Ruby Fresh named New Product Award finalist

Ruby Fresh has been selected as one of 13 finalists for the 2015 New Product Award: Best New Packaging at the 2015 United Fresh Conference & Expo in Chicago. This is the third consecutive year Ruby Fresh is being recognized for its innovative packaging design.Jewels-Cups-IMPACTAWARDS-copy Winners will be announced at the United Fresh membership booth on Wednesday, June 10 at 3 p.m.

The new Ruby Fresh Jewels Grab-N-Go pomegranate aril cups, in four- and 5.3-ounce cups, now come in two-packs and four-packs. Display-ready, these convenient Grab-N-Go Pomegranate Aril snack cups were designed in stand-up packaging to be displayed in refrigeration units. The eye-catching sleeve allows for product information to be readily available while still letting the consumer view the pomegranate arils in the convenient snack cups.

Processed pomegranate arils have been gaining popularity with consumers, not only as an ingredient but also as a healthy snack rich in antioxidants. Ruby Fresh Jewels pomegranate aril cups are proportioned to make them a convenient, healthy snack for adults and kids alike. Their re-sealable lid maintains freshness while making them easy to measure and add to recipes. Additional improvements to sleeve design, including it’s snap-lock enclosure and finger-grabs, add to the packaging’s uniqueness.

Kingston sells Florida cold-storage facility

Kingston & Associates Marketing LLC, based in Idaho Falls, ID, announced the sale of Kingston Cross Dock International Inc. to American Consolidation & Logistics, a family-owned business that provides handling and storage of perishables and consolidation services to customers in the United States, Caribbean, Central America and South America.

Kingston will continue its Florida operations at the cold-storage facility and will utilize the facility’s state-of-the-art equipment and specialized services to store, handle and consolidate orders of its fresh fruits and vegetables. The sale of the cold-storage facility enables both Kingston and ACL to focus on their respective specialties, resulting in a consistent, high-quality product that Kingston will be continue to deliver to its customers, according to a press release.

”I truly believe that the future has never been brighter as both companies can focus on what makes each of them great,” David O. Kingston, chief executive officer, said in the press release. 

PAC christens summer promotions with breakfast aboard the USS Cole

The Peruvian Avocado Commission has a full slate of promotions planned to help consumers associate Peru as the summer avocado source.

The summer promotions kicked off in early May with a Peruvian-avocado themed breakfast for the men and women who serve on the U.S. Navy’s USS Cole, a first of its kind event for the avocado industry, according to the PAC.

“The 2015 campaign involves a variety of events and promotions similar to the breakfast served to the sailors on board the USS Cole that are firsts for the avocado category,” Xavier Equihua, president and chief executive officer of PAC, said in a press release.DSC 4087-copyXavier Equihua, president and chief executive officer of the Peruvian Avocado Commission, with member of the U.S. Navy outside the USS Cole. The PAC kicked off summer promotions for Peruvian avocados last month in Fort Lauderdale, FL, during Fleet Week. “We want to reach consumers through a variety of media channels, constantly reminding them to make avocados from Peru a part of their daily diet.”

The breakfast event on board the USS Cole will be featured as a special July 4th segment on the nationally syndicated Mr. Food Test Kitchen show on July 1. The segment will air on more than 100 television stations across the country and reach millions of viewers.

Of the USS Cole event, Equihua said, “We did it to honor the men and women of the U.S. military as well as to feature Peruvian avocados. It had a double effect.”

Peruvian avocados also are to be prominently featured at the 48th annual Smithsonian Folk Fest in Washington, DC, co-sponsored by Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Trade & Tourism, which is expected to draw more than 1 million people to National Mall in the nation’s capital during the two-week festival.

“Peru is the sponsor of the June 23 opening reception of the festival,” said Equihua. “It will be the first time avocados of any type are featured on the National Mall. It was a rare opportunity for Peru.”

Equihua said Avocados from Peru will partner with the popular Peruvian Brothers, one of the official food suppliers of the event. “Throughout the summer, the Peruvian Brothers’ food trucks will be wrapped in beautiful images of Peru and fresh, ripe avocados and they’ve added AFP’s signature Quinoa and Avocado Salad to the menu,” he said. “The event allows Avocados from Peru to honor the United States at one of the largest events in the country.”

Following that, Peruvian avocados will travel north to the Javits Center in New York City for the Fancy Food Show June 28-30, the largest specialty food show in the country.

“New York is such a food town, and Peruvian avocados fit well with the gourmet element of the show,” said Equihua.

In keeping with the gourmet theme, PAC has enlisted internationally renowned chef Martin Morales, author of the award-winning cookbook Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen, which was awarded the London Sunday Times Cookbook of the Year, who is also founder and managing director of Ceviche Soho, Old Street and Andina, three of London’s best new restaurants.

