A U.S. Kalette producer says it has been hard to work out the best growing methods for the new product.
Zespri Iberica, subsidiary of New Zealand’s multinational engaged in the production and marketing of kiwifruit, has announced plans to introduce a new gold variety into the Spanish market in the next two or three years, the result of a project that is already very advanced.
The marketing manager of the company, Enrique Guío, announced the structure and Zespri’s objectives in the present and in the future. Today, the company sells three varieties of kiwi worldwide: Green (70%), Gold (26%) and organic (4%), but they only distribute the first two varieties in Spain.
“We want our product to arrive in the best possible quality to the customer, and we developed a strict control process called Zespri system,” said the Firm’s manager.
Publication date: 6/25/2013
A Chinese partner will soon start selling Disney-branded grapes sourced from Dayka & Hackett in the U.S.
Supermarkets need to step up their games in the face of mixed consumer reactions to their health and wellness efforts.
That’s the opinion of Phil Lempert, The Supermarket Guru, who urged new approaches during a presentation at SN‘s educational event during Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore.
He outlined the mixed results of a recent consumer survey his organization conducted for SN Whole Health. In the survey, about half of respondents rated their supermarkets only fair in selection of natural, organic and better-for-you products and in servicing their desire to eat healthier.
“Where’s the disconnect, we’re only delivering fair,” he said.
Supermarkets need to act at a time when they are facing a range of challenges across their businesses, from shrinking store sizes to increased retail competition and the growth of online-only rivals.
“I’ve never seen in my career as many changes in the supermarket industry,” he said. “And it’s going to get worse in the next five years.”
Part of the solution on the wellness front is for supermarkets to embrace the role of being the trusted party because consumers are confused about the facts, on issues such as GMO labeling, he said.
“Supermarkets have the opportunity to offer unbiased, factual, traceable information, and very few are doing it,” he explained.
“Some huge chains with thousands of stores have only one or two registered dietitians for the entire chain. So the message isn’t getting out to consumers.”
Supermarkets also need to be honest and proactive in communicating their local products initiatives, he added.
“Consumers are confused about sustainability, local and fresh,” he said. “We need clearer definitions. Supermarkets need to be truthful.
“Let’s take the lead on health and nutrition traceability.”
Lempert said the industry can learn from Walmart’s tough approach in making sure it meets sustainability goals.
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A South African citrus industry representative gives insights from a recent visit to Hong Kong, India and Indonesia.
Brazilians have spent a lot more on imported apples this year compared to the prices achieved for exports.
A new technology used by Tesco in the U.K. has the potential to drastically change how consumers interact with supermarkets.
Traditional retailers are dying out in one of Europe’s fastest-growing economies, with locally-focused convenience and discount outlets swooping in.
Indonesia’s import licensing policy has sparked another WTO trade dispute with the U.S. and New Zealand.
Food Safety News writers James Andrews and Cookson Beecher came home from the April 26 Washington Press Association awards banquet with nine awards, all of them in the daily news category.
Here are the awards James received: First prize, Personality Profile, “Keene Remembered for Commitment to Public Health, Unconventional Style.” Second prize, General Features, “Beef Research Money Tied to Record Low Cattle Population.” Honorable mention, Agriculture/Environment, “As California Begins Regulating Fracking, Agricultural Concerns Arise.”
Here’s what Cookson took home: First place, Agriculture/Environment, “Girl Fights E. Coli from Raw Milk as Medical Bills Mount.” First place, Government, “Organics ‘Thrown Under the Bus’ in Farm Bill Extension, Say Industry Advocates.” Second place, Health, “Two Sides of the Coin for Food Safety of Cut Leafy Greens.” Third place, Agriculture, “Concerns About Animal Welfare, Food Safety Spur Industry Changes.” Third place, Health/Medicine, “Dessert Followed by a Hepatitis A Shot?” Honorable mention, Consumer Affairs, “Shoppers Can Pick up Food-Safety Clues at Farmers Markets.”
James Andrews, former managing editor and Seattle-based reporter for Food Safety News, holds degrees in Environmental Journalism and English from Western Washington University and has previously worked as a science writer for the National Park Service. His work has been mentioned on ABC World News, the Huffington Post and Esquire’s Eat Like a Man blog. He currently freelances for Food Safety News.
