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USDA’s Annual Report on Pesticide Residues Says Levels Still Safe

While more than half of foods tested for pesticides this year were found to have at least trace amounts of the chemicals, most amounts fell below “tolerance levels” set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to the annual report on pesticides released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The agency’s annual report, made in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, looked at levels of pesticides in fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, baby food, infant formula, butter, salmon and water. The agencies rotate through a number of commodities to test from year to year.

Critics of the annual report have questioned the fact that the agency does not track levels of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller and the most commonly used herbicide in the U.S.

Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report critical of the agencies’ pesticide-monitoring program. The report came with a number of recommendations, including expanding the number of food samples tested, focusing on pesticides for which there are EPA-established tolerance levels, and more clearly disclosing that they do not test for all pesticides used on foods.

The GAO report noted that, in total, the program tests less than one-tenth of 1 percent of imported fruits and vegetables, and less than 1 percent of domestic fruits and vegetables. FDA responded, saying that it would investigate the feasibility of changing its testing model, but doing so would require more resources.

Regarding pesticides for which the USDA did test, the agency said that more than 99 percent of samples tested lower than EPA’s tolerance levels and that more than 40 percent of samples showed no detectable level of pesticides.

USDA says that, before a pesticide is approved for use in the U.S., EPA must ensure that it does not pose “unreasonable” risk to consumers.

In any instance where the program detects unsafe levels of pesticides, FDA and EPA are said to be immediately notified in order to carry out regulatory action.

The program releases its report the following year after sampling has been completed, meaning that this year it released the 2013 data. In 2013, the program collected samples from California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

For more information on the pesticide-monitoring program, visit that page at the USDA’s website.

Food Safety News

Wholesalers face serious challenges, report says

Serious financial challenges are likely to continue for U.S. grocery wholesalers for at least the next five years, and companies that fail to improve efficiency and deliver increased value to customers will be in danger of shutting down, according to a report by IBISWorld.

IBISWorld is a market research firm based in Melbourne, Australia, with offices around the world.

According to the report, large grocery wholesalers have been able to expand market share over the last few years, while smaller, often underperforming companies have scaled back or exited the market altogether, causing the industry to contract, and the number of wholesalers is likely to continue to decline over the next five years.

Consumer demand at supermarkets is expected to increase slowly in 2015, “and this slow growth represents a potential threat to the [wholesale] industry,” the report indicated.

Posing a further threat is the trend among supermarkets and other food distributors to bypass wholesalers and buy directly from manufacturers and growers — a trend IBIS said has escalated quickly over the past three years because of rising food prices.

As an improving economy encourages more consumers to dine out, “savvy wholesalers will re-position themselves in a bid to capture new restaurant and fast-food chain customers, and these outlets will form a growing portion of the industry’s customer base,” the report said.


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It also suggested wholesalers may opt to move more into niche markets to serve formats that cater to ethnic communities such as Hispanics and Asians. “With traditional grocery stores underserving ethnic markets and demand for ethnic foods increasing, wholesalers will have an opportunity to serve these niche markets and cultivate relationships with manufacturers of ethnic foods,” the report noted.

“However, larger wholesalers are expected to start distributing more specialized goods in the next five years as they compete with manufacturers who self-distribute,” the report warned.

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Whole Foods ads building awareness, but value perception still lags: Report

Whole Foods Market‘s newly launched advertising campaign is already raising consumer awareness for the retailer, although its value reputation is still lagging, according to a new BrandIndex rating from research and consulting group YouGov.

Whole Foods’ ad awareness rose about 3 percentage points during the first few weeks of its “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” campaign which broke in October. However, its value perception remained mostly negative and climbed no higher than where it had been as recently as September, and still below its peak 2014 levels in February, BrandIndex said.

Whole Foods’ purchase consideration score also increased modestly: 16% of consumers currently say that they would consider the brand the next time they are in the market for groceries. That compares to 14% prior to the Austin, Texas-based retailer’s campaign.

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Walmart, Target report strong online Thanksgiving sales

Big box retailers Walmart and Target reported strong online sales from Thanksgiving and early Black Friday. Target said by 9 a.m. Friday “online sales had already exceeded total sales from the same day last year.”

Walmart said on Friday that its online Thanksgiving sales were record breaking, and second only to its Cyber Monday sales in 2013.

“Throughout the day, we welcomed more than 22 million customers to our stores — that’s more than the number of people who visit Disneyland in an entire year — and our associates served them with pride. During our big events, our cashiers had nearly every register open. And once again, we delivered safer, exciting events for our customers,” said Laura Phillips, Walmart SVP of merchandising, in a statement.

The National Retail Federation said that overall shopper traffic was down 5.2% from last year from Thanksgiving through the weekend.

