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Stemilt taps into juicing and smoothie trend with the launch of Fresh Blenders

Stemilt Growers is tapping into the growing crowd of people who juice and blend their fruits and vegetables with the launch of Fresh Blenders, a product line of five-pouch bags for both sweet and tart apple varieties. The company plans to introduce the high-graphic, blender-shaped package in a big way at the PMA Fresh Summit show in Anaheim, CA, with displays at Booth No. 3154, a feature in the New Products Showcase and free juice sampling at a food truck outside the convention center on Saturday.Stemilt-Fresh-Blenders-Tart

According to NPD Group data from May 2013, blenders, juicers and food processors are the top-growing small kitchen appliance category, with blenders and juice extractors contributing to more than $ 1 billion in sales in 2013. The popularity in juicing and smoothies spills over onto the Web with terms like “smoothie recipes” earning an average of 110,000 Google searches a month.

“Juicing and blending smoothies at home has taken off in recent years, and continues to grow in popularity among consumers across all age demographics,” Roger Pepperl, Stemilt marketing director, said in a press release. “Apples are the perfect base ingredient to any juice or smoothie creation. They offer sweet and tart flavors, nutrition in the form of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, and when blended, a nice foamy consistency. Fresh Blenders is the perfect platform to directly market to this crowd and deliver them a great grab-and-go value pack.”

The Fresh Blenders package is different from any five-pound bag of apples on the market today. The resealable pouch bag is long and narrow — just like a blender — and designed to stand up vertically for easy display at retail and in the refrigerator at home. The bright color of both the sweet and tart bags catch the eye, while the tagline “the natural start to any juice or smoothie,” and a large illustrated blender filled with apples and other popular blending vegetables tells the consumer exactly how to use the fruit inside the bag at home. The bags are shipped in a Fresh Blenders display-ready carton with a lid that pops off easily.

“The packaging is bright and fun, and the case it ships in self-stacks for building a quick display at retail,” said Pepperl. “Fresh Blenders are ideal for refrigerated endcap displays and can be easily promoted alongside other key smoothie and juice items like kale and carrots. It’s a great value offering to reach this crowd of consumers, who purchase a lot of fruits and vegetables each week.”

The fruit inside each bag is ideal for blends, as color percentages and shape do not matter when making a juice or smoothie recipe like they do when eating the apple fresh. This makes Fresh Blenders a great value item to consumers, Pepperl added.

“A five-pound bag can make a week’s worth of juice or smoothies for most consumers. Fresh Blenders deliver value and convenience, making it easy for shoppers to juice or make smoothies at home all year long,” said Pepperl.

Stemilt will pack Fresh Blenders in both sweet and tart flavors. The varieties available for sweet are Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious. The varieties available as tart are Braeburn, Granny Smith and “Pink Lady” brand apples.

On the back of every bag, Stemilt includes a recipe that fits the flavor profile of the fruit inside. Sweet Blenders have the “Ridiculously Red” smoothie recipe on the back, which brings beets, strawberries and sweet apples together. Tart Blenders have the “ABC Smoothie,” which includes apples, bananas, carrots and an option to make it green with spinach. Every package also features the Mathison family and the message “from our orchards to you” in order to tie the consumer back to the farm these fruits came from.

“Consumers want to know the story behind where their food was grown and who grew it. Our founding family has been farming apples for going-on six generations and has a great story to share,” Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager, said in the release.

Stemilt will share Fresh Blenders with its consumer audience following PMA. Stemilt.com will have a Fresh Blenders page with product information, instructional videos and smoothie and juice recipes. Stemilt will also reach consumers with recipes and tips for blending and juicing and other fun giveaways through The Stem blog, and its large social media presence.

Jonah Berger, the New York Times best-selling author of the book Contagious, is also excited about the introduction of Fresh Blenders and believes it’s a product line that resonates with today’s health-conscious consumers.

“As a smoothie maker myself, I think Fresh Blenders is a great idea,” he said. “It taps into the growing trend of blending and juicing with a healthy, fresh, and easy to use ingredient like apples.”

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

Stemilt taps into juicing and smoothie trend with the launch of Fresh Blenders

Stemilt Growers is tapping into the growing crowd of people who juice and blend their fruits and vegetables with the launch of Fresh Blenders, a product line of five-pouch bags for both sweet and tart apple varieties. The company plans to introduce the high-graphic, blender-shaped package in a big way at the PMA Fresh Summit show in Anaheim, CA, with displays at Booth No. 3154, a feature in the New Products Showcase and free juice sampling at a food truck outside the convention center on Saturday.Stemilt-Fresh-Blenders-Tart

According to NPD Group data from May 2013, blenders, juicers and food processors are the top-growing small kitchen appliance category, with blenders and juice extractors contributing to more than $ 1 billion in sales in 2013. The popularity in juicing and smoothies spills over onto the Web with terms like “smoothie recipes” earning an average of 110,000 Google searches a month.

“Juicing and blending smoothies at home has taken off in recent years, and continues to grow in popularity among consumers across all age demographics,” Roger Pepperl, Stemilt marketing director, said in a press release. “Apples are the perfect base ingredient to any juice or smoothie creation. They offer sweet and tart flavors, nutrition in the form of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, and when blended, a nice foamy consistency. Fresh Blenders is the perfect platform to directly market to this crowd and deliver them a great grab-and-go value pack.”

