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Innovative marketing programs drive Peruvian avocados but volume to U.S. down 20 percent
At the start of the season, avocado growers in Peru expected to export 400 million pounds of fruit, with 100 million pounds bound for the United States. But as of late July, those numbers were down due to a combination of an El Niño weather pattern that reduced volume and strong markets in Europe that siphoned away some fruit from the United States.Xavier... Read more
President of NewStar Fresh Foods purchases company
NewStar Fresh Foods LLC announced the official acquisition of the company by Anthony Vasquez, longtime employee and current president. With 20 years of experience in agriculture, including more than a decade with NewStar, Vasquez is seizing the opportunity to continue and expand his relationship with the Salinas, CA-based grower-shipper.Anthony Vasquez “When... Read more
Associated Wholesale Grocers announces merger
Associated Wholesale Grocers Inc. and Affiliated Foods Midwest Cooperative Inc. have reached an agreement to combine the two cooperatives’ distribution businesses. The alliance was unanimously approved by the board of directors of each company, and while still subject to certain conditions, including the approval by AFM shareholders, it is expected to close... Read more
In April Sun Produce Specialties LLC was cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for unlawful employment of Ricardo B. Bombella, an individual under PACA employment restrictions. The company had been given notice by the USDA that it was not permitted to employ Bombella without USDA-approval and the posting of a surety bond. The finding and revocation... Read more
Freshway Foods introduces new baby kale blend
Freshway Foods will introduce its new baby kale blend at the PMA Foodservice Expo. The new blend is a combination of baby green, scarlet and black kale. “Our new baby kale blend is mild in flavor and more tender than traditional kale,” Chef Douglas Bond, new product development manager for Freshway Foods, said in a press release. “This blend... Read more
Wish Farms commits $100,000 to the Center for Produce Safety
Wish Farms, grower-shipper and year-round supplier of strawberries and blueberries, has made a commitment to donate $100,000 to the Center for Produce Safety. The CPS research campaign focuses on prevention of foodborne illnesses and disease outbreaks in the produce industry. The goal is to narrow and potentially close the knowledge gap in order to prevent... Read more
Maximize avocado sales by meeting these three shopper needs
Understanding the primary needs of the avocado shopper is essential for sustained avocado category growth. The Hass Avocado Board’s study Shopper Purchase Decisions and Influences — Driving Hass Avocado Sales at Retail and its companion piece, Path-to-Purchase Action Guide, found that the majority of shoppers ranked three factors as most important... Read more
Dollar General to sell produce at 41 former Walmart Express stores
Dollar General has completed the purchase of 41 former Walmart Express locations across 11 states. The stores will feature produce among other expanded offerings. Earlier this year Walmart dropped the Walmart Express banner, the company's small format, which had been in pilot since 2011. At the time Walmart announced plans to close 154 locations in the United... Read more
Duda Farm Fresh Foods celebrates 90 years in business with new snacking line
At Duda Farm Fresh Foods, generations of celery expertise has led to generations of innovations that can diversify the stalk and kitchen. The company will feature its new fresh-cut snacking line and the latest on-trend recipes from Chef Todd Fisher at the PMA Foodservice Conference & Expo in booth No. 100. Dandy Celery Snackers available now for foodservice... Read more
Grant J Hunt Co. expands
The Grant J. Hunt Co., an 82-year-old, third-generation company, announced the Aug. 1 opening of Grant J. Hunt Company-South with offices in Scotts Valley, CA, and Rio Rico, AZ. The new company is uniting with many former employees of Bay Area Produce Inc., whose principal owners are retiring in 2016. The Grant J. Hunt Co. is a fresh fruit and vegetable distributor... Read more
Chilean avocado crop larger, but limited U.S. supplies expected
Over the past several years, Chile’s domestic market plus strong demand in Europe has greatly limited the exporting of that nation’s Hass avocado crop to the United States. While this year’s crop is predicted to be up about 10 percent, exports to the United States are not expected to grow tremendously, but there could be some marketing opportunities... Read more
Summer Citrus from South Africa continues growth in Houston
Summer Citrus from South Africa is continuing to grow business with retailers in midwestern and Gulf states with a 300 percent increase in tonnage flowing through the port of Houston this season. Each year, approximately 50,000 tons of South African Navels, easy peelers, Midknights and grapefruit are imported into the U.S. primarily through the ports of Philadelphia... Read more
New Whole Foods distribution facility to help expand Midwest reach
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Whole Foods Market broke ground on a 150,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market Midwest distribution facility in the Pullman neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Expected to open in early 2018, the new distribution center will initially employ 150 people and serve as many as 70 Whole Foods Market locations in Illinois, Indiana,... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that Excell Prod. Inc. satisfied a reparation order issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act so the Los Angeles-based company is now free to operate in the produce industry. Additionally, Wing Tsan was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business and may now be employed by... Read more
Summer artichoke sales sizzle with seasonal promotions
As record-setting heat blazes across most of the country, retailers could see scorching sales of artichokes this summer with a little promotional help. Ocean Mist Farms, the largest grower of fresh artichokes in North America, researched historical summer sales as it related to promotional activity and found there is an opportunity to increase sales in August. “Our... Read more
California avocado influencer program reaches millions of consumers
With consumer attention pulled in myriad directions, the California Avocado Commission is extending its communications via third-party advocates. A team including artisan chefs, popular bloggers and registered dietitian ambassadors incorporates California avocados into menus, recipes, blogs and public relations activities leading up to and during the season.... Read more
Don Soderquist, who joined Walmart in 1980 and ascended to the role of chief operating officer before retiring in 2002, died July 21 from complications related to heart surgery. He was 82. During his tenure, the company’s revenue increased from $1 billion to more than $200 billion. When Mr. Soderquist first joined Walmart in 1980 he was the executive... Read more
The exposition and Fresh Ideas Showcase at Produce Marketing Association’s Foodservice Conference & Expo, taking place July 29-31 in Monterey, CA, have sold out. In addition Breanna DeVita with AMC North America has been awarded Center for Growing Talent by PMA’s Joe Stubbs scholarship to attend the event. This year, the sold-out expo will... Read more
The American Sweet Potato Marketing Institute, which was formed in 2013 to promote the unique attributes of U.S. sweet potatoes abroad, believes Mexico has tremendous potential for U.S. sweet potato exports over the coming years. With the help of funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service’s Emerging Markets Program,... Read more
Southeast Produce Council announces 2016 member scholarship recipients
The Southeast Produce Council has announced this year's SEPC member scholarship recipients. A record-breaking 39 scholarships totaling $78,000 have been awarded to SEPC members and their family members to help them pursue educational goals. Scholarships are awarded to applicants who meet the application criteria of having a parent or grandparent who is a corporate... Read more