The Produce News | Today's Headlines - The Produce News - Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897. Fri, 22 May 2015 18:10:01 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Mann Packing introduces Golden Roasteez

Mann Packing, a leader in ready-to-use fresh vegetables, is introducing a new item for foodservice operators: Golden Roasteez fresh-cut golden beets.

Mann’s Golden Roasteez are peeled and cubed fresh golden beets with all waste removed, ready for kitchen use — specifically roasting.Golden-Roasteez-Cubed-Fresh-Beets-Manns1

The golden variety of beets does not bleed like red beets; and mechanized cutting ensures consistent sizing and more uniformity when cut, Gina Nucci, director of foodservice marketing, said in a press release.

The beets are cut into approximately 0.75-inch cubes designed for optimal bite texture when roasted, Nucci said.

“Cubing first, then roasting allows for great caramelization and appealing presentation,” Nucci said. “Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of beets and is the best cooking method for most menu applications.”

Once roasted, Mann’s Golden Roasteez can be held for future use on salads, pizza, risottos or pastas. They may also be used as a potato substitute, as a hash or healthy side.

Mann’s Golden Roasteez are a fresh produce item, never frozen and have a 16-day shelf life from packing.

According to Dataessential MenuTrends Fall 2014, some 22 percent of independent restaurant menus include beets.

“We saw the increasing popularity of beets and decided to provide chefs a convenient method to achieve a consistent and visually appetizing menu ingredient,” Nucci said.

]]> (press release) Today's Headlines Fri, 22 May 2015 14:00:00 -0400
Allegiance, Foodtown name new president

Allegiance Retail Services LLC and Foodtown Inc. announced that John Derderian has been named the new president of the companies, effective June 1.John-Derderian

Derderian, who is currently vice president of sales, marketing and member development for Allegiance, will succeed Michael Stolarz, who will remain as a senior executive advisor to Allegiance, its board of managers and its executive management team through the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition in the succession plan.

“The board of managers of Allegiance is grateful to Mr. Stolarz for his dedication and wisdom in guiding Allegiance through a challenging period for the independent grocery industry, and has every confidence that Mr. Derderian will provide leadership which will position Allegiance and its patrons for long term prosperity,” David Maniaci, the chairman and chief executive officer of Allegiance Retail Services LLC and Foodtown Inc., said in a press release.

Allegiance Retail Services LLC functions as a retail services cooperative for the benefit of its patrons, which independently own and operate 88 grocery stores in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

]]> (press release) Today's Headlines Fri, 22 May 2015 11:00:00 -0400
Florida company launches single-ear corn pack

logoNext Level Fresh LLC, based in Belle Glade, FL, announced the launch of its “Fresh Life Harvest” whole ear sweet corn pack, complete with a chili pepper-lime seasoning.sweet-corn-photo-2

Developed by Next Level Fresh’s managing partner, Daniel Whittles, the whole ear sweet corn pack is one of the company’s initial products and enables sweet corn lovers to satisfy a craving for their favorite fresh veggie in less than two minutes.

Each ear of Fresh Life Harvest whole ear gourmet sweet corn is a premium non-GMO variety. Prior to harvest and again prior to packing, all corn is certified for sweetness.

All corn in this line starts out as single individually wrapped fully shucked, washed and ready-to-cook ears. It is then assembled and merchandised in three forms: as a retail grab-and-go item; or prepared as a four-pack for retail and eight-pack for club stores.

Each product is packed in a high-graphic information-rich cardboard box that can be efficiently merchandised in a refrigerated case. The retail pricing strategy varies depending upon the sales channel.

The product will be available year-round and aims to boost sweet corn sales beyond the traditional selling window of April through the Fourth of July.

Whittles partnered with two world-class growers and packers of sweet corn, who also grow a full line of celery and leaf items in South Florida’s Lake Okeechobee region.

John E. (Buddy) McKinstry, founder and owner of JEM Farms, and Rick Roth, president of Roth Farms, joined Whittles to create the Fresh Life Harvest gourmet whole ear sweet corn product. Both farmers are prominent agricultural business leaders, have multi-generational family operations that date back to the 1930s, and most importantly possess the courage to try something different and next level.

“Our goal with the ‘Fresh Life Harvest’ brand is two-fold,” Whittles said in a press release. “First, to create cutting-edge products using commodities where we own strong, vertically integrated production and packaging facilities. Secondly, to have a pipeline of creative, fresh and timely meal and snack solutions in order to proactively target exciting non-traditional selling channels as well as the established market that wants safely secured supply, best-in-class quality and next level innovation. Our industry's significant future revenue growth will in large part be a direct result of those who can capture more revenue value by thinking ‘it’ up better and bring classy execution to relevant innovation.

