Coosemans Worldwide Inc. opened a new specialty and organic produce division under the California Specialty Farms banner on the Los Angeles Produce Terminal Market.
Danny Coosemans and James Macek purchased California Specialty Farms and its processing and shipping facility (located near the L.A. Market) in 2010. CSF is among the nation’s leading processors of the “California carrot” (the ubiquitous peeled baby carrot), along with a wide variety of additional hand-turned and carved produce specialties.
“We had long been fans of California Specialty Farms products and personnel, so when the opportunity to purchase CSF arose, Danny and I jumped on it," Macek, president of Coosemans-Denver, Phoenix and CSF, said in a press release. “The new location on the L.A. Market will help us to better serve the local and regional produce communities, and our product mix of organic and specialty produce — including a few new wrinkles — will be a nice addition to one of America’s most dynamic produce markets.”
Bruce Hoffman, partner and vice president of California Specialty Farms, has tapped specialty produce veteran Martha Zavala as the market division’s general manager. Zavala is a market veteran herself, having experience with Malibu Farms, Davalan and Fresh Point Los Angeles.
“The Coosemans name is synonymous with specialty produce, and having the opportunity to work with Danny, James and Bruce at our new L.A. market division is an outstanding opportunity,” Zavala said in the press release.
Not all Coosemans Worldwide member-companies carry the Coosemans name, such as Florida Specialty Farms, Panda Food Products, Rock Garden South, Crystal Valley Foods and the newly acquired Consumer Fresh Produce in Pittsburgh, formerly Coosemans Pittsburgh. There are Coosemans Worldwide member-companies and farms located across the globe.
Georgia Peach growers are gearing up for a plentiful crop, which is expected to peak in volume and quality during the month of July. To highlight the flavor of the summertime fruit, the Georgia Peach Council has launched a seasonal marketing campaign aimed at both retailers and consumers.
“There’s nothing like the taste of a Georgia Peach,” the council's Will McGehee said in a press release. “Our new campaign highlights what has always been the best time of year to enjoy peaches from Georgia.”
For consumers, the council will step up its social media presence by sponsoring three summertime contests. A “Pin it to Win it” Pinterest contest will invite peach lovers to create boards to pin and share Georgia peach recipes (www.pinterest.com/peachesfromGA). An Instagram consumer photo contest is also in the works (www.instagram.com/peachesfromGA). Both contests will use the hashtag, #LoveGeorgiaPeaches, and winners will receive $500. Additionally, the Georgia Peach Council will sponsor a “Share Your Summer” giveaway, which lets shoppers of participating grocery stores pin photos to an in-store board or on the grocers’ social media channels.
To extend its brand awareness and educational efforts, the Georgia Peach Council will also schedule a number of television cooking demonstrations in target markets throughout the Southeast, Northeast and Midwest.
On the retail side, supermarkets in targeted markets may utilize turnkey point-of-sale merchandising display bins, posters with tips on how to pick the perfect peach and a retail dietitian toolkit complete with recipes, nutritional information, blog posts and thought starters. To encourage dietitians to communicate the healthy benefits of Georgia peaches, the dietitian with the most social media reach will receive an expenses-paid getaway to tour the heart of Georgia’s peach country.
Sun Pacific announced that for the first time it will have Cuties available to retailers during summer months. Summer Cuties will make their debut from June through October 2014. The company has also hired Bailey Lauerman as the new marketing agency of record for Cuties, as well as for additional brands and products within the Sun Pacific portfolio.
Summer Cuties, which originate in the Southern Hemisphere, will feature a new package design and will be available in two- and three-pound bags. Sun Pacific has established two U.S.-based authorized Cuties licensed distribution centers, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast, to inspect and pack the fruit. Onsite Cuties quality control representatives will ensure that all fruit meets or exceeds rigorous Cuties quality standards.
“The launch of Summer Cuties makes our popular fruit available year-round, something our customers have been asking for to help them support and grow their citrus category sales during the summer months,” Barney Evans, vice president of sales for Sun Pacific, said in a press release. “Summer Cuties will deliver the high standards our customers have come to expect from the Cuties brand because we are applying the same quality specifications we use on California Cuties.”
Bailey Lauerman’s work will begin immediately, preparing new Cuties work for the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Convention & Expo in October, with consumer work debuting shortly thereafter.