Cyber Monday sales expected to dip

NRF said that 126.9 million consumers plan to shop on Cyber Monday, down from 131.5 million last year, according to a survey conducted this weekend by Prosper Insights & Analytics.

With good deals extending past Black Friday and Cyber Monday, shoppers may not have urgency to buy right away. Target, for instance, is continuing its deep holiday discounts for a week and waiving shipping fees through Dec. 20.

“For today’s shopper, every day is ‘Cyber Monday,’ and consumers want and expect great deals, especially online, throughout the entire holiday season — and they know retailers will deliver,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay, in a statement.

“Retailers will still offer unique deals exclusive to Cyber Monday, but consumers also know shopping on Cyber Monday won’t be their last chance to find low prices and exclusive promotions.”


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According to the Shop.org eHoliday survey, 97.6% of online retailers are offering special Cyber Monday promotions. More than 19% of shoppers will use their mobile devices to shop Cyber Monday, and almost 85% will use their desktop computers.

The Wall Street Journal reported that brick-and-mortar stores have been cutting prices to compete with online retailers like Amazon.

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Supermarket News

Walmart, Target report strong Thanksgiving sales

Big box retailers Walmart and Target reported strong sales from Thanksgiving and early Black Friday. Target said by 9a.m. Friday “online sales had already exceeded total sales from the same day last year.”

Walmart said on Friday that its online Thanksgiving sales were record breaking, and second only to its Cyber Monday sales in 2013.

“Throughout the day, we welcomed more than 22 million customers to our stores — that’s more than the number of people who visit Disneyland in an entire year — and our associates served them with pride. During our big events, our cashiers had nearly every register open. And once again, we delivered safer, exciting events for our customers,” said Laura Phillips, Walmart senior vice president of merchandising, in a statement.

Cyber Monday sales expected to dip

The National Retail Federation said that 126.9 million consumers plan to shop on Cyber Monday, down from 131.5 million last year, according to a survey conducted this weekend by Prosper Insights & Analytics.

With good deals extending past Black Friday and Cyber Monday, shoppers may not have urgency to buy right away. Target, for instance, is continuing its deep holiday discounts for a week and waiving shipping fees through Dec. 20.

“For today’s shopper, every day is ‘Cyber Monday,’ and consumers want and expect great deals, especially online, throughout the entire holiday season — and they know retailers will deliver,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay, in a statement.

“Retailers will still offer unique deals exclusive to Cyber Monday, but consumers also know shopping on Cyber Monday won’t be their last chance to find low prices and exclusive promotions.”

According to the Shop.org eHoliday survey, 97.6% of online retailers are offering special Cyber Monday promotions. More than 19% of shoppers will use their mobile devices to shop Cyber Monday, and almost 85% will use their desktop computers.

The Wall Street Journal reported that brick-and-mortar stores have been cutting prices to compete with online retailers like Amazon.

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Photo Report IPM Dubai 2014

Photo Report IPM Dubai 2014

This week, the IPM Dubai took place in the World Trade Centre Dubai. Also HortiDaily.com paid a visit to see the opportunities of horti- and floriculture in the dessert. A small but nice selection of suppliers made it to Dubai. Not only the possibilities of this land and the Gulf-area attracted them, but also the future possibilities of the area were seen. Therefore it showed a nice selection of entrepreneurs in the sector.

Click here for the photo report we made at the show.

By the Indega group, Germany was very well represented. Also the flower growers found their way to the exhibition. Of course it was also surprising and very nice to see the quality of the hydroponic and organic vegetables, grown in the dessert.

Despite that IPM Dubai wasn’t the biggest IPM-exhibition of the year, the exhibitors were very pleased by the turnout. The quality of visitors was high and orders were placed on the exhibition floor.

Click here for the photo report we made at the show.

Publication date: 11/13/2014
Author: Boy de Nijs
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Cerberus Bids for Harris Teeter: Report

NEW YORK — Cerberus Capital Management has bid to acquire Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Matthews, N.C., according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Cerberus, which recently acquired Albertsons, Jewel-Osco, Acme and Shaw’s to go with its previously acquired Albertsons LLC holdings, had been reported to have an interest in Harris Teeter. According to Wednesday’s reports, the investment firm could look to structure the acquistion of Harris Teeter in such a way that a portion of the chain would remain publicly traded.


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Harris Teeter had disclosed in February that it was considering a possible sale after it said it received interest from two investment groups.

According to the Wall Street Journal article, Cerberus would leave the Harris Teeter management team intact in its North Carolina headquarters. The article also noted that bid could still fall through or other bidders could emerge.

Harris Teeter, with a history of strong perfromance, had been considered too highly valued to attract the interest of private equity firms interested in turnaround opportunites.

