign establishes a marketing platform that reflects its long-standing company values of doing what is right for humankind and the environment as a whole. The new, user-friendly website showcases sales and industry-related tools, as well as offering education about the nutritional content of their fruit. The new logo, marketing material and new packaging feature QR codes that direct shoppers to learn about Awe Sum Organics’ mission. Other marketing efforts, focused on industry and consumer initiatives, offer enticing fruit recipes, lifestyle ideas, inspiring imagery and wellness tips. The company now has a strong on-line presence including Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and You Tube. The number of Awe Sum Organics Facebook followers has increased from 70 to over 14,000 “likes” within 8 months.

This Marketing Excellence Award came the same week Awe Sum Organics won four Certificates of Excellence in the 2013 American In-House Design Awards. These awards were presented by Graphic Design USA (GDUSA), an online news magazine targeted to creative professionals and graphic designers. GDUSA presents the annual awards to recognize the talent and contributions from internal design and marketing communications teams in corporations and institutions around the country. The efforts of Awe Sum Organics creative marketing team, in the design of marketing collateral for the company’s branding campaign, have been recognized in this competition for their interactive website, company brochure, business cards, packaging and digital ads. The competition, which generated over 4,000 entries from across the nation, demonstrates Awe Sum Organics’ ongoing commitment to pursue excellence in creating a strong presence for their Awe Sum Organics label.

For more information:
Sue Quijano
Awe Sum Organics 
Tel: +1 831.462.2244
Fax: +1 831.462.2552
Email: [email protected]
awesumorganics.com

Publication date: 10/16/2013


FreshPlaza.com

Tasti Lee tomatoes receive Heart-Check Mark

Bejo Seeds Inc. Tasti Lee tomatoes are now certified as part of the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Food Certification.

The Heart-Check Mark helps consumers to easily identify foods in retail stores that meet the nutritional standards of the American Heart Association to promote healthy eating habits.

Tasti Lee is a new hybrid variety of round beefsteak-style tomato developed at the University of Florida by Dr. Jay Scott.

Scott worked to develop this variety for more than 10 years, resulting in significant improvements to health, flavor and freshness.

For health, Tasti Lee was bred to have high levels of lycopene — 50 percent more — which is recognized for its antioxidant properties as well as providing rich red color inside and out.

The American Heart Association designed the Heart-Check Mark program back in 1995 as a good first step to healthy eating patterns. Among the 900 products that have been screened and certified to meet the proper nutritional criteria, Tasti Lee promotes heart-healthy eating habits through the Heart-Check Mark to people of all ages.

Tasti Lee tomatoes are grown outdoors in rich, healthy soil, with fresh air and clean water until they are vine-ripened by sunshine, and both conventional and organic Tasti Lee tomatoes have been certified by the American Heart Association.

Deardorff Family Farms, the West Coast grower for Tasti Lee is set to launch heart-healthy locally grown Organic Tasti Lee tomatoes in August 2013.

Consumers can find heart-healthy recipes at www.tasti-lee.com.

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