“We were very focused on finding a partner that demonstrated a deep understanding of our business and a passion for our products,” Victoria Nuevo-Celeste, vice president of marketing for Sun Pacific, said in a press release. “Bailey Lauerman brings phenomenal strategy and creative work that will be vital to helping us continue to lead the category and bring sweet, delicious, easy to peel Cuties and other branded fruit to American families.”
“When you look at the produce category, Sun Pacific has done a remarkable job of creating brand preference and equity in something so simple: fresh Mandarins,” Andy Fletcher, chief executive officer for Bailey Lauerman, said in the release. “To have the opportunity to work with such an adored brand is just really, really exciting for our team.”
With an attendance figure that matched last year, a keynote address by one of the most recognizable names in the United States and an increase in exhibitors and booth space, executives at United Fresh Produce Association were calling this year’s show “very successful.”
Ray Gilmer, UFPA vice president for issues management and communications, said the staff and board members were very pleased by the event, which saw United Fresh once again co-locate its convention with the Food Marketing Institute. The two associations first collaborated on their trade shows a decade ago, and 2014 marked the first year in a three-year commitment to hold the show at McCormick’s Place in Chicago in early June.
“We think getting together with FMI again this year was very positive. Anecdotally, exhibitors were happy with the amount of traffic that was generated and it appeared to be a win-win for both associations,” Gilmer said. “The Hillary Clinton event was a great way to kick off the convention for both associations, and there were lots of other high points.”
Specifically, he pointed to keynote addresses by Ed Crenshaw, chief executive officer of Public Supermarkets, and Incoming United Fresh Chairman of the Board Ron Carkoski, president and CEO of the Four Seasons Family of Cos.
Crenshaw discussed the secret of success for Publix and noted that the most critical part of any company is the employees. "If you treat your associates right, they will treat the customers right and that will increase sales and profits," he said.
The Publix CEO, who has been with the Florida-based retailer for 40 years starting as a box boy in 1974, said the company is consistently rated as one of the top companies in the United States to work for and said “that is no accident.”
He also commented on the joint FMI/UFPA convention from the perspective of being on the FMI board for more than 15 years and the recent chairman of FMI’s strategic planning committee. He said the retail association has recommitted the organization to making the trade show a central focus of its work. In addition, Crenshaw said FMI wants to move toward “total store collaboration,” believing that if it can create a single forum that covers the entire industry, the association will have greater effect. He indicated there is no better way to do this than with the continuation of FMI/UFPA collaboration.
Carkoski touched on several themes during his address, including United Fresh’s new strategic plan. The association’s board of directors has approved a plan with five distinct mission areas:
He said that through these five areas, United Fresh “is committed to changing the way America Eats,” and doubling the business of its members.
Underscoring that, Carkoski talked of the change in the United Fresh Foundation, which will now have the single focus of improving child nutrition.
Of course, United has been very successful over the past handful of years with its salad bar program. Earlier in the show United President Tom Stenzel discussed the current three-year project to add hundreds of salad bars in schools throughout the upper Midwest to coincide with the Chicago location of the convention through at least 2016. Stensel said in the first three months of that program 200 new salad bars have been funded by the industry. In total, more than 3,400 salad bars have been donated to schools by the produce industry through the program. Those popular school additions are feeding 2 million children a day.
In total, more than 4,500 industry members attended the convention, and the final exhibitor count was up about 25 percent, representing about 17 percent more floor space. Next year’s show promises to be even larger with the addition of the International Floral Expo, which announced several weeks ago that it would co-locate with United and FMI in 2015. Gilmer said next year’s show will be “noticeably bigger” because of that.
Attendees to the United Fresh Produce Association's annual convention and expo in Chicago cast their votes throughout the show for fresh produce innovation and recognized this year's New Product Awards in five categories. More than 40 fresh fruit and vegetable innovations competed in the categories of Best New Food Safety Solution, Best New Fruit Product, Best New Packaging, Best New Packing/Processing Equipment and Best New Vegetable Product.
United named the 2014 New Product Award winners:
"These winning products have been selected by United attendees as outstanding representations of the new approaches, ideas and processes that are driving the fresh fruit and vegetable industry forward, and we applaud them for their product development," John Toner, United's vice president of convention and industry relations, said in a press release. "From its very beginnings, the United show has been the undisputed home of innovation for the produce industry, and these awards continue to showcase the best and brightest minds in the produce business."
The finalists in each category were on display in the United Fresh Membership Booth on the trade show floor. More information on all of the New Product Award Finalists is available on United's website.