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Photo report State Farmers Market Raleigh, North Carolina

4.8 million visitors a year
Photo report State Farmers Market Raleigh, North Carolina

The Farmers Market still plays a prominent role in the United States. Last week I visited the State Farmers Market of Raleigh, the largest in the state of North Carolina. The Farmers Market in Raleigh has a consumer and a wholesale section. In 2013, the market was visited by 4.8 million people. The market is open seven days a week. You could find 30,000 people walking around the Farmers Market on any given Saturday. Restaurants and retailers buy there, but many families and schools also treat a visit to the Farmers Market as a day out.

Click here for the photo report


The consumer market only has farmers from North Carolina. Farmers rent a unit per day or week. Others (twelve out of a hundred) are there year-round. Remarkably, nearly all farmers have a wide range of products, often with one main product. The market’s organizers try to maintain a balance in the products on offer. For instance, there’s a waiting list for growers of pumpkins, strawberries and Christmas trees. The wholesalers at the Farmers Market also offer a wide range of imported fruit. Special events are held, such as a ‘Pumpkin Night’ and ‘Strawberry Day’.



Owner Ronnie Yokeley of R&H Produce is one of the wholesalers at the market. Potatoes, apples and oranges are his main products, but he also imports bananas, pineapple, melons, grapes and stonefruit


Click here for the photo report

There was a particularly large supply of local new-crop sweet potatoes, pumpkins and apples. In addition, there was a wide range of local fruit and open field vegetables. For instance, you see a lot of Collards (marrow-stem kale), a product that you don’t see at all in the Netherlands. Unlike retailers in the area, the supply of organic produce at the market was very limited. One of the reasons for this was, according to the manager of the market, that the farmers at the market represent a significant acreage, and not many organic farmers have this kind of capacity.


This Farmers Market has been in existence since 1955, and is managed by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. All in all, the market has an area of 30 hectares, a large part of which is indoors. In restaurants at the Farmers Market, products from the market are served. Opening hours are from Monday until Saturday from 5 am until 8 pm, and on Sunday between 8 am and 6 pm.



Click here for the photo report

For more information:
State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture Street
Raleigh (North Carolina) 27603
Tel: 919-733-7414
Fax: 919-733-9932
www.statefarmersmarket.org

Publication date: 10/31/2014
Author: Izak Heijboer
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Report: Bait-and-Switch Tactics Found in One-Third of U.S. Shrimp Sales

Oceana, the oceans conservation group that’s earned a reputation for sniffing out fish fraud, is out with a new study on how consumers are even being fooled by America’s favorite seafood — shrimp purchased at restaurants and grocery stores.

In the only known U.S. study using DNA testing on retail and restaurant shrimp, Oceana confirmed that 30 percent of the 143 products tested from 111 grocery stores and restaurants were misrepresented. It also found that consumers are often provided with little information about the shrimp they purchase, including where and how it was caught or farmed, making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to make informed choices.

“Despite its popularity, U.S. consumers are routinely given little to no information about the shrimp they purchase,” said Beth Lowell, senior campaign director at Oceana. “While shrimp is the most commonly consumed seafood in the U.S., and the most highly traded seafood in the world, its high demand has led to conservation concerns as well as a bait and switch on consumers. Without tracking what, where and how our seafood is caught or farmed, and ensuring that this basic information follows the product through each step in the supply chain, shrimp will continue to be misrepresented.”

Oceana found misrepresented shrimp everywhere it tested, including rates of 43 percent in New York, NY, 33 percent in Washington, D.C., 30 percent in the Gulf of Mexico region (Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach, FL; Mobile and Orange Beach, AL; Biloxi and Ocean Springs, MS; New Orleans, LA, and Houston and Galveston, TX), and 5 percent in Portland, OR.

The study defined misrepresentation as products that were mislabeled (one species swapped out for another), misleading (e.g., farmed species labeled as “Gulf”), or mixed/mystery (e.g., commingling species among bagged shrimp).

Overall, 35 percent of the 111 vendors visited nationwide sold misrepresented shrimp, the report stated. Of the 70 restaurants visited, 31 percent sold misrepresented shrimp, and 41 percent of the 41 grocery stores visited sold misrepresented products.

However, shrimp purchased from grocery stores and restaurants were misrepresented at the same rate – 30 percent.

“I’ve seen cute little cleaner shrimp in aquariums and while scuba diving, but never expected to find one on a grocery shelf,’” said Dr. Kimberly Warner, report author and senior scientist at Oceana. “We really know very little about the shrimp we eat, and the information we do get may not be trustworthy. Consumers have a right to know more about the shrimp they purchase in order to make more responsible choices.”

