FSMA’s Next Steps — Produce processors start to prepare for first round of inspections
Inside and Out — Packaging companies improve on appearance
Reinventing the Can — Technology innovations reinvent the can
Transforming Waste — Bio-based plastics show great potential
So Many Ways — Tree Top expanding the variety of uses for fruit crops
Process Expo — Food processing takes center state at Process Expo
- Data and Werewolves
- I-9 Issues In June 2009, the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency issued 650 I-9 audits, more than in all of 2008. In November, ICE issued another 1,000 audits.
- PACA for Processors Jerr Brandel is tired of what he calls “bait and switch” tactics in the fresh-market produce industry, and he wants to see them stop. At the very least, he wants growers to take more control of the prices they get for their crop.
- Pero’s Salad Cut Ups There big changes happening at Pero Family Farms; not the least of which is the new company name.
- A Green Fusion Pizza is one of the most consumed foodservice products in the United States; the category accounts for about 10 percent of all foodservice sales. Pizza sales have steadily increased over the years and now account for more than $30 billion in annual sales and 17 percent of restaurants in the United States are pizzerias.
- A Healthy Lifestyle Lifestyle Foods Inc., a fresh-cut processor based in York, Pa., has only been operating for four years, but already it’s expanding its lineup around healthful food choices.
- Going Green
- PMA Adds to Food Safety Team The Produce Marketing Association (PMA) announced in early January that it was reorganizing the staff to better implement its strategic plans.
- Food Safety for All
- Fresh-Cut Convenience Fresh Del Monte Produce is heavily invested in value-added produce items at retail, but the company was looking for ways to reach consumers in places where fresh fruits and vegetables typically aren’t available.
- Legislating Food Safety Last year was a busy one for food safety legislation. The thought early in the year was that increased food safety regulations would move forward under a new administration that supported a revamped food safety system in the United States.
- State of the Industry At the start of 2009 in Fresh Cut’s annual state of the industry report, there was little evidence that the small cracks in the economy would grow so large. In fact, the fresh-cut segment was looking up moving into last year, with retail sales of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables increasing and foodservice sales at least level.
- Dole’s Salad Guide Bagged salads jump-started the fresh-cut produce industry and today account for nearly $5 billion in sales. A few big companies, one of which is Monterey, Calif.-based Dole Fresh Vegetables, dominate the segment. Dole’s share of the market is growing, approaching 40 percent, and it is the world’s largest producer and marketer of fresh fruit and vegetables, with revenues of $7.6 billion in 2008.
- Turning the Corner: Americans are eating out more now than at the beginning of the year, but they’re spending less at each visit, according to a new study published by AlixPartners in October. The study surveyed 1,000 consumers to evaluate their eating trends and compare the results to surveys conducted earlier in the 2009.
- Under Pressure Ohio State University food science researcher V.M. “Bala” Balasubramaniam isn’t feeling pressure to perform. He’s using pressure.
- Window Shopping
- A Truly Fresh Summit
- Apio’s Grab ‘n Go Cups Apio Inc. built its business growing and shipping broccoli, so it’s ironic that the name actually means “celery” in Spanish. However, it was a group of five celery growers that started the company in 1979 in the Santa Maria Valley of California.
- Food Safety Versus Sustainability Agriculture is a naturally sustainable industry, but growers in California are finding it harder to be sustainable in light of food safety guidelines.
- Checking Down Card Check
- Turning Waste to Energy Think about all the fruit and vegetable waste left behind during harvest, lying unused and unwanted in farm fields and processing plants. Not only does it literally go to waste, it often takes time and labor to get rid of it. But what if all that unused produce could be turned into energy? A grower or processor could take care of its waste problems and pay its energy bills at the same time.
- Watsonville Produce California’s Monterey County is known for its contribution to the American food supply. With much of its farm acreage devoted to spinach, iceberg and other leafy greens, the Salinas Valley and surrounding area supply a large percentage of the leafy greens eaten by U.S. consumers.
