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RECENT HEADLINES

The Summer 2017 issue of United’s Fresh Insights for Foodservice report, a quarterly publication from United Fresh showcasing the latest innovations in fresh produce use in foodservice, as well as the creativity of chefs and foodservice operations in incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables to create flavorful and vibrant menus, is now available. The... Read more
Walmart has improved in the food segment. Brett Biggs, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said during Walmart’s Aug. 17 quarterly earnings call that the company’s food categories delivered its strongest quarterly comps in five years. Biggs attributed the increase to solid customer traffic and slight market food inflation. In the... Read more
Idaho potato harvest kissed by the solar eclipse
Just days before the 2017 Idaho potato harvest commences, 308,000 acres of America’s favorite vegetable will be blanketed by the solar eclipse, a rare occurrence when the earth, moon and sun line up perfectly, blocking the sun from the earth’s view. While millions of tourists flock to Idaho to witness the morning sky go dark for approximately two... Read more
Ciruli Bros. revamps strategy, adds seasoned veteran
RIO RICO, AZ — Quiet sourcing expansion for Ciruli Bros. LLC has been widespread. To date, divergent products marketed by the firm are loosely connected only by their ownership. Brothers and co-owners Chuck and Chris Ciruli refer to those separate growing and packing entities, which are spread across the Americas, as “silos.” The brothers... Read more
Trump immigration plan a nonstarter for South Carolina
When President Trump approved an Aug. 2 proposal that would slash immigration by half within a decade by limiting the ability of citizens and legal immigrants to bring family members into the country, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina immediately declared it a non-starter. “South Carolina’s number one industry is agriculture and tourism... Read more
Though California has been harvesting its new crop of garlic for the past couple of months, there has been no significant downward pressure on price and it doesn’t appear to be in the cards. Bill Christopher, chief executive officer of Christopher Ranch in Gilroy, CA, said garlic has actually been in short supply for most of the time over the last couple... Read more
Mission Produce launches Minis avocado bags
Oxnard, CA-based Mission Produce has developed a new bag design for extra small avocados. Dubbed with the name Minis, the package features a consumer-friendly design. Small avocados tumble across a green background beneath a bold Minis label. Mission said its Mini avocados are “small but mighty.” They can be used in a variety of recipes... Read more
Sunkist Growers and Fruit Growers Supply Co. boards of directors announced a consolidated management structure to lead both companies moving forward. “Sunkist Growers and Fruit Growers Supply are sister cooperatives that service the same constituencies,” Chairman of the Sunkist board of directors Gerald Denni said in a press release. “A... Read more
A private equity firm, Rotunda Capital Partners, on Aug. 15 finalized a deal to acquire a majority interest in Indianapolis-based IF&P Foods LLC. IF&P is the parent company of Indianapolis Fruit, Piazza Produce and Garden Cut. The partnership will allow IF&P’s companies “to focus on growth and excellence in continuing to provide superior... Read more
Walmart’s new OTIF policy raises concerns
Early next year, Walmart is planning to enact a new “on-time, in-full” (OTIF) program that could be very difficult — and very costly — for some fresh produce suppliers to meet. According to sources, initially the new policy was articulated in a company blog and has since been shared with suppliers privately. It has also been written about... Read more
In response to statements made by Loblaw and Metro about the cost impact of Ontario's impending minimum wage hike, Unifor, Canada's largest union in the private sector, with 310,000 members across the country, said big, profitable grocery retailers are probably best positioned to absorb the increase and could realize economic gains. "Instead of viewing the boost... Read more
Something off with Price Chopper's new produce program
Price Chopper/Market 32 is now offering a unique line of Misfits produce in 15 stores in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut. This line of produce offers customers more fruit and vegetable variety at a lower cost while helping to reduce produce waste. Misfits, a program provided by Robinson Fresh, helps connect consumers to tasty but misshapen fruits... Read more
SEPC Southern Innovations to give attendees something to chew on
Registration is still open for the Southeast Produce Council’s Southern Innovations Organics & Foodservice Expo, which is taking place Sept. 28–30 at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort on Hilton Head Island, SC. This three-day event will encompass abundant opportunities to experience the SEPC’s four pillars: networking, innovation, community... Read more
Michigan apple crop should be strong overall
After a May 8-9 frost damaged apple buds in certain Michigan production areas, opinions are varied on the outlook of the state’s 2017 fresh apple crop. “In my opinion, some areas are quite good. And some areas are not so good. At the end of the day we will have about 75 percent of the volume we had last year. Maybe it will be 80 percent,” Scott... Read more
Braga expands Josie’s Organic line with packaged Belgian-style leeks
Braga Fresh, a third-generation farming family, has recently launched its new packaged organic Belgian-style leeks under the Josie’s Organics label featuring its signature blue polka dot packaging. The company said Josie’s Organics packaged Belgian-style leeks are the special ingredient in many recipes or that perfect side dish to any meal. These... Read more
LumiGrow Partners with CF Industrial for local lighting service in Ontario
LumiGrow Inc., a smart horticultural lighting company, announced a partnership with CF Industrial, a lighting and power solutions provider in Leamington, ON. The new partnership bolsters LumiGrow’s commitment to its Ontario greenhouse growers, further providing responsive local support for those implementing smart horticultural lighting for precision greenhouse... Read more
Grocers blowing out of Windy City
The grocery industry is in a state of flux. Everybody is talking about online shopping, even though very few consumers are doing it. Actual stores are getting smaller, and there seems to be fewer of them — at least in Chicago. According to an urban grocery report by retail brokerage Mid-America Real Estate Group, there are 262 grocery stores in the Chicagoland... Read more
Matt Seeley to speak at NEPC expo
Matt Seeley, co-founder and chief executive officer of the Organic Produce Network, will speak next month on the topic of organic merchandising at the New England Produce Council's annual expo. The workshop, titled Excellence in Organic Merchandising and Trends in the Floral Industry, will take place from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12. The expo will... Read more
Online sales continue to soar, yet cyberspace still has very little impact on the retail grocery industry. According to Gallup's annual Consumption Habits survey, conducted July 5-9, only 9 percent of adults said their household orders groceries online at least once a month. Just 4 percent said they shop online weekly. Comparatively, 83 percent said somebody... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s August crop production forecast for 2017 declares New Jersey’s peach production will rise to second in the United States. The forecast, which is based on phone calls, mail, Internet and personal interviews with farmers in New Jersey and around the country, predicts state peach farmers will produce 48 million pounds... Read more