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North American participation at Asia Fruit Logistica trending upward

Asia Fruit Logistica 2014, Sept. 3-5 at Hong Kong’s AsiaWorld-Expo Center, is shaping up to be an even bigger and better show than last year's record-setting event.

With around five months to go before the doors open, exhibitor registrations have already equaled last year’s levels, with companies from 32 countries signed up to showcase their products and services. With the sold-out USA Pavilion and first-ever Canada Pavilion, the North American participation at this year’s Asia Fruit Logistica, is headed toward being the largest ever.

“Asia Fruit Logistica is the produce show for Asia, and since our organization’s focus is on international markets, we need to be here,” Rebecca Lyons, international marketing director of the Washington Apple Commission, said in a press release. “Asia Fruit Logistica also provides an excellent platform for our shippers to meet one-on-one with Asian receivers.”

Asia Fruit Logistica is Asia’s leading trade show for the international fruit and vegetable business, where high-level industry professionals from across the world and throughout the supply chain meet. A record 6,536 buyers and trade visitors from 64 nations poured through the doors of Asia Fruit Logistica 2013 and the visitor survey results again underlined the high quality of the attendees, with 89 percent of them being closely involved in their companies’ purchasing and decision-making processes.

Rally, resignations follow Market Basket's Demoulas firing

Years of reported infighting came to a head on Monday, June 23, when Market Basket's board of directors fired Arthur T. Demoulas, president and chief executive officer, along with two other executives: Bill Marsden, director of operations; and Joe Rockwell, vice president of grocery. Combined, the three men had been with the company for more than 110 years.

An estimated 300 employees held a rally protesting the firings, and reported that at least six members of Market Basket's corporate staff have resigned in the wake of Monday's announcement.

Support of the former company president also led to the creation of the We are Market Basket Facebook page and The Facebook page already has more than 19,000 followers.

In a statement, the board, which is controlled by Demoulas' cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, said the ousted CEO "was not re-elected president and will not retain any management responsibilities moving forward." Arthur T. Demoulas will remain a shareholder in the company.  

The Market Basket board has elected two of the company's consultants to executive positions: James Gooch will take the role of chief administrative officer, and Felicia Thornton has taken on the role of chief operating officer.

The chain, based in Lowell, MA, has 71 supermarkets in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine.

Perfection Fresh Australia and D'VineRipe to merge

Australian companies Perfection Fresh Australia and D'VineRipe have announced in a joint press release that they will merge, effective July 1.

Perfection Fresh is one of Australia's well-known marketers of fresh fruit and vegetables. Started in 1978, the family business has evolved from wholesale and now handles production, processing and marketing.

D'VineRipe operates the largest glasshouse in Australia, based north of Adelaide. Established in 2006, D'VineRipe is a joint venture alliance between Perfection Fresh and the Victor Smorgon Group, a family business.

The merged company will continue to operate under the name Perfection Fresh, and it will be business as usual for growers, staff, customers and the industry, according to the press release.

The integration of Perfection Fresh, and its subsidiary Picasso Foods, with D'VineRipe aligns the two company strategies to control 70 percent of total sales through production, licensed varieties and fresh value-added processing by 2018. This includes a 50 percent increase in protected cropping to 150 hectares, or about 370 acres.

The companies currently employ more than 500 staff at 12 sites across Australia. The merger creates future employment growth opportunities, with plans to expand Perfection Fresh operations across Australia and into additional categories.

"We are excited to continue to bring high-quality fresh produce, new and fresh processed products to the Australian market place — while creating job opportunities across the country," Michael Simonetta, chairman of Perfection Fresh, said in the press release.

James Orloff, joint managing director of the Victor Smorgon Group and chief executive officer of D'VineRipe, added in the press release, "Our family business has a long history in food production and manufacturing, and this is the next step in that evolution. Our new partnership with Michael and John, and their great team, gives us the ability to expand using innovative farming and growing methods to take advantage of Australia's changing place in the world food chain."

