Sunkist brings fresh citrus varieties to CPMA 2015

Following one of the coldest East Coast winters on record, Sunkist is happy to be bringing a taste of California and Arizona sunshine to the 2015 Canadian Produce Marketing Association convention and trade show in Montreal. The citrus cooperative will showcase fresh, premium seasonal citrus along with new point-of-sale materials to help trade partners spring into citrus to lift spirits and sales.

“Springtime is all about fresh, and at Sunkist we’re pleased to be revealing a fresh new look to our retail marketing materials at the CPMA convention and trade show,” Sunkist Director of Retail Marketing Julie DeWolf said in a press release. “Our new point-of-sale collateral makes our bright, beautiful citrus shine against a rustic background that evokes the heritage of Sunkist’s 120-year growing history.”

Addressing retailers’ needs for quick turnaround and promotional flexibility, Sunkist will be displaying its new fully customized secondary display bins — which the company is now offering in addition to its regular line of display units. These new quarter bins, which hold 60-80 pounds of citrus, are easily assembled and can stand alone or be used to create a waterfall display off standard produce tables. The inner structure is a blank corrugate bin which is then covered with a high-graphic corrugate sleeve.

“Sunkist is now able to ship customized bins for unique retail promotions extremely quickly, creating a huge marketing advantage,” added DeWolf.

The new materials help showcase Sunkist citrus in the retail environment and generate consumer excitement for specialty varieties such as Gold Nugget variety Mandarins — a sweet, juicy easy-peel mandarin named for its beautiful bright, bumpy rind. Visitors to the Sunkist booth will be able to sample and taste why Sunkist has branded its Gold Nugget variety Mandarins as Nature’s Treasure for their unique exterior and exceptional flavor.

Sunkist will also highlight the mighty and versatile grapefruit at Booth No. 1005 at the trade show, sampling freshly squeezed grapefruit juice at their booth. Available year-round, Sunkist grapefruit packs a nutritional punch along with its delicious tart-sweet flavor. Sunkist continues to educate younger consumers about the health and weight-loss benefits of citrus along with promoting modern usage tips from at-home mixology, to do-it-yourself beauty with the “Not Your Mother’s Grapefruit” program — aimed at increasing consumption among Millennials.

The cooperative also continues to educate trade partners and consumers about the heart and heritage of the Sunkist brand with the Sunkist Family Stories program. This multimedia storytelling campaign shares the history and continual innovation of the family farmers that comprise the Sunkist cooperative, many of which have been growing citrus for generations. Digital and point-of-sale materials featuring Sunkist’s growers as part of this program will also be on display at Sunkist’s CPMA booth.

“Consumers today are looking for a more meaningful connection with the food they purchase and feed their families,” said Sunkist Advertising and Public Relations Manager Joan Wickham. “The Sunkist Family Stories campaign allows our growers to share their rich history, values and pioneering growing practices that have made Sunkist the leading name in citrus — building a deeper consumer connection with our brand.”

To highlight how delicious and versatile citrus is as an ingredient, Chef Jill Davie will be serving Sunkist Orange and Tomato Gazpacho with Sautéed Lemon Shrimp and Sunkist Flatiron Steak with Citrus Spiked Butter Beans incorporating Sunkist oranges, limes and lemons.

Offering over 40 citrus varieties including specialties and organics, Sunkist will also feature its in-season specialty varieties such as Cara Cara Navel oranges, Minneola tangelos, Ojai Pixie tangerines and Meyer lemons at the trade show and its Lil Snappers brand, kid-size fruit for small hands.

Nature Fresh Farms breaks ground on 180-acre Ohio greenhouse project

Under clear and sunny skies Friday, April 10, Nature Fresh Farms along with key state and local officials broke ground on Phase I of the company’s new 180-acre Delta, OH, greenhouse facility.NFF Ohio Logo Blue

“We are extremely delighted to be here today to put the first shovels in the ground for Phase I of our Delta Greenhouse Project,” said Peter Quiring, president and chief executive officer.

Surrounded by more than 150 people from the local community along with local, state and congressional representatives, Quiring went on to explain how the project would evolve starting with Phase I of 15 acres to a total of 12, 15-acre phases over the next seven years.

“This project is about cooperation and partnership,” said Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who took part in the event.NatureFreshFarms Logo no tagline Taylor also noted that the project was going to create more than 300 jobs for Ohio.

