NYC baseball fans upgrade hot dogs to avodogs

In celebration of National Hot Dog Day on July 23, the Peruvian Avocado Commission treated New York baseball fans to a complimentary topping of fresh smashed avocados at a local major league ball game.avodog

Although avocado may not be considered as classic a topping as mustard and relish, adding summer avocados to one of America’s favorite summertime foods proved enormously popular with fans — who devoured 600 fresh Peruvian avocados during the game.

In addition to adding monumental flavor to a perennial favorite, Peruvian avocados also boast nearly 20 important vitamins and minerals and have no sodium or cholesterol.

Served with just a squeeze of lime or combined with other classic hot dog toppings such as onions and tomatoes, freshly sliced or smashed Avocados from Peru make an ideal hot dog topping.

“We look forward to seeing avocados from Peru become an indispensable part of the all-American tradition of attending a major league baseball game,” Xavier Equiha, president and chief executive officer of PAC, said in a press release.  

Peruvian avocados enjoy a season that, much like baseball, runs from May to September, earning them the nickname of “summer avocados.”

New president for Price Chopper, Market Bistro parent company

The Golub Corp., parent company of Price Chopper Supermarkets, Market 32 and Market Bistro, announced that Scott Grimmett has been named president and chief operating officer — the first non-Golub in the company’s history to hold the title.golub

Grimmett will continue to report to Jerry Golub, who will continue to serve as chief executive officer of the company. Neil Golub remains executive chairman of the board.

Grimmett joined Price Chopper as executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2012, bringing with him 37 years of experience at Safeway, the last nine of which were spent serving as president of that chain’s 143-store Denver division.

“We knew that Scott had the skills to help propel our company forward in an increasingly competitive marketplace and challenging economy,” Jerry Golub said in a press release. “He is an innovative and strategic leader with a customer-centric focus and deep understanding of how to make the shopping experience a true differentiator. He has made a tremendous contribution to the evolution of our brand over the last three years.”

“Scott’s strategic vision has guided the creation of our new brand architecture, which serves as the foundation for our next generation of stores and our transformation to Market 32," Neil Golub said in the release. "And his leadership in implementing and communicating what defines our new brand is helping us to deliver the multi-faceted, progressive shopping experience that the customers of today and tomorrow are seeking. “We are so pleased to value his contributions to our company by further recognizing the integral role that he plays.”

Loblaw closing 52 stores

Loblaw Cos. plans to close 52 stores over the next 12 months. The announcement was made as part of its second quarter financial results.

On an annual basis, the closures will decrease sales by approximately $230 million but will result in a favorable impact to operating income of approximately $27 million to $31 million.

The company reported net earnings of roughly $142 million for Q2, including a $34.5 million charge as part of the restructuring plan, and it said sales were up 2.2 percent over the second quarter of 2014.

"I am pleased with our overall performance in the second quarter, as we continued to execute well against our strategic framework," said Galen G. Weston, president and executive chairman of Loblaw Cos. Ltd. "Looking ahead, the grocery industry remains highly competitive and healthcare reform continues to put pressure on our pharmacy business. We are well positioned to achieve earnings growth through a stable trading platform, incremental efficiencies, synergies and a stronger balance sheet."

BI-LO stores sold to K-VA-T

K-VA-T Food Stores Inc. and Southeastern Grocers LLC have entered into an agreement under which K-VA-T will acquire 29 BI-LO stores from Southeastern Grocers. K-VA-T intends to continue to operate all of these stores under the Food City banner and hire the vast majority of their store associates, retaining their years of service.

“We are extremely excited to have this opportunity to expand our operation into the Chattanooga and northwest Georgia markets," Steven C. Smith, Food City president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. "We certainly look forward to welcoming the BI-LO associates to our Food City family and serving the region. Our consumers can rest assured that we plan to complete the conversion process as quickly as possible, with the least interruption to the normal flow of business. It’s our intention to enhance the overall variety and selection and further develop the services and conveniences provided to our shoppers.”  

Southeastern Grocers and K-VA-T anticipate that the transfer and handoff dates of the 29 BI-LO stores will begin Aug. 30, with all stores fully transitioned by Oct. 5, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

"We are pleased to enter into this transaction with K-VA-T, which we believe is the right decision not only for Southeastern Grocers, but also for our stores and associates in Chattanooga and Northwest Georgia,” Ian McLeod, president and CEO of Southeastern Grocers, said in the release. “This was not an easy decision for us, as we have the utmost respect for our associates who serve our customers in these stores so well. In the approach by K-VA-T, we believe we have identified a strong partner to ensure these 29 stores and our associates are positioned for continued success under another reputable regional brand. On behalf of the management team, I want to thank all of our hardworking BI-LO associates for their dedication and support over many years."

Payment protection for produce sellers

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Canadian Horticultural Council applauded the commitment made Wednesday by NDP leader Thomas Mulcair to introduce payment protection for produce farmers and sellers similar to the trust protection offered by the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act in the United States.

“The produce industry is grateful for the NDP’s leadership to resolve this long-standing issue and trade irritant,” CPMA President Ron Lemaire said in a press release. “This commitment demonstrates they understand the risks that fresh fruit and vegetable sellers face and the importance of ensuring strong, equitable financial protection tools.”

The lack of payment protection in Canada is the No. 1 issue for fresh fruit and vegetable growers and sellers across Canada for the upcoming federal election. The industry has long advocated for a PACA-like trust in Canada. The highly perishable nature of fresh produce makes the industry uniquely vulnerable during bankruptcies, risking financial ruin for those affected. The situation became more urgent when the United States revoked Canada’s preferential access to PACA protections on Oct. 1, 2014, making exporting a much riskier enterprise for Canadian companies, who currently send 40 percent of all produce grown in Canada to the United States.

U.S. produce sellers have PACA, which ensures that growers and sellers are paid should a buyer go bankrupt or simply refuse to pay for the product they receive. The U.S. revoked Canada’s special access due to its lack of similar trust protection and the lack of progress in fulfilling the Regulatory Cooperation Council commitment to establishing a comparable approach in Canada.

Since Oct. 1, Canadian companies trying to recover unpaid bills have had to post a bond of double the value of their claim to use PACA. Many cannot afford this and simply have to walk away from what they are owed, a decision several have already had to make even through winter with few Canadian shipments. As summer passes, the industry expects to see a much larger impact.

With this announcement, the NDP has shown it recognizes the importance of fruit and vegetable producers to providing fresh, healthy food to Canadians.  An NDP government would introduce a payment protection program for produce growers like PACA that will allow sellers to maintain an ownership trust until payment has been received. It will also negotiate with the U.S. to restore Canada’s privileged access to PACA protections. Produce sellers would have the protection they need, without any cost to government. Further details on the plan can be found here:  
"CPMA and CHC are very pleased to see the NDP moving the issue forward in the lead up to the coming election," the organizations said in a press release. "We welcome other parties to show their support of Canada’s produce industry by making this issue a priority in their platforms. A limited statutory deemed trust is a no-cost solution and the most effective means to resolve the issue. Other options would result in high cost to both sellers and government, while still providing ineffective protection. The industry looks forward to hearing more from other parties on this critical issue to support those who bring fresh fruits and vegetables to our tables every day."

“Canada’s produce industry has had to deal with a lack of a deemed trust in Canada for far too long,” CHC Executive Vice-President Anne Fowlie said in the release. “We applaud the NDP for being the first party to commit to financial protection for produce growers and sellers.”