The Fresh Blenders package is different from any five-pound bag of apples on the market today. The resealable pouch bag is long and narrow — just like a blender — and designed to stand up vertically for easy display at retail and in the refrigerator at home. The bright color of both the sweet and tart bags catch the eye, while the tagline “the natural start to any juice or smoothie,” and a large illustrated blender filled with apples and other popular blending vegetables tells the consumer exactly how to use the fruit inside the bag at home. The bags are shipped in a Fresh Blenders display-ready carton with a lid that pops off easily.

“The packaging is bright and fun, and the case it ships in self-stacks for building a quick display at retail,” said Pepperl. “Fresh Blenders are ideal for refrigerated endcap displays and can be easily promoted alongside other key smoothie and juice items like kale and carrots. It’s a great value offering to reach this crowd of consumers, who purchase a lot of fruits and vegetables each week.”

The fruit inside each bag is ideal for blends, as color percentages and shape do not matter when making a juice or smoothie recipe like they do when eating the apple fresh. This makes Fresh Blenders a great value item to consumers, Pepperl added.

“A five-pound bag can make a week’s worth of juice or smoothies for most consumers. Fresh Blenders deliver value and convenience, making it easy for shoppers to juice or make smoothies at home all year long,” said Pepperl.

Stemilt will pack Fresh Blenders in both sweet and tart flavors. The varieties available for sweet are Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious. The varieties available as tart are Braeburn, Granny Smith and “Pink Lady” brand apples.

On the back of every bag, Stemilt includes a recipe that fits the flavor profile of the fruit inside. Sweet Blenders have the “Ridiculously Red” smoothie recipe on the back, which brings beets, strawberries and sweet apples together. Tart Blenders have the “ABC Smoothie,” which includes apples, bananas, carrots and an option to make it green with spinach. Every package also features the Mathison family and the message “from our orchards to you” in order to tie the consumer back to the farm these fruits came from.

“Consumers want to know the story behind where their food was grown and who grew it. Our founding family has been farming apples for going-on six generations and has a great story to share,” Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager, said in the release.

Stemilt will share Fresh Blenders with its consumer audience following PMA. Stemilt.com will have a Fresh Blenders page with product information, instructional videos and smoothie and juice recipes. Stemilt will also reach consumers with recipes and tips for blending and juicing and other fun giveaways through The Stem blog, and its large social media presence.

Jonah Berger, the New York Times best-selling author of the book Contagious, is also excited about the introduction of Fresh Blenders and believes it’s a product line that resonates with today’s health-conscious consumers.

“As a smoothie maker myself, I think Fresh Blenders is a great idea,” he said. “It taps into the growing trend of blending and juicing with a healthy, fresh, and easy to use ingredient like apples.”

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

Stemilt taps into juicing and smoothie trend with the launch of Fresh Blenders

Stemilt Growers is tapping into the growing crowd of people who juice and blend their fruits and vegetables with the launch of Fresh Blenders, a product line of five-pouch bags for both sweet and tart apple varieties. The company plans to introduce the high-graphic, blender-shaped package in a big way at the PMA Fresh Summit show in Anaheim, CA, with displays at Booth No. 3154, a feature in the New Products Showcase and free juice sampling at a food truck outside the convention center on Saturday.Stemilt-Fresh-Blenders-Tart

According to NPD Group data from May 2013, blenders, juicers and food processors are the top-growing small kitchen appliance category, with blenders and juice extractors contributing to more than $ 1 billion in sales in 2013. The popularity in juicing and smoothies spills over onto the Web with terms like “smoothie recipes” earning an average of 110,000 Google searches a month.

“Juicing and blending smoothies at home has taken off in recent years, and continues to grow in popularity among consumers across all age demographics,” Roger Pepperl, Stemilt marketing director, said in a press release. “Apples are the perfect base ingredient to any juice or smoothie creation. They offer sweet and tart flavors, nutrition in the form of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, and when blended, a nice foamy consistency. Fresh Blenders is the perfect platform to directly market to this crowd and deliver them a great grab-and-go value pack.”

The Fresh Blenders package is different from any five-pound bag of apples on the market today. The resealable pouch bag is long and narrow — just like a blender — and designed to stand up vertically for easy display at retail and in the refrigerator at home. The bright color of both the sweet and tart bags catch the eye, while the tagline “the natural start to any juice or smoothie,” and a large illustrated blender filled with apples and other popular blending vegetables tells the consumer exactly how to use the fruit inside the bag at home. The bags are shipped in a Fresh Blenders display-ready carton with a lid that pops off easily.

“The packaging is bright and fun, and the case it ships in self-stacks for building a quick display at retail,” said Pepperl. “Fresh Blenders are ideal for refrigerated endcap displays and can be easily promoted alongside other key smoothie and juice items like kale and carrots. It’s a great value offering to reach this crowd of consumers, who purchase a lot of fruits and vegetables each week.”

The fruit inside each bag is ideal for blends, as color percentages and shape do not matter when making a juice or smoothie recipe like they do when eating the apple fresh. This makes Fresh Blenders a great value item to consumers, Pepperl added.

“A five-pound bag can make a week’s worth of juice or smoothies for most consumers. Fresh Blenders deliver value and convenience, making it easy for shoppers to juice or make smoothies at home all year long,” said Pepperl.

