Envy outperforms apple category, JAZZ shines

Envy apples are living up to their name, by posting dollar sales and volume growth other apple varieties can only wish for.

Freshlook Data indicates that in the first half of 2015, Envy delivered 20 percent higher dollar sales than in the same period last year, while also increasing in volume sold by 36 percent. Meanwhile, the apple category as a whole has dropped 13 percent in dollar sales and 8 percent in per-pound volume.Envy-display-at-retail

The Envy phenomenon is driven not only by the apple’s sweet, crisp character, but also retailer support balanced with remarkable consumer demand, David Nelley, executive director of The Oppenheimer Group’s apple, pear and cherry categories, said in a press release.

“Envy is proving its value to the produce department’s bottom line,” he said. “It’s in the top 15 for total dollars sold in the U.S. when compared with all apple varieties, which is pretty astonishing considering that volumes remain limited and the apple has been around for just three years. U.S. retailers who visited New Zealand to see the harvest told growers that in some cases Envy is their highest performing variety. They’re glad to introduce it to their customers as a category driver.”

While Envy is making a statement in the apple category throughout the United States, the Southeast, Midwest and California are showing the best results.

Nelley noted that Envy’s powerful social media engagement, including nearly 17,000 likes on Facebook, has been another useful barometer of the apple’s success.

“Envy is capturing people’s imaginations," he said. "Once they have tried it, they can’t wait to enjoy it again and share it with friends and family. Because Envy is not available year round, the pent up demand at the start of the season is overwhelming."

To that end, the Envy website, www.envyapples.com, features a locator tool that encourages consumers to interact with one another to find the apples in their communities. Envy is available from New Zealand late June through September and Washington late October through March, with export markets in Asia taking about half of the Washington-grown volume.

Another Enza variety, the JAZZ apple, also performed admirably in the first six months of 2015. JAZZ continues to enjoy a well-established position as a “top 10” apple, sitting at No. 9 for both dollar and volume sales for all apples during the period. Looking at premium apples only, JAZZ ranks No. 3 in both.

“JAZZ is unmatched for year-round consistent pressure and flavor due to the controlled year-round production managed by Enza in the U.S., New Zealand and Chile,” Nelley said. “Its tangy-sweet flavor, unparalleled crunch in the summer, and endurance on the shelf give it advantages over other varieties. While Envy is turning heads right now, JAZZ continues to be an apple retailers stock confidently as a year-round staple.”

Mucci Farms adding Naked Leaf lettuce

Mucci Farms, a leading greenhouse grower based in Kingsville, ON, was set to harvest its first Ontario-grown Naked Leaf lettuce in late July.naked leaf collage rev4

Hydroponically grown and harvested with the roots still intact, Naked Leaf is alive and growing when purchased, which provides added value for both retailer and consumer with their longer shelf life, greater freshness, flavor and leaf color than regular lettuce heads.

The Naked Leaf products are packaged with the roots intact – the roots rest in a soil plug and small plastic cup, which provides a lifeline with continued nourishment.

Consumers will have the benefit of crisp, vitamin-packed fresh leaves for longer.

The Naked Leaf Green Butter Head variety has a delicate crisp, mild sweet flavor and can be used for salads or lettuce wraps.

Naked Leaf living lettuce will be available in a variety of pack sizes, including single and double clamshells as well as individual sleeves with handle. Retail ready displays will also be available. 

Ontario-grown Naked Leaf living herbs, including basil, watercress, and arugula, will soon be available in two- and four-ounce sleeves.

Business meetings and plenty of fun at QPMA golf tournament

The 57th annual Quebec Produce Marketing Association Golf Tournament took place beneath a beautiful blue sky on July 17 at the Parcours du Cerf golf course in Longueuil, QC. Once again, the event was a swinging success with almost 288 enthusiastic golfers on the fairways and 350 guests at supper that evening.qpma

On this festive day, the QPMA took the opportunity to present a check for $5,000 to Breakfast Club of Canada. Its mission is to nurture potential and grow healthy students, giving an equal chance of success to all kids, one breakfast at a time, a message that holds special meaning for the QPMA Board President Sammy Cacciatore of Sun Grape Marketing.

From the moment golf committee chairman Enrico Charest of Sobeys Québec made the opening tee shot, players enjoyed a perfect day for quality networking and showcasing their talents in action. Golfers may have been divided into two groups playing on different courses, but they were all able to challenge themselves in the skills competition and sample a sensational spread of gourmet delights out on the links.

Once the tournament was over, guests enjoyed a lively cocktail hour before digging into a mouth-watering barbecue supper in a perfect setting for catching up on news and meeting with members and friends of the QPMA. Hosted by Richard Morency, the evening concluded with the presentation of the day’s trophies and a draw for more than 60 door prizes that made for lots of very happy winners.

"We wish to thank our sponsors, partners and — of course – the golfers for making this event a huge success," QPMA said in a press release. "Don’t miss our 58th annual tournament in July 2016. We promise it’ll be tons of fun."

CPMA announces release of Canadian Nutrition Facts for fresh fruit and vegetables

CPMA announced the release of Canadian Nutrition Facts data, serving sizes and eligible nutrient content claims for the most commonly consumed fresh fruits and vegetables in Canada. This is a culmination of over three years of effort working with Health Canada. With their guidance this information was developed for use by the industry to promote the marketing and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables in the Canadian marketplace.

Presently pre-packaged fresh fruit and vegetable products in Canada cannot make health or nutrient content claims about their product without the presence of a Nutrition Facts Table, which reduces consumers’ ability to compare these nutrient dense healthy foods with other products on the market. Nutrition labelling provides an opportunity for consumers to learn about the nutrient content and health benefits of the food that they choose to eat, and to compare products on the market.

Previous to the release of this information, the determination of the nutrition content of produce items was left to individual companies. The industry can now use the data to provide Canadian Nutrition Facts Tables with the confidence that these were developed for industry by industry and under the direction of Health Canada.

Recently Health Canada also announced the formal process to confirm the use of the following health claim for eligible fruits and vegetables: A healthy diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruit may help reduce the risk of heart disease. This should go through the regulatory amendment process in the coming months and CPMA will advise once the health claim can be used.

The produce industry is now being given the tools to enable us to tell our story with confidence and help consumers understand the importance of produce consumption to their health.

For access to Canadian Nutrition Facts and allowable claims for the most commonly consumed Fresh Fruit and Vegetables in Canada, please click here.

EarthFresh outgrows its operations in Toronto


EarthFresh recently celebrated the grand opening of its new home in Burlington, ON. Friends, family, customers and suppliers were invited to an outdoor party onsite, featuring a live concert by Burlington based group The Spoons, as well as tours of the production facility, local food trucks and fun activities for all ages. The move came as a result of EarthFresh outgrowing their operations in Toronto, where they were located for over 50 years.