RECENT HEADLINES

SLV potato acreage down slightly but crop looks good
Like nearly every other crop region in Colorado, the San Luis Valley had more precipitation in May than it had in months, and Jim Ehrlich, executive director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee in Monte Vista, said this year’s crop is looking good. “In fact, we got more rain in May than we ever have,” Ehrlich said. “The river is very high, and it’s... Read more
Southeastern Grocers to donate all profits on Fourth of July to Wounded Warrior Project
Southeastern Grocers, parent company of BI-LO, Harveys and Winn-Dixie grocery stores, announced that on Saturday, July 4, all profits generated at its grocery stores will be donated in support of Wounded Warrior Project’s Independence Program. The Independence Program is designed to help warriors who need to rely on their families and friends for support due... Read more
US Foods re-launches company following failed merger
Following the termination of the merger agreement between US Foods and Sysco Corp., US Foods has launched its “Just Taking Off” campaign, which it said officially marks the beginning of the company’s re-launch as an even stronger force in the foodservice industry. “Throughout the unique environment of the past 18 months, we’ve continued to serve our customers... Read more
Lidl, which operates nearly 10,000 stores throughout Europe, is pushing forward with its plans to expand into the United States. The company will open a new regional headquarters and distribution center in North Carolina's Alamance County. It plans to invest more than $125 million in the project over the next three years. Last month Lidl announced that its... Read more
Fresh From the Start set to kick off Maine broccoli deal
When Fresh From the Start kicks off its annual Maine broccoli deal in mid-July, it marks the culmination of a full year of dedication and hard work. “Our Maine broccoli program is a full-year investment, not just the summer months,” said Eric Scannelli, senior vice president of sales and marketing at the Riverhead, NY-based company, which operates as a division... Read more
United Fresh’s Stenzel, Gombas and Guenther appointed to USDA advisory committees
Tom Stenzel, United Fresh’s president and chief executive officer, along with Dave Gombas, senior vice president of food safety and technology, and Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy, have been appointed by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman to serve on federal agriculture advisory committees.Tom... Read more
At this year’s annual PMA Foodservice Conference in Monterey, CA, the PMA Foundation For Industry Talent will host the Joe Nucci Memorial Golf Tournament in honor of produce industry veteran Joe Nucci. The tournament, now featured on a new day (Thursday, July 23) will be held at the Bayonet & Black Horse Golf Course. The Joe Nucci Memorial Golf Tournament... Read more
Seald Sweet launches Kiddie Clem citrus packaging
In full swing with its summer citrus season, Seald Sweet has launched its Kiddie Clems line of packaging for its easy-to-peel clementines. The new high-graphic packaging with colorful, kid-friendly graphics is the next move following the success of the company's "Mandarina’s" brand sweet Mandarins packaging, which was launched in the summer of 2014. Seald Sweet... Read more
Peapod delivering farm-fresh produce to customers' doors
Peapod.com, a leading online grocer, is making it even easier to enjoy fresh and local seasonal produce by offering a new Peapod Local Farm Box. Throughout the summer, Peapod customers in various areas will have the opportunity to order a box of produce from local farms. Peapod customers will be able to order Peapod's Local Farm Box by early July. Each box will... Read more
The Kroger Co. announced that Mike Ellis, president and chief operating officer, has retired. He took on his most recent role at Kroger Jan. 1, 2014; however, he has been with the company for 40 years. Kroger said his successor will be named at a later date. Ellis joined Fred Meyer in 1975 as a parcel clerk at age 16, and went on to serve in a series of... Read more
Whole Foods fires back at claims of overcharging
Whole Foods has denied an allegation by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs that it was knowingly overcharging customers via improper price labeling. In a June 30 email to its customers and a post on its website, the retailer said that any errors were unintentional and that the claim that it was “systematically overcharging” its customers is “completely... Read more
Sunlight's grapes get boost from weather, now shipping
Early-season green and red seedless grape varieties are exceptional this year and shipping now, under Sunlight International’s "Pretty Lady" brand for the summer promotion. Despite the drought, this crop already has high Brix levels that are expected to increase, along with excellent size and brilliant flavor, making for a vintage year for Sunlight International.... Read more
Meijer commits $100 million to locally grown produce
As Meijer continues to expand across the Midwest, its commitment to purchasing local produce has also grown to represent an annual economic impact of nearly $100 million. “Meijer has a longstanding commitment to buying locally grown produce when available as long as the quality meets our high standards,” Jerry Suter, vice president of fresh merchandising... Read more
Phil Pisciotta Jr., a longtime produce industry veteran, died at his home surrounded by family June 28. He was 87. Mr. Pisciotta was born Oct. 16, 1927, in Kansas City, MO, and attended Wentworth Military Academy, after which he and his wife, Mary Louise, were stationed in Japan following World War II. Mr. Pisciotta began his career at Pisciotta Fruit &... Read more
Del Taco teams up with CAC to offer fresh sliced avocados
Del Taco, a leader in the Mexican quick service restaurant category, has announced that it has teamed up with the California Avocado Commission to provide customers with fresh, sliced avocado this summer. Available at participating restaurants beginning June 4, the California state fruit will be featured in Del Taco’s new Epic Grilled Chicken Avocado Burrito... Read more
Sysco Corp. has terminated its merger agreement with US Foods. The announcement came days after the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, granted the Federal Trade Commission's request for a preliminary injunction to block the proposed Sysco-US Foods merger. This action also terminates an agreement with Performance Food Group to purchase US Foods facilities... Read more
The U.S. State Department has rectified a computer problem that was preventing visas from being issued by U.S. embassies and consulates, which is good news for fruit and vegetable growers left with a shortage of workers during the key harvest season. The problem, described as a flaw of the system’s ability to store biometric data, started June 9 and resulted... Read more
Opal sees significant sales and volume increases
Opal apple is closing out its fifth season, which has been a success with sales and volume increases in the double digits. Opal has gained momentum nationally and saw a year-over-year sales dollar increase of 65 percent and a volume increase of 85 percent during the season. Same-store sales increased in volume with consumers buying more Opal with a longer availability.... Read more
Sakata setting example during Calif. drought
Sakata Seed America is doing its part to go green and conserve water during the severe California drought. The drought has taken a huge toll on the entire state; however, it has hit both the agricultural and horticultural industries particularly hard. In response, Sakata has made it a priority to focus on ways to reduce their water usage and boost long-term sustainability... Read more
Mann's adds Kalettes to retail lineup
Mann Packing is adding Kalettes to its lineup of washed and ready-to-eat fresh vegetables. The retail offering is in a six-ounce bag. Mann’s is one of six U.S. companies licensed to grow and sell Kalettes. The company started offering Kalettes to its foodservice customers in 2014, with expansion to retail in June. Kalettes are a non-GMO vegetable developed... Read more