Among the report’s other key findings were:

  • The most common species substitution was farmed whiteleg shrimp sold as “wild” shrimp and “Gulf” shrimp.
  • Forty percent of the 20 shrimp species or categories collected and identified were not previously known to be sold in the U.S.
  • No samples labeled as “farmed” were mislabeled, while more than half of the samples labeled simply “shrimp” were actually a wild-caught species.
  • A banded coral “shrimp,” which is an aquarium pet not intended to be consumed as food, was found commingled with another unidentified shrimp in a bag of frozen salad-sized shrimp purchased in the Gulf.
  • Overall, 30 percent of more than 400 shrimp products surveyed in grocery stores lacked information on country of origin, 29 percent lacked farmed/wild information, and one in five did not provide either.
  • The majority of the 600 restaurant menus surveyed did not provide the diner with any information on the type of shrimp, whether it was farmed/wild or its origin.

President Obama last June created a dedicated government task force to combat seafood fraud and help keep illegally caught fish out of the U.S. market. Oceana is encouraging the task force to take a comprehensive approach to addressing these issues, including requiring traceability for all seafood sold in the U.S. to ensure that it is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled.

“Until traceability is the status quo, consumers should ask more questions about the seafood they purchase, including what kind it is, if it is wild or farm-raised, and where and how it was caught,” said Lowell. “And whenever possible, consumers should also support traceable seafood, which will tell the story of the product while helping to ensure that it is honestly labeled.”

Since 2011, Oceana has worked to expose seafood fraud in the U.S. In a nationwide study released last year, Oceana found that 33 percent of the more than 1,200 fish samples it tested were not accurately labeled according to Food and Drug Administration guidelines.

Food Safety News

Report: Bait-and-Switch Tactics Found in One-Third of U.S. Shrimp Sales

Oceana, the oceans conservation group that’s earned a reputation for sniffing out fish fraud, is out with a new study on how consumers are even being fooled by America’s favorite seafood — shrimp purchased at restaurants and grocery stores.

In the only known U.S. study using DNA testing on retail and restaurant shrimp, Oceana confirmed that 30 percent of the 143 products tested from 111 grocery stores and restaurants were misrepresented. It also found that consumers are often provided with little information about the shrimp they purchase, including where and how it was caught or farmed, making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to make informed choices.

“Despite its popularity, U.S. consumers are routinely given little to no information about the shrimp they purchase,” said Beth Lowell, senior campaign director at Oceana. “While shrimp is the most commonly consumed seafood in the U.S., and the most highly traded seafood in the world, its high demand has led to conservation concerns as well as a bait and switch on consumers. Without tracking what, where and how our seafood is caught or farmed, and ensuring that this basic information follows the product through each step in the supply chain, shrimp will continue to be misrepresented.”

Oceana found misrepresented shrimp everywhere it tested, including rates of 43 percent in New York, NY, 33 percent in Washington, D.C., 30 percent in the Gulf of Mexico region (Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach, FL; Mobile and Orange Beach, AL; Biloxi and Ocean Springs, MS; New Orleans, LA, and Houston and Galveston, TX), and 5 percent in Portland, OR.

The study defined misrepresentation as products that were mislabeled (one species swapped out for another), misleading (e.g., farmed species labeled as “Gulf”), or mixed/mystery (e.g., commingling species among bagged shrimp).

Overall, 35 percent of the 111 vendors visited nationwide sold misrepresented shrimp, the report stated. Of the 70 restaurants visited, 31 percent sold misrepresented shrimp, and 41 percent of the 41 grocery stores visited sold misrepresented products.

However, shrimp purchased from grocery stores and restaurants were misrepresented at the same rate – 30 percent.

“I’ve seen cute little cleaner shrimp in aquariums and while scuba diving, but never expected to find one on a grocery shelf,’” said Dr. Kimberly Warner, report author and senior scientist at Oceana. “We really know very little about the shrimp we eat, and the information we do get may not be trustworthy. Consumers have a right to know more about the shrimp they purchase in order to make more responsible choices.”

Among the report’s other key findings were:

  • The most common species substitution was farmed whiteleg shrimp sold as “wild” shrimp and “Gulf” shrimp.
  • Forty percent of the 20 shrimp species or categories collected and identified were not previously known to be sold in the U.S.
  • No samples labeled as “farmed” were mislabeled, while more than half of the samples labeled simply “shrimp” were actually a wild-caught species.
  • A banded coral “shrimp,” which is an aquarium pet not intended to be consumed as food, was found commingled with another unidentified shrimp in a bag of frozen salad-sized shrimp purchased in the Gulf.
  • Overall, 30 percent of more than 400 shrimp products surveyed in grocery stores lacked information on country of origin, 29 percent lacked farmed/wild information, and one in five did not provide either.
  • The majority of the 600 restaurant menus surveyed did not provide the diner with any information on the type of shrimp, whether it was farmed/wild or its origin.