“We merge the best of tradition together with tomorrow's inspired vision to innovate, differentiate and bring wins to all the stakeholders as Next Level Fresh and farming for our ‘Fresh Life Harvest’ brand products,” Whittles added.

]]> (press release) Today's Headlines Fri, 22 May 2015 09:00:00 -0400
New Apio salad kits to capitalize on federal dietary recommendations

New federal dietary guidelines recommending less meat and the ongoing consumer quest for healthy meal options are driving retail sales of alternative protein sources. Apio Inc. is at the forefront of the plant-based protein movement with three new single-serve Plant-Powered Protein Salad Kits — BBQ Ranch, Super Caesar and Yogurt Curry — available in June from Eat Smart. Each single-serve salad kit is deliciously satisfying with at least 13 grams of protein per serving — equivalent to salads with meat — and 40 percent or more of the recommended daily value of fiber.PPP traysImage052015

“Dieticians and chefs are leading the trend toward additive nutrition — the practice of powering up meals with more nutritious choices,” Anne Byerly, Apio’s vice president of marketing, said in a press release. “Eat Smart’s new Plant-Powered Protein salad kits are the perfect solution for consumers looking for innovative, convenient and healthy eating options that are easy to integrate into their busy lives.”

Single-serve, ready-to-eat salads kit sales are up 22 percent over a year ago, according to Nielsen FreshFacts 52 weeks ending February 2015. Eat Smart’s Plant-Powered Protein single serve salad kits are among the first to offer a range of highly nutritious and complex vegetable blends with delicious plant protein toppings. 

BBQ Ranch combines julienned cauliflower, red cabbage, savoy cabbage, kale and carrots, with chia seeds, roasted soy nuts, slivered almonds and crunchy freeze-dried corn topped with a tangy BBQ Ranch dressing. This vegetarian salad contains no preservatives and is gluten-free. 

The Super Caesar kit offers a non-traditional take on the No. 1 selling packaged salad kit flavor at retail, according to Nielsen. It blends nutritionally packed collard greens, Italian kale, red chard, broccoli stalk and savoy cabbage with chia seeds, sunflower seeds, dried roasted edamame, parmesan cheese and a classic Caesar dressing. 

The Yogurt Curry salad kit infuses a popular trend in ethnic inspired cuisine with the nutritional benefits of hearty vegetables and plant proteins. The kits features julienned cauliflower, kale, carrots, multicolor kale and green cabbage along with chia seeds, roasted chickpeas, slivered almonds, golden raisins, and a deliciously unique Yogurt Curry dressing.

The Plant-Powered Protein salad kits join Eat Smart’s successful line of chef-inspired Gourmet Vegetable Salad Kits, which offer sophisticated blends of superfoods.

The popular Sweet Kale Vegetable Salad Kit is Apio's best-selling kale salad kit in the country, according to Nielsen. The Wild Greens & Quinoa Vegetable Salad Kit and the Beets & Greens Vegetable Salad Kit round out this fastest-growing salad kit line, according to the same data.

]]> (press release) Today's Headlines Thu, 21 May 2015 19:00:00 -0400
Instacart delivers for Whole Foods, Winn-Dixie, BJ's and Costco in Miami

Instacart expanded delivery service to Miami, its 16th city, covering most of the metro area. Customers can order from Whole Foods Market, Costco, Winn-Dixie and BJ'S Wholesale Club as well as Petco stores and have everything delivered by Instacart in as little as one hour. Instacart customers do not need a Costco or BJ's membership to shop from those stores.

"We had thousands of requests for service in the Miami area, and strong interest from retail partners such as Whole Foods Market and Winn-Dixie, so the time was right," Apoorva Mehta, founder and chief executive officer of Instacart, said in a press release. "We're thrilled to bring the first on-demand grocery delivery service to Miami."

Whole Foods Market was one of the first national grocery chains to partner with Instacart for delivery, and has seen average weekly sales through Instacart grow to over $1.5 million.

"Instacart has already proven itself as a strong partner for Whole Foods Market in 15 other cities, and we're very excited to now offer our Miami customers this great shopping and delivery experience," Juan Nunez, president of the Florida region for Whole Foods Market, said in the release. "Whole Foods Market shoppers will now be able to conveniently purchase our high-quality products online or through the mobile app and have them delivered directly to a home or office address in as little as an hour."

To celebrate the Miami launch, deliveries for Instacart orders were done in style on a Boatsetter chartered boat on May 19. Customers who were out on a boat or have a dock within Instacart's Miami delivery zone received their groceries by transport via water.