Stemilt will pack Fresh Blenders in both sweet and tart flavors. The varieties available for sweet are Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious. The varieties available as tart are Braeburn, Granny Smith and “Pink Lady” brand apples.

On the back of every bag, Stemilt includes a recipe that fits the flavor profile of the fruit inside. Sweet Blenders have the “Ridiculously Red” smoothie recipe on the back, which brings beets, strawberries and sweet apples together. Tart Blenders have the “ABC Smoothie,” which includes apples, bananas, carrots and an option to make it green with spinach. Every package also features the Mathison family and the message “from our orchards to you” in order to tie the consumer back to the farm these fruits came from.

“Consumers want to know the story behind where their food was grown and who grew it. Our founding family has been farming apples for going-on six generations and has a great story to share,” Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager, said in the release.

Stemilt will share Fresh Blenders with its consumer audience following PMA. Stemilt.com will have a Fresh Blenders page with product information, instructional videos and smoothie and juice recipes. Stemilt will also reach consumers with recipes and tips for blending and juicing and other fun giveaways through The Stem blog, and its large social media presence.

Jonah Berger, the New York Times best-selling author of the book Contagious, is also excited about the introduction of Fresh Blenders and believes it’s a product line that resonates with today’s health-conscious consumers.

“As a smoothie maker myself, I think Fresh Blenders is a great idea,” he said. “It taps into the growing trend of blending and juicing with a healthy, fresh, and easy to use ingredient like apples.”

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

Stemilt taps into juicing and smoothie trend with the launch of Fresh Blenders

Stemilt Growers is tapping into the growing crowd of people who juice and blend their fruits and vegetables with the launch of Fresh Blenders, a product line of five-pouch bags for both sweet and tart apple varieties. The company plans to introduce the high-graphic, blender-shaped package in a big way at the PMA Fresh Summit show in Anaheim, CA, with displays at Booth No. 3154, a feature in the New Products Showcase and free juice sampling at a food truck outside the convention center on Saturday.Stemilt-Fresh-Blenders-Tart

According to NPD Group data from May 2013, blenders, juicers and food processors are the top-growing small kitchen appliance category, with blenders and juice extractors contributing to more than $ 1 billion in sales in 2013. The popularity in juicing and smoothies spills over onto the Web with terms like “smoothie recipes” earning an average of 110,000 Google searches a month.

“Juicing and blending smoothies at home has taken off in recent years, and continues to grow in popularity among consumers across all age demographics,” Roger Pepperl, Stemilt marketing director, said in a press release. “Apples are the perfect base ingredient to any juice or smoothie creation. They offer sweet and tart flavors, nutrition in the form of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, and when blended, a nice foamy consistency. Fresh Blenders is the perfect platform to directly market to this crowd and deliver them a great grab-and-go value pack.”

The Fresh Blenders package is different from any five-pound bag of apples on the market today. The resealable pouch bag is long and narrow — just like a blender — and designed to stand up vertically for easy display at retail and in the refrigerator at home. The bright color of both the sweet and tart bags catch the eye, while the tagline “the natural start to any juice or smoothie,” and a large illustrated blender filled with apples and other popular blending vegetables tells the consumer exactly how to use the fruit inside the bag at home. The bags are shipped in a Fresh Blenders display-ready carton with a lid that pops off easily.

“The packaging is bright and fun, and the case it ships in self-stacks for building a quick display at retail,” said Pepperl. “Fresh Blenders are ideal for refrigerated endcap displays and can be easily promoted alongside other key smoothie and juice items like kale and carrots. It’s a great value offering to reach this crowd of consumers, who purchase a lot of fruits and vegetables each week.”

The fruit inside each bag is ideal for blends, as color percentages and shape do not matter when making a juice or smoothie recipe like they do when eating the apple fresh. This makes Fresh Blenders a great value item to consumers, Pepperl added.

“A five-pound bag can make a week’s worth of juice or smoothies for most consumers. Fresh Blenders deliver value and convenience, making it easy for shoppers to juice or make smoothies at home all year long,” said Pepperl.

Stemilt will pack Fresh Blenders in both sweet and tart flavors. The varieties available for sweet are Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious. The varieties available as tart are Braeburn, Granny Smith and “Pink Lady” brand apples.

On the back of every bag, Stemilt includes a recipe that fits the flavor profile of the fruit inside. Sweet Blenders have the “Ridiculously Red” smoothie recipe on the back, which brings beets, strawberries and sweet apples together. Tart Blenders have the “ABC Smoothie,” which includes apples, bananas, carrots and an option to make it green with spinach. Every package also features the Mathison family and the message “from our orchards to you” in order to tie the consumer back to the farm these fruits came from.

“Consumers want to know the story behind where their food was grown and who grew it. Our founding family has been farming apples for going-on six generations and has a great story to share,” Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager, said in the release.

Stemilt will share Fresh Blenders with its consumer audience following PMA. Stemilt.com will have a Fresh Blenders page with product information, instructional videos and smoothie and juice recipes. Stemilt will also reach consumers with recipes and tips for blending and juicing and other fun giveaways through The Stem blog, and its large social media presence.

Jonah Berger, the New York Times best-selling author of the book Contagious, is also excited about the introduction of Fresh Blenders and believes it’s a product line that resonates with today’s health-conscious consumers.