Cookson Beecher spent 12 years working as an agricultural and environmental reporter for Capital Press, a four-state newspaper that covers agricultural and forestry issues in the Pacific Northwest before coming on board as a freelancer for Food Safety News. Previous to her job with Capital Press, she was the editor of the Courier Times in Skagit County, WA. She received her B.A in political science from Hunter College in New York City, and, before moving West, she worked for publishing companies in midtown Manhattan. In the 1970s and 1980s, she and her family lived in North Idaho, where they built a log home and lived a “pioneer life” without running water and electricity for almost 10 years. She currently lives in rural Skagit County of Washington state and is co-owner of Pioneer Dahlias.
The EU must take urgent action to halt the spread of invasive species that are threatening native plants and animals across Europe, according to a scientist from Queen’s University Belfast.
The threats posed by these species cost an estimated €12 billion each year across Europe. Professor Jaimie Dick, from the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s School of Biological Sciences, is calling on the EU to commit long-term investment in a European-wide strategy to manage the problem.
Invasive species are considered to be among the major threats to native biodiversity in Europe. The call to action follows the publication of a paper ‘Tackling Invasive Alien Species in Europe: the Top 20 Issues‘, in the peer-reviewed journal Management of Biological Invasions. The report’s authors say it should inform future EU policy for managing invasive species.
The paper resulted from an international meeting of invasive species experts who gathered in Galway (Ireland) last year to identify the critical issues for tackling invasive species in Europe. The Freshwater Invasives: Networking for Strategy (FINS) conference was led by Inland Fisheries Ireland, Queen’s, and the Institute of Technology, Sligo. It brought together more than 150 scientists, academics, policy makers and politicians with the aim of informing impending EU legislation on alien species.
Professor Dick said: “Alien plant and animal species cause environmental, economic and social damage across Europe, and their rate of invasion is set to increase in the coming years. The EU has formulated a comprehensive plan to address the threats posed by these species, but adequate resourcing by the EU and Member States, in terms of funding, staff and equipment, will be crucial in ensuring this plan is put into action.
“Invasive species cost an estimated €12 billion each year across Europe, including around €261 million on the island of Ireland and £1.7 billion in Great Britain. Their impact ranges from upsetting native ecosystems, to damaging the physical environment and even threatening human and animal health; hence the cost to agriculture, fisheries and forestry, as well as the expense of control and eradication programmes.
“The existing haphazard, fragmented approach from EU countries, characterised by communication breakdowns and insufficient resources, will not suffice if we are to protect our ecosystems against these invaders. The EU must ensure sufficient funding to achieve its goal of long-term, coherent, sustainable action to manage invasive species. Through the FINS conference, 20 issues that will be critical to the success of any EU strategy have now been identified. It is vital that EU decision-makers consider these issues when formulating their plans and allocating resource.
“Among the 20 issues identified is the need to raise awareness of biosecurity across Europe and the implementation of European-wide legislation for this; the dedication of resources for the long-term management of invasive species; the development of new technology to detect new invasives, and early warning systems to alert EU states to their spread; new European-wide risk assessment methods; emergency powers to eradicate alien species once they become established; and effective communications to raise awareness of invasive species, so the public will know what to look for and how to report it.”
Professor Jaimie Dick and Queen’s PhD student Jenny Barbour were key organisers of the FINS conference, which was called specifically with the aim of assessing the current position regarding invasive alien species in Europe. Experts from the UK and Ireland, and across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia joined forces to prioritise the key issues for the management of invasive species.
Eurofruit reports that there are rumours in the market that Dole is planning to fully or partially take over Banacol. Dole acquired Banacol pineapple plantations in Costa Rica at the beginning of the year, so further integration would not be an illogical step. It seems that both companies have been in discussion for months. Dole may hope to win market shares with this fusion, to compete with the recent fusion between Chiquita and Fyffes.
In mid March Banacol announced that the group will be undergoing significant reorganisation. This announcement was a result of the turnover that has been put under pressure and strengthened by unfavourable exchange rates, low banana prices on the international market and high production costs.
Publication date: 3/28/2014
For the third year in a row, United Family stores will help serve the hungry in their local communities by donating more than 30,000 pounds of apples to five local food banks in their trade areas.
The donation signals the company’s committed participation in the Take a Bite Out of Hunger program sponsored by FirstFruits Marketing of Washington. FirstFruits created the Take a Bite out of Hunger campaign to help feed the underserved while bringing attention to the problem of food insecurity in the United States.
