Program plans are being finalized for the inaugural Organic Produce Summit to be held July 13-14, 2016 in Monterey, CA. The two-day summit is dedicated to the flourishing organic fresh fruit and vegetable industry, and includes an engaging and informative program connecting organic producers and handlers. As the first-ever event for the booming $11 billion organic... Read more
WASHINGTON — Trade ministers have reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership during marathon negotiations in Atlanta. United Fresh Produce Association said the agreement is critical in gaining market access and lifting trade barriers that have blocked U.S. fruits and vegetables in the past. Details of the 12-nation agreement were not available, but... Read more
Gelson's, Smart & Final look to buy 36 Haggen stores
Haggen, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sept. 8, has filed motions to sell eight California stores to Gelson's Markets as well as 28 stores in California and Nevada to Smart & Final LLC. Late in September Haggen announced plans to exit the Pacific Southwest market and realign its operations around 37 core stores and one standalone pharmacy... Read more
Meijer names new president
Meijer has named Rick Keyes as president of the Grand Rapids, MI-based retailer. Keyes, who joined the company 26 years ago as a pharmacist in Columbus, OH, takes the reigns of the retailer after last week’s announcement that J.K. Symancyk is leaving the company to join a Texas-based retailer. He is the seventh president in the company’s 81-year history.Rick... Read more
For the first time since it was built in the 1960s, the Golden Gate Wholesale Product Market, located in South San Francisco, will undergo a major renovation effort that will include a solar installation and other infrastructure, environmental, food safety, traffic and sustainability improvements. “The Golden Gate Produce Market plays a vital role in the Northern... Read more
Southeastern Grocers lays off 250 in organizational restructure
Southeastern Grocers has laid off roughly 250 associates as part of an organizational restructure of the store support center in Jacksonville, FL, and regional support centers across seven states in the Southeast. The company, which said the change was made "in an effort to simplify its operating model and increase efficiency," added that there are no changes... Read more
$12.58 million for A&P insiders leading up to bankruptcy
A&P insiders received $12.58 million in payments during the year leading up to the company filing for bankruptcy protection July 19. Chairman Gregory Mays alone received more than $4.5 million in bonuses and consulting fees. In a message to members, UFCW 464A President John T. Nicolai said, "This union finds those payments outrageous and unconscionable.... Read more
Plan for National Papaya Board advances
Homero Levy de Barros has been around papayas his entire life. As a child growing up in Brazil, he ate them almost daily. Now as president of a tropical fruit company that bills itself as a papaya specialist, he sells them by the container. So there is very little he doesn’t know about the fruit. And one thing he does know is that papayas have a much greater... Read more
SuperValu CEO to retire, executives promoted
SuperValu Inc. announced that Sam Duncan has informed the company’s board of directors of his intention to retire as president and chief executive officer on Feb. 29, 2016, following the end of the company’s fiscal year. The company also announced that Bruce Besanko has been promoted to the newly created role of executive vice president, chief operating officer,... Read more
Montreal Canadiens-Provigo partnership renewed
Provigo announced that its partnership with the Montréal Canadiens is being renewed for three years, confirming its status as the Habs' official grocery store. As a partner, Provigo will do more than ever for customers and Canadiens fans with a series of new initiatives throughout the season, including in-store promotions throughout the year to win more than... Read more
Mark Daniels joins Mountain King Potatoes
Mark Daniels has left Global Organic Specialty Source and has joined Mountain King Potatoes, a grower-shipper headquartered in Houston. He started with his new company the last week in September, he told The Produce News Thursday afternoon, Oct. 1. Daniels, who has more than 30 years of experience in the produce industry, had joined Global Organic back in early... Read more
Stabenow rallies United Fresh Washington Conference to not let Congress roll back school standards
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) urged the United Fresh Washington Conference heading to the Senate Sept. 30 to ask for commitments that lawmakers will not roll back child nutrition standards. Stabenow, ranking member on the powerful Senate Agriculture Committee, rallied the 500 attendees before visits to the Senate as part of the United Fresh Produce Association’s... Read more
Retailer's Misfit produce program launches in time for Halloween
Associated Food Stores will begin selling Misfits, odd and misshapen produce sold at a discounted price, just in time for Halloween. The Misfit produce program will be offered year-round, although the variety of produce will vary depending on the season and availability. Leigh Vaughn, senior produce category manager with Associated Food Stores, said guests should... Read more
Sunkist's director of export marketing retires
After more than 30 years in the citrus industry and nearly 11 years at Sunkist, Dave Pott, Sunkist director of export sales, will retire at the end of this year. Pott’s position will be assumed by Ray Mizutani, who joined Sunkist in 2011 and has worked in the export department focusing on the Korean market. Prior to Sunkist, Mizutani worked for Nishimoto Trading,... Read more
America’s sweet potato industry is alive and thriving. According to a special article issued by the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, sweet potato production is surging in the United States. The report, issued on May 1, was authored by Taylor Johnson, Norbert Wilson, Michelle Grosz, Deacon Fields and Jennifer Bond. “U.S. sweet... Read more
Apple retail data reveal shifting consumer preferences
Final retail results for the full 2014 apple crop have been released by Nielsen. The data show consumers continue their love affair with Honeycrisp apples while emerging branded apples continue to deliver strong dollar and volume growth. Despite a record apple harvest last year, total apple volume sold at retail showed only a slight increase, indicating that... Read more
Lawmakers talk water, nutrition issues at United Fresh Washington Conference
WASHINGTON — A champion of drought-relief legislation, Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) called water and labor, two issues on United Fresh Produce Association’s agenda this week on Capitol Hill, the top issues for his state. Produce business leaders met with members of the U.S. House of Representatives Sept. 29 and planned visits with senators and their staffs on Sept.... Read more
Kroger named FFVA's merchandiser of the year
The Kroger Co., which has worked with producers to promote Florida products, has been presented with the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association's Merchandiser of the Year Award. The annual award recognizes the important role that retail merchandising plays in the promotion and sale of fresh Florida produce. “During the spring alone, Kroger moves more than... Read more
Suzanne Wolter launches FreshFit Solutions
Suzanne Wolter has announced FreshFit Solutions, a new business venture that will allow her to utilize two decades of industry experience to assist producers, receivers and industry suppliers with various sales, marketing and strategic planning goals. Suzanne Wolter “Most in the produce industry recognize the value of a marketing department, yet many companies... Read more
NOGALES, AZ — Sandia Distributors Inc., a long-time watermelon shipper based here, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. According to preliminary papers filed Sept. 25 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the District of Arizona, “Debtor estimates that funds will be available for distribution to unsecured creditors.” The filing indicates that both assets... Read more