“As a smoothie maker myself, I think Fresh Blenders is a great idea,” he said. “It taps into the growing trend of blending and juicing with a healthy, fresh, and easy to use ingredient like apples.”

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

Stemilt taps into juicing and smoothie trend with the launch of Fresh Blenders

Stemilt Growers is tapping into the growing crowd of people who juice and blend their fruits and vegetables with the launch of Fresh Blenders, a product line of five-pouch bags for both sweet and tart apple varieties. The company plans to introduce the high-graphic, blender-shaped package in a big way at the PMA Fresh Summit show in Anaheim, CA, with displays at Booth No. 3154, a feature in the New Products Showcase and free juice sampling at a food truck outside the convention center on Saturday.Stemilt-Fresh-Blenders-Tart

According to NPD Group data from May 2013, blenders, juicers and food processors are the top-growing small kitchen appliance category, with blenders and juice extractors contributing to more than $ 1 billion in sales in 2013. The popularity in juicing and smoothies spills over onto the Web with terms like “smoothie recipes” earning an average of 110,000 Google searches a month.

“Juicing and blending smoothies at home has taken off in recent years, and continues to grow in popularity among consumers across all age demographics,” Roger Pepperl, Stemilt marketing director, said in a press release. “Apples are the perfect base ingredient to any juice or smoothie creation. They offer sweet and tart flavors, nutrition in the form of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, and when blended, a nice foamy consistency. Fresh Blenders is the perfect platform to directly market to this crowd and deliver them a great grab-and-go value pack.”

The Fresh Blenders package is different from any five-pound bag of apples on the market today. The resealable pouch bag is long and narrow — just like a blender — and designed to stand up vertically for easy display at retail and in the refrigerator at home. The bright color of both the sweet and tart bags catch the eye, while the tagline “the natural start to any juice or smoothie,” and a large illustrated blender filled with apples and other popular blending vegetables tells the consumer exactly how to use the fruit inside the bag at home. The bags are shipped in a Fresh Blenders display-ready carton with a lid that pops off easily.

“The packaging is bright and fun, and the case it ships in self-stacks for building a quick display at retail,” said Pepperl. “Fresh Blenders are ideal for refrigerated endcap displays and can be easily promoted alongside other key smoothie and juice items like kale and carrots. It’s a great value offering to reach this crowd of consumers, who purchase a lot of fruits and vegetables each week.”

The fruit inside each bag is ideal for blends, as color percentages and shape do not matter when making a juice or smoothie recipe like they do when eating the apple fresh. This makes Fresh Blenders a great value item to consumers, Pepperl added.

“A five-pound bag can make a week’s worth of juice or smoothies for most consumers. Fresh Blenders deliver value and convenience, making it easy for shoppers to juice or make smoothies at home all year long,” said Pepperl.

Stemilt will pack Fresh Blenders in both sweet and tart flavors. The varieties available for sweet are Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious. The varieties available as tart are Braeburn, Granny Smith and “Pink Lady” brand apples.

On the back of every bag, Stemilt includes a recipe that fits the flavor profile of the fruit inside. Sweet Blenders have the “Ridiculously Red” smoothie recipe on the back, which brings beets, strawberries and sweet apples together. Tart Blenders have the “ABC Smoothie,” which includes apples, bananas, carrots and an option to make it green with spinach. Every package also features the Mathison family and the message “from our orchards to you” in order to tie the consumer back to the farm these fruits came from.

“Consumers want to know the story behind where their food was grown and who grew it. Our founding family has been farming apples for going-on six generations and has a great story to share,” Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager, said in the release.

Stemilt will share Fresh Blenders with its consumer audience following PMA. Stemilt.com will have a Fresh Blenders page with product information, instructional videos and smoothie and juice recipes. Stemilt will also reach consumers with recipes and tips for blending and juicing and other fun giveaways through The Stem blog, and its large social media presence.

Jonah Berger, the New York Times best-selling author of the book Contagious, is also excited about the introduction of Fresh Blenders and believes it’s a product line that resonates with today’s health-conscious consumers.

“As a smoothie maker myself, I think Fresh Blenders is a great idea,” he said. “It taps into the growing trend of blending and juicing with a healthy, fresh, and easy to use ingredient like apples.”

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

Turbana taps into community opinion to find new social program to support

25Klogo-copyCorporations often donate money to charities or non-profits, but it’s rare to find an organization that lets the consumer decide where their support should go. Turbana, a premier banana producer,  is taking its social movement “Growing Smiles, Sharing Goodness” to a new level by encouraging the community to speak up and choose causes close to their own hearts and homes.25kGroupPromo-copy The community cause that receives the most votes will win a $ 25,000 sponsorship, and Turbana will work with community members to instate a program that supports the cause.

Dubbed “Win 25K For Your Cause,” this interactive contest gives the community a chance to speak up, take action and have a big effect. The contest is fully housed within Turbana’s Facebook, and it is driven by consumer engagement, votes and shares throughout the period of July 1-Aug. 12. Consumers visiting the tab are invited to “tally” themselves into Turbana’s ongoing “Growing Smiles, Sharing Goodness” movement, which focuses on empowering individuals to do good for their communities. During the voting period, they can nominate a cause of their choice or vote for a cause that has already been nominated.