Through the program, United has provided almost 115,000 pounds of apples to area food banks during the past three years.
“So often we hear that food banks are in such need of fresh produce on their shelves,” Joseph Bunting, produce business manager for The United Family, said in a press release. “Take a Bite Out of Hunger allows us to support our communities and provide them with items they may not otherwise have access to.”
Apple donations also will arrive March 28 throughout Texas at Food Bank of West Central Texas in Abilene, High Plains Food Bank in Amarillo, Tarrant Area Food Bank in Fort Worth, South Plains Food Bank in Lubbock and Wichita Falls Area Food Bank in Wichita Falls.
“We take great pride in continuing this program year after year,” Dennis Jackson, category manager of FirstFruits of Washington, said in a press release. “It truly is an honor to help our retail partners like United Supermarkets make a difference in their communities.”
The Expo West experience can be daunting for new attendees, with an overwhelming number of exhibitors and products, and attributes ranging from organic to non-GMO to superfood.
Those who pace themselves and keep the big picture in mind, however, will come away with smart solutions for their businesses.
There’s really no choice for supermarkets, because they have to keep embracing smart solutions. The stakes are too high.
SN’s 2014 health and wellness survey of the food industry, just published, found just how strongly the momentum is building. Some 82% of respondents, and 75% of retailers and wholesalers, said health and wellness categories showed sales increases over the past 12 months. Moreover, almost half of those respondents said health and wellness sales increased by 10% or more last year, a remarkable number that follows gains in recent years too.
Supermarkets are benefiting from all the good news, but they realize the competition is strong. More than half of conventional food retailers identified natural food stores as the strongest competitor to supermarkets in health and wellness sales, with selection as the main competitive advantage.
Supermarkets attending Expo West were no doubt considering how to keep moving their momentum forward. SN’s half-day series of educational panels provided some answers. These included the need to offer sophisticated signage and nutritional labeling at the shelf, but also to not forget about the need for one-on-one engagement between retailers and shoppers. This requires that retail associates are educated on the wellness topic.
Retailers were also urged to become health advocates, embrace transparency, and help reduce the amount of consumer confusion about health and wellness. In fact, the importance of reducing confusion came up repeatedly at Expo West in educational sessions, because it seems to be a topic that impacts far more than just mainstream retailers.
Read more: SN’s coverage of Natural Products Expo West
Retailers were also told to make health and wellness interesting and exciting. This includes launching kids programs to start the younger set early, and building partnerships that bring interesting programs to stores.
One of the most important points at the SN event was raised in the form of a question by panelist Jay Jacobowitz, president, Retail Insights. Here’s how he put it:
“Why is health and wellness a separate discussion in the grocery channel? Why isn’t it integral to the model?”
That’s an excellent question that I hope the industry will really ponder in 2014. If we do nothing more than address that topic, we will have moved further along the road to making supermarkets into first-class providers of health and wellness strategies and services for consumers.
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United Fresh Services wants to take banana sector to a higher level
In July last year Niels Borgers started a new banana ripening company: United Fresh Services. Since January this year he has been running the company with his brother in law Tim Priem. The independent banana ripener is located in the Agrarisch Logistiek Handelscentrum in Ijsselmuiden, and has been operational since mid November. “We see possibilities to bring the banana sector to a higher level by way of a better real-time availability of chain information,” says Niels.
His father’s name, Hans Borgers, is irrevocably linked to bananas. Now that Niels has started his own ripening company, it seems the apple does not fall far from the tree. “I have every faith in the future. A conventional market like the fruit and vegetable sector could use some young entrepreneurs,” says Niels. “United Fresh Services is purely a lending ripener. In the past banana ripeners mainly used margins with their own trade, but I believe this trading mentality is decreasing, and more work is done based on set prices. I see the future of our business as a ‘dedicated partner’ in the market. Retailers want a centralised approach and United Fresh Service can offer this.”
“The big advantage of this service is that we retain our independence. We talk to both buyers, suppliers and producers and are not tied to one retailer. Using this concept, a supermarket can easily do business with a country like Ecuador, after which we take the rest off their hands,” says Niels. “We aren’t as involved in the actual banana price, because we mostly work with service contracts. In this way the quality bananas find their way to the consumer, through supermarkets, markets, wholesalers, the food service sector and the processing industry.”