With the project structured to be built in 12 phases over seven years, the Delta greenhouse will be a state-of-the-art facility with a high degree of automation. The facility will also be using special High Pressure Sodium lights to grow throughout the winter months. Long-term plans for the project call for a partnership with neighbour North Star BlueScope Steel to use its waste heat and CO2 to help heat the greenhouse and reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

“Nature Fresh will provide good paying jobs and will attract more people to our community," said Dan Miller, mayor of Delta. Earlier in the week, more than a dozen local businesses in Delta had their storefront windows painted and decorated by the Delta High School art club welcoming Nature Fresh to the community.

“Seeing this type of community support with personal messages on storefront windows welcoming us to their town is extremely humbling,” Quiring said in a press release.

Positioned as a backdrop to the ground-breaking area were massive earthmovers, bulldozers and excavators from Carpenter Construction, which is expected to start levelling the project area this week. “We are looking forward to kicking off this project, this is going to be a great project,” Adam Carpenter, president, said in the press release.

Nature Fresh expects to pick its first crop of tomatoes in late December 2015 and will provide fresh locally grown Ohio tomatoes to Midwest grocery stores year-round.

More about the project is available at

CAC's launches breakfast promotion, redesigned website

For the third year the California Avocado Commission is promoting the use of California avocados at breakfast. Supported by public relations, online and social media outreach, the program also includes point-of-sale material for retailers.

To celebrate the start of California avocado season, CAC will outreach to consumers via bloggers with the details of four new on-trend avocado toast breakfast recipes created by celebrated chefs Jessica Koslow (SQIRL, Los Angeles) and Maxine Sui (Plow, San Francisco).Maxine-SuiChef Maxine Sui Avocado toast is showing up with increasing frequency on restaurant menus across the nation, and consumers are sharing their creative avocado toast ideas on social media such as Pinterest.

CAC will promote the chefs’ avocado toast recipes, spreading consumer awareness that the California avocado season is in full swing. The public relations activity is designed to inspire consumers to use the delicious fruit in new and exciting ways. Chef Koslow’s recipes are California Avocado and Pea Toast as well as California Avocado Butter and Smoked Trout Toast. Chef Sui created California Avocado Toast with Pickled Red Onions, Egg and Esplette Pepper and also California Avocado Toast with Prosciutto, Fennel and Medjool Date.

“CAC’s season opener activities continue to show consumers what makes California avocados special, while at the same time pioneering expanded usage of avocados such as these avocado toast ideas,” Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing the California Avocado Commission, said in a press release.

Throughout its history the commission has been a pioneering force in the produce industry. One area was in online communications. CAC launched its Web presence in 1996 and has stayed in the forefront of technology ever since. On March 31 CAC launched a completely redesigned website at The website continues to show consumers the California avocado difference and is built with responsive design to be viewed easily on multiple device platforms.

The new website incorporates numerous creative changes to optimize a viewer’s’ experience. Some content has been streamlined while other content is more prominent. Recognizing California avocado consumers passion for recipes and usage ideas, the new recipe section features larger, appetizing images and easy ways to search for recipes by type, occasion and dietary preference.

CAC’s new online breakfast page went live concurrently with the redesigned website and can be found at CAC also will post breakfast recipes on Facebook, where California avocados have nearly 300,000 fans. The commission’s Breakfast Time Pinterest page already has more than 4,000 followers; it provides an opportunity for bloggers and consumers to share their love of California avocados for breakfast. Rounding out CAC’s social media breakfast program, a season-opener Twitter chat with Registered Dietitian Michelle Dudash will focus on the importance of breakfast and ideas using California avocados.

The commission’s customer-specific marketing programs are now in full swing. California avocado display bins and a “Wake Up to Breakfast” recipe booklet are available to retailers who want to leverage CAC’s avocado breakfast promotion.

“This year’s California avocado crop is estimated to be about 10 percent larger than last year, and the harvest is expected to continue through spring and summer,” said DeLyser. “With California avocado season marketing activities under way we are full speed ahead.”