Blue Book Services unveils new marketing pages

Blue Book Services has announced new marketing pages available to users worldwide with Internet access. The pages showcase how Blue Book’s business information and marketing tools can help a company grow sales and manage business risk.

“We are excited about these new marketing pages,” Jim Carr, president and chief executive officer of Blue Book Services, said in a press release. “The pages allow anyone to learn about the valuable features of Blue Book membership and how they can be easily integrated into a company’s day-to-day operations.”

“No matter how a company operates in the global fresh produce supply chain — from grower-shipper to retailer, from wholesaler-distributor to foodservice, from importer-exporter to transporter or allied service supplier — these pages clearly communicate the value of membership,” Jeff Lair, manager of service and sales administration, said in the release. “Whether a sales team needs a new list of leads or a credit team needs a comprehensive Blue Book business report, with an industry-specific and proven predictive score, our membership provides information to grow and prosper.”

“Our mission is to provide businesses in the global fresh produce industry with the best resources to succeed,” Carr said in the release. “These marketing pages capture this pledge. Plus, we included membership information in Spanish specifically for this growing segment of the industry.”

“Blue Book Services has been in business for over 100 years,” Lair said. “Our success is a testament to the thousands of members worldwide who rely on our services each day. It is an honor to help these companies succeed and enjoy the fruits of their labor. We intend to be around another 100 years doing just that.”

Blue Book’s new marketing pages can be viewed at

SPC raises $50,000 at charity golf classic

SPCgolf112The Southeast Produce Council raised $50,000 for the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children at its inaugural SPC Charity Golf Classic, held June 18-19 at Chateau Elan in Braselton, GA. Shown with the ceremonial check were Chad Phillips of the hospital; David Sherrod, assistant executive director of the council; Zach Kallenbach of the hospital; and Andrew Scott, president of the council. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Pierce/SPC)In what can be described as a magnificent and successful first venture, the Southeast Produce Council raised $50,000 at its inaugural SPC Charity Golf Classic.

About 125 people gathered June 18-19 at Chateau Elan Winery & Resort, about 40 miles north of Atlanta in the beautiful mountains of Braselton, GA, where the golf tournament as well as silent and live auctions helped to raise money for the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.

“I thought we did really well. We’re happy, we’re very happy,” SPC President Andrew Scott of Coosemans Worldwide told The Produce News Monday, June 23. “We appreciate the support of our sponsors this first year. We couldn’t have done this without them. It turned out great.”

David Sherrod, the council’s assistant executive director, agreed. “I think it was real successful for the first time. We had really good member turnout. We’re hoping to increase the retail and foodservice attendance next year and in years to come,” he said. “As word gets out about this event, I think it’s only going to grow from here.”

One change that the council is already planning for next year’s charity golf event is the timing. “We’ll probably shoot for the last week in April or the first two weeks in May,” said Scott. The council may return to Chateau Elan next year, but a final decision has not yet been made, he added.

In looking for a specific earlier date for next year’s charity golf event, Sherrod stated, “We’ll look at the calendar to make sure we don’t interfere with any other industry events” taking place around that time. “We’ve always tried to do that.”

SPC Executive Director Terry Vorhees is dealing with health issues and was not able to attend, but the council set up a video link with him during this year’s event. During that video link, the council surprised Vorhees by announcing that in future years, this event would be known as the Terry Vorhees Charity Golf Classic. The longtime executive director also was able to see a poster, set up during the silent and live auctions, which showed the logo for the newly named golf classic and which noted that the name change was made “in honor of Terry Vorhees for his vision in creating this event, his commitment to giving back and his service to the Southeast Produce Council.”

The fact that Vorhees was not able to attend was the only real downside to an otherwise superb charity event. “We all missed Terry at the golf classic. It was a perfect event except for that,” said Scott.

“We’re so pleased to put Terry’s name on this event” starting next year, said Sherrod. “We were going to find a way to include Terry in this event,” and with the video link, “we found a way for him to be there.”

In summing up the overall successful first SPC Charity Golf Classic, Sherrod concluded, “We did it the way Terry taught us.”