President Obama last June created a dedicated government task force to combat seafood fraud and help keep illegally caught fish out of the U.S. market. Oceana is encouraging the task force to take a comprehensive approach to addressing these issues, including requiring traceability for all seafood sold in the U.S. to ensure that it is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled.

“Until traceability is the status quo, consumers should ask more questions about the seafood they purchase, including what kind it is, if it is wild or farm-raised, and where and how it was caught,” said Lowell. “And whenever possible, consumers should also support traceable seafood, which will tell the story of the product while helping to ensure that it is honestly labeled.”

Since 2011, Oceana has worked to expose seafood fraud in the U.S. In a nationwide study released last year, Oceana found that 33 percent of the more than 1,200 fish samples it tested were not accurately labeled according to Food and Drug Administration guidelines.

Food Safety News

Enza Zaden variety showcase report

Enza Zaden variety showcase report

The 2014 Enza Zaden variety showcase was held September 25th at the company’s research station in San Juan Bautista, California. With 250 local and international growers and retailers in attendance, the partnership-themed event was an opportunity to assess growth potential through a fresh lens fuelled by strong relationships with seed partners; ongoing innovation in varieties, packaging and branding; understanding supermarket produce operations; and ultimately, maintaining awareness of evolving consumer tastes.

Keynote speaker and packaged-produce pioneer Paul Mastronardi, CEO of Mastronardi Produce Inc., set the stage with unique insights into brand-building through quality seed partnerships, highlighting the incredibly successful SUNSET® brand that features Enza Zaden’s ‘Campari’ and ‘Y.E.L.O’ tomato varieties. Next, Executive Chef Todd Fisher of the infamous Tarpy’s Roadhouse, shopped the fertile fields of the Salinas Valley for relevant, healthy and interesting ingredients, and then served up an interactive culinary experience to wake the taste buds of even the most discerning foodies. Finally, the product and research experts from Enza Zaden were on hand to talk crop development, shelf life and consumer trends, as growers and retailers toured the display of lettuce, spinach, arugula, peppers, cauliflower, leek, onion, zucchini, parsley, dill, cilantro, basil varieties, and the largest 100% organic assortment in North America.

“The team put considerable effort into exceeding expectations with this year’s showcase, and I’m very proud of the result. Growers and retailers came away from the event with new insights into gearing production in accordance with consumer tastes, and energized by the potential to grow their current operations through enhanced partnership with Enza Zaden,” said Ton van der Velden, President and CEO, Enza Zaden North America.

Mastronardi spoke of how his company purposely approaches its business as an innovator and trendsetter. “Years ago when marketshare among produce growers was primarily based on size and volume, we developed a strategy focused on the unique appeal of tastier, well-packaged produce. The resulting ‘Campari’ and ‘Y.E.L.O’ tomato varieties derived from our partnership with Enza Zaden have the flavour consumers are looking for, and have established our leadership position in the industry,” Mastronardi said.

The partnership between Enza Zaden and the Mastronardi group is a useful model for all growers and retailers keen to innovate, develop new products and expand their businesses. Partnership examples closer to home include several organic and conventional growers that work with Enza Zaden to develop some of the most easily recognized brands on today’s grocery shelves, including:
 

  • Earthbound Farm Organic ‘Easy Leaves Butter’ and ‘Easy Leaves Petites’
  • Earthbound Farm Organic Baby Arugula Clamshells
  • Steinbeck ‘Nature’s Reward’ Iceberg
  • D’Arrigo Bros. 3-pack ‘Andy Boy’ Romaine Hearts
  • Taylor Farms Spring Mix
  • Taylor Farms Baby Spinach
  • Tanimura & Antle ‘Artisan’ Lettuce
  • Gills Onions
  • California Endive Farms ‘Organic Belgian Endive’
  • RC Farms Green Leaf
  • Dole Vegetables Green Leaf
  • Wilson Bon ‘Mighty Minis’ Peppers
  • Rocket Farms Organic Potted Basil


“Enza Zaden is well-entrenched in the Salinas Valley, where we demonstrate ongoing commitment to grower success through our robust iceberg, romaine and green leaf lettuce programs, and our speciality market programs in butterhead, oak leaf and lolla rossa. Growers and retailers looking to partner can count on pure, premium quality, high-germinating seed with the needed resistances, extended shelf life, and our ongoing research and variety innovation,” said Nick Barnes, Direct Sales Manager.

With the largest 100% organic assortment in North America, commercial organic growers and retailers can also count on Vitalis Organic Seed, the organic division of Enza Zaden, for the quantity, quality and assortment of premium seed varieties required to develop successful organic operations in the currently $ 35.1B organic industry.