Since Turbana’s main focus is on inspiring healthier, happier communities, it’s only appropriate that the company takes on such an ambitious call-to-action. Born from a cooperative of farmers seeking a better standard of living, Turbana takes pride in empowering the communities in which it is present.

“Win 25K For Your Cause” will empower individuals to make a difference by bringing light to community organizations that need support, while simultaneously bringing about positive change in their local areas. Turbana aims to produce a snowball effect by using the company’s own enthusiasm and passion for community involvement to inspire individuals to participate in giving back to their communities across the nation.

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

Kings taps Binder as VP

Kings Food Markets, Parsippany, N.J., said Friday it has named Jeff Binder VP of center store, with responsibility for the grocery, dairy and frozen food departments as well as the nonfood and beauty departments.Kings VP Jeff Binder

He will report directly to Rich Durante, COO.

“We are very excited to have Jeff join our team,” said Judy Spires, president and CEO of Kings. “Kings is already known for its rare finds, but Jeff will help us build on that reputation, expanding our assortment of high quality products throughout the center of the store. He will help us continue to evolve our unique, curated experience for our customers, ensuring they are inspired each time they set foot through our doors and down our aisles.”


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With more than 20 years of leadership in the retail industry, Binder has extensive experience building premium brands. Prior to joining Kings, Binder was VP and divisional merchandise manager for Bloomingdales, where he was responsible for helping to introduce and grow distinctive brands for the department-store chain. Earlier in his career, Binder was with Hechts (now Macy’s) and held various roles, including divisional merchandise manager.

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Minnesota company taps Chile to feed year-round hunger for Honeycrisp apples

Minnesota company taps Chile to feed year-round hunger for Honeycrisp apples

Spring usually represents a time when Honeycrisp apple fans must go without their coveted fruit, but a Minnesota company is about to change that. A Honeycrisp crop is en route this week to U.S. grocery stores from Chile, where growers have spent the past decade perfecting the insanely in-demand apple variety.

Westcott Agri Products Inc. of Elgin, Minn., has exclusive rights for the Chilean production of the Honeycrisp, and is working with local contract growers to bring the apples north. “Honeycrisp is the No. 1 desired apple in America,” said Don Roper, vice president of sales and marketing for Westcott Agri Products. “We will be the first company that provides a year-round Honeycrisp supply to our retail partners.”

The reward for Honeycrisp apples is lucrative. They can fetch $ 100 a case for wholesale, compared to $ 30 for Gala apples and $ 20 for Braeburn, Roper said.

The University of Minnesota developed the Honeycrisp apple. Its patent from 1988 has expired, but it still has rights over international production. The breeder of the Honeycrisp apple is U of M research scientist David Bedford. Bedford recently traveled to Chile to see the farms and try the apples.

Bedford is concerned that some domestic and international growers aren’t properly caring for the variety and may harm public perception of the apple. They’re difficult to grow, but Bedford said Chilean growers have done a good job so far.  “The Chilean growers are a sharp group that has faced the challenges so far,” Bedford said. “The ones I tried down there are good. Slightly different than ours, but still in the good category.”

Apple orchards are in a mad dash all over the world to plant Honeycrisp trees, both Roper and Bedford said. The U.S. crop has reached 7 to 8 million bushels a year and it’s continuing to grow at a rabbit’s pace.

In the southern hemisphere, only Chile and New Zealand have produced apples for U.S. consumption, but in very small shipments that are gone before anyone even knew they were here. This year’s Chilean crop is much larger at 200,000 bushels, but still a drop in the bucket compared to the millions grown in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Washington, Pennsylvania, Nova Scotia and Ontario.

As production in the U.S. increases, apple companies are loading them into climate-controlled rooms to preserve them until the late winter months. But southern hemisphere apples would give American apple consumers fresh Honeycrisp all year round.

Wescott plans to ramp up production in Chile. The company already has orchards in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Washington. The company owns packing sheds and markets its own apples and fruit from other orchards through its Honeybear Marketing division. Roper said Wescott is one of the top three or four Honeycrisp growers in the United States.

Locally grown Wescott apples are labeled as Mississippi Valley Fruit Co. Its non-Midwest and international apples are labeled Honeybear.

Source: bizjournals.com

Publication date: 4/24/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Minnesota company taps Chile to feed year-round hunger for Honeycrisp apples

Minnesota company taps Chile to feed year-round hunger for Honeycrisp apples

Spring usually represents a time when Honeycrisp apple fans must go without their coveted fruit, but a Minnesota company is about to change that. A Honeycrisp crop is en route this week to U.S. grocery stores from Chile, where growers have spent the past decade perfecting the insanely in-demand apple variety.

Westcott Agri Products Inc. of Elgin, Minn., has exclusive rights for the Chilean production of the Honeycrisp, and is working with local contract growers to bring the apples north. “Honeycrisp is the No. 1 desired apple in America,” said Don Roper, vice president of sales and marketing for Westcott Agri Products. “We will be the first company that provides a year-round Honeycrisp supply to our retail partners.”

The reward for Honeycrisp apples is lucrative. They can fetch $ 100 a case for wholesale, compared to $ 30 for Gala apples and $ 20 for Braeburn, Roper said.

