S. Katzman Produce in contract to buy Morris Okun’s units on Hunts Point

S. Katzman Produce Inc., a leading full-line produce house located on Hunts Point Terminal Market in the Bronx, NY, is under contract with Morris Okun Inc., also located on Hunts Point, to purchase Okun’s 16 units on the market.

Stefanie Katzman, fourth-generation family member at S. Katzman, told The Produce News that Katzman currently has 21 units in rows on A, B and D at the market.

“Okun’s row B stores would add another 16 units to S. Katzman,” she said.

Word at the market on March 11 was that the contract was announced at a market meeting the day before. Thomas Cignarella, president of Morris Okun, concurred, saying he was aware of the contract.

Tanimura & Antle goes back to the basics with old logo

Tanimura & Antle has recently decided to go back to its original T leaf A logo, which has been reintroduced as a mainstay behind the premier West Coast lettuce house.tla The company said the reintroduction of this logo represents a continued dedication to the foundation of the partnership of two iconic farming families, and it manifests T&A’s core values: natural, sustainable, fresh and premier vegetables.

“Our partners in the produce industry have always considered us just as T&A," Mike Antle, executive vice president, said in a press release.ParsleyPing-236x300 "Our original logo has always been known as a premium pack and will always be etched in our minds as such. So, why not bring it back?"

Other family member owners, including Gary Tanimura, executive vice president, agreed, saying, “Throughout our growing regions and since the beginning of our partnership, the original T leaf A logo is all I can remember.”

The transition back to the original logo and return to the brand’s roots and authenticity has already started to roll out with new items, such as the Field Fresh Parsley and Field Fresh Italian Parsley. The vintage T&A logo will hit grocery store shelves and return to all packaging throughout 2015.

United Family offers free fruit to kids

The United Family is celebrating National Nutrition Month by launching the Kids Free Fruit Program at all United Supermarkets, Market Street, Albertsons Market and Amigos locations in West Texas and Dallas-Fort Worth.united As part of the Kids Free Fruit Program, children can enjoy a snack-size apple, orange or banana at no charge while parents are shopping.

The program was designed by The United Family’s registered dietitians to help children reach one to two servings of fruit each day, which is recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture. To take advantage of the offer, guests can simply ask an employee for a Kid’s Free Fruit card, or rewards members can show the cashier their Kids Club mobile application.

“Proper nutrition is critical for children and adults, and our Kids Free Fruit Program provides an opportunity to develop healthy habits during children’s formative years,” Robin Hawkins, director of health and wellness for The United Family, said in a press release. “Our registered dietitians also serve as a great resource for Market Street guests to learn how to ensure they are selecting healthy options for their families.”

Guests can sign up to become a rewards program member online at www.unitedtexas.com, using the “United Market” mobile application or by visiting in-store kiosks at any of the company’s 67 locations. In addition to the Kids Free Fruit program, rewards members also have access to sweepstakes, personalized deals, coupons and promotions to provide additional savings on products purchased in-store.

$8.2 billion merger extended

Sysco Corp. has extended the deadline for its merger with US Foods. The initial deadline, March 8, was pushed back 60 days to May 7, two days after a hearing on the Federal Trade Commission’s claim that the deal would violate the antitrust laws.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the May 5 trial will determine if there is a temporary injunction on the deal before the FTC’s administrative trial begins July 21, two-and-a-half months after the merger’s new deadline.

The $8.2 billion merger was initially announced in December of 2013, but the FTC claims that the proposed merger of Sysco and US Foods would violate the antitrust laws by significantly reducing competition nationwide and in 32 local markets for broadline foodservice distribution services.

The FTC alleges that if the merger goes forward as proposed, foodservice customers, including restaurants, hospitals, hotels and schools, would likely face higher prices and diminished service than would be the case but for the merger.

“This proposed merger would eliminate significant competition in the marketplace and create a dominant national broadline foodservice distributor,” Debbie Feinstein, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, previously said. “Consumers across the country, and the businesses that serve them, benefit from the healthy competition between Sysco and U.S. Foods, whether they eat at a restaurant, hotel or a hospital.”

Awe Sum Organics’ pear season kicks off

Awe Sum Organics' new-crop organic pears from Argentina are arriving now on both coasts of the United States.

“Despite a challenging growing season, due to over half a dozen consecutive widespread and significant hail storms throughout the valley, we will have good and promotable volumes of our Awe Sum tasting organic pears this season," David Posner, president and chief executive officer, said in a press release.ASO Rbud "Our customers are really excited now to be receiving our new crop organic Bartletts, and sales have been brisk.”

The pears are grown in the Rio Negro Valley of Argentina, which is a premier fruit-production area well-known for growing some of the best-tasting pears in the world. Bartlett pears were the first to arrive, with Red Bartletts arriving now. These sweet and juicy pears appear at a time when domestic organic pears are finishing, and organic fruit offerings in general are lean throughout the United States and Canada.

“The eating quality of our organic Bartletts is excellent, the fruit is clean, and the size is good,” Posner said in the release.

Besides the multiple hail events, other difficulties this season have included shipment delays caused by the packinghouse labor strike in Argentina and the West Coast port strike in the United States.

“While the season has not gone without issues, we have plenty of our Awe Sum organic pears for our customers to load in both Los Angeles and Philadelphia,” Posner said.

Awe Sum Organics is able to provide its customers with a seamless Southern Hemisphere organic pear program — on both coasts of the United States and Canada — with all varieties and pack styles throughout the import pear season. After the Bartletts arrive, the Awe Sum program continues with Abate Fetel, D’Anjou, Packham, Autumn Bartlett, Beurre Bosc and Forelle varieties.

In addition to being organically certified, Awe Sum Organics is fair trade and sustainably certified through IMO’s Fair for Life program, guaranteeing social responsibility at all stages of production.