Eastern Produce Council holds 47th annual dinner dance

WOODLAND PARK, NJ -- The Eastern Produce Council held its 47th annual dinner dance Saturday evening, April 11, at its "favorite venue," the Westmount Country Club, here. Attendees enjoyed excellent food and music, as always, and in keeping with its ongoing commitment to "give back to our community," the council made three charitable donations to very worthy organizations. The council also completely surprised one of its own with a very special award.epc2165On behalf of New Jersey Farmers Against Hunger, which is spearheaded by the New Jersey Agricultural Society, Jim Giamarese, Kristina Guttadora and Jerry Verrico (second, third and fourth from left) accepted a charitable donation of $5,000 from EPC's Vic Savanello and Paul Kneeland. Additional photos available here.

"It is great to be back here at our favorite venue, the Westmount Country Club," EPC President Paul Kneeland said in his welcoming remarks. Kneeland, who is also vice president of produce, floral, seafood and meat at Kings Food Markets and Balducci's Food Lovers Markets, then introduced some of the dignitaries who were in the audience: Douglas Fisher, New Jersey's secretary of agriculture; Arthur R. Brown Jr., a former and longtime New Jersey secretary of agriculture; Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association; Paul Hlubik, executive director of the USDA's Farm Service Agency; and Jeff Oberman, vice president of United Fresh Produce Association.

Noting that one of the council's goals is to "give back to our community and to recognize and contribute to worthy charitable organizations," Kneeland said that "we are proud to present $5,000 checks to three most deserving recipients." Larry Van De Walk, executive director of the Lead New York Program, accepted for his organization; Lynn Hoffman, executive director of the Tomorrows Children's Fund, accepted for her organization; and Jerry Verrico, Kris Guttadora and Jim Giamarese of the New Jersey Agricultural Society's Farmers Against Hunger Program accepted for their organization.

Kneeland also announced that the council will hold its first Joe DeLorenzo Family Day "in honor of Joe D, who we lost this past year." That will take place Saturday, Oct. 3 at Melick's Town Farm in Oldwick, NJ. DeLorenzo, who served as vice president and president of the council during his many years of service, and who was inducted into the EPC Hall of Fame in April 2013, died Nov. 12, 2014, at the age of 64.

One of the extraordinary moments of the evening, however, came when Kneeland spoke about John McAleavey. "Our board of directors, past and present, are proud of what we have today and what we have done, and also what we will continue to do together for the future of this industry. None of this could have happened without our executive director."

He continued, "A dedicated family man first, John is almost never seen without John Jr. and Susan. In work and at home, they are a team like no other." Kneeland called McAleavey "a very humble guy," whose "accomplishments behind the scenes are incredible." But in a recent conversation between the two men, McAleavey "let it slip that he has been the Eastern Produce Council's executive director for 25 years. And that is not something we will let him be humble about."

So for all that he has done for the council, and with his family standing on stage, everyone at the dinner rose to applaud as the council presented McAleavey with a very special award indeed.

Supermarkets adding sliced Ambrosia apples

Ambrosia apples, one of the fastest growing varietal apples in the United States, are being released nationally in a new sliced apple package from Crunch Pak to capitalize on consumer demand for this popular new apple.Ambrosia-Crunch-Pak-Photo

“We’re very excited about the new sliced Ambrosia available from Crunch Pak,” Steve Lutz, vice president of marketing for CMI, said in a press release.  “Demand by consumers for Ambrosia surged this season so it makes perfect sense for retailers to have one more way to cash in on this spectacular apple.

“Crunch Pak is the established leader in the sliced apple category so we’re excited to see that they recognize the emerging opportunity with Ambrosia apples," Lutz added in the release.

According to Lutz, supermarket scan data results from Nielsen showed that over the most recent 26 weeks, more supermarkets added Ambrosia apples to their produce shelves than any other apple variety.

“This year alone, nearly 3,000 supermarkets added Ambrosia to their apple mix," he said. "That’s happening because consumers are seeking out Ambrosia.”

Krista Jones, director of brand development and product innovation at Crunch Pak, said the company is slicing Ambrosia apples for its variety-specific peel-and-reseal bags.

“Our shoppers are apple savvy; they know what they like and they look for their favorite varieties like Ambrosia in the store,” Jones said in the release. She added that Crunch Pak specifically selected Ambrosia apples because of the sweet flavor and firm texture.

A random selection of consumers from the Ambrosia Facebook page were sent samples of Crunch Pak’s sliced Ambrosia Apples and feedback was overwhelmingly positive.