Chef Morales will act as the global ambassador for Avocados from Peru at the Fancy Food Show; host a private dinner at the Peruvian Ambassador to the United Nation’s residence for top media and key customers; be featured as a guest chef at the renowned James Beard Foundation House; and conduct a special cooking demo at Condé Nast, the prominent media company and producer of high-quality content.

“The James Beard Foundation event will be such a great event,” said Equihua. “It is the pre-eminent culinary institution and Peruvian avocados will take it over on the night of July 1. We felt like we wanted to include chefs more with our summer promotions and we also wanted to show Peruvian avocados as being international.”

Targeting big markets is a main strategy for PAC now and in looking toward the future.

“Avocado consumption will increase tremendously in the next 10 years because we are becoming such an urbanized society, with people wanting to live closer to cities,” said Equihua. “Avocados are becoming a staple item, like tomatoes, and that represents a huge opportunity to increase consumption. It helps the entire avocado category.”

As part of that effort, major retailers on the East Coast will conduct demos featuring Peruvian avocados leading into the July 4th holiday.

“One major retailer alone will be holding 1,600 demos,” he said. “We love that, and then timing is perfect because it is leading right into the biggest consumption day of the year and that happens in the heart of the Peruvian avocado season.”

Equihua said Peru registers high on the social responsibility scale, and that resonates well with retailer and consumers alike, who are more in tune with the fair treatment of workers.

“We are actually ahead on social responsibility because Peruvian avocados are the number one avocado in Europe, and retailers there have such strict standards for social responsibility,” he said.

Importers of Peruvian avocados have taken note of the PAC efforts and applaud the work the commission has done in promoting the brand.

“I really like what the Peruvian Avocado Commission has done,” said Bob Lucy, a partner at Del Rey Avocado in Fallbrook, CA. “They have been aggressive and met with many of the large retailers. They are offering a good deal of support, which is what they need to do.”

Ahold USA names president and general manager of Peapod

Ahold USA has appointed Jennifer Carr-Smith to president and general manager of Peapod, effective June 15. Carr-Smith replaces Andrew Parkinson who has been appointed to a newly established advisory role.

Carr-Smith brings more than 20 years of e-commerce experience to her position with Peapod. Most recently, she served as the chief operating officer of J.Jennifer-Carr-SmithJennifer Carr-Smith Crew’s online business, where she led J. Crew’s transformation to a digital retailer with strong e-commerce capabilities.

Prior to her role at J. Crew, Carr-Smith served as chief operating officer for Giggle, an omni-channel retailer focused on baby gear; chief operating officer for Gilt Groupe, an online shopping company with more than 6 million members; and in leadership roles in finance, strategy and operations with Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. and Carr-Smith holds an MBA from Harvard and a bachelor's degree in economics from Brown University.

In his new role, Parkinson will serve as an advisor to Carr-Smith while pursuing new business development opportunities for Peapod. Parkinson is co-founder of Peapod and has led the company to significantly increased sales each year for 26 years. Most recently, Parkinson led the expansion of Peapod’s online grocery delivery service to meet growing customer needs through the creation of “Pick-Up Points.” He also championed the opening of Peapod Propulsion Labs, a digital innovation center in Chicago.

“This is a real success story, and we look forward to welcoming Jennifer as she leverages her deep e-commerce experience to inspire our associates and delight our customers,” Jan van Dam, executive vice president of marketing, format, supply chain and own brands, said in a press release. “We thank Andrew for his pioneering vision to cultivate technology in order to make grocery shopping easier and more convenient for our customers.”

Big Y focused on locally grown produce, plants and flowers

Big Y, which sells locally grown produce from the spring into the fall as it follows the growing season in southern New England, has begun selling the first native produce of the season.bigy

With stores in Massachusetts and Connecticut, it is committed to supporting as many local growers as possible within its 63 stores.

In the past, Big Y purchased almost 5 million pounds of native produce from local farmers throughout the area. This year promises to exceed that amount as more farmers are added to provide their native fruits and vegetables to Big Y’s customers.

Big Y also offers local flowers and plants in all of its markets. Perennials from Cavicchio Greenhouses in Sudbury, MA, and annuals are in all Big Y markets. Fresh herbs like rosemary, oregano, sage and thyme from the same grower can also be found. And, for customers who love to grow their own strawberries, flats are in stock, too.

"We are excited to be able to expand our local offerings once again and to be able to support even more local growers from our region with these locally grown garden center plants," Michael D'Amour, executive vice president, said in a press release. "We know that our customers appreciate being able to buy local at their local Big Y."