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IGA doubles footprint in New Brunswick

IGA and Les Marchés Tradition supermarkets welcomed 11 new food stores into their ranks. With all banners combined (IGA, Les Marchés Tradition, Marché Bonichoix, Omni, and several convenience stores) there are 20 active stores in New Brunswick.iga

This past June, members of the Fédération acadienne des coopératives de consommation signed a supplier agreement with IGA/Sobeys Québec. The supplier agreement provides long-term supply security while maintaining jobs and the current co-operative model.

IGA/Sobeys Québec is the suppliers for 70 percent of Quebec co-operatives. The company said it "wishes to preserve the New-Brunswick way of doing things by maintaining the characteristic identity of stores in the region and by encouraging local sourcing."

This project is a perfect fit with The Joy of Eating Better movement, launched in May 2014. The objective of the movement, which guides everything the company's employees, customers and partners do, is to support making responsible choices, eating a healthy diet, discovering new flavors and cooking more, while never compromising on enjoyment.

Sanctions imposed on PACA violators in Texas and Idaho

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has imposed sanctions on two produce businesses, JD Rodriguez Produce Inc. and B. Sayers Inc., for failure to pay reparation awards issued under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.

The following businesses and individuals are currently restricted from operating in the produce industry:

  • B. Sayers Inc., operating out of Boise, ID, for failing to pay a $31,367 award in favor of an Oregon seller. As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Tina Shorthouse was listed as the officer, director and major stockholder of the business.

  • JD Rodriguez Produce Inc., operating out of Dallas, for failing to pay a $15,895 award in favor of a Colorado seller.  As of the issuance date of the reparation order, Johnny D. Rodriguez, Valerie J. Rodriguez and Esmeralda G. Rodriguez were listed as the officers, directors and/or major stockholders of the business.

In the past three years, the USDA resolved approximately 3,700 PACA claims involving more than $66 million. Its experts also assisted more than 7,100 callers with issues valued at approximately $100 million.

Sun World's new business to focus on licensing, technology and international opportunities

Sun World International LLC announced the formation of Sun World Innovations, a new entity to shepherd and drive growth of its fruit breeding and variety development, licensing, international investments and agriculture technology pursuits. Sun World Executive Vice President David Marguleas will also serve as president of Sun World Innovations.David-MarguleasDavid Marguleas

In addition to its own California farming activities, the 40-year-old Bakersfield, CA-based Sun World operates one of the world’s leading fruit-breeding programs and licenses its intellectual property to many hundreds of producers and marketers around the world. The company's variety development staff is based in Bakersfield and focuses on developing new proprietary varieties of table grapes and stonefruit, while the licensing team maintains offices in California, as well as in Europe, South America, South Africa and Australia.

In addition to guiding Sun World’s own intellectual property and licensing activities, Sun World Innovations will guide the broader agricultural, technology and international interests of Renewable Resources Group, the Los Angeles-based firm that acquired the California grower-shipper in August 2013.

“Crop input, water, harvest and labor efficiencies, along with fruit and vegetable breeding, are among the opportunities that Sun World Innovations will explore,” Marguleas said in a press release.

"Sun World Innovations will harness its deep, hands-on horticultural knowledge and expertise in existing and new ag technologies, and the international licensee platform we’ve built with growers and marketers around the world, to provide innovative solutions to real challenges faced by the ag sector worldwide,” Marguleas said. "Sun World's industry-leading agronomic skills, coupled with our owner’s expertise in the sustainable water, agriculture and energy sectors, make for a powerful combination to achieve this."   

"The opportunities in agriculture today are both exciting and promising," RRG Co-Founders Cole Frates and Ari Swiller said in the release. "In creating Sun World Innovations, the company is focusing a talented, dedicated team on initiatives crucial to making the most of them, just as Sun World has for decades."

Dole Food executives settle with shareholders in fraud case

Dole Food Co. executives agreed Monday to settle a landmark case involving investor fraud and award shareholders $114 million.

A Delaware judge had found Dole CEO David Murdock and Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel C. Michael Carter liable for driving down the company’s market value so Murdock could take the fruit and vegetable firm private in 2013 in the $1.2 billion deal.

The judge found Murdock and Carter provided misleading information that deprived stockholders of their ability to consider the buyout fairly and potentially vote it down.

“Murdock and Carter‘s conduct throughout the Committee process, as well as their credibility problems at trial, demonstrated that their actions were not innocent or inadvertent, but rather intentional and in bad faith,” wrote Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster in the Aug. 27 opinion.

The executives pitched to the board “lowball management projections,” and were able to manipulate stock prices and “freeze out” other possible buyers in the food industry, Laster found.

The court awarded the stockholders $2.74 per share, estimated at $148 million. "Although facially large, the award is conservative relative to what the evidence could support," Laster said in the decision.

“We are extremely pleased not only with the large financial recovery, but the forceful way in which the court excoriated the defendants for the brazen way they tried to hijack Dole for their own advantage in taking the company private,” said Stuart Grant, of Grant & Eisenhofer, counsel for the shareholders, in August.

Under the latest settlement, which has yet to be finalized, shareholders will receive $114 million and all parties agree not to appeal the decision.

Other parties have filed lawsuits as a result of the buyout scheme likely to drive up the cost Dole will have to pay out, however.

Dole still owes hedge funds not part of the class action suit $233.4 million and, with damages and interest, the company may be on the hook for more than $300 million, Reuters reports.

Mandarins lead citrus category sales

Mandarins lead all citrus categories in dollar sales at retail and are up 17.3 percent, representing almost 37 percent of all citrus sales for the last year, according to recent IRI Worldwide data. Mandarins also lead in pound sales, up just over 19 percent.Sunkist-Growers-logo

“The rise in popularity of mandarins follows along with consumer demand for healthy, convenient snacks,” Joan Wickham, manager of advertising and public relations for Sunkist, said in a press release. “Easy to peel and high in Vitamin C, mandarins fit the bill for healthy snacking and they are also juicy, sweet and delicious.”

Sunkist offers retailers multiple packaging and point-of-sale options to help retailers merchandise mandarins to continue driving sales and educate consumers about specialty mandarins varieties.

“Providing flavor profiles, nutrition information, recipes and usage tips encourages consumers to experiment and enjoy mandarins in multiple ways,” Julie DeWolf, director of retail marketing, said in the release.

Mandarins are also trending in foodservice channels, with operators showcasing the versatility of easy-peelers in applications such as adult beverages, salads, desserts and seafood appetizers. Clementines have shown a particularly strong increase on menus, with a nearly 40 percent spike over the past year, driven mainly by increased use in beverages.

“Mandarins are great for snacking, but they’re also wonderful as an ingredient — and increasing foodservice usage across meal parts demonstrates this,” added Wickham.

Sunkist offers Satsuma, Clementine, Royal, W. Murcott and Gold Nugget mandarin varieties from late October through June with multiple packaging options, including the beloved Sunkist Smiles brand. To learn more about Sunkist mandarins, visit Sunkist’s new website or contact the Sunkist sales team at sales@sunkisgrowers.com.