The University of Minnesota developed the Honeycrisp apple. Its patent from 1988 has expired, but it still has rights over international production. The breeder of the Honeycrisp apple is U of M research scientist David Bedford. Bedford recently traveled to Chile to see the farms and try the apples.

Bedford is concerned that some domestic and international growers aren’t properly caring for the variety and may harm public perception of the apple. They’re difficult to grow, but Bedford said Chilean growers have done a good job so far.  “The Chilean growers are a sharp group that has faced the challenges so far,” Bedford said. “The ones I tried down there are good. Slightly different than ours, but still in the good category.”

Apple orchards are in a mad dash all over the world to plant Honeycrisp trees, both Roper and Bedford said. The U.S. crop has reached 7 to 8 million bushels a year and it’s continuing to grow at a rabbit’s pace.

In the southern hemisphere, only Chile and New Zealand have produced apples for U.S. consumption, but in very small shipments that are gone before anyone even knew they were here. This year’s Chilean crop is much larger at 200,000 bushels, but still a drop in the bucket compared to the millions grown in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Washington, Pennsylvania, Nova Scotia and Ontario.

As production in the U.S. increases, apple companies are loading them into climate-controlled rooms to preserve them until the late winter months. But southern hemisphere apples would give American apple consumers fresh Honeycrisp all year round.

Wescott plans to ramp up production in Chile. The company already has orchards in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Washington. The company owns packing sheds and markets its own apples and fruit from other orchards through its Honeybear Marketing division. Roper said Wescott is one of the top three or four Honeycrisp growers in the United States.

Locally grown Wescott apples are labeled as Mississippi Valley Fruit Co. Its non-Midwest and international apples are labeled Honeybear.

Source: bizjournals.com

Publication date: 4/24/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Whole Foods taps local intelligence: Robb

At Whole Foods Market, localization goes well beyond tailoring store assortments. It encompasses sourcing, events, design of the buildings, and decision-making authority to suit the communities it serves, said Walter Robb, co-CEO of the Austin, Texas-based company. “The intelligence of a company lives in the locations, lives within all of the team members, every single one of them,” Robb said in a talk at the recent Global Retailing Conference, an annual event produced by the …

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Supermarket News

Jewel taps Hays as VP of operations

Jewel-Osco said Friday it has named Scott Hays VP of operations at the Itasca, Ill.-based chain, a division of Albertsons, Boise, Idaho.Scott Hays VP operations Jewel-Osco

Hays most recently had been a district manager with the Southern division of Albertsons LLC. At Jewel, he assumes a role that previously had been held by Jim Rice, who had been named interim president last year and was recently named president of the company’s Shaw’s division in New England.

In his new role, Hays will lead the operations team to support Jewel-Osco’s marketing and merchandising initiatives, including the company’s upcoming remodels and opening its five newly acquired locations.


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“Scott’s years of experience with Albertsons combined with his vast knowledge of the grocery industry will enable him to mentor and educate his team to reach the highest level of excellence,” said Shane Sampson, who was recently named Jewel-Osco president. “He empowered stores to set the bar on operating standards for their market areas, illustrating the highest expectations of quality merchandising and continually striving for what is best for our customers and their neighborhoods.”

Added Hays, “The heritage of Jewel-Osco and the Chicagoland community is rich and diverse, and I am excited to be a part of growing our amazing brand.”

Hays began his grocery career with Albertsons in 1983 in the Intermountain West division as a grocery clerk. He was promoted to store director, and then held positions of increasing responsibility including district manager, area VP and division VP, leading the company’s San Antonio division, where he played an integral role in the development of South Texas markets, Jewel-Osco said.

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BJ’s taps PromoWorks for demos

TGF-FruitImageBJ’s Wholesale Club said it has selected PromoWorks, a division of Plano, Texas-based Crossmark, to manage the chain’s demo program.

“Demos and sampling are critical to a positive Member shopping experience,” said Laura Sen, president and CEO of BJ’s, in a statement. “After extensive examination of our demo and events program, we came to the conclusion that to build on BJ’s already-strong program, the company needed to add specialized expertise and resources, which is why BJ’s chose to work with PromoWorks, one of the most innovative events companies out there.”


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BJ’s, the membership warehouse-club chain based in Westborough, Mass., said its current demo/events staff, numbering about 1,400 workers, will be given priority to apply for the demo program with PromoWorks, which plans to grow the current program by more than 25%, or about 500 jobs.

“I’m confident that the enhanced program will come together quickly because it will be built on the strong foundation established by BJ’s knowledgeable and passionate demo team members,” said Jim Norred, Crossmark EVP. “Our goal is to elevate the current program from an already solid foundation, further enhancing the shopping experience for BJ’s members while creating potential career and training opportunities for BJ’s current demo team.”

BJ’s said PromoWorks expects to complete the transition of BJ’s demo program by the end of April.

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Buehler’s taps Wilcox for communications post

Buehler’s Fresh Foods said it has named Deb Wilcox director of communications for the 14-store chain, which is owned by E&H Family Group, Wooster, Ohio.


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She is a 31-year veteran of the company, and has been director of marketing since 1991. In her new role, Wilcox will be responsible for community, government and consumer relations; décor and branding of Buehler’s stores; business-to-business programs; and company history.

The company said she will start her transition to her new role at the end of February.