Erica Renaud, Business Development Manager for Organics and Herbs, indicated partnerships with organic growers to date have been extremely rewarding, a trend expected to continue with new arugula, basil and spinach varieties, and specifically with the company’s unique innovations relevant to organic production systems, including advanced resistance to downy mildew and extended shelf life. “With more than 150 organic varieties, the most in-depth breeding and global seed production program dedicated to organic agriculture, we’re well-positioned to help commercial organic growers leverage the rapid growth of the sector, through partnerships that create the unique and flavourful products consumers are looking for in certified organic form,” Renaud said.
 

Publication date: 9/30/2014


FreshPlaza.com

UK: Photo report British Tomato Conference 2014

UK: Photo report British Tomato Conference 2014

Under the motto “An invitation to innovation”,  the British Tomato Grower’s Association Conference took place last week at the Chesford Grange Conference Centre in Warwick. The event, which took of on Wednesday with the annual TGA Dinner, attracted a wide audience from the industry ; from a large sum of tomato growers and horticulturists to industry body representatives, researchers, consultants and suppliers. This year the event attracted a record number of exhibitors and together with the varied and broad conference program, the TGA Conference again has proved to be the number one networking and educating event for greenhouse tomato industry in the United Kingdom. 

It is not a secret that the British greenhouse tomato growers form a very close greenhouse industry that is extremely supportive to each other. The growers are not afraid to share their knowledge and combine their forces to tackle problems, embrace new innovations. This in underlined by the TGA and their Annual conference; an event that further contributes to the efficiency of the British tomato industry and the position of the British tomato.

The conference speakers covered several technical, commercial and legislative issues as well as topics from the retail side of the industry. Together with an extended selection of exhibition booths, the conference was an excellent educational networking occasion.

In the coming weeks we will publish several articles on the topics that were discussed during the conference program. For now, please enjoy our photo report!

If you would like to obtain more information about the Tomato Growers Association or the TGA Conference, please contact:

For more information:
Tomato Growers Association
Julie Woolley 
[email protected]
www.britishtomatoes.co.uk

Publication date: 9/26/2014
Author: Boy de Nijs
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Photo report Deutscher Obst & Gemuse Kongress

Russian boycott, food safety and new trade flows
Photo report Deutscher Obst & Gemuse Kongress

On Friday, the Deutscher Obst & Gemuse Kongress 2014 was held in Düsseldorf. Topics such as the Russian conflict, automation of the industry and transparency of the chain were key, and judging from the 400 participants, there’s a lot of interest from the German market for these matters. Prior to the convention, a Get-Together was held in Düsseldorf.


View the photo report here.

The day was organized by AMI, GS1 Germany and Fruchthandel Magazin. After opening speeches from Kaasten Reh, Jörg Pretzel and Hans-Christoph Behr, Hans-Jürgen Studt of Handelsmarkt Kiel GmbH & Co. related how the company handles fresh produce and flowers. “With fresh departments, you can distinguish yourself and retain customers.” He notices a growing trend toward regional and organic production. “We still have to develop convenience.” 

The convention’s organizers tried very hard to get someone from the European Union or the government to give a talk at the convention. There was no possibility for that. That’s why Christian Weseloh, BVEO, and Andreas Brügger, DFHV, spoke. Weseloh talked about the state of affairs regarding the boycott, and lessons to be learned. Conclusion? Communication has to improve. It’s still too unclear what budgets are available, what the distribution of the available money is like, why some products are and others aren’t eligible for compensation, and why the German government makes it impossible to take production out of the market without giving it away for free. Brügger added an explanation on Russia’s growth, and whether Europe’s best products will be passed up on in future.

Reiner Wittkowski, of German Consumer Product Safety, talked about the issues with regards to sharing data. “Data has to make information transparent and comparable”, Wittkowski thinks. That often isn’t the case at all. “Media exaggerate information”, Wittkowski concludes as he compares the consequences of food crises and scandals with the actual risks and the reports on it. 

The Grüne Merkur, an award for the international sector, went to REWE Group this year, for their efforts to make the sector more sustainable. The Grüne Merkur has been awarded since 1975 by Fruchthandel Magazin.

After the morning programme, a variable programme was available, focused on the production sector, trade/marketing, and automation in the industry. The afternoon programme is filled with a lecture by Helmut Hübsch, on how the German market is developing and how this can be influenced. By providing insights into the buying behaviour of consumers (would you rather sell one bulk package once, or smaller packages more often), he showed opportunities for German retail. The day was concluded with a discussion between Tim Strübing of Coop, Karl Voges of Landgard, Sabine Lauxen of 5-am-Tag and Daniela Seidl of Seidl PR & Marketing. Everyone was clearly of the opinion that fresh produce promotion could and should be improved, but nobody really gets excited about the added costs that come with it.

Later this week, a more in-depth report on the specific presentations. 