According to Niels the young company distinguishes itself through its transparency. “United Fresh Services is a service provider and can show how much it will cost per service. If you need it to cost less, you can go somewhere else, who makes up for it with their trading profit, but we won’t be a part of that. We are also in a central location, at which we have a good logistic service supply with Wezenburg Transport. It’s all saved mileage. A large part of Germany is also very accessible from this location. We have also invested greatly in our automation, with a hyper modern ripening system. What is unique to this is that it isn’t related to the cool technical installer, but to an independent software party, which means we hope to keep ahead with the latest innovations.”
Niels also sees possibilities for ripening kiwis, mangos and avocados in the future. “I have a background in bananas, but the tests with installations have already proven that other exotics can also be ripened in it. But regardless of ripening developments, it is important to us that we continue to think with the customer. The only threat to us that I can think of is losing our independence, for instance if we are the owner of the product besides being a service provider. As an independent service provider United Fresh Services can serve everyone, whether they be retail, wholesale or food service!”
For more information:
United Fresh Services B.V.
8271 RH, IJsselmuiden
Tel +31 38 337 27 10
Fax +31 38 337 27 19
Publication date: 1/31/2014
A Canadian company expects strong regulatory prospects with a U.K.-developed GM purple tomato.
Up to 5,000 honey bees in Australia could soon be equipped with special sensors.
Peru has big expectations as a grape provider to the Chinese market.
Scott Schnuck, chairman and chief executive officer of privately held and family-owned Schnuck Markets Inc., announced that after nearly eight years at the helm, he is preparing to pass the baton to his brother, Todd Schnuck.
In accordance with the family’s succession plan, Todd will become president and CEO in March. Scott will remain chairman and will assist Todd in the transition through September. In addition, older brother, Craig Schnuck, will formally retire from the company and become chairman emeritus.
Todd Schnuck joined the company in 1987 as treasurer, and he served as corporate vice president and CFO before assuming the position of president and COO.
“My wife, Julie, and I and my extended family have been planning this for more than a year, and Todd has been preparing for this for several years,” Scott said in a press release. “Todd and I have worked very closely together over the years. I have the greatest confidence in his ability to lead our company to even greater success by working through our teammates to provide our customers with the best values and the highest quality goods and services.”
The transition also includes Schnucks newcomer Anthony Hucker, who will partner with Todd to lead the management team. Hucker joined the company in September 2013 as executive vice president and chief strategy officer. With the shift in March, he will rise to executive vice president and COO.
“Scott’s years as CEO could be characterized as the company’s era of innovation and reinvention,” the company stated in the release. “He made it his mission to differentiate Schnucks from others in the industry by hiring and training teammates to become food experts.”
Scott said, “Reflecting on 75 years of serving customers, each era of leadership has had an impact in shaping the company we are today. My brother Craig did an incredible job of guiding us into new and innovative formats that fueled growth and expansion. In my time, I’ve taken the company down a new path, a new direction that should ensure that no matter what challenges come, Schnucks will continue to be a strong and profitable company for our teammates and for our customers. I am looking forward to seeing what exciting turns we will take as Todd moves our company into a new era.”
Scott said that once the transition plan was outlined, the brothers searched the industry for a strong partner. “We were looking for a proven leader who was customer focused and passionate about our business; we found that in Anthony.”
“Anthony will be a great partner,” Todd added. “Together, he and I will focus on providing the quality, value, variety and services our loyal customers want and need and that will attract new customers in 2014. I am excited and humbled to be leading our family company into the future. We’ve come a long way over the years, but thanks to our teammates and customers, our best days are ahead.”
After more than 30 years in the industry, Hucker is well respected as one of the industry’s most successful retail merchants. Formerly president of Giant Food, based in Landover, MD, he oversaw the operation of 169 supermarkets in the Mid-Atlantic region and ensured Giant remained the market share leader in both Washington, DC, and Baltimore. Prior to joining Giant, Hucker spent seven years at Wal-Mart and 10 years at Aldi in a variety of leadership positions.
“Schnucks is a growing company with a strong legacy and visionary family leaders who, in their 75th year of serving customers, are not standing still but rather moving forward,” Hucker said. “They are reinventing their futures in the grocery world. I am excited about where we will go from here.”
Following the leadership changes in March, Scott will continue to support the transition team providing direction in the company’s 75th anniversary year and representing Schnucks and the community as chair of the 2014 United Way Campaign of Greater St. Louis.