Originally launched in San Francisco, Instacart has disrupted the traditional grocery delivery space by connecting customers with personal shoppers, independent contractors who shop for and deliver grocery orders providing their own transportation in as little as one hour. This eliminates the need for costly infrastructure such as inventory, warehouses, trucks and full-time drivers. In January 2015, Instacart was named "America's Most Promising Company" by Forbes magazine.




]]> (press release) Today's Headlines Thu, 21 May 2015 14:00:00 -0400
Dole celebrating National Eat More Fruits & Vegetables Day

It’s National Eat More Fruits & Vegetables Day, an official holiday dedicated to the proposition that getting more fresh fruits and vegetables is easy, delicious — and, based on U.S. obesity trends — entirely necessary. Starting today, the annual holiday will be celebrated every year on the Thursday before Memorial Day, at the start of the summer produce season.nfvd

Three Dole divisions — Dole Fresh Fruit of Westlake Village, Dole Fresh Vegetables of Monterey, CA, and the Kannapolis, NC-based Dole Nutrition Institute — suggested the day as an annual reminder of the link between increased produce consumption and a happier, healthier life.

Following a successful first year of local celebration, the day will be proclaimed a national holiday. Dole representatives are accepting official proclamations designating the Thursday prior to Memorial Day, which this year falls on May 21, as Eat More Fruits & Vegetables Day in the California cities and counties where the company is based: Monterey County, Salinas, Westlake Village and Los Angeles County.

According to Bil Goldfield, director of communications for the Dole Food Co., the holiday goes beyond simple recipe and usage ideas to serve a valuable purpose. “One-third of adults and kids in the U.S. eat less than one serving of fresh produce a day, and Americans are twice as likely to be obese than the world population,” he said.  “Eating more fruits and vegetables may help reverse this trend and, according to research, could increase life expectancy.”

Dole will mark the inaugural holiday by posting special fruit and vegetable recipes, tips, nutritional insights and related content on its social pages, and in partnership with its blogger ambassadors. The company has also organized a National Eat More Fruits & Vegetables Pinterest Party on May 21 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is inviting health-focused bloggers and social media users to share original photos, recipes and other visual content celebrating a happy, healthy lifestyle rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.

The new holiday falls just one week before the May 27-28 launch of Dole’s Get Up & Grow! North American Tour, a series of healthy-eating caravans that will ultimately visit 480 supermarkets and special events throughout the United States and Canada. In addition to sampling new fruit and vegetables recipes and participating in a number of hands-on activities, tour participants can take the Get Up & Grow! Healthy Living Pledge, a customizable commitment to eating better and living right.

More information about Get Up & Grow is available at Co-sponsoring the tour is Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk. 

Dole chose New Orleans for the launch of National Eat More Fruits & Vegetables Day since it traces the founding of its Dole Fresh Fruit and banana business to the Crescent City, and will be setting-off on its Get Up & Grow Tour from New Orleans on May 28.

]]> (press release) Today's Headlines Thu, 21 May 2015 13:00:00 -0400
Cal Giant BBQ's 56th year helping American Cancer Society

The annual Spring Lamb Barbecue celebrated its 56th anniversary on Saturday May 16 at the Crosetti Ranch in the foothills of Watsonville, CA. This event has supported the local chapter of the American Cancer Society since it began back in 1959, donating more than $1.5 million since that time. Supporters include produce companies, allied industry and community businesses.

This year set a record for attendance, with over 900 people sharing in good food,aaward-2015-The American Cancer Society presented an award as appreciation for the continued support from the Spring Lamb Barbecue. good friends and a fierce horse shoe tournament. 

Over the 56 years of this long-standing event, hundreds of volunteers from the Pajaro Valley have been committed to participating in the Spring Lamb BBQ, which contributes to its longevity. The staff at California Giant — along with committee members — gain strong support from friends in the produce industry for the event and acknowledge those that have lost their battle with cancer each year. 

This annual BBQ was founded by the fathers of Bill Moncovich, chief executive officer and partner in California Giant Berry Farms,acoo and J.J. Crosetti Jr. They donated funds the very first year to the American Cancer Society and that tradition has held true ever since.

In 2008, the American Cancer Society acknowledged the longevity of the event and the cumulative contribution of more than $1 million dollars. The society praised Bill Moncovich and the organizing committee for hosting the oldest, consecutively held, fundraiser for the American Cancer Society in the United States. This accomplishment was also recognized by Congressman Sam Farr at the 50th anniversary.

For more information on how to sponsor the Spring Lamb Barbecue held each year on the third Saturday in May and its fund raising effort to fight cancer, contact California Giant Berry Farms at 831/728 -1773 or visit


]]> (press release) Today's Headlines Thu, 21 May 2015 11:11:53 -0400
RCMA fund to aid family of young drowning victims

The Redlands Christian Migrant Association has created a fund to assist a farm-working family that lost two young boys in an accidental drowning May 17.