E&H Family Group owns and operates 14 Buehler’s Fresh Foods Supermarkets and operates 12 Ace Hardware Stores.

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Vidalia Onion Committee taps former assistant for top spot

NEW ORLEANS — Susan Waters, executive assistant to the Vidalia Onion Committee since 2009, has been named the organization’s new executive director after a six-month search.

Waters replaces Wendy Brannen, who held the post for eight years before departing to become director of consumer health and public relations for the U.S. Apple Association earlier this year.

The decision was made several days ago but, due to terms of the VOC watersSusan Waterscommittee’s U.S. Department of Agriculture marketing order, it could not be announced without that agency’s approval. With the government shutdown, news of Waters’ promotion could not be released until the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit convention, here.

Waters is a Vidalia native with ties to the industry going back to childhood. She spent a decade working with Farm Credit (now AgSouth) and another 16 years with the Georgia Board of Pardons & Paroles.

“It’s like a homecoming of sorts,” Waters said Oct. 23. “I actually knew a lot of the growers and their families when I was working for AgSouth. Some of our growers I graduated from high school with.”

Not only does Waters know the Vidalia onion committee, she has also become an increasingly familiar face throughout the industry, appearing at tradeshows and working side-by-side with Brannen on a string of highly successful marketing campaigns that have included pairings with Hollywood blockbusters and Nashville music stars.

“Susan is a sweet and sincere person who truly cares about the industry,” Brannen said. “That will help her do well in continuing with the VOC in this new role. I am happy to see her grow.”

Waters is grateful for the opportunity and excited about her expanded role with the committee.

“I enjoy what I do and I enjoy working with the farmers, they’re just a good group of people,” she said. “It’s a good situation.”

If Waters had any doubts about the position, they were erased as she has performed the duties of the office over the last six months on her own.

“I didn’t have time to think about it — I just did it,” Waters laughed. “I have had help — the committee members have all pitched in and been just great. They’ve offered to come answer phones, file, anything I need.”

Waters’ first major official challenge was preparing to represent the committee at PMA on short notice.

“I had a week-and-a-half to really prepare for PMA, it was quick, it was hard, but we made it through it and we’re doing pretty good,” Waters said. “I’m so fortunate to already know familiar faces — when I was at PMA it wasn’t like being thrown into a group of total strangers.”

While the focus for this year’s Vidalia marketing campaign is still taking shape, Waters suggests it will focus on the history and legacy of the world’s most famous onion.

“One thing we all want to do is make sure the public and especially the younger demographic are educated about what the Vidalia name was built on,” she said. “We want to get back to our roots and educate people even more about what exactly a Vidalia is. There was a visitor in our museum the other day who didn’t realize Vidalias are only grown in Georgia. Education is always going to be key to our success. There is always a new crop of consumers coming along and we want to make sure we reach them.”

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Schnucks Taps Hucker as EVP

ST. LOUIS — Schnuck Markets here on Thursday said that Ahold and Wal-Mart veteran Anthony T. Hucker has joined the company as executive vice president and chief strategy officer, effective Sept. 30.Schnuck Markets EVP Anthony Hucker

The position is newly created, a spokeswoman for Schnucks told SN.

Ahold’s Giant of Landover division, where Hucker had been president, said earlier this month that he was leaving to pursue another opportunity.

Read more: Hucker Resigns as Giant-Landover President

“Anthony is a tremendous talent who shares our values; he’s customer-focused and a true merchant in every sense,” said Scott Schnuck, chairman and chief executive officer of the family-owned chain, in a statement. “We expect that he will add velocity to efforts that will ensure Schnucks’ continued growth and success.”


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Hucker is a 30-year industry veteran. Prior to joining Giant, Hucker spent seven years at Wal-Mart in a variety of leadership positions. During his tenure as corporate vice president, he oversaw the development of the Wal-Mart Express concept.

Hucker began his career in the European retail industry as a food industry analyst. He then worked for 10 years with Aldi, where he held a variety of leadership assignments in Germany, Austria and the U.S., and was part of the original start-up team for Aldi UK.

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Sprouts Taps Digital Tech Vendor

PHOENIX — Sprouts Farmers Market here has selected Mercatus Technologies, Toronto, to assist in its digital communications.

“We partnered with Mercatus because of their deep understanding of the transformation requirements we face in the grocery industry,” said Steve Black, chief information and marketing officer of Sprouts, in a statement.


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In a recent interview with SN related to Sprouts’ winning the SN’s 2013 Retail Excellence Award, Black said, “Our customers can expect to be able to access our content any time, anywhere. You have to take care of your customer across the entire spectrum.”

Mercatus said it will help Sprouts re-launch iOS and Android mobile apps and a website that adapts to any web-ready device. Customers will be able to access to features such as the weekly ad, shopping lists, recipes and digital coupons. Online ordering will be introduced for holiday special orders.

“By unifying their digital channels into the Mercatus Platform, Sprouts will deliver a unique shopping experience to their customers,” said Sylvain Perrier, president and chief executive officer of Mercatus.

Read more: Sprouts Wins Retail Excellence Award

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Riteway Taps Bishop to Head New Fresh Division

LAKELAND, Fla. — Riteway Foods here said Monday that Don Bishop has joined the sales and marketing agency to lead and develop a new fresh foods division.

