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Southern Roots holds reception at SEPC fall conference

YOUNG HARRIS, GA — The Southeast Produce Council launched its new leadership program for women in produce with a reception Friday afternoon, Sept. 26, during the council's annual fall conference, Sept. 25-27 at Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa, here in the scenic mountains of north Georgia.

The program, called Southern Roots, was announced June 30 by the council and is designed to make meaningful connections among women working in the produce industry through events, education and mentoring.SEPC1669Teri Miller of Delhaize America is chairing the new Southern Roots program. Teri Miller of Delhaize America, who was named first vice president of the council during the fall conference, is chairing the new program.

After Miller welcomed the women who attended the reception, everyone broke into small groups to exchange information and come up with ideas on how to proceed with the new program. Miller and others will take the ideas that spring from this first reception "and determine the agenda for the next meeting," which will take place at the council's Southern Exposure conference and expo at the end of February in Orlando, FL.

The schedule of events for Southern Exposure 2015 is pretty extensive and full, but Miller said that the new Southern Roots event will probably take place on Thursday, around the same time as the annual golf tournament. A final decision on exactly when the Southern Roots event will take place will be announced in the next few weeks or so.

Regardless of the details of the event planned for February and going forward, Miller declared, "We want it to be beneficial, and we want it to be cost effective."

POM Wonderful launches new Antioxidant Super Teas

POM Wonderful, a leading premium refrigerated juice company and purveyor of pomegranates, is powering up the produce aisle with new Antioxidant Super Teas. The new line includes Pomegranate Lemonade Tea, Pomegranate Sweet Tea and Pomegranate Honey Green Tea. POM's top-selling Pomegranate Peach Passion White Tea will join the new Antioxidant Super Teas with a fresh new look and convenient new size.pomt

Hitting store shelves in October, the new Antioxidant Super Teas combine the antioxidant power of premium 100 percent pomegranate juice with gently brewed teas.

Pomegranate Lemonade Tea is a fresh take on an all-time favorite, combining POM juice with sweetened lemonade and tea. Pomegranate Sweet Tea is a California twist on Southern tradition with sweet black tea and POM juice. Fans of POM's original Lychee Green Tea will enjoy new Pomegranate Honey Green Tea, which combines a refreshing blend of green tea with the natural sweetness of honey and rose flavors. Pomegranate Peach Passion White Tea will maintain the tropical flavors of passion fruit with sweet ripe peach to deliver a crush-worthy taste.

"POM Wonderful always innovates to meet growing demands, and with tea sales skyrocketing, we're capitalizing on momentum to offer consumers new ways to enjoy pomegranate juice," Dahlia Reinkopf, senior director of marketing at POM Wonderful, said in a press release. "Antioxidant Super Teas aim to reach new consumers looking for healthy on-the-go refreshments without any artificial flavors or artificial sweeteners."

POM Antioxidant Super Teas are available in 12-ounce sizes in POM Wonderful's iconic curved bottle with a suggested price of $1.99. They will be available in the produce section of mass and grocery stores nationwide. The launch will be supported with in-store displays, point-of sale, retailer promotions, freestanding inserts, trade advertisements, digital activations and public relations.

C&S names Christopher Brown SVP of independent sales

C&S Wholesale Grocers has appointed Christopher Brown as senior vice president of independent sales, effective Sept. 29. According to the company, this appointment underscores C&S’s commitment to its independent customers and reflects its plans to continue to grow its independent business.

“It is incredibly exciting to be joining a company like C&S with such commitment to the growth and service of independent customers,” Brown said in a press release. “C&S has a long tradition of providing for the individual needs of its customers, and I look forward to being part of a team with that level of dedication.”

Brown has spent his career in executive leadership roles in the distribution and supply chain industry, servicing independent retailers and regional chains. Most recently he served as an executive consultant working with national distributors and regional retailers. Prior to that, he spent 11 years with Nash Finch Co., serving as executive vice president of procurement and merchandising and executive vice president of food distribution, before being named president and chief operating officer.

“Christopher is joining C&S at a time when we are putting immense focus on our independent business,” Rick Cohen, C&S chairman and chief executive officer, said in the press release. “His expertise about the unique requirements of independent retailers will be a perfect complement to the strong service we already provide to our independent, chain, and large grocer customers.”

Brown earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing from Winona State University.

Ocean Spray prepares for North American cranberry harvest

If conditions remain as expected, Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. believes the 2014 global industry cranberry crop will be between 11.2-11.6 million barrels, down from the 2013 global industry record crop of 12 million barrels. The company expects its grower-owners to deliver 6.6-7 million barrels, which is down from the 7.2 million barrels delivered in 2013.

Ocean Spray Grower-Owners are located throughout all cranberry growing regions, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin, as well as British Columbia and eastern Canada. This June, Ocean Spray Grower-Owners also celebrated the springtime harvest in Chile, delivering over 400 thousand barrels to the cooperative. Regionally, Ocean Spray expects most growing regions to remain fairly steady year over year, but anticipates the Wisconsin crop could be down by as much as 17 percent over the record 2013 crop of 5.8 million barrels.

“With harvest just under way in most of the growing regions, Ocean Spray is prepared to receive, process and sell the 2014 crop,” Dan Crocker, vice president of cooperative development, said in a press release. “Our business remains strong and we are committed to our continued efforts to expand the demand for cranberry through new markets, channels, and products.”

Approximately 75 percent of the Cooperative’s cranberries will be consumed in North America, with the remaining shipped overseas. The Cooperative continues to focus on international expansion and will host customers, media and tastemakers from around the world during the cranberry harvest.

The North American harvest began in mid-September and will run through mid-November, finishing just in time for Thanksgiving in the United States. Of the 400 million pounds (4 million barrels) of cranberries Americans consume annually, 20 percent — or 80 million pounds — will be consumed Thanksgiving week. Ocean Spray sells more cranberries the Wednesday before Thanksgiving than any other day of the year.

This past spring, Ocean Spray received the President’s “E” Award for Exports. The “E” Awards are the highest recognition any U.S. entity may receive for making a significant contribution to the expansion of U.S. exports. The cooperative’s top export markets are the United Kingdom, Australia, France and Mexico. Its fastest-growing markets are China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Central America.

Ocean Spray cranberries are featured in more than 1,000 products in over 90 countries worldwide. Just over 200,000 barrels of Ocean Spray’s 2014 harvest will be sold as fresh cranberries, available now through the end of the year, while the remaining fruit will become juice beverages, dried cranberries, cranberry sauce and other cranberry products.

Caramel Naturel Dates 2014 fresh harvest under way

Atlas Produce and Distribution Inc., a shipper of 100 percent natural strictly California-grown dates, announced that the 2014 date harvest is under way.Caramel-Naturel-logo

"The quality once again is looking excellent," Robert Dobrzanski, president of Atlas Produce, said in a press release.

The California drought condition is a major concern for all of the agricultural community, but the hot and dry conditions this summer have been perfect for Medjool dates. The California harvest this year started about two weeks earlier than normal due to the weather.

"The difference Carmel Naturel dates offer is that we only grow our dates in the sunny state of California," he said. "Our consumers constantly tell us that California dates are their favorite. Our loyal Caramel Naturel date retail partners have noticed this as well and have told us that they prefer California-grown dates over dates grown elsewhere."

As for sales, Dobrzanski said things are going very well: "Caramel Naturel dates sales this year have exceeded our expectations, and we attribute our success to our unwavering attention to quality."

Caramel Naturel dates display the "California Grown" symbol on all of its packaging to give consumers added confidence in the brand.