Publication date: 9/22/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Regional Report: Southeast holds promise for The Fresh Market

The Fresh Market has set its sights on a Southeast expansion with an aggressive plan to double its stores in the region to more than 200 locations. “The Southeastern United States is a strong region for The Fresh Market,” explained Craig Carlock, president, CEO and director of the Greensboro, N.C.-based chain, during a recent earnings call. “We now operate 104 stores, of our 160 stores, in the Southeast, including 38 stores in Florida, and this group continues to perform …

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Supermarket News

CDC Report Finds High Sodium Consumption Among U.S. Kids

More than 90 percent of U.S. children aged 6-18 years eat more sodium than recommended, putting them at risk for developing high blood pressure and heart disease later in life, according to a new CDC Vital Signs report released on Tuesday.

This report provides the most recent data detailing how much sodium school-age children eat and where it comes from.

Using data from CDC’s 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, CDC researchers determined that about 43 percent of sodium eaten by children comes from the 10 foods they eat most often: pizza, bread and rolls, cold cuts/cured meats, savory snacks, sandwiches, cheese, chicken patties/nuggets/tenders, pasta mixed dishes, Mexican mixed dishes, and soups.

“Too many children are consuming way too much sodium, and the result will be risks of high blood pressure and heart disease in the future,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Most sodium is from processed and restaurant food, not the salt shaker. Reducing sodium intake will help our children avoid tragic and expensive health problems.”

Key findings in the Vital Signs report include:

  • U.S. children aged 6 to 18 years eat an average of about 3,300 mg of sodium a day before salt is added at the table. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that children eat less than 2,300 mg per day total.
  • Most sodium is already in food before it is purchased or ordered. Approximately 65 percent comes from store foods, 13 percent from fast food and pizza restaurant foods, and 9 percent from school cafeteria foods.

To help reduce the amount of sodium children are consuming daily, parents and caregivers, as well as schools, communities, and places that sell, make or serve food, are all encouraged to take steps  to ensure more low-sodium options. For example, parents can establish healthy eating habits in their children by providing a diet high in fruits and vegetables without added sodium.

Schools and school districts can implement food purchasing policies and standards that reduce sodium in foods and put lower-sodium alternatives in vending machines, school stores and cafeterias. They can also strive to meet or exceed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Nutrition Standards for foods served during the school day.

“Thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act and the work of schools across the country, students are now receiving healthier meals and snacks featuring less sodium, sugar and fat and more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy,” said Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. “This report demonstrates the importance of continuing to move forward in our efforts to improve nutrition in schools, and to ensure that children and teens nationwide have access to safe, nutritious meals and snacks during the school day.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest responded to the CDC report by stating these data should “ring alarm bells” and demanding action from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish limits for sodium in processed and restaurant food.

“The [Institute of Medicine's 2010] recommendation advised FDA to set mandatory sodium limits for processed and restaurant foods, gradually reducing those levels in a manner not to be disruptive to industry and to acclimate consumers to less-salty foods. The longer FDA stalls in its public health responsibility, the more our children will suffer the health consequences as they grow older,” said CSPI Health Promotion Policy Director Jim O’Hara.

Food Safety News

CDC Report Finds High Sodium Consumption Among U.S. Kids

More than 90 percent of U.S. children aged 6-18 years eat more sodium than recommended, putting them at risk for developing high blood pressure and heart disease later in life, according to a new CDC Vital Signs report released on Tuesday.

This report provides the most recent data detailing how much sodium school-age children eat and where it comes from.

Using data from CDC’s 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, CDC researchers determined that about 43 percent of sodium eaten by children comes from the 10 foods they eat most often: pizza, bread and rolls, cold cuts/cured meats, savory snacks, sandwiches, cheese, chicken patties/nuggets/tenders, pasta mixed dishes, Mexican mixed dishes, and soups.

“Too many children are consuming way too much sodium, and the result will be risks of high blood pressure and heart disease in the future,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Most sodium is from processed and restaurant food, not the salt shaker. Reducing sodium intake will help our children avoid tragic and expensive health problems.”

Key findings in the Vital Signs report include:

  • U.S. children aged 6 to 18 years eat an average of about 3,300 mg of sodium a day before salt is added at the table. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that children eat less than 2,300 mg per day total.
  • Most sodium is already in food before it is purchased or ordered. Approximately 65 percent comes from store foods, 13 percent from fast food and pizza restaurant foods, and 9 percent from school cafeteria foods.

To help reduce the amount of sodium children are consuming daily, parents and caregivers, as well as schools, communities, and places that sell, make or serve food, are all encouraged to take steps  to ensure more low-sodium options. For example, parents can establish healthy eating habits in their children by providing a diet high in fruits and vegetables without added sodium.