Noel Matias, 4, and his brother Alex, 3, were found in a canal Sunday near the labor camp where the family lived.

The Matias family is seeking help for funeral expenses, including taking the boys’ bodies to Mexico for burial. The boys attended an RCMA child-care center in LaBelle, FL.

Donations may be made via the RCMA website, Checks may be made out to RCMA and mailed to RCMA, 402 W. Main St., Immokalee, FL 34142. All donations designated “Matias Family” will be forwarded directly to the family.

]]> (press release) Today's Headlines Thu, 21 May 2015 09:00:00 -0400
New Jersey hosts EPC's last meeting of the season

HILLSDALE, NJ — The Eastern Produce Council's May 19 meeting, sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, drew a big crowd, as always. This was the 28th consecutive year that New Jersey has sponsored an EPC meeting, and as in the last few years, this meeting was held outdoors under a tent here at Demarest Farms — and thus is known as the Jersey Fresh Cookout. This was also the last EPC meeting before its traditional summer break; the council's meetings will resume this fall.EPC2441EPC President Vic Savanello of Allegiance Retail Services, EPC First Vice President Marianne Santo of Wakefern Food Corp., Douglas H. Fisher, New Jersey's secretary of agriculture, and Al Murray, New Jersey's assistant secretary of agriculture. (Click here for more photos)

EPC President Vic Savanello of Allegiance Retail Services welcomed everyone to the meeting and asked Arthur R. Brown Jr., a former New Jersey secretary of agriculture who served from 1982 to 2002, to stand. Savanello noted that the Jersey Fresh Promotional Program was founded under Brown's tenure and that Brown was the first recipient of the council's Lifetime Achievement Award.

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher began his remarks by acknowledging all of the New Jersey Department of Agriculture staff present at the EPC meeting. "We have an incredibly dedicated staff," he stated. "We're all excited to be here tonight."

Fisher mentioned the state's locally grown proposal that is currently being discussed. "We're getting a lot of calls, both for and against," he said. "Clearly in the industry, not everyone is of the same mind." He said that it was "very important" for industry members to give their views and to comment on the proposed rule.

Joe Maugeri, president of the Vegetable Growers Association of New Jersey, gave the vegetable report. "It was a very cold winter that turned into a very cold, wet early spring" but which has now led to warmer weather. Many early items such as asparagus, which is always a popular item with consumers, have started, and as such, "We look forward to a very successful season," he said.

Robert Von Rohr of Sunny Valley International gave the peach report. He estimated that the Jersey peach harvest would begin around the first week in July, with volume ramping up a couple of weeks after that. "We're looking forward to an outstanding year," he said.

Bonnie Lundblad, also of Sunny Valley International, gave the blueberry report. She estimated that the state would produce about 60 million pounds of blueberries over a six-week period, with the harvest beginning around June 15-18. "The fruit looks very good, and we are ready to go," she said.

]]> (Gordon M. Hochberg) Today's Headlines Wed, 20 May 2015 19:00:00 -0400
Kingsburg Orchard executive returns to retail with move to Sendik’s

Sendik's Food Markets, a 12-store family-owned grocery chain serving the Milwaukee area, announced the hiring of produce industry veteran Dan Spain, who most recently worked as vice president of sales and marketing for Kingsburg Orchard

As produce director for Sendik’s, Spain will use his wealth of experience to procure product, build grower relationships and set strategy for a company known throughout the industry for its best-in-class produce operations.spainDan Spain

“Dan is someone we have done business with, and admired, for many years,” Patrick Balistreri, a co-owner of Sendik’s, said in a press release. “He shares our passion for produce and is well respected by growers and partners throughout the country. Because of his experience and industry connections, Dan makes our strong team even stronger.”

In joining Sendik’s, Spain returns to his roots. He began his career in retail with Von’s Grocery Co., where his creativity, drive, leadership and coaching ability caught the eye of top executives. He was quickly promoted and held leadership positions within stores, as a produce manager and store manager, and throughout the company as field merchandiser and category manager.

“I could not be more excited to be joining the Sendik's family,” Spain said in the press release. “I've had the pleasure of visiting retailers in nearly every state, and Sendik's has as fine a produce operation as I've seen. I look forward to building on their well-deserved reputation.”

Prior to Kingsburg Orchards, Spain worked in strategic business development and marketing for Sunkist Fresh Fruit as the director of national accounts. Additionally, he has long-time professional produce industry associations with the Produce Marketing Association, United Fresh Fruit Association, Fresh Produce & Floral Council, Southeast Produce Council, Eastern Produce Council and the National Grocers Association.

]]> (press release) Today's Headlines Wed, 20 May 2015 14:00:00 -0400