Don Bishop of Riteway FoodsRiteway Fresh will target the Southeast market, the company said. Bishop, who will serve as director of Riteway Fresh, has a 30-year background with Del Monte in perishable sales from regional sales manager, director of national accounts to vice president of Eastern region. For more than 20 years, Bishop has served as president of Bishop Targeted Marketing, Tampa.

“We are excited to take the Riteway know-how and approach into the fresh market,” Jim Hall, president of Riteway, said in a statement. “We are also pleased that Don Bishop has joined our team of professionals to lead and develop our Riteway Fresh division.


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“Don’s produce knowledge from the farm to the store to the table and his passion for sales make him the perfect person to lead Riteway Fresh,” Hall aded. “We look forward to working with Don building another successful sales organization supporting our Southeast retailers.”

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PMA taps 30-year retail veteran as president

The Produce Marketing Association, based in Newark, DE, announced that Cathy Green Burns, the former president of the Food Lion supermarket chain, will join the association as president, effective Dec. 1. She will report to Bryan Silbermann, who will continue in his role as chief executive officer.

Burns, a 30-year veteran of the supermarket industry, will play a crucial role supporting the rollout of PMA’s new strategic plan and further strengthens the staff’s blend of association management and industry experience, according to the joint statement issued Aug. 4 by Silbermann and PMA Chairman Jan DeLyser of the California Avocado Commission.

“PMA officers and staff have met Cathy, and we are thrilled with the talent and expertise she brings to us,” the joint statement read. “During her recent attendance at our Foodservice Conference in Monterey, it was so clear that Cathy connects with our members on many levels — from senior executive to champion of healthy eating to principled leader. And, having known Cathy for more than a decade, we especially admire her leadership presence and consensus-building skills demonstrated first-hand as chair of the Produce Traceability Initiative’s Leadership Council and chair of the Coca-Cola Research Council. The talent she’s honed running Food Lion, understanding the food industry and its consumers, will take us to even greater heights in the years ahead.”

The statement continued, “Cathy is held in the highest regard by those in the fresh produce industry who know her depth of experience and perspective, attributes that will contribute greatly to growing the value we provide members. She is the perfect addition, the epitome of a principled, courageous leader, with qualities that match PMA’s core values and blend very well with our senior management team.”

Burns will be in New Orleans for the PMA Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition Oct. 18-20 prior to her official start in December, according to PMA.

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Ahold Taps Jewel Veteran as SVP

CARLISLE, Pa. — Ahold USA here said Thursday it has named Nick Bertram senior vice president of store strategy and execution.

He joins Ahold from Chicago-based Jewel-Osco, where he oversaw store operations. He previously had been in store operations at Wal-Mart in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.


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Nick Bertram“Nick brings years of solid retail operational experience, and his expertise will be a valuable resource in our ongoing efforts to be a better place to shop,” said Bhavdeep Singh, executive vice president of operations, Ahold USA.

At Ahold, Bertram will be responsible for “the development, optimization and delivery of key operational support processes in partnership with Ahold USA’s retail divisions, as well as managing new business ventures,” the company said in a statement.

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NYAA taps local soccer star Abby Wambach to reach soccer moms, kids

Proof that the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree: U.S. soccer star and Rochester, NY, native Abby Wambach has signed on with the New York Apple Association as celebrity ambassador for New York state apples.

NYAA’s “Abby for Apples” campaign will feature Wambach in television, radio, print and online advertisements, and on-display signage for grocery, farm and green markets. She will also be highlighted on NYAA’s website www.nyapplecountry.com, and social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. NYAA’s advertisements appear across New York state and into New England, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as in produce and retail industry media.

wombochMary Abigail (Abby) Wambach“Abby is everything we’d want in an Apple Ambassador — local roots that have grown into a worldwide following, not to mention setting a healthy example with her athletic lifestyle,” NYAA President Jim Allen said in a press release. “We’ll certainly get the attention of soccer moms and kids in the New York region, they just love her.”

Known for her trademark header goals, Wambach may well be the most decorated U.S. woman soccer player in history. She earned her latest accolade June 21 when she scored her 160th goal to become the world’s all-time top women’s scorer, surpassing former teammate Mia Hamm’s previous record.

Mary Abigail (Abby) Wambach grew up in Rochester.  She is well-known in her home state, across the country and around the world. While attending high school in Rochester, she captained the elite regional women’s club team. In college, the three-time all-American helped her University of Florida Gators earn an NCAA national championship and four conference championships.

To date, her pro career highlights include Rookie of the Year in 2002, two Olympic gold medals (she scored the header goal that clinched U.S. gold in 2004), five-time U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year, three FIFA Women’s World Cup competitions and FIFA World Player of the Year in 2012. She has played on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team since 2003.

She played for the Washington, DC, Freedom/Boca Raton magicJack from 2002-11. She recently returned home to New York state to play forward for the Western New York Flash.

“Growing up around a family-owned farm and garden store, Wambach Farms, fresh produce was a huge part of my childhood.  Whether it was selling homegrown New York apples, or eating them, I learned how important it is to sustain a healthy diet — and as they say, ‘an apple a day, keeps the doctor away,’” said Wambach. “Being a New York native, I am excited to join the New York Apple Association to create more awareness that the best apples in the world come from New York orchards.”

“Abby for Apples” will unveil this fall, to promote the 2013 New York apple crop.

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