Schools and school districts can implement food purchasing policies and standards that reduce sodium in foods and put lower-sodium alternatives in vending machines, school stores and cafeterias. They can also strive to meet or exceed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Nutrition Standards for foods served during the school day.

“Thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act and the work of schools across the country, students are now receiving healthier meals and snacks featuring less sodium, sugar and fat and more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy,” said Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. “This report demonstrates the importance of continuing to move forward in our efforts to improve nutrition in schools, and to ensure that children and teens nationwide have access to safe, nutritious meals and snacks during the school day.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest responded to the CDC report by stating these data should “ring alarm bells” and demanding action from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish limits for sodium in processed and restaurant food.

“The [Institute of Medicine's 2010] recommendation advised FDA to set mandatory sodium limits for processed and restaurant foods, gradually reducing those levels in a manner not to be disruptive to industry and to acclimate consumers to less-salty foods. The longer FDA stalls in its public health responsibility, the more our children will suffer the health consequences as they grow older,” said CSPI Health Promotion Policy Director Jim O’Hara.

Food Safety News

Retailers report rising supermarket sales

As the economy keeps improving, so are supermarket sales, according to industry executives around the U.S., who told SN summer sales have been increasing — and most said they expect more of the same through the fall. “I can’t quite put my finger on why sales are so good and better than we budgeted for,” Neil Berube, president and CEO of Associated Food Stores, Salt Lake City, said, “but we think it’s simply that the economy has picked up and people are …

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Supermarket News

The Lempert Report: Standards in place for gluten free (video)

So basically now, if a food package says it’s gluten free, you can be well assured that it is!

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Supermarket News

NASS crop report confirms mushroom demand continues to grow

The value of domestic mushroom production topped $ 1 billion for the fourth year in a row, according to a recently issued U.S. Department of Agriculture report. The 899 million-pound crop from 2013-14 broke last year’s record value by $ 12 million.

The strong demand for mushrooms increased the value of the Agaricus crop to $ 1.05 billion from more than 882 million pounds sold. Pennsylvania accounted for 65 percent of the total volume of sales and second-ranked California contributed 12 percent.

Brown mushrooms, including Portabella and Crimini varieties, accounted for 152 million pounds, up slightly from last season. Brown mushrooms accounted for 17 percent of the total Agaricus volume sold and 22 percent of the total Agaricus value.

Production of 65.7 million pounds of specialty mushrooms, including varieties such as Shitake and Oyster, added $ 65.7 million in value.

During the 12- month reporting period, several large farms closed, decreasing the total number of Agaricus growers in the United States to 103. Another indication of production consolidation is that growers with sales exceeding 10 million pounds accounted for 77 percent of all Agaricus sales.

The data are from the annual National Agricultural Statistics Service production report, which was released Aug. 20. This demand growth is reflected in mushroom retail sales for the same time period.

Over the same 12-month period of the NASS data, the mushroom category grew 3.1 percent, adding nearly $ 33 million in incremental retail sales. Brown mushrooms had an enormous impact on the category, growing 7.7 percent and contributing an additional $ 24 million to the category. Organic mushrooms are the fastest-growing segment, up 40 percent in dollars. They comprised nearly 6 percent of the category for this period.

“Increased demand will lead to an increase in the price for mushrooms,” American Mushroom Institute President Laura Phelps said in a press release. “Growers and shippers continue to face challenges of higher production costs, including raw materials, wages and energy. There are still gaps left by the closure of large farms. With tight supply, prices should be moving up to meet demand.”

Timothy Richards, an agriculture economist for the mushroom industry, noted that “mushroom demand remains strong; our forecast is that demand is predicted to grow at least 2.5 percent, while domestic production is forecasted to grow at around 2 percent. This obviously will put upward pressure on price. Retail sales are expected to grow around 3-4 percent per year, and while the Blend Trend is still just getting started, even a small increase in foodservice/processed mushroom demand can have a significant impact on the bottom-end of mushroom pricing, which then trickles up the product line.”  

Mushroom Council marketing programs promoting mushroom blendability, the culinary technique of blending fresh mushrooms with ground meat to maintain flavor and texture while reducing calories and fat, has opened up an entirely new market for mushroom sales resulting in increased demand.

“Blendability is creating interest in mushrooms which has increased more home cooks to explore mushrooms,” Mushroom Council President Bart Minor added in the press release. “The buzz around blendability is contributing to overall mushroom demand. Blendability is currently being quickly adopted in foodservice outlets both commercially in restaurant chains like Seasons 52 and Macaroni Grill and non-commercially, most notably in the National School Lunch Program. The continued growth of mushroom blendability in foodservice has not only increased foodservice sales but increased overall demand for mushrooms.”

The NASS report shows a price increase of 10 percent for mushrooms sold for the processed market — a clear sign of more widespread foodservice use for items such as burger toppings and meat blends.

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