- Abusing Temperatures
- Earthbound Farm Adds Equity Partner San Juan Bautista, Calif.-based Earthbound Farm has added a fourth partner to the business: Dallas-based HM Capital Partners LLC. The terms of the July transaction were not released.
- Grafting Fresh-Cut Fruit Fruit quality is an important attribute of the fresh-cut fruit industry, especially when the fruit has a limited shelf life. But scientists at Lane Agricultural Center near Lane, Okla., have found that grafting watermelon plants onto gourd rootstock not only increases fruit quality and crispness, it also increases shelf life of fresh-cut fruit.
- Taylor Farms Taylor Farms is one of the largest suppliers of fresh-cut vegetables for the foodservice industry, and now the Salinas, Calif.-based company is making waves in the retail market.
- CSI: Fresh-Cuts
- Epic Roots Todd Koons, founder of Epic Roots, started his career in the produce industry in 1978, at the age of 19, as a pantry manager for an upscale French restaurant inBerkeley.
- Foodservice Looking Up The outlook for restaurants is looking up for the first time in almost a year, according to the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index.
- Counting Cards The Employee Free Choice Act; commonly referred to as “card check”, could have far-reaching implications for business owners if it gets signed into law. And with a Democrat-controlled Congress and White House, the chances of a card check reality are high unless a coalition of groups opposed to it can convince one or two key senators to change their votes, said Kam Quarles, vice president of government relations and legislative affairs for the United Fresh Produce Association.
- Global Standards One food safety event can shake consumer confidence in the food supply, and it can take years to rebuild that lost confidence.
- National Promotions, Global Safety
- Tree Top Co-op Tree Top Inc., the first fruit-processing cooperative, was established nearly 50 years ago in central Washington in the middle of the state’s apple country. The cooperative is owned by more than 1,100 grower-members from Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The company started as an apple juice processor but has grown into a processor of juice, concentrates and dried products, and as a foodservice processor for fresh-cut apple slices.
- Economics of Safety
- Eliminating E. Coli Ongoing research at Michigan State University (MSU) could have a major impact on the way leafy greens are processed in the United States.
- J. Kings Foodservice J. Kings Foodservice Professionals Inc. has been in business since 1974 when it was founded by John King, and has been processing fresh-cut fruits and vegetables for the last nine years.
- Mock Recall Recent foodborne outbreaks have brought into question the ability of FDA to track down the source of a contaminated product due to inadequate recordkeeping. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General released a report March 26 that identified areas of improvement for the food supply, and specifically for the fresh-cut produce industry.
- A Stimulus “Package” The United States fruit and vegetable (including the mass-market portion of the floral industry) contributes $554 billion annually to the nation’s economy.
- Building Brands Indianapolis Fruit Co. has long been supplying whole and fresh-cut produce to foodservice customers in the Midwest, but retail products are a growing market, said Shane Towne, marketing and new business development coordinator for the company.
- Innovating Potatoes Innovation generally comes from a company looking to create a competitive advantage by offering a new product or a new use for an existing product. That?s been the model in the fresh-cut industry, and has resulted in many new fresh-cut offerings, including the $1.5 billion bagged salad market.
- Stretching Dollars
- Water Scarce in California It’s being called the most significant water crisis in California’s history. A combination of drought, court rulings and an aging, inadequate infrastructure is severely squeezing the state’s water supply. Things are looking grim for everybody, especially growers who need water for their crops.
- Brooklyn’s Baldor Builds Bigger Baldor Specialty Foods, in the Bronx borough of New York City, started up 16 years ago with only a “handful” of employees, said Michael Muzyk, company president. It has now grown to more than 600 employees and will soon be moving into a new, state- of-the-art distributing and processing plant.
- Building Breeds Through Biotech The use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) is growing every year, despite vocal opponents of the technology. But GM crops have the potential to be better for the environment and better for end users, said Sharon Bomer, the acting vice president of food and agriculture for the Biotechnology Industry Organization.
- One Bad Apple